Probiotics: A Supplement That Might Protect Dental Implants

Mar 25, 2015, by Dr. Becky Coats

Gum disease and peri-implantitis are the two biggest dangers to your dental implants. Fortunately, there are natural supplements that can help you control gum disease, either as a preventive or as additional support for gum disease treatment. Now research shows that at least one natural supplement–probiotics–can protect your dental implants from infection and may be able to reduce failure risk.

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics and Dental ImplantsOur body contains a lot of microorganisms. Some of these microorganisms are harmful, like the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Others are neutral–they’re pretty much along for the ride. And then there are some that are actually beneficial. We call these microorganisms probiotics, and in recent years people have recognized their benefits and they are often available as nutritional supplements for “naturally” healthy living.

There are many potential ways that probiotics can help. They can facilitate your body’s natural functions. Or they can produce compounds that harm or suppress harmful bacteria. They can even just outcompete harmful bacteria for the limited resources in your mouth and other niches in your body.

Testing Probiotics for Dental Implant Patients

So can these beneficial microorganisms help us eliminate the bad microorganism that contribute to peri-implantitis and dental implant failure? To test that theory, researchers looked at dental implants in fully edentulous patients–those with no teeth–and the dental implants used to support their full dentures.

There were 34 patients in the study, 22 with no peri-implantitis, and 12 with mucositis, an early stage of peri-implantitis. The 34 patients had 77 implants between them. The probiotic of choice for patients was Lactobacillus reuteri, a bacterium that has previously been shown to have a number of oral health benefits, including reductions in the population of Streptococcus mutans, one of the primary culprits in tooth decay. It’s also been shown to provide reductions in bleeding gums associated with gingivitis and reduce populations of anaerobic bacteria that lead to bad breath.

The trial used a rotating protocol, where patients were given a single probiotic tablet each day for 30 days, then, six months later, they were all given a placebo tablet following the same schedule. Results showed that when people were taking the probiotic, they experienced improvements in their oral health, but no improvements were noted during the placebo phase.

Proper Care Helps Ensure Dental Implant Longevity

Dental implants are one of the most miraculous procedures in modern dentistry, but even a miracle needs a hand. If you want to make sure your dental implants succeed, it’s worth it to take good care of your general oral health, including good oral hygiene and even getting a healthy dose of probiotics in your diet. This doesn’t have to be in supplement form–lactobacillus is commonly found in food like yogurt and cheese as well as beverages like beer and wine.

If you are interested in dental implants in Grapevine or Dallas, please call (817) 481-6888 for an appointment with an implant dentist at Grapevine Dental Care today.