A Dentist on the Gut Health Oral Hygiene Connection

Essentially, the human body is a collection of systems. While everyone plays a unique role, nothing exists in a vacuum. Every system relies on the other to function optimally. That’s why, as digestive health gains increasing mainstream attention, the relationship between gut health and oral hygiene is attracting further attention both within and outside the medical community. In other words: To feel your best, the connection between gut health and oral hygiene should be a top priority.

This process, also known as the oral-gut axis, defines the movement of microorganisms from the mouth to the gut. As dentist, orthodontist, and orthodontic orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kami Hoss points out, this process “happens with every swallow and can impact gut health.”

Featured image is from our interview with Mary Ralph Bradley.

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Learn about the connection between gut health and oral hygiene

While gut information is becoming more widely available and accessible, public understanding of the oral microbiome is lacking. To learn more about this profound and impactful exchange, I spoke with Dr. Hawes about all things gut health and oral hygiene.

Next, learn everything you need to know about gut health and oral hygiene, including how the two systems interact, symptoms of optimal gut and oral microbiome function, and protecting and prioritizing gut and oral health Five tips.

PhD.We are House

PhD.We are House

Dr. Kami Hoss is a dentist, orthodontist and dental plastic surgeon with 24 years of dental experience. Together with their wife, Dr. Nazli Keri, they founded Super Dentist. Their practice is one of the largest multi-specialty dental practices in Southern California. Dr. Hawes is the author of the #1 national bestseller If Your Mouth Could Talk.

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What is the microbiome?

The term gut microbiome is often used because it plays into the popular health zeitgeist, but little is known about what it is and the profound ways it affects body function. The microbiome is the collection of all microorganisms in a specific environment. Although the oral and intestinal microbiomes are independent systems, they work together to serve as important buffers for the body to filter environmental inputs.

Why the oral-gut axis should be a top consideration

“Although less well known than the gut microbiome, the oral microbiome is the complex community of billions of microorganisms that live in the mouth,” Dr. Hawes noted. Among them, he lists the bacteria, fungi and viruses that inhabit different oral structures. Think: teeth, gums, and tongue. Of course, the mouth is the first place where food is processed. Therefore, “these microbes play a key role not only in how we digest food,” but also in how our bodies defend themselves against pathogens.

While many people consider cavities and gum disease to be symptoms of poor oral health, the impact of a compromised oral microbiome may be even greater. Dr. Hawes explains that because the oral microbiome directly affects “overall digestive health and systemic health,” we must prioritize oral hygiene.

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The relationship between the oral microbiota and the gut

“A healthy oral microbiome enhances gut microbial diversity,” Dr. Hawes said. But the opposite is also true – an imbalance can “introduce pathogens into the gut, disrupt its function, and potentially lead to gastrointestinal problems.”

Because these systems are deeply intertwined and embedded in the overall functioning of our bodies, a weakened gut microbiome can also negatively impact the mouth. Dr. Hawes cited symptoms such as gum disease and tooth decay, which “underscore the bidirectional nature of the mouth-gut relationship.”

Signs of digestive health in the mouth

A healthy or damaged digestive system can be visibly reflected in the mouth, helping to pinpoint possible problem areas.

Indicators of good oral and gut health include:

  • Fresh breath
  • Lack of chronic gingival inflammation
  • Strong teeth without excess plaque
  • Very low incidence of tooth decay

“These are signs that the mouth is effectively fulfilling its role as the entry point to the digestive system, maintaining the proper microbial balance, and that the initial breakdown of food is proceeding smoothly,” adds Dr. Hawes.

Conversely, signs that gut health is negatively impacting the mouth include:

  • Persistent halitosis (bad breath)
  • Often tooth decay
  • Inflamed gums
  • Presence of oral lesions or ulcers

“These problems may indicate an imbalance or infection within the gut microbiome, highlighting the systemic link between gut health and oral conditions,” Dr. Hawes noted.

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7 Ways to Protect Your Gut Health and Oral Hygiene

As with many things in general health, maintaining good gut health and oral hygiene requires a holistic approach. Dr. Hawes encourages the following habits to ensure both systems are functioning optimally. “By integrating these practices,” he notes, “including the use of carefully selected products like SuperMouth, you can ensure better oral and gut health, reflecting a more balanced microbial environment throughout the body.”

  • Eat a balanced, high-fiber diet to support a healthy microbiome.
  • Practice strict oral hygiene and get regular dental checkups.
  • Stay hydrated to ensure adequate saliva production, which helps control oral bacteria.
  • Choose your oral care products wisely: For example, SuperMouth toothpaste and mouthwash are formulated with ingredients like nanohydroxyapatite and prebiotics, and avoid harsh preservatives and essential oils that wreak havoc on oral microbes and destroy them. Oral microbiome.
  • Limit the use of antibiotics and products containing aggressive antibacterial agents, including herbs such as peppermint, eucalyptus and tea tree oil, which can harm beneficial bacteria.
  • Manage stress as it affects the microbiome and immune system.
  • Reduce your intake of sugary and acidic foods to reduce the risk of bacterial overgrowth that can be harmful to your oral and intestinal health.
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