I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Shanny Chang and her team recently at Junction Family Dental Care. She shares a holistic view on oral health. She may likely recommend a probiotic once an antibiotic is prescribed. Forward thinking, check. I am thankful that our offices are in the same neighbourhood. Dr. Chang shared with us the following information on Bacteria and Oral health.
Similar to your gut, your mouth is home to many different types of bacteria. Some of these bacteria are beneficial to your mouth and cause no problems at all while others can cause significant disruption to your teeth, gums, bone, and overall health. Several factors influence the type of bacteria that live, grow, and flourish in your mouth. pH cavity causing bacteria are known as “acidophiles” which are acid loving bacteria. The more acidic your saliva, the more cavity causing bacteria can grow and cause havoc to your teeth. Repeated exposure of your mouth to sugar, acidic foods, and acidic beverages will all contribute to an acidic mouth. As acidophiles grow in significant numbers, they can further contribute to anacidic mouth (because they produce acid as they breakdown their food – sugar) and disrupt the growth of the normal (good) bacteria. Certain foods are known to be naturally “alkaline” (high pH) and “acidic” (low pH).
Foods should be chosen wisely in order to help regulate the pH of your mouth. Natural options such as the implementation of Xylitol and baking soda in your oral hygiene regimen can prove to be beneficial to reduce the acid challenge in your mouth. Periodontal disease causing bacteria love anerobic (oxygen hating) environments and thrive in deep pockets formed between the tooth and the gums. Additionally, if plaque (bacteria on the teeth) is not removed thoroughly from the tooth surface, the bacteria start to layer on top of each other. This creates oxygen poor environments at the bottom of the pile creating the opportunity for anaerobic bacteria to establish. Once established, they begin to outcompete the good bacteriaand take over. This contributes to inflammation, periodontal disease, tooth loss, and development of other systemic inflammatory disorders such as diabetes, stroke, pregnancy complications, Alzheimer’s disease, and a host of other issues. Visiting your dentist regularly to clean the deep pockets with oxygen rich solution, remove thick plaque and tartar underneath the gums, and coach you in a proper plaque removal regimen specific for you and your teeth is imperative to achieve an oxygen rich environment in your mouth. Similar to your gut, your mouth can benefit from the introduction of good bacteria. The good bacteria will establish themselves in your mouth and crowd out the bad bacteria – changing the environment in your mouth. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology found the introduction of Lactobacillus reuteri probiotics by a lozenge could be a useful adjunct to regular dental cleanings to help manage gum disease. Talk to your family dentist to see if this is a possibility for you!