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Objectives: To evaluate the effect of probiotic Lactobacilli reuteri lozenges on caries-associated salivary bacterial counts (Mutans streptococci and Lactobacillus), dental plaque accumulation, and salivary buffer capacity in a group of preschool children.

Study design: The study group consisted of 178 healthy children (aged 3-6 years). Children were randomly grouped: the experimental group (n = 90) received L. reuteri probiotic lozenges and the control group (n = 88) received placebo lozenges, twice daily, for 28 days. Salivary Mutans streptococci and Lactobacillus counts, and buffer capacity were assessed using chair-side caries-risk test (CRT®) kits. The Simplified Oral Hygiene index (OHI-S) was used to assess dental plaque accumulation at baseline and after 28 days.

Results: After 28 days, the experimental group had a statistically significant reduction in Mutans streptococci and lactobacilli (p = 0.000 and p = 0.020, respectively) and both groups had less plaque accumulation than at baseline. While the buffer capacity in the experimental group increased more than in the control group, it was not statistically significant (p = 0.577). Compliance was 90%, with no adverse events.

Conclusions: Consumption of probiotic lozenges containing L. reuteri reduces caries-associated bacterial counts significantly. Probiotics consumption may have a beneficial caries-preventive effect.

Keywords: Child; Lactobacillus; Mutans streptococci; dental caries; probiotics; saliva.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lactobacillus reuteri SD-5865Increased Salivary Buffering CapacityBeneficial
Lactobacillus reuteri SD-5865Reduced Formation of Dental PlaqueBeneficial
Lactobacillus reuteri SD-5865Reduced Lactobacillus CountsBeneficial
Lactobacillus reuteri SD-5865Reduced Mutans Streptococcus CountsBeneficial

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