Effect of Probiotic Bacteria on Oral Candida in Frail Elderly

J Dent Res. 2015 Sep;94(9 Suppl):181S-6S. doi: 10.1177/0022034515595950. Epub 2015 Jul 22.


The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a daily intake of probiotic lactobacilli on the prevalence and counts of oral Candida in frail elderly patients living in nursing homes. The study had a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled design with 2 parallel arms. The study group consisted of 215 older adults (range, 60 to 102 y) who were enrolled after informed consent. After baseline examination and randomization, the subjects were given 1 lozenge containing 2 strains of the probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri (DSM 17938 and ATCC PTA 5289) or placebo twice daily (morning and evening). The intervention period was 12 wk, and saliva and plaque samples were collected at baseline and follow-up. The primary end point was prevalence of high Candida counts assessed from chairside tests. Secondary end points were levels of dental plaque and gingival inflammation. The groups were balanced at baseline. The attrition rate to follow-up was 19%. There was a statistically significant reduction in the prevalence of high Candida counts in the probiotic group but not in the placebo group, and the difference was statistically significant in both saliva and plaque (P < 0.05). No significant differences between the groups were noted concerning the levels of supragingival plaque or bleeding on probing. Thus, daily use of probiotic lozenges may reduce the prevalence of high oral Candida counts in frail elderly nursing homes residents (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02391532).

Keywords: clinical studies/trials; geriatric dentistry; gingivitis; lactobacilli; saliva; yeasts.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Candida albicans / isolation & purification*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Dental Plaque / classification
  • Dental Plaque / microbiology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Gingivitis / classification
  • Gingivitis / microbiology
  • Homes for the Aged
  • Humans
  • Limosilactobacillus reuteri / physiology*
  • Male
  • Microbial Interactions
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth / microbiology*
  • Nursing Homes
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Placebos
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Saliva / microbiology


  • Placebos

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02391532