The oral microbiome is made up of billions of bacterial organisms which carry out vital functions to keep our mouths healthy. When these organisms work properly, and are in a state of microbial homeostasis, saliva aids in the remineralization of our teeth, our gums are bright and healthy, our teeth look and feel clean, and waste is removed from the surfaces in our mouths. What you can’t see is the clear, protective, odorless film the microbiome creates around the teeth and gums.
In an unhealthy mouth where the microbiome is imbalanced, that film turns into a slimy and odoriferous substance, often referred to as plaque. Though we brush and floss this film away in the mornings and evenings, the pathogens that create it are continually attacking the teeth and gums. Signs of an imbalanced microbiome include persistent bad breath, gums that bleed while brushing and flossing, dental sensitivity, mouth ulcers, and tooth decay.
However, this damage can be reversed when you practice good oral hygiene, eat healthy foods, and manage your stress levels. Here, our team at Well Rooted Dentistry explain how to keep the oral microbiome in optimal condition for long-lasting health.
Qualities of a Good Oral Hygiene Routine
Maintaining microbial homeostasis includes creating good oral hygiene practices and eliminating harmful products. Many oral-care products contain ingredients that actually do more harm than good. Some of these include:
- Sodium laurel sulfate
- Artificial sweeteners
- Artificial dyes
- Propylene glycol
Look through your oral care products to see if they contain any of these ingredients. If they do, switch them out for ones recommended by a holistic dentist.
Once you have the products that support a healthy oral microbiome, follow these oral hygiene guidelines:
- Brush twice a day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or an electronic toothbrush to ensure the tools aren’t damaging the enamel on your teeth. Brush before eating or drinking in the morning and at least 30 minutes after your last meal in the evening.
- Floss daily. Traditional dental floss, picks, water picks, and interdental brushes are an essential part of keeping the bacteria in the mouth balanced and healthy. Pick which product you like best and use it every night before bed.
- Rinse with an alcohol-free mouthwash. An alcohol-free mouthwash targets bad breath, gum disease, and decay without damaging the balance of bacteria in the mouth.
Healthy Foods for a Healthy Oral Microbiome
A good oral hygiene routine won’t make up for unhealthy eating habits. Though it does help ward off decay and disease, it won’t eradicate them.
A healthy, balanced mouth has a pH of 7.5 or higher. At this level, the saliva help remineralize the teeth. To experience this benefit, reduce your intake of acidic foods and incorporate more alkaline-promoting foods into your diet. High-alkaline foods include:
We also recommend limiting sugary and starch-filled foods, drinking more water, and consuming foods that are anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant-rich.
Managing Stress for a Healthy Mouth
What does stress have to do with the oral microbiome of our mouths? High stress levels trigger an inflammatory response throughout the body, including the gums, that causes an imbalance of the oral bacteria. Stress may also reduce saliva production which in turn, leads to periodontal disease and decay.
Stress management could be as simple as exercising regularly, learning a new hobby, or reading for 30 mins a day. Patients who struggle to reduce stress levels on their own should schedule an appointment with their general practitioner.
Holistic Dental Care in Providence, RI
At Well Rooted Dentistry, we believe that oral health is just as important as overall health because one affects the other. Our team is passionate about helping each patient achieve and maintain a healthy mouth through safe, scientifically proven, holistic dental care that utilizes the body’s natural processes.
To schedule an appointment with our experienced dentists, call (401) 533-9680 today. You can also contact us online anytime.