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The Benefits of Probiotics

Probiotic Rich FoodsWhen thinking about bacteria, a good analogy is bugs in your garden. The bad ones eat your cherished plants and can carry diseases, but good bugs like bees and ladybugs exist as well. They help to undo the damage done by the bad bugs.

With bacteria, it is much the same. The harmful bacteria spreads disease and discomfort—but the good type provides many benefits, especially in your digestive tract.

Your mouth is the important starting point for digestion. As you chew, saliva adds enzymes that begin to break down food into a form your body can use for fuel and maintenance. But if the bacteria of the oral environment are out of balance, you may be at an increased risk for cavities or gum disease.

For some of the people, adding probiotic-rich foods or taking additional supplements may be beneficial. One important study tested the effectiveness of the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri as a weapon against gum disease. After just two weeks, the patients using the probiotic supplement experienced a significant reduction in dental plaque.

Probiotic milk and other dairy products containing live, beneficial bacteria—yogurt, buttermilk, miso or kefir—are the most recognized foods providing good bacteria for the digestive system.

Probiotic supplements are available as tablets or capsules in most health and natural food stores, supermarkets and pharmacies. The suggested dosage is six billion colony-forming units (CFUs), the standard measurement for probiotics. It’s a good idea to switch-up your source of probiotics regularly, as depending too much on one product may cause other bacterial deficiencies.

About Yuri Kaneda, DDS

Dr. Yuri Kaneda was born in Japan and immigrated to the US when she was 4 years old with her family. She lived in Ohio, Nebraska, and Illinois before finally settling in the San Diego area. A graduate of Bonita Vista High School, she went on to the University of California Berkeley where she obtained her Bachelors in Microbiology and Immunology. After working for 2 years in growth plate research at University of California San Diego, she went to the University of California San Francisco Dental School for her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. Upon graduation, she returned to San Diego where she worked as an associate in the practice of Drs. Morimoto and Yaryan, her childhood dentist. She then started her own practice in 1995 and has been at her present location since 1999 which happens to be across the street from her high school!

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