Probiotics and Oral Health

Probiotics are all the rage these days. From yoghurts with bacterial cultures that colonise your guts and help you digest better and skin care products that actually live on your skin, it seems like more involvement in the microbial world will become inevitable as we learn more and more about the microscopic world. And it seems like the area of the human body which is most affected by bacteria (namely, the oral cavity and the teeth and gums) is finally getting the bacterial treatment as well.

Arginine, an anti-cavity pill, and helpful bacteria

Most people understand that bacteria help us in digestion and in breaking down foods, but what about the ones in your mouth? Don’t they just cause tooth decay and cavities, not to mention periodontitis? Well, the answer is no. There thousands of strains of bacteria living in your mouth, and most of them are quite harmless to downright useful. It’s just that not all of them are this way, and when you feed the harmful bacteria, they will take over and transform carbohydrates into lactic acid, thus burning holes in your enamel, that they will later on colonise. The ability to break down the amino acid arginine and urea made by the bacteria is regulated by a bacterium called streptococcus a12. This bacterium helps us fight the other, harmful streptococcus bacteria and get rid of them and their tooth decay causing by-products. The theory is, put this enzyme in a pill, have the patient eat it, and then, when the enzyme is present, it will improve their oral health, and cause dental interventions to be a thing of the past.

Theories and realities

Although this all sounds nice, a working pill with the a12 bacterium in it is still a thing of the future. But not for very long. The ideas behind probiotics are catching on, and are being used the world over in many different industries. The idea that we should let beneficial microbial organisms that are easy to regulate and control take over certain aspects of our bodies may still seem too fresh and too weird for some, but it is probably what the future holds, and is a great way of improving your health in an organic and natural manner. This will make many people interested, and as more and more pleasant ways are introduced, the world will change to accept this turn of events.  

 

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