A holistic well-being approcach: from the gut to the mouth
Other emerging areas of interest for probiotics applications are linked to the presence of the local microflora to interact within the specified regions. The oral cavity is one of those regions and a place where various health concerns can be addressed.
The alteration of the oral microflora can lead to the over-development of certain commensal or pathogenic bacteria involved in local infections or oral problems; bacteria represent a common component of all major oral diseases.
With a prevalence close to 100% in adults, and 60 to 90% in school-age children over the world (WHO), dental caries are defined as an infectious disease of bacterial origin, leading to the destruction of the enamel, dentin and/or cementum of the tooth. Streptococcus mutans, naturally present in healthy individuals has been identified as a key cariogenic bacterium (Laleman 2014). Other culprits include S. sobrinus, which works in synergy with S. mutans by suppressing the specific immune response of the host, or Actinomycetes which come as secondary colonizers of the tooth decay.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gum caused by bacteria or dental plaque accumulation affecting around half of the adult population. Serious cases, if not treated, can evolve into periodontitis (deterioration of the bone), a major cause of tooth loss. Various anaerobic bacteria protected from oxygen in the gingival crevicae or within the dental plaque, are responsible for gum infection: Porphyromonas gingivalis, Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, Actinomyces odontolyticus, Actinomyces naeslundii…
Halitosis, or bad breath, affects 25% of the European, American and Japanese populations and 6% have permanent oral malodour (Filippi & Meyer 2004). This condition can have a serious impact on quality of life: in the US only, almost $1 billion a year is spent on products to manage bad breath. It is mainly due to volatil sulfur compounds produced by anaerobic Gram negative bacteria.
It is caused by yeast infection with Candida albicans. Under normal conditions, C. albicans is a commensal yeast present in the mouth of 80% of the population. A disequilibrium of the microflora in favour of C. albicans leads to overgrowth and infection.
Ear nose trhroat infections
Common ear nose throat infections can originate from disequilibrium of the oral cavity microflora, such as Streptococcal pharyngitis (due mainly to S. pyogenes), acute otitis media…