Our oral microbiome is more important than just causing bad breath!
We may take our teeth and oral health for granted until something goes awry, like my recent experience of severe tooth pain over Easter that involved a visit to an emergency dentist (at great expense) then subsequent root canal work.
I also had a recent client who only brushed every few days and didn’t floss at all. He presented with some complex health conditions (as well as bad breath) that made me explore in more detail what could be one of the ‘drivers’ or underlying factors that needed to be addressed to improve his overall health effectively.
We are now aware that an imbalance in our oral microbiome is linked to dental cavities and gum disease, but research is now also emerging that it can also be linked to systemic health conditions like:
- Heart disease & Stroke
- Lung conditions
- Preterm birth and increased risk of pregnancy gingivitis
- Gut, immune, endocrine, and nervous system conditions (via the gut-brain axis)
The oral microbiome is the complex bacterial colonies in our teeth, gums, tongue, cheeks, lips, and mouth. It comprises of over 700 species and is the largest microbiome after the large intestine.
Dietary and Lifestyle Tips to improve your oral microbiome health:
- Tooth brushing and flossing twice a day
- Regular descaling at the dentist
- Quit smoking – the greatest impact in periodontal disease
- Reduce processed carbohydrates, sugar (sucrose) and sugary drinks
- Reduce highly acidic foods – soft drinks, some fruit juices, vinegar, and dry wine
- Consume a whole foods diet – rich in fruits, vegetables, fibre, minerals, and vitamins
- Reduce intake of saturated fat and increase omega 3 fats like fish (as they reduce inflammation)
- Include prebiotics (dietary fibre rich foods)
- Specific probiotic strains can be used to support oral health like Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 and Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC PTA 5289 which are available in a chewable supplement from your health practitioner.
This combination has been extensively trialled to reduce and prevent dental cavities, gingivitis and periodontal disease, reduce dental plaque build-up, treat bad breath and oral thrush
So, if you suffer from bad breath and a tendency to inflamed gums or tooth decay, sorting these out promptly may also help reduce risk factors for other chronic diseases. Lifestyle and dietary options along with probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri are natural and effective options for addressing oral microbiome imbalance and overall optimal health.
Chat to me for access to the highly-researched yummy, chewable probiotic that I used myself and now prescribe to my patients.
Doreen Schwegler Naturopath and Medical Scientist May 2021 at Holistic Health online, Melbourne and Sydney