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Understanding the Crucial Link Between Oral Health and Gut Microbiome: Insights from Biological Dentistry


with Dr Mona Board

The connection between oral health and the gut microbiome has increasingly captivated the scientific community in recent years. While seemingly distinct, these two bodily systems share an intricate relationship that significantly impacts overall health and well-being.

The oral cavity serves as an entry point for various microorganisms, some of which find their way into the digestive system, affecting the gut microbiome. The mouth houses a diverse array of bacteria, with some studies suggesting that poor oral hygiene and certain oral diseases can lead to an imbalance in these microbial communities. The imbalance, in turn, may contribute to dysbiosis in the gut, disrupting its delicate microbial equilibrium.

Research, such as a notable 2018 study published in Genome Biology, has highlighted the intricate interplay between oral and gut health. This study identified specific bacterial strains present in both the oral cavity and the gut, suggesting a potential route for the transmission of oral bacteria to the digestive system. This transmission might influence the gut microbiota’s composition and functionality.

Moreover, a landmark study conducted by the University of Michigan suggested a link between periodontal disease—an oral inflammatory condition—and gut health. The study found that the bacteria associated with periodontal disease could impact the gut microbiome, potentially contributing to gastrointestinal inflammation.

Dentist Byron Bay The Health Lodge

The gut microbiome plays a pivotal role in various bodily functions, including digestion, immune system regulation, and even mental health. Disruptions in its balance have been associated with a range of conditions, from gastrointestinal disorders to metabolic diseases and mental health issues.

An imbalance in the gut microbiome, influenced by poor oral health, can lead to a compromised immune system. This can trigger systemic inflammation and increase susceptibility to various diseases. For instance, research published in the Journal of Dental Research in 2020 highlighted the potential link between oral dysbiosis and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), emphasizing the need for further exploration into this intricate relationship.

However, it’s important to note that while correlations exist, causation isn’t definitively established. More research is needed to fully comprehend the mechanisms by which oral health impacts the gut microbiome and overall health. Nonetheless, these findings underscore the significance of maintaining good oral hygiene practices as a means to support not just oral health, but potentially broader systemic well-being.

In conclusion, the link between oral health and the gut microbiome is an intriguing area of study with promising implications for overall health. Studies examining this relationship have unveiled correlations between poor oral health and disruptions in gut microbial composition, emphasizing the potential impact on systemic health. Continued research in this field could pave the way for innovative approaches to enhance health through holistic management of oral and gut microbial ecosystems.

Dr Mona Board earned her Bachelor of Dental surgery at Kings college, London in 2002. She went on to work in London, Geneva and Singapore. She has honed her diagnostic and clinical skills over the years and is of the opinion that dentistry is not just about the mouth and teeth.

She takes a holistic approach to her work and is interested in the root cause of patients’ ailments, helping them work their way to optimal dental health. Sometimes dental problems may be part of a bigger picture, equally disease elsewhere in the body may be from a dental root cause.

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