Outside the limits of bacterial viability: Postbiotics in the management of periodontitis

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Periodontitis is a major cause of tooth loss in adults worldwide and is caused by an unbalanced oral microbiota in a susceptible host, ultimately leading to tissue breakdown and bone loss. Traditionally, the treatment for periodontitis is scaling and root planing; however, some cases require adjuvant therapy, such as antibiotics administration or surgery. Various factors are involved in the pathogenesis and interact in an unpredictable way, increasing the complexity of the disease and making it difficult to manage. In this context, the administration of probiotics aimed at resolving bacterial dysbiosis and the associated dysregulation of the immune system has been employed in clinical trials with encouraging results. However, the use of viable microorganisms is not risk-free, and immunocompromised patients may develop adverse effects. Therefore, the use of inactivated microbial cells, cell fractions, or soluble products and metabolites of probiotics, known as postbiotics, has gained increasing attention. In this commentary, we present the current literature assessing the impact of postbiotics on the growth and metabolism of periodontal pathogens, as well as on the progression of periodontitis in rodents and humans. We also discuss the limitations of the available data and what the scientific community should consider in order to transfer this innovative therapeutic modality from the bench to the bedside.




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Biochemical Pharmacology, v. 201.

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