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In recent years, the concept of preventing caries-related microbial dysbiosis by enhancing the growth and survival of health-associated oral microbiota has emerged. In this article, the current evidence for the role of oral pre- and probiotics in caries prevention and caries management is discussed. Prebiotics are defined as "substrates that are selectively utilized by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit." With regard to caries, this would include alkali-generating substances such as urea and arginine, which are metabolized by some oral bacteria, resulting in ammonia production and increase in pH. While there is no evidence that urea added to chewing gums or mouth rinses significantly contributes to caries inhibition, multiple studies have shown that arginine in consumer products can exert an inhibitory effect on the caries process. Probiotics are "live microorganisms which when administrated in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host." Clinical trials have suggested that school-based programs with milk supplemented with probiotics and probiotic lozenges can reduce caries development in preschool children and in schoolchildren with high caries risk. Due to issues with research ethics (prebiotics) and risk of bias (prebiotics, probiotics), the confidence in the effect estimate is however limited. Further long-term clinical studies are needed with orally derived probiotic candidates, including the health-economic perspectives. In particular, the development and evaluation of oral synbiotic products, containing both prebiotics and a probiotic, would be of interest in the future management of dental caries.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Caries research
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