The importance of oral health as required for systemic health is well-accepted in the functional world. However, with up to 47% of American adults over 30 years of age suffering from periodontitis, there is an urgent need to actively address oral health as a routine part of clinical practice.1 It is important to identify causative factors and effective treatments. Diets high in refined carbohydrates, smoking, pregnancy, and immune suppression are well-established risk factors for periodontal disease. Additionally, a healthy mouth requires balance in the oral microbiome. In the mouth, there is a complex interplay between microorganisms, the immune system, and a variety of habitats in the body. The microbiome shifts between different body sites, due to prevailing properties of the local area (termed “ecological niche”), where a number of different habitats are present even within the oral cavity. The oral and the gastrointestinal communities exhibit the greatest diversity and are innately linked to one another. A flourishing, heterogeneous microbial community is essential both for oral and systemic health. 2
We now understand that there are 700+ species of bacteria in the mouth, with a mean of 296. In one milliliter of saliva, there are 108 microorganisms, and as we swallow one liter or more of saliva each day, it is important to maintain optimal health in the oral microbiome.2 Microbial diversity in the mouth includes bacteria, archaea, viruses, fungus, and protozoans.3
Biofilms Play a Significant Role in the Oral Microbiome
Bacteria commonly live in biofilm communities that can sense each other using chemical signaling molecules, a mechanism known as quorum sensing. Biofilms are responsible for 80% of all infections and most chronic infections. In the oral cavity, biofilm is plaque. Biofilms are complex, dynamic structures that react to stimulus in a coordinated behavior via intracellular communication. Biofilms are ten to 1,000 times less susceptible to antimicrobials than a single bacterium. Teeth provide a non-shedding surface, ideal for biofilms (plaque) development, whereas the epithelial tissue of the oral mucosa is in a constant state of turnover. 2
Neutrophils are the primary immune defense in the mouth but are not effective against biofilm-associated bacteria. As they attack biofilms, they set off an inflammatory cascade that develops into a gingivitis lesion and increased infiltration of T cells and macrophages. Gingivitis progresses into periodontitis, the characteristic periodontal pocket, and the destruction of surrounding tissue. Due to the anatomical proximity of the periodontal biofilm to the gingival bloodstream, pockets may act as reservoirs for pathogens and their metabolites, as well as inflammatory mediators and immunocomplexes that can disseminate systemically.5 In fact, “less than one minute after an oral procedure, organisms from the infected site may have reached the heart, lungs, and peripheral blood capillary system.”6
Oral health requires balance in the immune-inflammatory state. When there is a dysregulation in the complex interplay between salivary components, immune activity, and existing microbes, dysbiosis occurs, causing negative health implications such as caries, periodontitis, endodontic infection, alveolar bone loss, and tonsillitis.5 Systemically, the effects of oral dysbiosis are far-reaching:
Diseases Related to Oral Pathogens 2, 5, 7, 8, 9
- Cardiovascular Disease – release of mediators that have a systemic effect (e.g.: cytokines and prothrombin). Individuals with untreated tooth infections are 2.7 times more likely to have cardiovascular problems, such as coronary artery disease.
- Autoimmunity – 1,676 subjects aged 30–40 years old were randomly selected from the registry file of the Stockholm region (Sweden) to participate in a 30-year study starting in 1985. The result showed that subjects with a higher plaque index, a marker of poor oral hygiene, were more likely to develop autoimmune diseases.
- Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes - Analysis of the placenta and fetal gastrointestinal tract show transient occupation by microbes most closely aligned with the maternal oral commensal organisms and may assist in fetal development of the immune system. Conversely, periodontal disease, and oral infection during pregnancy are a hallmark of preterm delivery.
- Other Systemic Illnesses - Inflammatory bowel disease, cancer (oropharyngeal, esophageal, colorectal), respiratory tract infection (bronchitis, pneumonia), meningitis, abscess (brain, lung, liver, spleen), appendicitis, obesity, and diabetes mellitus.
<h3style="text-align: center;"="">Clinicians Can be a Key Influencer on their Patients’ Oral Health
<h3style="text-align: center;"="">Modifiable factors that drive oral dysbiosis include poor oral hygiene, changes in saliva (flow or composition), diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, and stress. Clinicians are in the unique position to influence most of these areas with patients. Counseling about oral hygiene practices and lifestyle choices can go a long way toward improving and ultimately maintaining health. Encouraging regular brushing and flossing helps with the mechanical reduction of biofilm.2 Also, there are proven natural and gentle therapeutics that have a positive impact on the oral microbiome.
<h3style="text-align: center;"="">Effective Botanicals in Dental Hygiene
<h3style="text-align: center;"="">Botanicals have a long history of use in oral health with excellent research on their ability to disrupt pathogenic biofilms and function as broad-acting antimicrobials. A recent study by Dr. John Rothchild, DDS, illustrated the potential of a liposomal botanical formula to significantly reduce pathogen load. He used phase-contrast microscopy and examined nine participants that exhibited elevations in pathogenic microorganisms (gram-negative rods and spirochetes) in gingival crevicular fluid derived from the periodontal tissues. Seven out of nine participants had a significant reduction or elimination of pathogens when using liposomal Biocidin LSF for one month. This pilot study helped inform the creation of Dentalcidin LS.
<h3style="text-align: center;"="">The oral health protocol prescribed by Dr. Rothchild included swishing with 2 pumps of Biocidin LSF for three minutes, and spitting, three times/day. You can learn more about the liposomal oral care solution here. The Dentalcidin™ Toothpaste can be used daily along with the oral care solution for additional support.
The human microbiome plays a pivotal role in human biology through its influence on many physiological functions such as human development, physiology, immunity, and nutrition. Botanical therapies in the form of toothpaste and/or an oral rinse, represent a low intervention, effective, and easy-to-implement method for supporting overall health.5 To learn more about the curated line of 10 products Bio-Botanical Research offers, including the oral care line, please visit: http://www.biocidin.com/
Healthcare Practitioner Support
Bio-Botanical Research prides itself on a level of customer service that reflects the high standards of its products. The company offers ongoing educational resources, including free personalized training on products and protocols, to assist practitioners in clinical practice. If you are a practitioner working with a case of microbial dysbiosis anywhere in the body, consider the Biocidin® suite of products along with the four support formulas from Bio-Botanical Research Inc. For more information, visit Biocidin.com or call 800.775.4140.
*This article was written by Dr. Jocelyn Strand and may not be reproduced without consent from Bio-Botanical Research, Inc. Originally produced for Dr. Kara Fitzgerald’s site.