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Chapter 19 : Probiotics in Oral Biology and Dentistry
This chapter discusses the characteristics of the oral microbiota, and examples of potential contributions of probiotics to oral health. Theoretically, probiotics could interfere in several steps of oral biofilm formation, the development and modification of oral microecology, and the proliferation of planktonic microorganisms in the saliva. Bacterial attachment to epithelial cells or dental surfaces is the first and most essential step in colonization and development of oral biofilms. Mechanisms of adhesion to oral surfaces have been studied using model systems that mimic biofilm formation. Studies on the effects of probiotics on periodontal disease are sparse. The severity of the disease ranges from asymptomatic and occasional gingival bleeding to abscesses caused by severe inflammation in the oral cavity. Periodontal disease in particular has been linked with systemic consequences such as the development of atherosclerosis and poor metabolic balance of diabetic patients. New strategies for controlling periodontal disease might benefit overall health status.