Probiotics help improve oral health in cleft lip and palate orthodontic patients

The Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Journal—Poor oral hygiene and higher incidence of tooth decay are often prevalent in people with cleft lip and palate. Food supplements containing probiotic bacteria can help reduce the incidence and severity of dental caries.

The Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Journal presents a study of 30 adolescents with cleft lip and palate analyzing the effects of probiotics on oral health. Fifteen subjects in the intervention group drank a probiotic milk powder containing Lactobacillus paracasei SD1 for 4 weeks while 15 subjects in the control group were given milk without a probiotic. Levels of salivary mutans streptococci and lactobacilli were measured at the start of the study and once a week for 4 weeks after use of the probiotic concluded.

The number of salivary mutans streptococci (MS) and lactobacilli at baseline (BL) and after intervention during 4 weeks.

The number of salivary mutans streptococci (MS) and lactobacilli at baseline (BL) and after intervention during 4 weeks.

For adolescents with cleft lip and palate, orthodontic treatment is usually necessary because of irregularities in tooth size, malalignment of teeth, or skeletal abnormalities. However, fixed and removable orthodontic appliances that help correct problems facilitate the colonization of bacteria such as mutans streptococci. This increases the negative impact of orthodontics for caries-susceptible patients.

Live microbial food supplements can help to stimulate natural immunity to infection and balance microflora. Use of the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus can positively affect the oral cavity. Lactobacillus paracasei SD1 has been shown to have strong inhibitory effects against Streptococcus mutans, making it a good choice as an oral probiotic.

In the study, counts of mutans streptococci, which promote tooth decay, were significantly reduced among those patients who used the probiotic. Likewise, the good bacteria, lactobacilli, showed significant increases among the intervention group. In addition, Lactobacillus paracasei SD1 were still detected up to 4 weeks after active usage of the probiotic.

The Lactobacillus paracasei SD1 milk powder appeared to successfully colonize the oral cavity among this group of orthodontically treated cleft lip and palate patients. It was found to be safe and effective for oral use. Further long-term study of its beneficial effects should be undertaken.

Full text of the article, “Effect of Probiotics Containing Lactobacillus paracasei SD1 on Salivary Mutans Streptococci and Lactobacilli in Orthodontic Cleft Patients: A Double-Blinded, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study,” Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, Vol. 51, No. 3, May 2014, is available here.

About The Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Journal
The Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Journal is an international, interdisciplinary journal reporting on clinical and research activities in cleft lip/palate and other craniofacial anomalies, together with research in related laboratory sciences. It is the official publication of the American Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Association (ACPA). For more information, visit