Probiotics reduce Candida albicans in elderly patients
Oral health and general health are intimately related - maintaining oral health in old age is definitely difficult and often requires specific care. In many patients, limited motor skills complicate the maintenance of optimal oral hygiene. Plaque build-up cannot be fully removed, and dietary habits are often not ideal for optimal oral health.
Beyond plaque build-up and dexterity, older adults also suffer from increased invasive fungal infections, oral candida diseases and from chronic disorders that can directly or indirectly affect oral health. This demographic age group is also more likely to require multiple medications, which can lead to impaired salivary flow. In fact, more than 500 medicines cause reduced salivary flow, which is well known to negatively impact oral health and is a risk factor for oral candidiasis. Oral candidiasis is a common opportunistic infection of the oral cavity caused by an overgrowth of Candida species, the commonest being Candida albicans.
Probiotics can help reduce oral fungal infections
Kraft-Bodi, et al. studied the effect of probiotic bacteria on oral candida in frail elderly. The study included 215 senior citizens resident in various care facilities in Sweden. The test group received a Lactobacillus reuteri-containing lozenge twice daily for twelve weeks; the control group received placebo.
The primary end point was prevalence of high Candida counts assessed from chair side tests. The study found a statistically significant reduction in the prevalence of high Candida counts in the probiotic group but not in the placebo group, with the difference statistically significant in both saliva and plaque (P < 0.05).
The authors concluded that daily use of probiotic lozenges may reduce the prevalence of high oral Candida counts in the elderly.