Biohacking, oral health, Personal Experiments, Uncategorized

The Prebiotic Approach to Balancing Biofilms

Written by: Bonnie Feldman, DDS, MBA, Hailey Motooka, Ellen M. Martin

The saying ‘opposites attract’ is normally applied to two people with opposite personalities engaged in an emotional relationship. For Daily Dental Care co-founders Lindsey Huff and Dr. Emily Stein, this meant a fruitful relationship brought about by differing expertise in microbiology and business. The two met in graduate school, drawn to each other by their shared entrepreneurial spirits. The result of their partnership was Daily Dental Care — a life sciences company specializing in dental prebiotic, non-toxic products and formulations which use nutrients to neutralize harmful bacteria while promoting growth of beneficial bacteria to balance oral ecology for health.

“It is cutting-edge technology for the betterment of human health and well-being”

-Lindsey Huff

The journey to creating this molecular technology however, stems from Dr Stein’s personal struggle. Many people can relate to her frustration as she watched her grandmother suffer from a crippling autoimmune disease: severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. This disease affects the lining of joints, causing painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity. After a certain point, the disease can render the patient helpless, hindering the ability to perform simple daily tasks such as brushing her teeth. For this reason, Dr. Stein found that her grandmother had significant oral decay and gum disease.

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Normally, oral disease is thought of as an entirely separate issue from autoimmune disease. However, Dr. Stein’s academic background in microbiology and immunology provided her with an in-depth understanding of the role of the oral microbiome in health and disease (1). Determined to find her grandmother an alternative solution to traditional healthcare protocols in managing disease, Dr. Stein began to look deeper into cellular and molecular mechanisms that drive bacterial behavior and bacterial community formation within the oral cavity.

New understanding of the oral microbiome is shaping how we think about caries, periodontal and systemic diseases. While the traditional view held that these diseases were caused by a limited number of pathogens, we now think of the oral microbiome as a finely tuned community that determines the balance not only between oral health and disease, but also some systemic diseases. Prebiotics and probiotics were developed as a way to prevent this imbalance.

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Prebiotics vs. Probiotics vs. Antibiotics

Many people have heard of both pre- and probiotics, but few know the difference between the two. Probiotics are live bacteria that are proven to have beneficial effects on health. Prebiotics are nutritional non-digestible molecules (mostly fiber carbohydrates) that actively promote the growth of resident microbiota. (2).

3What makes prebiotics and probiotics noteworthy is that they offer an alternative to antibiotics. But what’s wrong with antibiotics? Broad-spectrum antibiotics, as the name implies, kill bacteria indiscriminately, aiming for the bad, but taking out good bacteria as well. Not only are many of the bacteria within our microbiomes beneficial, but some are actually necessary in maintaining our health. Broad-spectrum antibiotics actually cause dysbiosis until the normal microbiome repopulates, which is not always the case, especially in people with the other risk factors shown in the illustration. Elderly people with autoimmune diseases are already at a microbiome disadvantage that is worsened by antibiotic treatment.

Daily Dental Care’s prebiotic lozenge works to support the growth of beneficial bacteria while hindering the growth of pathogenic bacteria. This is done through their Selective Microbial Metabolism Regulation Technology (SMMRT) developed by Primal Therapies, also founded by Dr. Stein. These prebiotics has been shown to address the microbes that cause issues such as inflammation, cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. As another added enticement, the prebiotic lozenges come in two flavors: fresh mint and orangesicle

 

Check out their products here

What Makes SMMRT Smart?

In developing SMMRT, Dr. Stein considered the oral cavity from an ecological perspective, considering the limitations of antibiotics. While antibiotics kill off all the bacteria in the oral cavity, SMMRT doesn’t kill anything, but instead adds an environmental pressure against pathogenic bacteria by depriving them of their main source of food: sugar.

Sugar is an essential nutrient for bacterial growth that, when metabolized, produces acid as a byproduct, as well as waste-products that are consumed by gum-associated pathogens. Thus, Daily Dental Care’s prebiotic formula, pHossident, contains a unique ingredient called cyclodextrin, which functions by blocking sugar from being used. All bacteria require sugar to grow, including the good bacteria. However, health-promoting bacterial species such as Lactobacillus have been found to be more tolerant under sugar deprivation compared to pathogenic bacterial species such as Streptococcus (3). The formula also uses a multi-molecular approach: one molecule prevents sugar transportation for bacterial metabolism, and the other molecule is a Vitamin B6 coenzyme that activates protein metabolism pathways in the beneficial Lactobacillus bacteria. This activation allows the good bacteria to thrive under the reduced sugar condition.

The Long-Term Benefits

Daily Dental Care’s prebiotic formula may also have long-term effects by manipulating biofilm colonization. Consider the scenario of you brushing your teeth. Once you finish brushing, biofilm will begin to reform over your teeth almost immediately. The biofilm formation process, though inevitable, can still be influenced. Adjusting nutrient inputs (for example, removing sugar as a nutrient source) changes the dynamics of bacterial colonization and organization within the biofilm. The formula follows a nutrient web-based protocol based on certain nutrient inputs that changes which bacteria are primary colonizers, secondary colonizers and later colonizers, and how the resulting biofilm develops.

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Source: Journal of Fungi

Why This Technology Will Help

It is funny how we humans are incredibly reliant on other humans to manage our own health. If we have the flu, we see a doctor. if we have a cavity, we see a dentist. Little do we know, but we actually have more control of our own health than we may think, and this control goes beyond eating kale and working out every other day.

“I want to be able to empower people like my grandmother, who didn’t have easy access to caretakers or healthcare to be able to take care of their own mouths…It’s a way to help people help themselves”

Dr. Emily Stein

While there has been increasing research done on the benefits of prebiotics, many people are still skeptical. Perhaps this skepticism derives from the fear of taking pills, or the lack of physical evidence that the prebiotics are working, or that there are no immediate effects. Well then consider the use of prebiotics like a sure bet stock investment. The results of the investment won’t be immediate, but the potential for the long-term benefit is surely profitable.

You can learn more by checking out their website: www.dailydentalcares.com


Resources:

The oral microbiome is a galactic microcosm that is the gateway to the rest of the human body. Here we provide you with the resources that have aided us in our oral microbiome exploration, and have compiled the research into a visual, annotated bibliography.

Follow our journey here


References:

  1. Zhang, Xuan, et al. “The Oral and Gut Microbiomes Are Perturbed in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Partly Normalized after Treatment.” Nature Medicine, vol. 21, no. 8, 2015, pp. 895–905., doi:10.1038/nm.3914.
  2. Marsh, Philip D. “Ecological Events in Oral Health and Disease: New Opportunities for Prevention and Disease Control?” CDA Journal, vol. 45, no. 10, Oct. 2017.
  3. Chakraborty, Brinta, et al. “Biofilm Battles: Beneficial Commensals vs. Streptococcus Mutans.” CDA Journal, vol. 45, no. 10, Oct. 2017, pp. 547–556.

 

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