How to Protect Your Oral Microbiome?
The human body is full of tiny bacteria, viruses, and fungi that help digest food, maintain the skin, generate energy, protect against harmful microorganisms, and even assist in balancing the metabolic rate. These collections of microorganisms are called microbiomes.
You have a microbiome in your gut, on your skin, and even in your mouth. In fact, your oral microbiome is one of the most important, and it needs to be balanced and protected.
What is Your Oral Microbiome?
Your oral microbiome is a community of bacterial organisms that perform many essential functions to keep your mouth healthy. Your oral microbiome:
- Gets rid of waste products and free radicals
- Protects the rest of your body from harmful outside organisms
- Keeps the gums and soft tissues oxygenated
- Transports ionic materials from the saliva to tooth surfaces to keep teeth strong
When your oral microbiome is healthy and balanced, your gums are pink, your teeth feel clean, and your mouth generally feels (and smells) great.
Signs of an Unhealthy Oral Microbiome
There is no such thing as bad bacteria or good bacteria when it comes to the oral microbiome. Instead, bacteria behave well or poorly based on the environment. When your oral microbiome is unhealthy and imbalanced, it can cause symptoms like:
- Thick, smelly, and sticky film that coats the teeth
- Bad breath
- Bleeding gums
- Tooth decay
- Mouth ulcers
- Sensitive teeth
What Causes a Microbiome Imbalance?
While many factors can create an oral microbiome imbalance, the most common are harsh oral-care products, refined carbohydrates and sugars, and stress.
The majority of oral-care products, like toothpaste and mouthwash, were developed a long time ago, when people thought all microorganisms were bad. Therefore, most traditional oral-care products are designed to be harsh on all the bacteria in the mouth-- even the ones that are necessary. This harshness can create imbalance or even kill the oral microbiome.
Another cause of oral microbiome imbalance is a diet that's too high in refined carbohydrates and sugars. When digested, these compounds produce acid that can make the mouth pH too acidic and eat away at tooth enamel, both of which can shift the microbiome balance.
The last major cause of imbalance is stress. Stress leads to a whole host of physiological changes that can impact the oral microbiome. For example, too much stress can reduce saliva production and flow and shift the oral pH to be too acidic for the necessary microorganisms.
How to Protect and Balance Your Microbiome
Keep your oral microbiome healthy and balanced by:
- Eating a Healthy Diet – Focus on foods that are rich in antioxidants, help reduce inflammation, and are not too acidic. Fruits and vegetables, fish, poultry, and eggs are ideal, as well as fermented foods like pickles and kombucha. Avoid drinking too much coffee or alcohol.
- Reducing Stress – Stress isn't just bad for the mouth; it's harmful to the whole body. Incorporate daily stress management techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and spending time outside.
- Exercising – Not only does exercise reduce stress, but it also has been proven to increase circulatory function. The more blood that flows through the gums and mouth, the healthier the teeth.
Finally, the most important thing you can do for your oral microbiome is to eliminate harsh, harmful oral-care products. Watch out for toothpaste and mouthwash with ingredients like:
- Sodium laurel sulfate (SLS)
- Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sodium saccharin
- Sodium fluoride
- Artificial colors
- Diethanolamine (DEA)
- Propylene glycol
Instead, opt for natural products that gently cleanse your mouth without harming your microbiome.
Make the Switch to Natural, Microbiome-Boosting Dental Care Products
Terra & Co. offers a range of natural, sustainable, and eco-friendly dental products that can help protect your oral microbiome. Shop toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, and more-- featuring clean, non-toxic formulas, natural colors and flavors, and bio-based packaging.
Do good for your mouth and the planet with Terra & Co.