Often one of the challenges of raising children is getting them to brush their teeth. Cavities are a common problem in children. While it is undisputed that brushing and flossing help reduce the number of cavities, actually getting your children to do this is often another matter entirely. Even if you succeed at getting your kids to stop fighting brushing their teeth and they learn to do their own dental hygiene well, you’re still typically stuck with kids and their love for sweet foods and juices feeding bacteria that damage their teeth.
A few months ago, I wrote an article that discussed a new development in oral health care that would help both kids and adults. My focus at the time was on the improvements for adults, but the same idea applies to kids, too. The article Mouth Probiotics Speed Canker Sore Healing and Reduce Cavities, Arthritis Pain, Heart Disease  discusses the use of “oral probiotics” to seed the mouth with bacteria that reduce or prevent cavities and common ENT (ear, nose, throat) bacterial infections.
Mouth Probiotics Can Knock Out Harmful Bacteria
No matter how much you brush, floss, and rinse with dental solutions, you are still left with a mouthful of bacteria and many of those bacteria are harmful to your teeth. The basic idea of dental probiotic lozenges is that by chewing or dissolving a probiotic lozenge containing “friendly” oral bacteria such as Bacillus coagulans  and Streptococcus salivarius , the bacterial flora in the mouth is shifted towards a higher percentage of bacteria that do not attack the body and in fact interfere with the growth of harmful bacteria.
These two bacterial species in particular impede the growth of harmful oral bacteria by producing and releasing biochemicals known as bacteriocins  into surrounding tissues. The bacteriocins block the growth of many pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria, including Streptococcus mutans  and Streptococcus sobrinus  that cause tooth cavities. They also impede the colonization, growth, and infection in the upper respiratory tract by Streptococcus pyogenes  that causes diseases such as strep throat, rheumatic fever, and various skin infections that can become lethal if they spread deep into the body.
Life Extension Advanced Oral Hygiene Mouth Probiotic Lozenges
Currently, Life Extension  is selling their Life Extension Advanced Oral Hygiene  probiotic formulation of 60 lozenges at a 60% discount for just $8.00 through October 19, 2009. This probiotic formula contains both the Bacillus coagulans  and Streptococcus salivarius  bacterial strains in a mint-flavored lozenge that you can dissolve in your mouth once or twice per day after brushing, flossing, and using dental rinses. If you use it once per day, it works out to about $50.00 for a year. When compared to the cost of a dental checkup, toothbruses and toothpastes and dental rinses, and other routine dental and oral hygiene products and services, the price seems reasonable to me.
My Personal Experience
I’ve been using this product for about 4 months now, typically taking one lozenge after brushing my teeth in the morning before eating breakfast. I usually work the lozenge around in my mouth while while I’m taking a shower or getting dressed. It takes around 10 minutes for it to dissolve in my mouth while coating my tongue, gums, and teeth with its minty flavor and beneficial bacteria. I’ve noticed no adverse side effects and find the product easy to use and pleasant tasting.
The lozenges remind me a lot of mild breath mints or a Tic-Tac. It should be pretty easy to get most kids to chew on one or two of these per day as there is no yucky medicinal taste at all.
As for benefits, I’ve personally noticed two. I now have less “white stuff” on my tongue in the mornings. Although my nightly fluoride rinse helped with this some, it has gotten even better now. I think this “white stuff” was largely overnight bacterial growth. Also, my gums visually look healthier and firmer, with a less puffy appearance in a couple of spots the dentist mentioned were problem areas for me.
I suspect both of these changes have to do with the probiotic lozenges, but am not absolutely sure. There are so many variables in personal health, it is really hard to nail down cause and effect with just one person in a few months unless it is very controlled and quantifiable such as something you can measure by a blood test. Despite my lack of absolute certainty, the results have been good enough that I plan to continue to use the product. This is especially the case with its on sale with a year’s supply (6 bottles for my use) now less expensive than a single dental checkup.
While I’m being cautious about crediting the Life Extension Advanced Oral Hygiene  for my improvements, the science behind the product does explain the results I’ve seen myself. The bacteriocins could be keeping the “white stuff” bacterial overgrowth from becoming as pronounced. As for the improvement in my gums, shifting the bacterial flora towards neutral/friendly bacteria mean the mouth is no longer flooded with as many inflammatory cytokines being produced by bacteria and the immune system. The result is that inflammation in the mouth and gums in particular and throughout the body is reduced.
Oral Health Affects Brain and Cardiovascular Health
As you may be aware, there is a definite connection between oral hygiene and inflammation-induced illnesses throughout the body. Very literally it appears to be true that a dirty mouth leads to a damaged mind and heart because the inflammatory agents and even some of the hostile bacteria get into the blood and flow through it to other parts of the body where they initiate immune system reactions that contribute to neurological and cardiovascular diseases that stem from inflammation. In my article Disregard for Dental Hygiene May Ruin Your Mind , I wrote about research linking poor dental care with increased risk of neurological impairments such as Alzeimer’s Disease. Similar connections have been found for forms of arthritis, atherosclerosis, and other inflammatory diseases throughout the body.
Sale Through October 19, 2009
The sale price on Advanced Oral Hygiene is part of their “Skin Care Fall 2009 Sale” that is good through that date. The coupon code is SNH901D. While I’m not a big fan of expensive makeup and skin care products and believe that a lot of improvements in skin health can be attained by consuming a healthy diet, Life Extension certainly has a few unique products that are worth a look. For instance, I found the Enhanced Fernblock with Sendara, 30 vegetarian capsules , an “oral sunblock” that you can take as a pill, to be particularly interesting. Click on through this banner below to see if they have anything of interest to you.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products mentioned on this post are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.