Streptococcus mutans Level Estimation in Saliva before and after Consumption of Chewable Probiotics among School Children
INTRODUCTION: The World Health Organization (WHO) deemed probiotics to be the next most important immune defence system. Also known as the “friendly bacteria”, these lactobacilli-derived food supplements are the current trending weapons to fight against Streptococcus mutans, the prime causative organism for dental caries.
AIM: To compare the levels of salivary mutans streptococci in children before and after short-term consumption of dental probiotic chewable containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Streptococcus salivarius M18.
MATERIALS AND METHOD: A cross-sectional study was performed on 10 healthy subjects in the age group of 6-12 years who were followed for 7 days. The assessment of S. mutans in saliva was done at baseline, 1 hour after consumption of probiotic chewable and after 7-day of intervention period using mitis salivarius bacitracin agar. The colonies of S. mutans were identified and counted using a digital colony counter.
RESULTS: A statistically significant reduction of salivary S. mutans was recorded after consumption of the probiotic chewable on the 7th day in the probiotic group. Results were found to be statistically significant (P ≤ 0.05) when the differences in the reduction of mutans streptococci counts with probiotic chewable and plain chewable on the 7th day were compared.
CONCLUSION: The following study, based on its observations, does conclude that short term consumption of probiotic chewable displays a significant reduction in the level of salivary Streptococcus mutans in children. Thus, keeping in mind the idea that prevention is always better than cure, the awareness regarding probiotics as a therapy to prevent dental caries should be made among both dental practitioners, especially paediatric dentists as well as parents.
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