Jeremy P. Burton, Bernadette K. Drummond, Chris N. Chilcott, John R. Tagg, W. Murray Thomson, John D. F. Hale and Philip A. Wescombe
Source: Journal of Medical Microbiology (2013), 62, 875–884.
The prevalence of dental caries continues to increase, and novel strategies to reverse this trend appear necessary. The probiotic Streptococcus salivarius strain M18 offers the potential to confer oral health benefits as it produces bacteriocins targeting the important cariogenic species Streptococcus mutans, as well as the enzymes dextranase and urease, which could help reduce dental plaque accumulation and acidification, respectively. In a randomized double-blind, placebocontrolled study of 100 dental caries-active children, treatment with M18 was administered for 3 months and the participants were assessed for changes to their plaque score and gingival and soft-tissue health and to their salivary levels of S. salivarius, S. mutans, lactobacilli, b-haemolytic streptococci and Candida species. At treatment end, the plaque scores were significantly (P50.05) lower for children in the M18-treated group, especially in subjects having high initial plaque scores. The absence of any significant adverse events supported the safety of the probiotic treatment. Cell-culture analyses of sequential saliva samples showed no differences between the probiotic and placebo groups in counts of the specifically enumerated oral microorganisms, with the exception of the subgroup of the M18-treated children who appeared to have been colonized most effectively with M18. This subgroup exhibited reduced S. mutans counts, indicating that the anti-caries activity of M18 probiotic treatments may be enhanced if the efficiency of colonization is increased. It was concluded that S. salivarius M18 can provide oral health benefits when taken regularly.