The oral microbiota is a community of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that plays a vital role in maintaining oral health. The latest research suggests a fascinating connection between oral microbiota and our overall health and wellbeing.
In this article, we will explore the intricate connection between oral microbiota and various aspects of our health to highlight the significance of maintaining good oral health.
A quick overview of the oral microbiota
As one journal on The National Library of Medicine shares, “The oral cavity contains one of the most diverse and unique communities of microbes in the human body, yet this niche is relatively understudied as compared to the gut.”
There are more than 700 different types of bacteria in the oral microbiota, many of which are beneficial and necessary for maintaining oral health. While it's true that some bacteria, when imbalanced, can contribute to dental decay and periodontitis, a healthy oral microbiota provides protection from harmful organisms.
The oral-gut axis
In other articles and videos in our Learning Lab, we discuss the gut-brain axis L– the bidirectional communication pathway between the gut and the brain – as well as the gut-skin axis – the interconnection between the gut and skin. Now researchers have discovered what’s known as the oral-gut axis – the link between the oral microbiota and the gut microbiota.
The mouth serves as our gateway for microorganisms to enter our bodies. As such, the composition of the oral microbiota can impact the diversity and balance of the gut microbiota. An imbalanced oral microbiota, such as an increase in harmful bacteria, can cause dysbiosis, a disruption of the gut microbiota linked to a variety of health conditions.
The oral microbiota its effects on our overall health
As the early referenced journal explains, “The mouth can be affected by several pathologies that have high prevalence among human populations, including periodontitis, gingivitis, and dental caries, all of which have been clearly related to alterations in the oral microbiome.”
Regular brushing, flossing, and regular dental checkups are all essential for maintaining a healthy oral microbiota. It is also important to eat a healthy and balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Additionally, taking a daily probiotic is another great way to support both your oral health and gut health.*
If the oral cavity is not properly cared for, harmful bacteria accumulate on the teeth and gums, causing plaque to form. Plaque can trigger an immune response, leading to gum inflammation, commonly known as gingivitis.
Inflammation is our body's natural response to injury or infection. Periodontitis, for example, is a significant cause of chronic inflammation. Inflammation and the harmful chemicals it produces are linked to a host of serious health conditions throughout the body.
Although it's still a new area of study, as science advances, we are becoming more aware of the crucial role our oral microbiota plays in determining our overall health.
To learn more about oral health and the role of probiotics, be sure to explore our other articles and videos here in our Learning Lab.