Probiotics: Do They Have a Role in Oral Medicine and Dentistry?

Eur J Oral Sci. 2005 Jun;113(3):188-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0722.2005.00191.x.


This review describes current knowledge on probiotic bacteriotherapy from the oral health perspective. Recent experimental studies and results from randomized controlled trials have shown that certain gut bacteria, in particular species of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, may exert beneficial effects in the oral cavity by inhibiting cariogenic streptococci and Candida sp. Probiotics have been successfully used to control gastro-intestinal diseases. They also appear to alleviate symptoms of allergy and diseases with immunological pathology. The mechanisms of probiotic action appear to link with colonization resistance and immune modulation. Lactic acid bacteria can produce different antimicrobial components such as organic acids, hydrogen peroxide, carbon peroxide, diacetyl, low molecular weight antimicrobial substances, bacteriocins, and adhesion inhibitors, which also affect oral microflora. However, data is still sparse on the probiotic action in the oral cavity. More information is needed on the colonization of probiotics in the mouth and their possible effect on and within oral biofilms. There is every reason to believe that the putative probiotic mechanisms of action are the same in the mouth as they are in other parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Because of the increasing global problem with antimicrobial drug resistance, the concept of probiotic therapy is interesting and pertinent, and merits further research in the fields of oral medicine and dentistry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biofilms
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Humans
  • Mouth / microbiology
  • Mouth Diseases / therapy*
  • Probiotics / classification
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Tooth Diseases / therapy*