Oral health refers to the health of your mouth, including your teeth, gums, tongue, and the rest of your oral cavity. Maintaining good oral health involves good hygiene practices, a healthy diet, and regular dental check-ups.
In addition to brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day, regular dental check-ups can help identify and address any issues early on.
Your diet and its effect on your oral health
A balanced diet with minimal added sugars consisting of whole, nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products can also help prevent tooth decay.
Diets high in added sugars as well as foods and drinks that are acidic can lead to tooth decay, since bacteria in the mouth feed on these sugars, creating acids that erode tooth enamel over time. In turn, this can lead to cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems.
Probiotics and oral health
Although most of us know the importance of good hygiene practices when it comes to maintaining oral health, what’s less well-known is that probiotics can also support oral health.*
Probiotics are most commonly associated with gut health. Probiotics colonize the gut with beneficial bacteria to support the digestive tract and immune system. In the case of oral health, probiotics promote healthy bacteria in the mouth. A balanced oral microbiota can reduce the risk of oral health issues, including bad breath.*
How probiotics support oral health
Probiotics can support oral health in a variety of ways. The mouth is home to millions of bacteria, some of which are beneficial and others that can be harmful. Having more harmful bacteria than beneficial bacteria can lead to an imbalanced microbiota, which can lead to poor oral health. Certain strains of probiotics have been shown to reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth.*
Another way that probiotics can support oral health is by reducing inflammation in the mouth.* Inflammation is a natural response to an imbalanced microbiota or oral injury, but chronic inflammation can lead to a host of health problems, including poor oral health.
Finally, probiotics can also help reduce bad breath.* Bad breath is often caused by the buildup of harmful bacteria, which can produce foul-smelling compounds like sulfur in the mouth.
In addition to taking probiotic supplements, probiotics can also be consumed through foods that contain a lot of good bacteria, such as yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables.
In summary, adding probiotics to your oral hygiene routine can support a healthy mouth and prevent oral health problems.*
You can learn more about probiotics and oral care in our Learning Lab.