Background: Probiotics are microorganisms, mainly bacteria, which benefit the host's health. Many studies support the role of probiotics as a contributor to gastrointestinal health, and nowadays many authors are trying to prove its influence in oral health maintenance.
Objectives: To review the published literature with the purpose of knowing the importance of using probiotics as a preventive and therapeutic method for oral infectious diseases management.
Material and methods: An electronic search in PubMed database with the keywords "oral health AND probiotics AND dentistry" was conducted. The inclusion criteria were: randomized clinical trials (RCTs) that assess the action of any probiotic strain in the treatment and / or prevention of an infectious oral disease, RCTs that assess the action of any probiotic strain on counting colony forming units (CFU) of oral pathogens, systematic reviews and meta-analysis. The Jadad scale was used to assess the high quality of RCTs.
Results: Fifteen articles were considered for this review. Of which, 12 were RCTs of good / high quality (Jadad scale), two meta-analysis and one systematic review.
Conclusions: The literature reviewed suggests probiotics usage could be beneficial for the maintenance of oral health, due to its ability to decrease the colony forming units (CFU) counts of the oral pathogens. However, randomized clinical trials with long-term follow-up periods are needed to confirm their efficacy in reducing the prevalence/incidence of oral infectious diseases. Furthermore, the recognition of specific strains with probiotic activity for each infectious oral disease is required, in order to determine exact dose, treatment time and ideal vehicles.