Your mouth houses a community of bacteria (microbiome) that contributes to a healthy body. Oral microbiome imbalance occurs when bacteria goes haywire, disrupting the balance in the oral ecosystem by producing acids damaging the teeth's protective enamel. Furthermore, these pathogens destroy tissues supporting the teeth leading to gum diseases.
The number of microorganisms present in our body can be compared to our cells—the oral cavity houses more than 700 species of bacteria. The oral microbiome is defined as the collective genome of microorganisms that reside in the oral cavity. Its function is to transport minerals from the saliva to remineralise the teeth and molecular oxygen to the soft tissues. They play a critical role in various physiologic, metabolic and immunologic functions from digestion, energy generation, fat storage, detoxification, protection, and the balance between inflammatory processes. It also protects us from external pathogens preventing invasion and disease growth.
The oral ecosystem balance changes rapidly with the oral microbiome's activity and composition—factors include a change in the pH level, diets and interactions among the bacteria. Microorganism in the oral cavity has a symbiotic relationship. Imbalance happens when commensalism is broken, causing infection.
Common Causes of Oral Microbiome Imbalance
- High sugar diet
Sugar is the leading food of oral pathogens. Glucose, fructose, sucrose undergoes glycolysis, converting them to acids. Streptococcus mutans that cause dental caries use sucrose to build its capsule used to stick to the teeth's surface while producing lactic acid, which causes an immediate decrease in the PH level, making the saliva more acidic. This acid, in turn, dissolves teeth enamel that leads to teeth tooth erosion.
Here are some foods that cause enamel erosion:
- Hard and sticky candies and alike
- Citrus fruit (excessive citrus fruit intake can lead to enamel erosion owing to its high acid content)
- Carbohydrate-rich food. Carbohydrates break down into sugar that metabolises into acids causing cavities.
- Coffee and tea. These beverages are highly acidic and stain teeth.
- Soda, fruit juices and sports drinks all have high sugar content with an acidic pH.
- 2. Stress
A study shows that people with more significant perceived stress are reported to have poor oral hygiene. Stress, anxiety and depression decrease saliva production, which is critical in maintaining a balanced oral microbiome. Saliva has a protective effect on teeth preventing tooth decay. Research shows that individuals with an increased saliva flow rate are directly proportional to an increase in pH level, calcium and phosphorus concentrations, increased aldolase activity and O2 uptake of bacteria and high general antibacterial activity.
How to Maintain a Balanced Microbiome
You are what you eat. Consuming a healthy and balanced diet is an essential contributing factor in maintaining a balance in the mouth and the entire body. Eating alkaline, antioxidant rich food helps to maintain a neutral body pH level. These include organic fruits, vegetables and meat products. Organically grown produce also contains a higher amount of flavonoids that have antioxidant property.
Eat and drink acidic food in moderation, for these help in keeping a healthy body.
- Limit sugar intake
Sugar is dubbed as a silent killer that we regularly consume. It is everywhere that you need to be mindful of your sugar consumption. Note that artificial sweetener also contributes to oral microbiome imbalance.
Exercise is a proven way to relieve stress and helps with body detoxification. Exercise also helps increase blood flow with increased oxygen intake, improving immunologic functions. Exercise promotes an increase in dentinal tubular flow, which prevents tooth decay formation.
- Oral hygiene
Practice good dental hygiene to maintain a healthy oral ecosystem. American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Floss daily to remove decay causing-bacteria in between teeth. However, there are cases when brushing and flossing is not enough.
Food consumption is part of our lives, similar to living with microorganisms. Maintaining balanced oral microbiome results from not just one factor but a trifecta of nutrition, exercise and proper dental hygiene. Killing harmful microorganism before it makes its way to the roots is the most effective way in preventing oral diseases saving us from pain and costly treatments.
One way to maintain a balanced oral ecosystem is to use antibacterial photodynamic therapy (aPDT) used in Lumoral.
Lumoral in Maintaining a Healthy Oral Ecosystem
Lumoral is the first photodynamic method that you can use at home. Lumorinse has been developed to easily attach to dental plaque. In this way, the antibacterial effect can be targeted to the desired area, and the normal oral bacterial flora remains undisturbed. The antibacterial blue light of the device works in the same way as traditional photodynamic therapy, but it uses internal bacterial dyes, porphyrins and flavins as the photosensitising molecules. The interaction between Lumoral's photodynamic therapy and antibacterial blue light has been shown to be very effective against harmful oral bacteria, and no bacterial resistance is developed against this interaction, even with repeated use.
Upgrade your oral hygiene to a professional level.
Lumoral is a professional-level personal oral hygiene device that can be used in the comfort of your own home. It is certified by the Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia (TGA), meeting Australian standards of quality, safety and efficacy. It prevents gum inflammation and eliminates unhealthy bacteria with regular use. Use Lumoral 10 minutes twice a week to take your oral health to a new level.
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