Probiotics may prevent dental caries
Streptococcus mutans is one of the major causative agents of dental caries. Research groups in Egypt and the U.S.A. found out that probiotic Lactobacillus sp. (Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus salivarius) have a negative effect on the growth and biofilm formation of caries-inducing Streptococcus mutans. They co-cultured Streptococcus mutans together with the different Lactobacilli species and observed reduced biofilm formation of S. mutans in the presence of all tested Lactobacilli species. Biofilm formation is the first step of S. mutans before releasing the acidic compounds which degrade the dental hard tissues. Besides reducing biofilm formation, the tested Lactobacilli species also reduced growth of S. mutans in the laboratory. As Lactobcillus salivarius is part of the oral microbiome, these bacteria obviously help our immune system to keep S. mutans in check. The results from this working group indicate that probiotics do not only flourish our gut, but also may help our oral microbiome to stay in balance.