The human body is a complex network of systems, all of which depend on each other to function optimally. Every dentist will tell you that there is a close link between our gut microbiome and oral health, with trillions of good bacteria living throughout your digestive system. Your microbiome influences your digestion, immune system, metabolism, and hormones. Research shows it can even play a role in your daily moods and emotions. Your dentist will be most concerned with an imbalance in your microbiome that can affect your oral health.

The mouth is particularly important because it is one of the primary “gatekeepers” of your body, controlling much of what is allowed to affect your other systems. Below are some basic details of how your mouth can affect your gut health and vice versa.

The Importance of Microbiomes

A “microbiome” is composed of all the microscopic organisms in a particular environment. The oral microbiome and the gut biome are separate but connected collections of bacteria that influence health. Don’t let the word “bacteria” alarm you. Although it is usually used in a negative context, there are actually many species of good bacteria that play an essential role in promoting the health of the human body.

How the Oral Microbiome Affects Your Gut

An overabundance of bad bacteria in the mouth has the potential to exacerbate certain digestive health problems. For example,researchers have found that individuals with irritable bowel syndrome often have high levels of oral bacteria in their digestive tract. The bacteria from the mouth can pass into the intestines, contributing to inflammation and digestive problems. This may be especially likely to happen in individuals with severe gum disease, who have an imbalance in their oral microbiome due to an abundance of disease-causing bacteria.

How Your Gut Health Affects Your Dental health

Most people are surprised that the health of their gut has an impact on their oral health. If you have too few good bacteria or too many harmful ones, this imbalance sends an inflammatory signal to your immune system, causing various symptoms to occur throughout the body – including the mouth. In fact, we can monitor dental health by examining gut health.

What Should You Do?

It’s important to keep in mind that the word “gut” often refers to the digestive system as a whole — and that starts in the mouth. Imbalances in the types of bacteria throughout your digestive system may adversely affect your oral health, contributing to things such as gum disease and tooth decay. Other problems in the gut, such as acid reflux, may also adversely affect your teeth by exposing them to dangerous acid that can wear away enamel.

Here are a few things you can do to protect your oral and gut health:

Reduce sugar intake. It’s best to limit your intake of sugar and other simple carbohydrates because they can reduce the diversity of micro-organisms in your mouth.

Consume probiotic-rich foods. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt are great for your gut. (Some of these foods are acidic and might adversely affect tooth enamel, so moderation is important.)

Consume Fiber-Rich FoodsBy eating fiber-rich foods like beans, lentils, apples, and broccoli, you can naturally help keep your teeth clean. Also, including foods in your diet that are probiotic-rich will help with your gut health, as well.Brush and FlossGood dental hygiene, like daily brushing and flossing, will ensure healthy gums. They remove food particles and reduce plaque buildup around the teeth and tongue.Gum Disease AwarenessIf you notice oral symptoms like bloody or inflamed gums, don’t ignore them. They can be a sign of severe underlying dental issues that need attention.Regular Dental Check-upsCome see us for a dental checkup regularly. Teeth cleanings are essential for quality dental care and health. If you have high blood sugar levels, bleeding gums, bad breath, sensitive teeth, or a bitter taste in your mouth, this may be the signs of digestive issues

Be careful with mouthwash. Antibacterial mouthwash kills both good and bad bacteria. It’s best to use it only if your dentist specifically recommends it

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