Power of probiotics

March 21, 2012
Stan Goff
Issue 1

  Photo: EvoraPlus Probiotics have been around for some time, but a relatively new product is designed to use them to tackle a number of oral health issues.

 

Photo: EvoraPlus

Probiotics have been around for some time, but a relatively new product is designed to use them to tackle a number of oral health issues.

Dr. Jeffrey Hillman, DMD, PhD, says close to three decades of research and development have gone into EvoraPlus, an all-natural, probiotic mint designed by Florida-based biopharmaceutical company Oragenics Inc. and said too whiten teeth and eliminate bad breath while promoting gum and tooth health. EvoraPlus reportedly naturally whitens teeth (up to three to four shades within the first month), but at the same time, as a result of its proprietary harmful bacteria-fighting science, it also supports optimal gum and tooth health while freshening breath and whitening teeth.

Developed by Oragenics Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Hillman, the product was launched in 2009 and is the result of more than 25 years of research into Oragenics’ proprietary probiotic blend, ProBiora3, which began at the Harvard-affiliated Forsyth Institute in Boston and continued at the University of Florida. The technology has only recently become available for the general public.

“It’s this balance between good guys and bad guys…beneficial bacteria and bacteria capable of causing disease,” Dr. Hillman said. “That’s crucial to whether or not you are healthy or you are sick. The whole idea of probiotics is to maintain the balance of bacteria in favor of good bacteria. It’s important because what we’ve discovered for sometime for reasons that are completely unclear at this point, these good bacteria can disappear from a particular site and when that happens that’s when the bad bacteria grow out.

“So we’re just augmenting the natural supply of these good bacteria by daily application of them and more less guaranteeing that they don’t disappear and they don’t fall below the numbers where they’re beneficial effect is felt.”

Dr. Hillman, whose company has been working on one-time, lifelong anti-cavity treatments for some time, said EvoraPlus needs to be taken regularly to enable the best results in fighting the bacteria that can lead to gum disease and bad breath. Initially he was skeptical of the concept, wondering if enough people would make the effort consistently to deliver the best results. But when in Europe a few years back he came across a group of people collectively consume a probiotic daily to support digestive and immune health.

Early stages

While attending a lecture by an oral biologist back in the 1980s, Dr. Hillman learned of studies conducted by scientists trying to figure out what organisms were responsible for periodontal diseases.

“The way this oral biologist did a lot of his work was to look at diseased sites and healthy sites and figure out what sort of bacteria are present in both of those types of sites,” he said. “Basically what he was looking for was called a bloom. You need a minimum pathogenic in order to bloom. I wondered why it was that virtually all of us have these potentially pathogenic bacteria; how come they don’t bloom more often? Why is periodontal disease sort of spotty in nature? Although most of us get it at some point in our life, why don’t we get it more often?”

The thought crossed Dr. Hillman’s mind that maybe there are bacteria in plaque that prevent the growth of these potentially pathogenic bacteria. So he went back to his laboratory with some samples from the lecturer, and literally within a couple weeks he had demonstrated, at least in the laboratory, that there are in fact bacteria in dental plaque, healthy dental plaque, that inhibit the growth of the bacteria that cause gum disease. “It turns out that I also discovered that you can exert this effect in the living host, not just in the laboratory.”

That was how he helped develop EvoraPlus, but first he needed a reason to believe that people would be willing to take a mint daily to improve their oral health. He found that reason while noticing the behavior of some people in Europe.

“I had taken this work and put it aside. It stayed on the back burner until I went to Europe in late 1990s and at a lunch, everyone pulled out little bottles, vials which they were opening and drinking,” Dr. Hillman said. “I was curious so I checked it out. It turned out to be cultures of gastrointestinal probiotics.

“They did it every day at lunch time and after dinner. It was the first time it occurred to me that there are people in the world who are actually willing to go through the bother and the expense of doing something a little bit extra to promote their own good health rather then waiting. So much of the world encourages healthcare and we actually have sort of a sick care model where we wait to get sick and then you hope to get it fixed. This is preventative.”

As a result of this experience, he came back and felt that if people would do this to improve their digestive health that maybe they’d do it for their oral cavities as well.
“Thus was born the idea of an oral probiotic, which meant the daily application of these beneficial bacteria to keep the balance in the favor of health,” he said.

How it works

New studies, including recently published reports from the Mayo Clinic, confirm that periodontal disease and poor oral health are linked to heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other illnesses.  American Dental Association studies show three out of four of Americans are affected by periodontal disease at some point in their lives.

“People tend to take a simple approach to oral care in our culture,” said Dr. Hillman, who has authored more than 125 publications on subjects related to the etiology and prevention of cavities, periodontal diseases and other infectious diseases and cancer. “We think in terms of killing all of the bacteria that are present in the mouth. But it’s just not that simple; the human mouth contains many different types of bacteria, including some that are helpful to us.”

The ProBiora3 blend of beneficial bacteria used in EvoraPlus provides a deep impact by helping to maintain the oral flora in a healthy balance using a simple, non-invasive daily routine. When the mint melts on the tongue, the freeze-dried probiotics activate and attach themselves to the teeth and gum tissue, establishing colonies of active bacteria both on the surface of the teeth and deep beneath the gum line. These colonies compete for nutrients and interfere with the harmful oral bacteria that disrupt gum and tooth health, and also cause bad breath.

“There really is no other technology currently available or on the horizon that offers the same benefits that EvoraPlus offers,” he said. “It’s safe and easy to use. It’s a completely natural approach that offers the added benefits of promoting fresh breath and whitening teeth.”

EvoraPlus stays with you the entire day, and can work with people who wear braces, dentures, caps or veneers. It is available through EvoraPlus.com as well as Internet retailers such as Drugstore.com, Walgreens.com, Target.com and CVS.com. Dr. Hillman hopes to have the product on shelves of major retailers some time this year and that it already can be found at many. Also, ProBiora3, the active ingredient in EvoraPlus, is being incorporated as an active ingredient in a variety of other retail products including chewing gum, drinks and yogurts.

Oragenics also plans to launch products designed for pets using this technology to help kids keep healthy mouths and to help dogs and cats combat gum disease and bad breath.

“A lot of thought has gone into this,” he said. “It all makes sense and it seems to work well. It is all very good.”