Mouth & Body Connection – Part 2

Written by Anil Bajnath, MD
Posted September 9, 2021

Dear Longevity Insider,

More on the mouth and body connection. Let's take a look at dysbiosis of the mouth:

  • Symbiosis occurs when oral microorganisms (aka bacteria, both good and bad) can co-exist effectively within your oral cavity.
  • Dysbiosis is when there is a shift in the harmony between oral microorganisms, there is no more balance due to changes within your oral cavity.

This dysbiosis imbalance leads to dental disease but also impacts our overall health. 

For example, if you consume a sugary drink at night and do not brush your teeth that can impact the pH level in your mouth. This shift in your oral ecosystem then welcomes acid-producing and acid-tolerant bacteria – plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth – to grow but sacrifices good bacteria.

Our oral hygiene is linked to inflammation in the body. How so? There are over 700 bacterial species in our oral microbiome. When these bacteria live in balance, they are healthy for us. But when there is too much of one or more types of bacteria, it can cause inflammation throughout the body, which leads to chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. When we maintain good oral hygiene and therefore support our oral microbiome, research shows that it can help reduce inflammation in the body! Inflammation is not just bad in the body, but it is especially harmful in the mouth. Periodontal diseases have been linked to inflammation biomarkers

Severe symptoms of periodontal disease, such as bleeding and swollen gums, gum recession, and loss of the bone that holds the teeth in place, may be caused by the chronic inflammatory response to the bacterial infection, rather than the bacteria itself. Periodontists, the dentists specially trained in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease, believe that this inflammatory response to bacteria in the mouth may be the cause behind the periodontal-systemic health link. 

What are some ways to optimize your oral microbiome?

  • Visit your dental professionals on a regular basis for routine exams.
  • Brush and floss.     
  • Quit using any tobacco products.
  • Limit sugar intake (sugar feeds bad bacteria).
  • Maintain oral hygiene.
  • Visit your dental hygienist on a regular basis.

Maintaining good oral hygiene is critical to our oral microbiome. Preventative toothcare is the ultimate protection for our teeth. This reduces tooth loss which, over time, can protect us from developing life-threatening diseases like diabetes or cardiovascular disease. This is because these chronic illnesses result in gum (periodontal) disease, bone loss around our teeth, and systemic inflammation.

CONCLUSION  

Our oral microbiome is incredibly important. In fact, it's not just our gut-microbiome that keeps us healthy. It turns out, we have a mouth and body connection too! We can't pick and choose which microorganisms we want in our bodies – they're pretty much all over the place. It has been shown that the oral microbiome can be altered to cause health problems when not properly managed through oral care routines. On the other hand, it also holds great potential in preventing future illnesses if maintained at proper levels.

What steps are you taking at home to optimize your oral microbiome?

To your longevity,

Anil Bajnath MD
CEO/Founder, Institute for Human Optimization
Chief Medical Officer, Longevity Insider HQ

P.S. I keep my oral care in top condition! But there's something else I do to help boost my overall health.