The general public has long been familiar with probiotics and their many health benefits for gut health, but a newer and lesser-understood nutritional supplement is prebiotics. Although they are very different in function, they are equally beneficial to human health. Recently, researchers have discovered that these two supplements, probiotics and prebiotics are also showing substantial health benefits when administered as a dental care solution in the oral cavity.
What is the difference between Probiotics and Prebiotics? This is very simple; one is alive and one is not. Probiotics are live microorganisms that are introduced to the human body and are intended to have health benefits. They are often the same or similar to the microorganisms that live naturally within humans. Prebiotics are not alive, but they are dietary substances that favor the growth of beneficial bacteria over harmful ones. They empower your existing good bacteria (or good bacteria introduced through probiotics) to survive and establish a balanced ration of good-to-bad bacteria using nutrients to influence the oral environment.
Picture the relationship like this: a probiotic (or bacteria) is the seed and the prebiotic is the fertilizer. The two supplements have proven health benefits exclusively and don’t need to be taken together, but it is believed that the two can be even more effective when working synergistically. Both have shown the capability of neutralizing pH (cavity prevention), decreasing gum inflammation, disrupting biofilm (dental plaque), and balancing the microbiota when consumed.