The benefits of good oral hygiene are much more involved than many people realize, and our oral health can affect our bodies in some unexpected ways. How do you know if your oral hygiene plan is enough and the benefits of having good oral health?
Oral Health is Important to the Body
Humans are made of more bacterial cells than anything else, and many of those cells live in the mouth and the digestive tract. Having a healthy biome in the mouth can provide many oral health benefits, but these bacteria also help the body.
Bacteria were first seen back in the mid-19th century with the invention of the microscope. The bacterial colonies of the mouth have been well studied due to the extreme ease of obtaining samples present in saliva. Scientists were soon able to observe, on a microscopic level, what a healthy mouth biome looked like and how it functioned.
A Delicate Balance
Hundreds of different types of bacteria live in the mouth, and keeping those bacteria in proper balance is a delicate process. This balance can be upset by taking certain medications or eating an unhealthy diet rich in fats and sugars.
When the mouth biome is out of balance, this can lead to bad breath and tooth decay, but the effects on the body can be catastrophic. The bacteria in the mouth begins the process of digesting food. Still, certain bacteria assist our bodies with the metabolism of specific vitamins by breaking them down into a form that the body can use.
Poor oral care kills off some of the bacteria’s beneficial strains, resulting in a lack of biome diversity. A more diverse mouth biome contains bacteria that assist the body with fighting inflammation, infection, and a wide array of diseases. When the mouth is healthy, the body will also be healthy.
Steps to Develop a Healthy Mouth
Developing a healthy mouth biome begins with eliminating products that can harm the bacterial balance. Sodium fluoride, sodium laurel sulfate, artificial colors, and sweeteners are common ingredients in dental care products and can negatively impact the balance in the mouth biome. Regularly rinsing with harsh mouthwashes will destroy both the good and bad bacteria in the mouth as well.
A Healthy Diet is Important
Good oral health is dependent on a healthy diet full of nutrient-dense foods. Fermented foods like yogurt and kombucha contain strains of beneficial bacteria that help the digestive system do its job of breaking down foods and keeping the immune system strong. Many individuals have had success with using oil pulling to increase their oral health. Using unrefined coconut oil for oil pulling will add to oral bacterial diversity and possibly decrease inflammation.
A robust immune system keeps the body healthy and well. The importance of water in a healthy diet cannot be overstated. Water is needed to power all processes in the body and is essential to digestion and elimination.
Maintaining Good Oral Health
Daily brushing and flossing of the teeth are also crucial to good oral hygiene. The warm, moist environment of the mouth is an ideal place for bacteria, both good and bad, to flourish. The teeth, gums, and tongue provide many hiding places for bacteria to thrive. A professional cleaning twice a year will help the mouth stay healthy.