Did you know that you swallow about 140 billion bacteria that seed your gastrointestinal tract with microbes from your mouth each day? We carry around trillions of microscopic bugs that live in and on our bodies. These microbes live all over the body: on the skin, gastrointestinal tract (gut microbiome), and mouth (oral microbiome). Most people have heard of the gut microbiome as this is a hot topic in health today and the area where most of our microbes are located. However, remember that the mouth is the front entrance to the gut. Therefore, the oral microbiome is equally important and influences health or disease in many other body systems.
What is the Oral Microbiome?
The oral microbiome, which also includes microbes in adjacent areas such as the nose and upper portions of the esophagus and lungs, is home to the second most diverse population of microbes in the body (the gut is number one). A well-documented link exists between the oral microbiome and heart disease, joint health, diabetes, and digestive disorders. Until now, the mouth has often been forgotten when it comes to health or chronic diseases. We are exposed to potentially harmful bacteria every day. But when our mouth microbes are in good balance, they help us to form a strong defense against infection and illness. The main point is that we need a healthy microbial balance in the mouth to have a healthy digestive tract and strong immune system.
Many people today have heard of a condition called “leaky gut.” You may now start hearing about “leaky mouth,” a similar condition when the oral mucosa (like the gut mucosa) is damaged or weak enough to allow potentially harmful bacteria into the bloodstream. This type of bacterial imbalance in the mouth is associated with cavities, bad breath, gingivitis (gum inflammation), and periodontal disease.
How to Have a Healthy Mouth
Sanoviv has always emphasized the importance of dental health as one of the foundations for overall good health. You can’t have a healthy body without having a healthy mouth. To support your population of mouth microbes, here are some things you can do:
- Practice regular dental hygiene (brush and floss at least twice daily). Ask your dental practitioner for proper instructions on technique, which is very important.
- Visit your dentist for professional dental hygiene at least twice yearly (more often may be needed based on your individual dental condition).
- Avoid antibacterial toothpaste and those containing fluoride, which can disrupt the microbial balance in your mouth. Be careful also with mouthwashes, as they can destroy your beneficial microbes. Consider natural oral health products.
- Learn to breathe more through your nose (mouth breathing can contribute to microbial imbalances in the oral microbiome).
- Avoid processed sugar and refined carbohydrates since these foods promote an imbalance of the oral microbiome and oral diseases. A diet rich in fiber and vegetables benefits your microbiome because these foods are high in prebiotics (food for beneficial microbes).
Your oral microbiome is an extraordinary product of interacting forces such as your microbes, immune system, genetics, and environment (diet and oral hygiene). Be sure you don’t put oral care aside. For optimal health, you must take impeccable care of your magnificent mouth.
Sanoviv is proud to offer a comprehensive dental assessment with every program and offers top-notch biological dentistry.