What is the oral microbiome?
It’s hiding in the shadows (behind your molars), but it’s the second most diverse microbiome in our bodies, harbouring over 700 species of bacteria. 700! (For reference, the gut is home to 300-1000, depending on the person.)
Why does oral microbiome matter?
Like your gut microbiome can be an indication of your physical and mental health, the delicate balance of microbiome in your mouth can also inform us about your physical health. If the eyes are the window to the soul, the mouth is the window to the rest of your body. You heard it here first.
What’s the science? (You know we’ve done our research.)
There are links between periodontal disease (that’s gum disease for us non-dentists) and several chronic inflammatory conditions, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. If that’s not enough to get you brushing morning and night, there’s also evidence showing that poor oral health is linked to inflammation in the gut. Yikes.
How to tell if your mouth’s microbiome is out of whack?
Symptoms like bleeding gums, dental plaque, a furry-feeling tongue, bad breath, sensitivity to hot drinks or cold treats, as well as a dry mouth can all be indicators of a bad bacteria coup.
So, how can you rebalance your oral microbiome?
1. Take a look at your bathroom cabinet.
Check out what oral-care products you’re using and bin any products that contain ingredients that might strip or destroy the microbiome.
- Toothpaste that contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Triclosan, artificial colour dyes or diethanolamine. These no-good ingredients don’t belong in your mouth.
- Mouthwash that contains alcohol. Alcohol kills good and bad bacteria.
If that leaves you empty-handed (and empty-shelved), might we suggest topping up on microbiome-friendly toothpaste, here?
2. Clean up your diet.
What you eat is a key factor that contributes to your oral health and is critical in helping keep the pH and microbial terrain in balance. That means:
- Focus on eating a variety of organic fruits and vegetables, with organically raised meat, fish, poultry, and eggs.
- Keep eating and drinking fermented foods—like kombucha, sauerkraut, and dill pickles—on a regular basis.
- Drink herbal teas and coffee in moderation, and use filtered water for cooking and drinking.
Simple. And maybe keep a spare packet of mints on your desk until the bad bacteria clears up. Just in case.