Probiotic ice cream shows oral health potential: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Ice cream, Streptococcus mutans, Probiotic

Probiotic ice cream shows oral health potential: Study
Eating ice cream containing probiotic strains may reduce levels of the bacteria in the mouth responsible for tooth decay, says a new study from India.

Researchers from the College of Dental Sciences and Research in Mullana report that consuming an ice cream containing Bifidobacterium lactis​ and Lactobacillus acidophilus​ was associated with a statistical reduction in levels of Streptococcus mutans​.

The new study adds to the growing body of science in this area. Streptococcus mutans ​is the main bacteria associated with tooth decay. S. mutans​ binds to teeth via aggregation, forming dental plaque. The bacteria then convert sugar to acid, which attacks the enamel of the teeth.

Great potential

Ice cream has previously been researched as a food carrier for probiotics. A review by Brazilian scientists in 2009​ concluded that ice cream had ‘great potential’​ but the main challenge of this food was that people only consume it occasionally (Food Research International​, Vol. 42, pp. 1233-1239.

Probiotic ice cream products are already commercially available around the world, with ‘probiotic frozen desserts’ launched in countries such Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Columbia, India and China.

Indian company Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation launched two probiotic ice creams - Amul Sugar Free Probiotic Frozen Dessert and Amul Prolife Probiotic Wellness Ice Cream​ - in 2007 with the former targeting diabetics and the latter being sold on a broader wellness platform.

In terms of probiotic ice cream for oral health, New Zealand’s Gourmet Ice Cream Company teamed up with Blis Technologies​ to produce a probiotic ice cream targeting tooth and gum disease, and bad breath (halitosis).

Study details

The Indian scientists evaluated ice cream formulated with Bifidobacterium lactis​ Bb-12 ATCC27536 and Lactobacillus acidophilus​ La-5 and assessed on levels of S. mutans in school children.

Forty 12 to 14 year-olds were recruited to participate in the double-blind, cross-over, placebo-controlled trial.

Children were assigned to receive probiotic or non-probiotic ice cream for 10 days. After this time neither group received any ice cream for two weeks and they were then crossed over to the other group.

Using Dentocult SM and Dentocult LB kits, tests of the saliva of the children revealed a “statistically significant reduction” in levels of S. mutans in the children following consumption of the probiotic ice cream, while no significant effects were reported on saliva levels of lactobacilli.

“Probiotic ice-cream containing Bifidobacterium lactis Bb-12 ATCC27536 and Lactobacillus acidophilus La-5 can reduce the levels of certain caries-associated micro-organisms in saliva,”​ they concluded.

Source: Acta Odontologica Scandinavica
​November 2011, Vol. 69, No. 6 , Pages 389-394 (doi:10.3109/00016357.2011.572289)
“Salivary mutans streptococci and lactobacilli modulations in young children on consumption of probiotic ice-cream containing Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12 and Lactobacillus acidophilus La5”
Authors: R. Singh, S.G. Damle, A. Chawla

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