Your Health Starts with Your Mouth
Our mouth is an important part of our body that we often overlook. Our mouth or oral cavity is the gateway to our respiratory tract, digestive tract and is connected to our sinuses, nose, and ears. The oral cavity is host to billions of beneficial and pathogenic bacteria and has its microbiome,1,2 just like the rest of the digestive tract. The bacterial strains and populations vary along with the digestive system, so probiotics that benefit our small and large intestines may not benefit our oral cavity. Poor dental health is associated with increased inflammation, poor diet, disability, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory diseases and infection.3 Maintaining good oral health is vital for overall well-being.
Streptococcus salivary K12 is a bacterial strain that has gained attention regarding oral health. It is the predominant bacterial strain that rules our oral microbiome.1 S. salivary K12 helps re-establish a healthy microbiome through re-inoculation as well as preventing pathogenic bacteria from colonizing the oral cavity and nasopharynx. It deters pathogens by producing bacteriocin-like inhibitory substances (BLIS) including lantibioticssalivaricin A2 and salivaricin B. These lantibiotics have been supported to defend against Streptococcus pyogenes and many more bacterial infections. S. pyogenes is the bacteria species responsible for strep throat.1 Strain K12 can be easily added to your oral health routine by using AOR Breath Biotics chewable lozenges or chewing Prairie Naturals Probiotic Gum after brushing.
Heart and Lung Health
We all get a bad breath in the morning and some of us battle with this more than others. Bacteria is the cause of bad breath, also known as halitosis. Halitosis causes embarrassment and affects social interactions, but did you know that it could be the result of an underlying disease? Halitosis is positively correlated with periodontitis, or infection of the gums and gum disease1, which is also positively correlated to cardiovascular and respiratory disease.3 Luckily, periodontitis and cardiovascular risk can be managed with proper oral hygiene and controlling the oral cavity microbiome.
There is an estimated 50% increase in cardiovascular disease and respiratory mortality seen in those with tooth loss due to periodontal disease, dry mouth, and/or accumulating dental problems.3 There are various lifestyle factors we can do to decrease cardiovascular risk and inflammation. These include smoking cessation, weight management, a balanced wholesome diet, reduced red meat consumption, etc. Decreasing inflammation significantly reduces cardiovascular risk. S. salivaris K12 has immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory actions through downregulation of specific cytokine pathways which decreases systemic inflammation caused by periodontal disease.1
Oil pulling is a technique that alters the bacterial composition of our oral mucosa. Oil pulling consists of swishing one tablespoon of cold-pressed sunflower oil, sesame oil, or the more popular, coconut oil, for 20 minutes and forcing the oil between the teeth. I recommend starting with 5 minutes and working your way up because it’s hard work for your jaw muscles. In the end, the oil is spat out into the garbage (since oil clogs drain) being mindful not to swallow this oil as it contains all the bad bacteria and toxins from your mouth. The oil will appear milky or frothy due to the oil emulsification that occurs during pulling. The emulsification is necessary to increase the surface area of the oil to effectively remove plaque, prevent plaque formation, prevent pathogenic bacterial accumulation, and decrease inflammation. Oil pulling prevents dental caries, gingivitis, oral candidiasis, and periodontitis, reduces tooth pain, and ameliorates oral hygiene.2
Healthy Mouth Tips
- Floss daily
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily after meals
- Use an SLS free toothpaste that respects your oral microbiome
- Use toothpaste with xylitol to reduce the risk of dental caries and dry mouth
- Brush or gently scrape your tongue daily
- Rinse with a mouth wash that respects your oral microbiome
- Visit your dentist for regular check-ups every 6 months
Other lifestyle additions we can do for our mouth health are drinking enough water, eating a balanced whole food diet, getting enough sleep, and breathing through our nose. Come visit your nearest Nature’s Source or Nature’s Signature to see our wide selection of natural toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste, mouth wash, and tongue scrapers to brush up on your oral hygiene.
- Zupancic K, Kriksic V, Kovacevic I, Kovacevic D. Influence of Oral Probiotic Streptococcus salivarius K12 on Ear and Oral Cavity Health in Humans: Systematic Review. Probiotics Antimicrob Proteins. 2017;9(2):102-110. doi:10.1007/s12602-017-9261-2
- Shanbhag VKL. Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene – A review. J Tradit Complement Med. 2017;7(1):106-109. doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2016.05.004
- Kotronia E, Brown H, Papacosta AO, et al. Oral health and all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory mortality in older people in the UK and USA. Sci Rep. 2021;11(1):1-10. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-95865-z