Lactobacillus reuteri: A different approach to periodontal therapy

Periodontitis is a battle between the host’s mouth and the harmful bacteria causing the damage. Despite there being two players in this situation, the emphasis of current periodontal treatment only focuses on one part of the equation. The main spotlight is held on the pathogenic bacteria, or periopathogens, while giving little attention to sensitivity of the host and lack of mouth microbiota balance.

Presently, the main means of tackling periodontitis involves a combination of scaling and root planing (SRP) in addition to keeping up with good oral hygiene practices. However, these methods come with their limitations. While SRP can significantly decrease the amount of periopathogens in the mouth, the solution poses to be short-lived as the bacteria begins to rapidly re-colonize. Although the suggestion of maintaining impeccable oral hygiene following SPR sounds promising, the re-establishment of that bacteria is inevitable. Even when good oral hygiene practices are followed and used in conjunction with antibiotics or antiseptics, the pathogenic bacteria continue to harbor within the mouth.

It is evident that we are faced with a problem. With the inescapable army of periopathogens continuing to wreak havoc on the oral environment, a different approach to treating periodontal disease could be refreshing. This roadblock has caused professionals within the dental field to think outside-the-box in terms of periodontal therapy. This is where the use of beneficial bacteria comes into the equation.

Rather than battling against the stubborn and relentless periopathogens, new research suggests an alternative technique – balancing the host’s oral environment. This can be achieved through the introduction of beneficial bacteria in the form of probiotics. Promoting a balance in the mouth not only reduces the host’s susceptibility to the damage caused by pathogenic bacteria, it also provides an abundance of additional benefits. Some of these benefits include reductions in plaque, halitosis and caries-related risk factors, to name a few.

This particular topic has had a lack of exploration until recent years. In 2013, a study published in The Journal of Clinical Periodontology decided it was time to investigate. The study focused on exploring the adjunctive use of Lactobacillus reuteri following SRP in adults with chronic periodontitis. The researchers hypothesized that the use of lozenges containing this beneficial bacterium would be more effective in the maintenance of periodontal disease as opposed to SRP treatment alone.

With a sample size of 30 chronic periodontitis patients, the individuals were randomized into 1 of 2 groups: one receiving SRP plus a placebo and the other receiving SRP plus a probiotic. Monitoring of each patient occurred at the beginning of the study and continued to weeks 3, 6, 9 and 12. After wrapping up the clinical trial at week 12, evaluations demonstrated promising results and conclusions. Compared to the placebo group, the cohort receiving the probiotic in conjunction to SRP treatment showed significant pocket depth reduction as well as lower Porphyromonas gingivalis numbers.

The results of this study hold valuable conclusions that can be used in the advancements of non-surgical periodontal therapy. The introduction of beneficial bacteria, Lactobacillus reuteri in particular, is what some may consider the future of oral health maintenance. BioGaia Prodentis lozenges make use of this excellent lactic acid bacterium to better the oral health of patients. With its minty flavour and tablet-like appearance, administration is both easy and convenient. Although this study focused on treating periodontitis, BioGaia Prodentis lozenges have been studied and shown to help treat multiple other oral health related risk factors. Whether it is reduction in plaque, gingivitis, halitosis, you name it, BioGaia is ready to solve your problem.

REFERENCES

Teughels, W., Durukan, A., Ozcelik, O., Pauwels, M., Quirynen, M., & Haytac, M. C. (2013). Clinical and microbiological effect of Lactobacillus reuteri probiotics in the treatment of chronic periodontitis: a randomized placebo-controlled study. Journal of Clinical Periodontology, (40)11,1025-1035.

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