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Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry Official publication of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 271-272

Probiotic caries intervention…!!

Dean, People's College of Dental Sciences, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication17-Sep-2014

Correspondence Address:
N D Shashikiran
Dean, People's College of Dental Sciences, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-4388.140934

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How to cite this article:
Shashikiran N D. Probiotic caries intervention…!! . J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2014;32:271-2

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Shashikiran N D. Probiotic caries intervention…!! . J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent [serial online] 2014 [cited 2022 Nov 27];32:271-2. Available from: http://www.jisppd.com/text.asp?2014/32/4/271/140934

Our mouths are microbial jungles. They're filled with more than 800 species of bacteria. Most of them are harmless. But in terms of tooth decay, one critter is the major culprit: Streptococcus mutans. These bacteria take sugar in our food and turn them into tooth-dissolving acids. They stick to the lining of teeth and produces acids that dissolve enamel.

So microbiologist Chrintine Lang and team of researchers at Organobalance - a German research and development firm that focuses on probiotic - thought, why not get the good bacteria fight the bad one? "We were looking for something new for oral hygiene," Lang tells. "Something that specifically recognizes and binds to Streptococcus mutans but won't kill the other bacteria in the mouth." The study conducted shows that those who suck on a mint containing a particular type of bacteria actually reduce the levels of cavity-causing bacteria in their saliva. Suppressing the growth of such "bad bacteria," in the long run, may lead to better oral hygiene and less contact with the dentist's drill. To test the theory, Lang's team provided 60 volunteers with a regimen of mints to suck on five times throughout the course of 2 days. Saliva samples were studied after the initial serving of candies and also following a final round the next morning. The results, published in Probiotics and Antimicrobial Proteins, show that 75% of those who were given the candies containing a dead version of this bacteria had lower levels of S. mutans in their saliva than they had the previous day, when compared to the placebo group, this test group's saliva has significantly reduced S. mutans as an immediate effect, the researchers concluded.

The beneficial bacteria, isolated during a screening process that looked at more than 800 strains, are called Lactobacillus paracasei, a probiotic found in dairy products such as yogurt and kefir. As a non-spore-forming bacteria, L. paracasei has a demonstrated track record of safely treating diarrhea in babies; for this reason, often found in infant formulas. It also lives in the mouth where, investigators have observed, it can prevent the growth of S. mutans. In this case L. paracasei may help to keep such a threat in check by binding to S. Mutans, which prevent the bacteria from latching on to teeth, a mechanism that remains effective even when the L. paracasei used are dead. However, the effect was small and researchers don't know yet how long it lasts.
"Lactobacillus paracasei can be added to just about anything," says Christine Lang, lead researcher of the German biotech startup Organobalance. "It's not like xylitol where the ingredient can only be added to gum to help prevent tooth decay. We've added it to toothpaste and even sugared candy, which doesn't interfere with how the bacterium works." L.s paracasei is used in a toothpaste product already in market. Researchers in New Zealand and Australia, for instance, have also found strong evidence that sucking on lozenges with another beneficial bacterium called Streptococcus salvarius K12 helps to freshen bad breath. And compared to the conventional method of disinfecting with bacteria-eliminating mouth rinses, it's an approach that might be better for your overall health. "I myself would not rinse and kill all the bacteria because you're getting rid of the good ones and the bad germs can always come back, it is necessary that we have a good balance of bacteria, which is very natural and protects us too."

Though the results are promising, James Bader, a professor of dentistry at the University of North Carolina, isn't entirely convinced that probiotics would make a significant impact on cavity-forming bacteria and would like to see more research aimed at demonstrating long-term efficacy. "The reduction by the candy is really temporary and very small," reasoning that combating cavities would require using additives that attack bacteria in the biofilm, or plaque, on the teeth as opposed to in the saliva. Gum manufacturers have taken a long look at the effect of sugarless gum on teeth" Bader says. "People have less plaque, but the companies haven't shown that they have less caries." Researcher contends, however, that consistently applying the kind of interventions that cultivate an environment hostile to S. mutans can, over time, reduce the biofilm that accumulates, which in turn should result in less cavity formation.

Preventive oral intervention is one of the best ways to combat oral diseases as the cliché goes "prevention is better than cure." With this thought I am pleased to welcome you all to Lucknow, the connoisseur city of food and drinks; the cultural and artistic hub of Northern India, at the 36th Annual Conference of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry. We look forward to learning through discussions and deliberations by the brilliant gathering of speakers from the pedodontic fraternity.

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