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Probiotic lozenges may help reduce oral thrush

By Dental Tribune International
August 11, 2015

COPENHAGEN, Denmark: Oral candidiasis, or Candida-associated stomatitis, is common among the elderly and often associated with antibiotic treatment and an impaired immune system. A study at the University of Copenhagen has now shown that the regular intake of probiotic lozenges containing a natural lactic acid bacterium could help elderly patients at risk of the condition.

Aiming to investigate the effect of daily intake of probiotic lactobacilli on the prevalence and counts of oral Candida, the researchers analysed intervention with ProDentis, an oral food supplement by Swedish health care company BioGaia that contains a natural lactic acid bacterium, Lactobacillus reuteri Prodentis.

The study participants were 215 elderly nursing home residents aged 60 to 102. Over the course of 12 weeks, the probiotic group was given one ProDentis lozenge twice a day, and the control group received a placebo. In order to measure the effects of the anti-fungal medication, saliva and plaque samples were collected at baseline and in a follow-up examination after three months.

The results showed that Lactobacillus reuteri Prodentis reduced the prevalence of oral Candida by 53 per cent in the patients in the probiotic group who had high Candida counts, whereas there was no difference in the placebo group. Hence, the findings suggest that daily use of probiotic lozenges such as ProDentis may be beneficial in patients at risk of oral candidiasis.

“As Candida affects a large number of our elderly population the new and positive results could make BioGaia’s oral health probiotic ProDentis an attractive alternative to conventional antifungal drugs,” remarked BioGaia CEO Peter Rothschild on the findings.

However, although the lozenges reduced the prevalence of oral Candida in the present study, the researchers concluded that long-term effects of anti-fungal drugs on the oral microbiota are unclear and therefore will need further investigation. Especially in frail elderly patients, they stressed, the condition may be more or less chronic or frequently recurrent and therefore may require long-term or repeated anti-fungal medication with the risk of resistant strains.

The study, titled “Effect of probiotic bacteria on oral Candida in frail elderly”, was published online on 22 July in the Journal of Dental Research.

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