“Are you aware that nourishing your oral microbiome will reap rewards for your full body health?”
A Balanced Mouth and Body
The oral microbiome seeds the gut microbiome, so reduced beneficial bacteria or reduced bacterial diversity in the mouth impacts our gut health. There is evidence that certain ‘bad bacteria’ in the mouth can enter the gut and contribute to the risk of developing Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Since the gut is one long twisty tube that starts in the mouth, the gut lining (mucosa) is directly linked to the oral mucosa, so there are oral manifestations of IBD that show up in the mouth.
Nurture the Good
Dietary patterns can disrupt the oral microbiome and can negatively impact our gut microbes too. Regular spikes in our sugar intake can drive down the number of beneficial bacterial species in our mouths, leading to proliferation of certain types of ‘BAD’ bacteria that can cause dental disease. Reduced bacterial diversity in the gut microbiome can also lead to poor gut health. A fluctuating effect on our blood sugar can also up-regulate the inflammatory response, with damaging effect to our cardiovascular health, periodontal (gum) health as well as increasing our risk of type II diabetes and poor sleep.
Knowing Your Sugars
When it comes to sugar, being able to identify the ‘free’ sugars is key. When consumed regularly over time, ‘free’ sugars are the culprits that negatively impact the balance of bacteria in our mouths and lead to dental decay. These ‘free’ sugars are added sugars, often hidden in foods we would not expect but can be natural sugars like honey or maple syrup as well. Fruit that is processed releases ‘free’ sugars from their protected whole form, so it is important to be mindful of smoothies and dried fruit.
It is important to remember that there are lots of ‘GOOD’ bacteria in our mouths that support our oral and gum health, as well as our gut health. We should aspire to a diet high in plant diversity that will be rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals and consider incorporating PROBIOTIC and PREBIOTIC foods into our diets, to nourish the good bacteria and crowd out the bad ones. Foods rich in refined carbohydrates are a major cause of chronic inflammation and so choosing whole grain carbohydrates and high fibre foods as much as possible, as well as plenty of omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish, is key to help regulate inflammation.
With over 50% of mouth cancers being associated with a diet low in fruit and vegetables, nurturing our oral microbiome through diet has never been so important.
It’s all about getting the right balance in our diets, to maintain a harmonious balance in our mouth’s microbiome.
Many of us may have chosen to follow a specific diet, adopt a pattern of eating that supports our beliefs or eat as a means to lose weight. Every diet requires consideration as to how it many impact oral and overall health. There are certain nutrients that can be easily overlooked and certain practices that may be damaging to the oral microbiome.
We need an informed, mindful approach to eating when it comes to oral and overall health, encompassing our personal dietary choices. From recognising hidden sugars to identifying potential deficiencies in our diets that imbalance the oral microbiome, get in touch to find out simple ways to support your oral health, considering the overall perspective.