You have most likely heard of the gastrointestinal microbiome and even the vaginal microbiome if you read our last blog. This week’s topic may be new to you however. It is about the bugs (the good, the bad and the ugly) that live in our oral cavity.
We are delighted to now offer the Oral EcologiX – health and microbiome profile, a ground breaking tool for analysis of oral microbiota composition and host immune responses. Using the innovative microbial culture independent technology, quantitative real-time PCR the profile provides an accurate, reliable and quantifiable measurement of microbiota abundance.
The oral cavity is a complex ecosystem, comprising several habitats including the teeth, gums, tongue and tonsils, all colonised by bacteria. The human mouth actually contains one of the most diverse microbiomes in the human body, including viruses, fungi, protozoa, archaea and bacteria. The bacteria are responsible for the two commonest bacterial diseases today – tooth decay and periodontal (gum) diseases.
These bacteria exist in a biofilm or protective matrix. However, factors like poor diet, age, smoking and other toxins can disrupt this. Although tooth decay and gum diseases are bacterial they are not infectious diseases in the usual sense because they result from the interaction between the microbes, the general health or age of the host (i.e you) and the environmental and dietary factors mentioned.
Pathogenic bacteria can take hold and like any other part of the body this can provoke an immune response, inflammation and ultimately become a driver of disease. These can include dementia and neurodegeneration, heart disease, arthritis and other auto-immune diseases. This can be partly to do with creation of lipopolysaccharides or LPS. These are bacterial toxins and can enter the bloodstream to cause immune dysregulation. Much of this damage can be avoided however if order is restored. The key is finding out if there is disorder in the first place.
Specific recommendations can be made according to your test results. Some general tips for looking after your oral cavity (and it’s inhabitants) include:
- Reduce the snacking – constant grazing can mean your mouth never gets the chance to recover a balanced pH.
- If you do snack make sure it is a whole food, no sugar option. Examples include hummus and crudités or seeds and berries
- Just like your gut , remember the 3 Ps – probiotics, prebiotics and polyphenols – all of these support a healthy ecosystem
- An obvious one – but observing good dental hygiene (brushing and flossing) and booking an appointment with a dental hygienist is essential
- A varied diet rich in minerals and fat-soluble vitamins (K, E, A and D) will support maintenance of tooth enamel.
If you would like more information about the services we offer, including testing, please get in touch.