What Is Your Oral Microbiome? And 4 Ways To Take Care Of It
By Melissa Fine, GoodnessMe Nutritionist & Product Advisor
We’ve all heard about the gut microbiome, but what about all the microorganisms chilling out in your mouth? Home to more than 700 bacteria species of bacteria, the oral cavity (which includes the lips, cheeks, and the front two-thirds of the tongue) comes second to the gut for having the ‘largest and [most] diverse microbiota.’
Affecting so much more than oral health, a dysbiosis or imbalance of bacteria in the oral cavity can have a systemic effect, extending to other parts of the body and throwing them out of whack.
So what can you do to nourish your oral microbiome?
Here are 4 simple practices to help your oral microbiome thrive so that it safeguards - rather than intrudes on - your overall health.
1. Try a probiotic toothpaste
No longer limited to capsules and yoghurts, today probiotics are being added to everything from snack bars and protein powders to oral hygiene products, like Gem’s non-toxic toothpaste; not only is this premium toothpaste pretty enough to display in your bathroom (check out that pastel packaging), it’s also the first toothpaste in Australia to be enriched with probiotics.
Lactobacillus Salivarius may sound like a Harry Potter spell, but it’s actually the probiotic strain in Gem toothpaste, working to keep the bad bacteria out of your mouth, and the good bacteria in...and you get to try it first because it’s in this month’s Health Box.
2. Skip the added sugars... and eat your veggies
A diet high in added sugars and refined carbohydrates (like white flour) leaves little room for veggies, a double whammy for your oral microbiome. In early findings from the Victorian Oral Microbiome and Lifestyle Study of 1,450 participants (mostly adults), those with high carb intakes demonstrated lower microbe diversity in their saliva. 88% of participants reported they didn’t meet the recommended veggie intake of five serves per day and 30% said they had one or fewer serves of veg daily. Just like the gut microbiome, the oral microbiome relies on a diverse wholefood diet to thrive.
3. Give oil pulling a go
This ancient Ayurvedic practice involves swishing an edible oil in your mouth before spitting it out, like you would mouthwash. Although more research is needed, preliminary studies demonstrate that when teamed with brushing, flossing, and routine dental checkups, oil pulling has the potential to improve oral hygiene in more ways than one - reducing everything from undesirable bacteria and plaque buildup to gingivitis (gum inflammation) and ‘halitosis’ - AKA bad breath. See for yourself with these oil pulling sachets which you'll find on the GoodnessMe Shop!
4. Floss Like a Boss
You don’t need us to tell you that you should be flossing daily. Keep your oral microbiome in check with Gem’s planet-friendly floss: made with biodegradable plant-based candelilla wax and calming coconut oil, now you have no excuse not to floss.
Main image via: @gem_kind