What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are made up of bacteria and yeasts. People often think of all bacteria as harmful, but that's not the case. Probiotics consist of live beneficial bacteria and yeasts in your body. The "good bacteria" fight off your "bad bacteria." Though probiotics are recognized for helping people with digestive issues, the health benefits extend far beyond your stomach, including the skin, lungs, urinary tract, and mouth. Probiotics can be found in both foods and supplements.
How Do Probiotics Affect Oral Health?
Research is ongoing to determine if probiotics can improve oral health, too. Many consider them an effective and natural way of fighting gum disease, plaque, bad breath, and maybe even cancer. For example, one study showed probiotics might reduce infection-producing microbes, also called pathogens (bacteria that can cause disease). Adding more probiotic-rich foods into your diet may stop, slow, or delay the infection process that leads to oral disease.
What Foods Have Probiotics?
Boost healthy bacteria in your body with foods that contain beneficial microbes. These probiotic foods include dairy sources such as yogurt, kefir, cultured cottage cheese, and buttermilk and non-dairy sources like fermented vegetables (sauerkraut) and a fermented tea called kombucha. Even better, you can add in some prebiotics – plant fiber that acts like fertilizer to the probiotics. Prebiotic foods include raw Jerusalem artichokes, raw hickory root, raw oats, unrefined barley, and unrefined wheat.
You may be eating probiotics now and not even know it. To find out, check the food label for "live and active cultures." Get on board with this natural way to take care of your teeth by eating foods rich in probiotics.