How to Improve Your Oral Microbiome
The idea of billions of microbes and bacteria living in your mouth may seem like a scary thought. In reality, these microscopic entities work hard to create a symbiotic environment for both them and you. Around 300 different species of microbes live in your mouth, all working in harmony to create communities called biofilms. Depending on your eating habits and oral care, this may or may not be a good thing. Biofilms left to develop with little oral care and poor eating habits can lead to an excess of bad bacteria, throwing off the balance of your entire oral microbiome. Various health conditions can be traced back to an upset microbiome, from infected gums to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, you never know what could be affected by a dirty mouth.
If you’ve been dealing with unexplained ailments, you might have your mouth to blame. So how do you fix it? Research shows that your oral microbiome is most affected by your oral care regimen and your eating habits. Just like us, microbes need to eat, making the mouth the perfect home. This also means that whatever you eat, your microbes eat too. According to an article by the Genomic Medicine Group, when we eat foods with high amounts of added sugar and refined flour, certain microbes in the mouth convert those sugars to acid. The newly created acid then erodes tooth enamel and overwhelms the mouth with bad bacteria. Via your saliva, this bad bacteria can easily travel to your gut, enter your bloodstream, and affect other areas of the body.
To prevent the build-up of bad bacteria and ensure a healthy microbiome, doctors recommend controlling the amount of sugary/processed foods you consume and insist on a daily oral care regimen that includes brushing twice a day, flossing, and drinking plenty of water. Fluoride treatments can be used for advanced cases but it does run the risk of inhibiting good bacteria along with the bad. At the end of the day, a healthy microbiome does not depend on getting rid of all of the bad and only having healthy bacteria. The truth is that your oral microbiome needs a ton of diversity to perform how it’s supposed to. As long as you manage your sugar intake and take daily care of your oral health, your microbiome will flourish and your mouth will be better for it!