Introduction: Most probiotic products are consumed orally and hence it is feasible that the bacteria in these products may also attach to oral surfaces; however, the effects of these bacteria on the oral ecosystem are mostly unknown. Our aim was to evaluate the oral colonization potential of different probiotic, dairy, and fecal Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains in vitro.
Methods: The binding of 17 Lactobacillus and seven Bifidobacterium strains to hydroxyapatite and microtitre wells coated with human saliva was tested. Binding of selected strains to human buccal epithelial cells and co-adherence with Fusobacterium nucleatum were also investigated. In addition, the survival in sterilized human whole saliva was examined.
Results: There was a large variation in binding to saliva-coated surfaces and buccal epithelial cells but all strains survived in saliva. The binding pattern of the probiotics did not differ from the binding of the fecal strains. F. nucleatum altered the binding of both the low-binding bifidobacteria and the high-binding lactobacilli.
Conclusion: The differences in binding in vitro may indicate that there are also differences in the persistence of the different probiotic strains in the oral cavity in vivo.