Probiotic Potential found in Mouth Bacteria to Fight Respiratory Infection

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
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Scientists say they may be able to develop a probiotic therapy that can fight respiratory infection from bacteria found in the mouth. Probiotics are living bacteria that promote health and reside in the body to fight infection and viruses. The most widely researched probiotics are those found in the intestines. Researchers say there are beneficial bacteria in the mouth that could protect from respiratory infection; potentially avoiding the need for antibiotics.

Children between age 5 and 12 are frequent visitors to the doctor’s office and emergency room from respiratory infections. The bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes is one of the main causes of respiratory infections in children. Researchers say there are 2 strains of bacteria in the mouth - Streptococcus salivarius RS1 and ST3 that could prevent sore throat and respiratory infection.

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Researchers compared the mouth bacteria to a recently developed oral probiotic prototype, S. salivarius strain K12, finding that the prototype and the newly found mouth bacteria all prevented growth and adhesion of Streptococcus pyogenes. The researchers say mouth bacteria could be used for developing a new probiotic therapy that can fight against upper respiratory infections.

The role of probiotics in the body is minimally understood, but thought to modulate inflammation and protect from disease. Good bacteria in the body can help fight bacteria that cause illness. The only treatment for Streptococcus pyogenes that accounts for the majority of respiratory infections in children is antibiotics with prescription rates as high as ninety percent.

The new findings show the potential for a probiotic therapy found in bacteria in the mouth. It seems that Streptococcus salivarius can fight Streptococcus pyogenes that causes infection of the respiratory tract especially in children age 5 to 12. The scientists say developing a probiotic from mouth bacteria could provide substantial benefits for fighting upper respiratory infections. The findings are good news as scientists seek new ways to fight infection, given the increasing incidence of antibiotic resistance.

American Society for Microbiology

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