May 21, 2019

You may be hearing more and more about probiotics these days and for good reason.    The last several years, probiotics have become a frequent component of protecting and treating patients in my practice. 

The basics:   There are certain good bacteria that our body needs to maintain adequate health and equilibrium.   Probiotics are supplements that contain good bacteria designed to deliver a balance throughout the digestive system, starting with the mouth.   These good bacteria promote an overall healthy well-being and even help fight disease.

With c. diff  (  )becoming more prevalent with the use of broad spectrum antibiotics, probiotics should be standard protocol for the dental office today.  We also treat yeast infections in the mouth which requires a harmony between components like bacteria and yeast.  As our busy lifestyles lead us to substitute natural foods for processed foods, bad bacteria flourish like never before. 

“Oral Probiotics” are products that contain very specific bacterial strains that are designed to improve the environment in the digestive system and oral cavity.   These can come in the form of pills, tablets, lozenges, chewing gum, toothpaste, rinses, and chewables.

In addition to manufactured probiotics, several foods are natural probiotics. 

  • Sauerkraut
  • Yogurts with live active cultures
  • Raw Cheeses
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Salted Gherkin Pickles
  • Brine Cured Olives
  • Miso
  • Natto
  • Kefir
  • Coconut Kefir
  • Kvass
  • Tempeh
  • Kombucha

Conversely, bad bacteria thrive in foods with refined sugars, animal fats, and processed flours. 

So the overall goal with probiotic use is to maintain an environment where good bacteria outnumber harmful bacteria and yeasts.  Once established, probiotic colonies can be maintained with proper dietary choices.   PREbiotic foods like fresh vegetables, whole grains, and fermented foods sustain healthy colonization.     As you can see, probiotics not only can be used to protect and treat patients from illness, they can be instrumental in establishing an overall healthy lifestyle.  

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