Probiotics to Prevent Toothache

Streptococcus bacteria can be both helpful and harmful, depending on the species.

A recent study conducted at the University of Florida reported that taking a probiotic pill containing a previously unidentified form of Streptococcus bacteria, now named A12, fights the toothache causing bacteria Streptococcus mutans. That might sound a little disturbing to most of us! Bacteria pills can prevent cavities?

Researcher Dr. Robert Burne explains his hypothesis: “…bacteria on the teeth make acid and acid dissolves the teeth. It’s straightforward chemistry. We got interested in what activities keep the pH elevated. Like a probiotic approach to the gut to promote health, what if a probiotic formulation could be developed from natural beneficial bacteria…? You would implant this probiotic in a healthy child or adult who might be at risk for developing cavities. 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.”

During the course of their research, scientists at the University of Florida found that A12 fights mutans in more than one way. First, it directly competes with the bad bacteria for space and resources. Second, it produces a lot of hydrogen peroxide, a molecule that damages mutans, but evidently does not harm A12. Finally, it readily breaks down the amino acid arginine, and that helps raise the pH level of the oral environment, limiting damage caused by bacterial acid.

Probiotic pills to cure toothache are still future prospects, but the Yuba City Dentistry Group is excited to tell you about them! Fewer children in the U.S. are getting cavities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but this doesn’t mean that cavities and tooth decay are taking a break! Regular visits to our Yuba City dental clinic along with a daily oral care routine at home are the best ways to prevent cavities. Contact us today to make an appointment for an exam and cleaning.

Yuba City Dentistry
ernst@gfxservices.com
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