Supporting your oral microbiome
The oral microbiome is made up of microbial groups, bacteria, fungi and so on, all in the different parts of the mouth like teeth, tongue, cheeks, gingiva, palates, and tonsils.
Like the gut and skin, the mouth is one of four microbiomes in the body where 700 to 1000 plus different types of beneficial oral flora / good bacteria, harmful bacteria and other microorganisms flourish.
There are close ties between the mouth and the gut, and when one succumbs to an overgrowth of bad bacteria, so will the other.
Your gut microbiome has trillions of bacteria and other microbes. It controls digestion and benefits your immune system and many other aspects of health – experts believe that death starts in the gut A healthy mouth, a healthy stomach – a healthy life.
According to the Journal of Oral Biosciences, Dysbiosis, a breakdown in the relationship between oral microorganisms, results in imbalances that lead to dental disease.
In other words, this dysbiotic imbalance is usually a result of lowering the pH level due to dietary changes or a reduction in saliva flow. This causes acid-producing and acid-tolerant bacteria or plaque to outgrow beneficial bacteria.
Tooth decay occurs, and gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis directly destroy the tissues and teeth structure.
Studies show that about 45 % of oral bacteria, fungi and viruses make their way into the gut microbiota every time your swallow saliva.
Oral infections that spread through saliva or the bloodstream break down immunity and leads to inflammation throughout the body.
According to Ask the Dentist, major bodily systems and functions are impacted by your oral microbiome, for better or worse.
Those systems which suffer the most significant impact of imbalance are:
- Gastrointestinal Tract problems such as Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Sufferers often have dry mouth, mouth ulcers, inflammation of the lips and mouth. Many dominant pathogenic oral bacterial species have been found to colonise their intestines. This leads to constant episodes of severe gut inflammation.
- Oral pathogens are also implicated in liver cirrhosis and gut-related cancers such as colonic, pancreatic and liver cancer.
- H pylori bacteria infects the stomach and causes peptic ulcers.
- Immune system disruption leaves the body vulnerable to colds and flu, autoimmune diseases and even heart disease. The management of HIV/AIDS is also adversely affected by the impact of oral infection on the gut microbiome.
- Endocrine system and diabetes: Studies have found that the risk of diabetes goes up after the development of periodontitis, an inflammatory condition directly caused by a dysbiotic oral microbiome
- Periodontitis is implicated in the risk of cardiovascular disease. While the oral gingival bacteria has been linked to increased risk of diseases of the brain and nervous via its effect on the gut microbiome. These range from anxiety and depression to Alzheimer’s disease
- Obesity: high starchy carbohydrates and dietary sugar patterns compromise the oral microbiome. Studies found massive overgrowth of the bacteria Selenomonas noxia in the saliva of obese people.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), with its links to the gut microbiome, has been linked to the oral microbiome. A study found high amounts of the common pathogenic oral bacteria Prevotella in the saliva of PCOS sufferers.
What to do?
Diet and exercise are essential to changing everything about your health. As with most diseases, the experts urge you to lose the processed sugary foods and the starchy carbohydrates because they feed harmful bacteria, causing inflammation throughout the body from plaque build-up on teeth and gums to heart and brain health.
The American Dental Association suggests cultivating the following habits to balance the bacteria:
- Brush teeth with interdental brushes and fluoridated oral microbiome toothpaste. Do it twice a day to boost good bacteria.
- Floss your teeth every day
- See your dentist twice a year for routine examinations and treatment.
- Swop the conventional mouthwashes for a natural brand that supports your oral health or make your own natural mouthwash with cloves or cumin, for instance
- Try oil pulling once a day with coconut oil. Always spit the oil in the bin rather than down the sink as this causes blockages in the pipes.
- Drink fluoridated water
- Quit smoking and using other tobacco products
- Avoid oral piercings, especially of the tongue.
- Brush or scrape build-up off your tongue
When it comes to diet, the experts suggest that you eat mineral-rich grass-fed dairy products and meat, seafood, leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables; nuts; healthy oils such as coconut, avocado and olive oils; and vitamin-K rich foods like pastured eggs, grass-fed butter and chicken livers.
Venturing out for specialist work can be more expensive, depending on what you need. This is why more and more people are opting for a dental insurance policy nowadays so that when they do need some extra work done, they are financially covered.
Does your medical insurance cover specialists?
Affinity Dental has three tiers of dental insurance at different price points. Each option covers certain specialist work to various degrees.
Usually, a dentist will refer you to a specialist if needed.
If you need to find an Affinity Dental approved dentist in your area, click here.