Did you know the wrong mouth bugs can damage your health. What are the links between oral bacteria and health?
Your mouth is the gateway to your body and can affect your overall health. There are more than 6 billion bacteria are present inside the mouth, which basically means you have more bacteria in your mouth than people who make up the Earth’s human population!
Specific bacteria, including Streptococcus mutans, are responsible for tooth decay. In addition, researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons published a study in March showing that there may be oral bacteria that are responsible for accelerating heart disease. Their research showed that Streptococcus gordonii can produce a molecule on its surface that enables it to mimic the human protein fibrinogen, which is a blood-clotting factor.
This activates platelets, the blood cells that are involved in clotting, and causes them to clump inside blood vessels. Platelet clumping can result in growths on the heart valves (endocarditis) or blood vessel inflammation that can block blood supply to the heart or brain.
Your oral bacteria shift with age and health. The microenvironment of the oral cavity changes with age, the eruption or loss of teeth, and the presence of periodontal disease.
Systemic changes, such as pregnancy or drug intake, also alter the number and proportion of flora. These changes are due to changes in the flow, amount and composition of the salivary fluid and in the levels and activity of defence components such as immunoglobulins and cytokines in the saliva. Taking probiotics may help keep the bacterial balance in your body.
Sugar promotes the growth of bacteria and plaque. Bacteria consume sugar from food residue in the mouth and excrete lactic acid, which becomes part of the plaque layer.
Foods to avoid include soft drinks, fruit juice, sticky sweets and lollies. Drink plenty of water between meals instead of soft drink to rinse out food debris and remove bacteria, and eat crunchy vegetables they are like nature’s little flossers.
Bad oral health is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. The relative risk of cardiovascular disease is doubled in people with periodontal disease.
Smoking is a risk factor for periodontal disease. Yet one more reason to quit smoking.
Scraping the tongue is a good way to get rid of excess bacteria, using a tongue scraper daily is a great way to reduce the build-up of excess bacteria in your mouth. Tongue scrapers can be found at many natural food stores or at your dentist’s office.
Washing out the mouth helps reduce bacterial overload. Mouthwash is a remedy that helps control the number of bacteria found in the mouth. In addition to regular mouthwash (look for an alcohol-free one), natural mouthwash can be purchased over-the-counter containing ingredients such as cinnamon oil, clove, tea tree oil, peppermint and spearmint.
And if nothing else is available, gargling with water is better than not washing the mouth out after a meal.
So for a healthy mouth that has the right bugs, eat your veggies, decrease your processed carbohydrates, take your probiotics, quit smoking and reduce your alcohol intake. In addition, brush and floss your teeth, use mouthwash regularly and scrape your tongue every day.