Our understanding of the balance of bacteria throughout our digestive system has been of huge interest over the last few years specifically whilst understanding our immune health, mood, cravings and links to chronic disease. The community of microorganisms that inhabit our mouths have recently been more widely researched alongside the link between our oral microbiome and our gut. Taking care of our teeth and gums has been shown to support a more balanced ecology in our mouths and the benefits for our overall health can be far-reaching.
The oral microbiome was discovered by Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek in 1783 and since then over 700 different species of bacteria have been identified making our mouths the second largest and most diverse collection of bacteria after the gut. Just like our digestive system a good balance of bacteria is important and factors such as pool oral hygiene, diet, disease, genetics, smoking, reduced saliva and antibiotics can tip this balance in favour of the more pathogenic bacteria. Keeping balance supports reduced risk of gum disease, reduces inflammation and risk of tooth decay. Research also indicates that reducing any risks of periodontal disease correlates with lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Optimising your dental health is key and can include;
- Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes using an electric toothbrush. Being mindful not to overbrush is also important.
- Flossing your teeth daily is beneficial as 30% of plaque is found in between teeth.
- Eating a balanced diet rich in minerals, anti-inflammatory foods, high in antioxidants and being well hydrated is also important.
- Including supplements to optimise oral health such a vitamin D and K2 can be beneficial. We would recommend support from a qualified health professional regarding suitable supplements as this is specific to each individual.
- Including products such as toothpaste and mouthwash that support microbiome health and are sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) free is also recommended. SLS can disrupt the bacteria and has also been linked to dry mouth.
- Scraping your tongue to remove any food, debris, fungi, toxins and dead cells can optimise dental health.
- Visiting your dentist regularly to check for decay, gum disease, oral cancer and signs of inflammation is key.
- Having a professional clean regularly is also useful.
- You can also test your oral microbiome, which enables early intervention and helps to identify risk of decay, periodontal disease and fungal infection.
The Luvbiotics® Lifestyle Dentist, Dr Maria Papavergos comments, “Our mouth’s microbiome is in delicate balance, and our oral health is part of the balancing act of our overall health. My mission is to empower and energise people with the knowledge to nurture their own mouth’s microbiome and reap the rewards of overall health. Luvbiotics® products nurture this balance of bacteria in our mouths, making for a healthier mouth and a healthier body.”
Dental probiotics are emerging as a promising concept in the treatment of gum disease, they can also help reduce the risk of dental decay by reducing levels of certain decay-causing bacteria. They display anti-inflammatory properties, helping to improve gum health and reduce bleeding from the gums. There is also evidence that dental probiotics manage smelly breath, by suppressing the production of bacteria producing volatile sulphur compounds that contribute to oral malodour.
The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects of dental probiotics not only benefit the oral microbiome but also have further positive impact on the rest of the body. Just as good gut health affects the entire body, a balanced oral microbiome supports gut health and general immunity.
If you’re interested in supporting your health further through food and lifestyle please do not hesitate to contact The Food Teacher™ Clinic for a FREE telephone consultation. You can also book a personalised Nutritional Therapy Consultation or from The Food Teacher™ Shop.
To find out more visit The Food Teacher™
You may also be interested in trying products from Luvbiotics® (toothpaste, mouthwash and lozenges) available at The Food Teacher™ Shop to optimise the bacterial balance in your mouth to support your health.