A sparkling smile. It’s what everyone wants, right?
But there’s more to oral health than bright white teeth. A dazzling smile is fabulous to behold, but the health of your mouth is what’s really important. Great oral health will give you a true reason to smile.
The goal: A healthy oral microbiome
Researchers are learning more about the oral microbiome – our mouths and the microorganisms that live there. Yes, microorganisms live inside your mouth. Both healthy and harmful. More than 700 species of bacteria, to be exact, as well as archaea, viruses, fungus, and protozoans. (Under a microscope, they look a lot like bugs. Ew, right?)
The good news is, when there’s a healthy balance of microorganisms in your mouth, your whole mouth will be healthy. And—here’s a bonus—oral health also plays a role in your brain, heart, lung, and immune health.
Unfortunately, poor oral hygiene, smoking, pregnancy, genetic predisposition, and diets high in refined carbohydrates can all contribute to microbial imbalance in the mouth.
Biofilms – What they are and why you want to bust ‘em!
One clue that your oral microbiome is out of balance is the presence of that fuzzy stuff on your teeth called plaque. Plaque is an example of a biofilm – a living community of various microbial organisms that stick to each other and attach to surfaces. Teeth provide an ideal, non-shedding surface.
Biofilms form rapidly. Sometimes in less than an hour! They are responsible for 80% of all infections, including most chronic infections, and are highly resistant to antibiotics. They impact oral health, contributing to
- bad breath
- bleeding gums
- and other issues.
Beyond that, researchers are discovering what grows in the mouth will grow in the gut. Not surprising when you consider we swallow one liter or more of saliva each day, and just one milliliter of saliva contains 108 microorganisms!
The path to oral health
Good news! With a few proactive steps, you can get that Hollywood smile AND the great oral and whole-body health you’re after. And you can kiss plaque goodbye while you’re at it! (Yes, really!)
- Begin with regular brushing and flossing to help with the mechanical reduction of biofilm, and add an oral rinse for extra support. Choose oral healthcare products with plant-based ingredients. Botanicals have a long history of use in oral health, with excellent research on their ability to disrupt pathogenic biofilms. (Yep. They actually help address dental plaque!)
- Drink lots of purified water. This contributes to healthy salivary formation and flow.
- Schedule regular cleanings and oral health exams, both for proper prevention and early detection of any microbiome imbalance.
- Evaluate lifestyle factors. Assess your diet and move toward eliminating refined carbohydrates that have been stripped of almost all fiber and nutrients (white bread, breakfast cereals, white rice, bagels, waffles, cakes, etc.) Also, consider your alcohol consumption, smoking, stress – it all takes a toll on your health.
- Since your oral microbiome impacts your GI microbiome, consider a cleanse that addresses microbial imbalances throughout your body, or add a probiotic to your daily regimen if you haven’t already.
That Hollywood smile? It’s particularly attractive when it’s backed by a healthy oral microbiome. As research continues to point to the connection between the oral and gut microbiomes, it’s clear that supporting a healthy mouth will give you a lot to smile about!
You may also be interested in the following article about oral health.
- https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/internalmedicine/advpub/0/advpub_2908-19/_article - HPV