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Can Probiotics Improve Oral Health? Essay

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Can probiotics improve oral health?

Introduction
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are introduced into a host’s body for their health benefits. Although research has been primarily concentrated on the gastrointestinal tract, many recent studies have suggested that it may have therapeutic effects on the oral cavity as well (Pradeep et al. 2014). Due to the links between oral health and chronic diseases (e.g. cardiovascular disease), oral care probiotics may play a role not only in the oral cavity but also on general health (Dental Health Foundation 2016).
The Probiotic Mechanisms of action
Many oral diseases are caused by an imbalance of microbiota and probiotics work by restoring a natural balance (NHS 2016a). Restoration in the oral cavity is facilitated through a number of different mechanisms (Bizzini et al. 2012).
One mechanism probiotics employ is competition with pathogenic bacteria in the oral cavity. They may compete for binding sites, growth factors and nutrition; thereby having an antagonistic effect against the pathogenic bacteria. Growth of pathogenic bacteria is inhibited due to the limited availability of resources and this may eventually lead to death (Rastogi et al. 2011).
Some probiotics also produce antimicrobial compounds such as bacteriocins which halt growth or kill pathogenic bacteria by inhibiting cell wall synthesis or destroying target cells (Bermudez-Brito et al. 2012). They may also release hydrogen peroxide and acids which debride
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