Improve Your Oral Microbiome: A Path to Optimal Health


The gut microbiome has garnered significant attention from medical and nutrition professionals in recent times. They’ve been focusing on its impact on mood, weight, and various aspects of both physical and mental health. Numerous studies have confirmed a connection between the gut microbiome and vital organs like the heart, brain, and even the liver.

In this article, we’ll delve into a less-discussed microbiome: the oral microbiome.

It all begins with the oral microbiome. Improving the health of your mouth and oral microbiome increases the likelihood of better health in your gut, immune system, and other crucial parts of your body. Let’s go over some fundamentals.

Your mouth – your gut’s gatekeeper

Every substance that makes its way to your gut passes through your mouth. This means that with every swallow, thousands of bacteria, both beneficial and harmful, embark on a journey to your gut. Contrary to common belief, eradicating all germs in your mouth isn’t advisable. Similar to the beneficial bacteria in your gut, the ones in your mouth promote good oral and overall bodily health.

Probiotic bacteria work to repel pathogens in the mouth. For example, some release acids that deter bacteria responsible for tooth decay. Other probiotic bacteria combat those that cause bad breath and gum disease. Regrettably, there’s a lot of misinformation in the public that has led many people to use harmful antibacterial mouthwashes that wipe out all oral bacteria, including the beneficial probiotic strains.

Your mouth – your body health indicator

The gut microbiome exerts substantial influence on our general well-being and psychophysiological health, an area experts are still working to comprehend fully. It plays a role in conditions like dementia and other degenerative diseases. However, the health of your gut is directly tied to the well-being of your mouth, which supplies nutrients to your gut microbiome. This raises the question: do oral health issues such as inflammation and gum disease affect the gut?

Research has revealed a robust correlation between oral and systemic ailments, with oral pathogens found to play a role in cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis. This implies that taking proper care of our oral health might contribute to keeping these diseases in check.

Your mouth – your starting point for treatment of the body

Simple carbohydrates like flour and sugar don’t harm our teeth in the way many people might think. Instead, they disrupt the balance in the oral microbiome. While your body primarily handles digestion, it’s your mouth that determines the path the entire system takes based on what’s coming in from the outside.

The key, therefore, lies in maintaining a diverse, balanced oral microbiome. As crucial as brushing and flossing are, your diet serves as your first line of defense. The next time you sit down for a meal, remember that you’re responsible for nourishing an entire universe of microbial lifeforms.

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Dr. Jade Marie Tomaszewski is a pathologist-in-training at McGill University, where she also did her degree in MSc Pathology. She obtained her medical degree (MD) from the University of the Philippines, after completing a BSc in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. In her (little) spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, curling up with a book and a large mug of tea, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. You can follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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