What to know about your oral microbiome and why you should care?

So what is the Oral Microbiome?

The Oral Microbiome is a community of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other organisms that live in your mouth. When talking about the oral microbiome, we are mostly talking about bacteria since it has been the most widely studied. There are over 700 different bacterial species that live within your mouth. They attach to your teeth, tongue, palate, cheeks, gums, throat, and are definitely in your saliva. Society has been accustomed to thinking that all bacteria are bad. But this really isn’t true. Bacteria are essential to different functions within the mouth - from helping to break down foods for digestion to aiding in remineralization of tooth surfaces. It is only when the bacteria get out of balance that issues like bleeding gums, tooth decay, or bad breath occur. Out of balance means that some bacteria, which are usually kept in check at low levels, become overabundant and take over. And when these disruptive bacteria take over, they end up pushing out some of the beneficial bacteria.

So how does this happen?

There are 4 major components that can alter the oral microbiome.

#1 Product Choice

Did you know that the products we use can disrupt your oral microbiome? Mouthwashes are a huge culprit since they usually wipe out all bacteria in our mouth, not just the main offenders. Toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or other detergents can destroy the microbiome and interrupt its normal functions.

#2 Diet

A diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates is the perfect environment for some bacteria that cause tooth decay. These bacteria create an acidic environment and allow for other acid-loving bacteria to proliferate. Take away their food supply (sugar) and they can’t do their job of creating holes in your teeth. But remember, these bacteria are harmless when they are in balance.

#3 Lifestyle

Smoking, stress, and exercise can all impact your oral microbiome. Smoking is known to create an anaerobic environment which is ideal for bacteria that cause gum disease. Added stress can also impact your oral microbiome by causing a shift in the way the bacteria function which mimics gum disease and can trigger inflammation. Exercise boosts circulation and stimulates your saliva which improves the diversity of bacteria within your oral microbiome.

#4 Oral Hygiene

Brushing and flossing are crucial for disrupting the bacteria that have started to accumulate on tooth surfaces and gums. If the bacteria are not removed, they can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

So how can you tell if your oral microbiome is balanced?

If you currently have tooth decay, bleeding gums, gum disease or bad breath, those are all signs that your oral microbiota is not in balance. But if you don’t have any of those dental issues, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are in the clear. Your oral microbiome might be headed in that direction without you ever knowing. You could have elevated levels of disruptive bacteria, low levels of beneficial bacteria, or a combination of both. Knowing if your oral microbiome is balanced is the best way to be proactive about your oral health.

How can I test my mouth biome?

The peri oral biome test is your first step to help you understand and improve your oral health. It’s a simple, at-home saliva test that uncovers the essential bacteria present in your oral microbiome. We take a deep dive into key bacteria that are responsible for gum disease, cavities, and even measure the key protective bacteria too. Your personalized report shows your oral health scores and personalized recommendations on products, diet and lifestyle, and oral hygiene. Once you review your results, you will be able to understand your oral biome health and take steps to become a healthier you.

About Dr. Kantor

Alexandra Kantor is a prominent dentist and entrepreneur, known for her contributions to the dental industry. With over 10 years experience as a practicing dentist, she has gained a deep understanding of her patient's oral health and overall well-being. In 2022, Dr. Kantor founded peri, an at-home saliva test that specializes in analyzing key bacteria within the mouth. Dr. Kantor holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Indiana School of Dentistry and is dedicated to promoting oral health through advanced technology.