Probiotic Bacteria Helpful For Reducing risk Of Oral Candidiasis In Elderly

Science of Fungus

Candida is a common fungus or yeast found on the skin, digestive tract, and urinary/ sexual organs of humans. Heavy growth of Candida in the mouth (oral candidiasis) can cause burning pain, white discoloration, and altered taste sensation. Heavy Candida growth often grows on dentures.  Heavy oral candidiasis infections can also increase the risk of life threatening Candida infections through the bloodstream, digestive system, or respiratory tract.

Various drugs have been used to treat oral Candidiasis such as nystatin, however antibiotic resistant strains of many Candida species are common.  The use of probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are useful in controlling oral Candida growth.  A recent meta-analysis of 4 studies reported that use of probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, Priopiobacterium, and Bifidobacterium were associated with a statistically significant 46% reduction in risk of oral candidiasis in the elderly as compared to placebo  (Odds Ratio or OR 0.54, 95% confidence interval of 0.38 to 0.77) (1).    These studies involved 595 people aged 60 to 102 years.

Additional research is needed to determine what mixtures of probiotic bacterial strains is most useful in controlling Candida growth in humans.

Another recent study reported that use of probiotic cheese containing Lactobacillus acidophilus or rhamnosus was associated with significantly lower mouth levels of Candida in denture wearers as compared to wearers eating cheese without the probiotics (2).

References / Sources

1. Ai R, Wei J, Ma D, Jiang L, Dan H, Zhou Y, et al. A meta-analysis of randomized trials assessing the effects of probiotic preparations on oral candidiasis in the elderly. Arch Oral Biol. 2017;83:187-92.

2. Miyazima TY, Ishikawa KH, Mayer M, Saad S, Nakamae A. Cheese supplemented with probiotics reduced the Candida levels in denture wearers-RCT. Oral diseases. 2017.

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