What if you could toss the floss, ditch the brush and just take a weekly pill to keep your choppers healthy? That day may come, based on new probiotic research.
A type of good bacteria, called A12, may be able to do the dental care work for you, according to a post about the study on medicaldaily.com. Do the little microbes scrub your teeth and gums with teeny-tiny toothbrushes? Not quite. Instead, they wrestle with, and possibly kill, Steptococcus mutans, a bad strain of bacteria in our mouths that can metabolize sugar into lactic acid. When our mouths become too acidic, cavities and other issues can develop.
It’s a battle of good bacteria versus bad bacteria. When researchers at the University of Florida College of Dentistry staged this battle in petri dishes in their lab, the good bacteria triumphed. When the scientists grew the bacteria together, S. mutans did not grow well or make dental plaque.
How would a probiotic oral health pill work? "You would implant this probiotic in a healthy child or adult who might be at risk for developing cavities,” Robert Burne, PhD, told medicaldaily.com. “However many times you have to do that — once in a lifetime or once a week, the idea is that you could prevent a decline in oral health by populating the patient with natural beneficial organisms." The research was published in Applied Environmental Microbiology.
This is not the first research to hint at the promise of probiotics’ tooth-saving power. A German study found probiotic-spiked candy to be a promising weapon in the war against cavities.