The human microbiome has become the center of many discussions related to health issues. This makes sense, considering that we are made up of more non-human microorganisms than human cells.1 And if we broaden our view of what the human body is, we quickly understand that we cannot exclude the trillions of microorganisms living in and on our bodies, including the ones that live in our mouths.
Just like other microbiomes in the body, our oral microbiome consists of many different types of bacteria. For too long most dentists and clinicians have focused only on pathogenic bacteria that are responsible for oral diseases such as dental caries or periodontal disease, rather than looking at the oral microbiota in its entirety. But in recent years we have gained a better understanding of what types of bacteria live in the mouth and what role they play in their microbial community.
Importance of the Oral Microbiome
With the rise of available information on the human microbiome and its importance to overall health, probiotics have become a popular addition to daily supplement routines. And, consequently, a large number of probiotics on the market are designed to help improve the microbiome of the gastrointestinal tract (popularly called the “gut”), especially since it is the center of our body’s defense against antigens and outside environmental factors.2
However, the second largest and most diverse microbiome resides in the oral cavity3 and considering its anatomical connection to the gastrointestinal tract, it deserves much more attention than it currently receives. Sadly, our oral microbiomes are often in dysbiosis, largely due to the diet we eat, the medicines we take, as well as chronic stress, and other environmental factors. This dysbiosis manifests as oral diseases like dental caries (cavities) and periodontal (gum) disease, which are among some of the most common chronic diseases in the United States.4
Such poor oral health is sometimes labeled as the “silent epidemic” and the following statistics reflect its magnitude:
- More than 1 in 4 adults in the United States have untreated tooth decay.5
- About 1 of 5 children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. 6
- Nearly half of all adults aged 30 years or older show signs of gum disease.7
Which begs the question: If cavities and gum disease reflect oral microbiome dysbiosis, why aren’t dental probiotics a more commonly used approach to prevention and co-treatment?
Beneficial Bacteria for Optimal Oral Health
Certain bacteria strains have been scientifically and clinically proven to improve oral health and restore oral microbiome balance. Some of these include Streptococcus salivarius M18, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Lactobacillus paracasei, all of which are found in the SUPER TEETH Dental Probiotic. When taken consistently these bacteria begin to colonize the oral cavity and crowd out pathogenic bacteria, limiting their growth and subsequently reducing the overall toxic bacterial load in the mouth.
Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus paracasei naturally reside in the gastrointestinal tract but have beneficial qualities for the mouth as well. Culture analyses of saliva from clinical study volunteers have shown that colonization of Lactobacillus bacteria within the oral cavitary result in a statistically significant reduction in the number of Stretpococcus mutans (pathogenic, cavity-causing bacteria) present in the saliva.8 But because these bacteria also have numerous benefits for the gut (including improving the function of our immune system and strengthening the intestinal barrier) they are often found in digestive probiotics that are swallowed and delivered straight to the gastrointestinal tract, and a supplement that is swallowed won’t benefit the oral cavity. So, to colonize the mouth with these bacteria it is essential to deliver them via a dissolvable substrate. SUPER TEETH Dental Probiotic mints are formulated to dissolve slowly in the mouth allowing bacteria to make their home directly on the teeth and gums.
Uniquely, Streptococcus salivarius M18 inhabits the oral cavity with functions specific to the oral microbiome.
Streptococcus salivarius M18 (“S. salivarius M18”) produces four potent antimicrobial proteins. The most significant is salivaricin M which has the ability to inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans (the pathogenic bacteria primarily responsible for dental caries). Additionally, S. salivarius M18 produces two enzymes called dextranase and urease. Dextranase reduces plaque accumulation on the teeth by breaking down dextran, which is a component of plaque. Urease interacts with the urea in saliva to help neutralize the acidic pH level of the mouth caused by Streptococcus mutans or acidic foods and drinks. Since Streptococcus mutans thrive in an acidic environment, S. salivarius M18 is key for reducing the risk of cavities through its interaction with urease.8
Clinicians, and creating new habits, are key to successful integration of dental probiotics.
Brushing and flossing are the daily accepted standards of good oral health habits, but more steps must be taken to treat chronic microbiome dysbiosis. Dentists and functional health practitioners are in an ideal position to act as educational guides for patients and should proactively help them tackle modifiable factors that affect oral dysbiosis including diet, stress management, and probiotic supplementation. Our tagline, “Floss. Brush. Take one of us.” helps introduce the concept of dental probiotics as a new addition to the daily oral hygiene routine. It is our mission to help individuals and families achieve optimal oral health by creating quality holistic oral care products.
If you are a dentist, hygienist, or functional doctor, consider offering SUPER TEETH Dental Probiotic in your practice. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Revised Estimates for the Number of Human and Bacteria Cells in the Body
- Introduction to the human gut microbiota
- Oral Microbiome: Unveiling the fundamentals
- Oral Health: The Silent Epidemic
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Oral Health Surveillance Report, 2019
- Selected Oral Health Indicators in the United States, 2005-2008
- Periodontitis in US Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009-2014
- Cariogram outcome after 90 days of oral treatment with Streptococcus salivariusM18 in children at high risk for dental caries: results of a randomized, controlled study
About SUPER TEETH
At SUPER TEETH we strive to create natural and effective oral health products for customers and families who value a holistic lifestyle and want to maintain good oral health. We believe that education is the key to oral disease prevention and overall wellness.
SUPER TEETH is a family business run by husband and wife team, Cameron and Katherine, along with Cameron’s father, Dr. Ronald Dahl, DDS.
Dr. Dahl is a general dentist who has been practicing dentistry for over 35 years. Throughout his career, Dr. Dahl has been an active member of the American Dental Association, the Washington State Dental Association, the American College of Dentists, and several hands-on dental study clubs. Together with Dr. Dahl’s knowledge and understanding of the oral microbiome and Cameron and Katherine’s passion for developing good oral health habits in their toxic-free home, SUPER TEETH was born.