Enlist Gum Bacteria as a New Dental Health Tool; Probiotics Have Become a Recognised Beneficial Addition to Our Diet. but Could They Contribute to Our Oral Health? Dental Hygienist Alison Lowe Reports on a New Probiotic Product for the Mouth
Byline: Alison Lowe
IT SEEMS that these days you can't turn on the television without seeing an advert relating to bacteria.
If it's not women marvelling at how probiotics cured "that bloated feeling", it is gremlins lurking under the rim of the toilet bowl.
There is good and bad in everything, but it still seems bizarre that we're actively encouraging one type of bacteria while frantically trying to kill off the other.
So how do they differ? The good guys are known as probiotics - they vary from the nasty bacteria in that they are proven to exert health-promoting influences in both humans and animals.
Indeed, the term probiotic literally means for life.
Traditionally their benefits have focused on the stomach but now there is a new kid on the block - PerioBalance, the world's first probiotic lozenge specifically designed to start working in the mouth.
This is an exciting innovation for the world of dentistry because we're so used to supporting our treatment with anti products - antiseptics, antibacterials, antibiotics, the list goes on and on.
While these are effective in the short term they often have unpleasant side effects - some patients find that mouthwashes affect their tastebuds and alcohol is strictly forbidden when taking some antibiotics.
In contrast to this PerioBalance is very much a "pro" treatment and it provides a valuable addition to your oral health routine.
The active ingredient is Lactobacillus reuteri, which is found naturally in both breast milk and saliva, and has been specifically selected for its unique ability to restore the bacterial balance in the mouth.
There is already huge interest in probiotics and many of us already take them either in yoghurt or vitamin supplements.
You might well ask why we need another yet another "live" product? We all have a diverse population of bacteria in our mouths and it is important that they maintain some kind of balance in order for us to stay healthy.
However, many factors, such as poor oral hygiene, stress, illness and even the common cold can put them out of sync, which in turn compromises our health and makes us much more prone to infection. …