Probiotics: a Possible Tool in Oral Health Care?
Christof Godts, Gitte Loozen, Marc Quirynen and Wim Teughels
from: Oral Microbial Ecology: Current Research and New Perspectives (Edited by: Nicholas S. Jakubovics and Robert J. Palmer Jr.). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2013)
The human oral cavity is colonized by a wide variety of bacteria, which form very complex and dynamic biofilms on hard and soft tissues. Certain members of these microbiological communities are associated with oral infections, such as caries and periodontal diseases. New treatment approaches are emerging that do not rely on conventional antibiotic therapies, since complete eradication of pathogenic bacteria from oral biofilms is impossible and antibiotic resistance is becoming problematic. For example, attempts have been made to reduce the overall pathogenicity of tissue-associated biofilms by introducing live beneficial bacteria. Early successes, primarily in the field of gastro-intestinal microbiology, have paved the way for the introduction of probiotics in oral health care. These new anti-/pro-microbial therapies are considered very promising for prevention and treatment of plaque related oral diseases. In this chapter, the concept of probiotics for oral healthcare is introduced, followed by an overview of the diverse mechanisms of probiotic action in the oral cavity. Since the benefits of probiotics will ultimately be revealed by clinical studies, the clinical outcomes of probiotic applications for combating dental caries and periodontal diseases are addressed. Finally the interactions of probiotics with the oral microbial ecosystem are discussed and future perspectives regarding the oral probiotic concept are presented read more ...