b'preventing and treating oral infections, dental caries, periodontal disease, oral candidiasis (thrush) and halitosis. Research suggests that probiotics reduce the levels of pathogenic bacteria in the oral cavity, reducing inflammation and producing substances (lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide and bacteriocins) that have antimicrobial effects. A review of 12 randomized clinical trials concluded that probiotics can be beneficial for the maintenance of oral health, due to their ability to decrease the number of oral pathogens.Skin healTh:The skin is your largest organ and home to numerous microbes that keep it healthy. But its also exposed to a constant onslaught of physical, chemical, bacterial, and fungal challenges. Studies have shown that probiotics have the potential to help with a number of skin irritations and discomforts. For instance, during one randomized, placebo-controlled trial of more than 1,200 pregnant women and their babies, those infants exposed to a probiotic supplement before and after birth experienced considerably less eczema than those in the placebo group. VaGinal healTh:A delicate bacterial balance is essential to maintaining a healthy vaginal environment. Lactobacillus bacteria naturally live in the vagina and play an important role in protecting against infection. A lack of this beneficial bacteria or overgrowth of other bacteria or yeast can lead to infection, namely a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. Taking antibiotics, hormonal changes, and poor hygiene are among the factors that can upset the normal bacterial balance in the vagina. In a small study that appeared in the Archives of Family Medicine, doctors found that women who ate probiotic yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus had a larger amount of Lactobacillus bacteria in their vaginas than those who did not. The women who ate this probiotic yogurt were also less likely to experience bacterial vaginosis than the women who did not. In another trial, women with bacterial vaginosis were given either an antibiotic plus a probiotic or an antibiotic plus a dummy pill. The cure rate at 30 days was close to 90 percent in the antibiotic-plus-probiotic group, in contrast to just 40 percent in the antibiotic-plus-placebo group.WeiGhT loSS:Researchers know that overweight and thin people have very different gut bacteria populations, suggesting that bacteria may be a factor when it comes to obesity. In fact, when overweight people begin to lose weight, their gut bacteria starts to resemble those of thin people. One probiotic strain in particular, Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055, was found to promote the bodys excretion of fat during bowel movements. A 12-week study of 210 people with an excess of belly fat found that those taking Lactobacillus gasseri reduced body weight, fat around organs, BMI, waist size, and hip circumference. Whats more, their belly fat had reduced by 8.5 percent. However, when the participants stopped taking the probiotic, they gained back all of the belly fat within a month.Another study in the Journal of Functional Foods showed that when 28 healthy but overweight participants ate yogurt containing both Lactobacillus fermentumLactobacillus and amylovorus, all of them lost up to four percent body fat. 12the G o od Gut'