Let’s bring some awareness to the health of our mouth and how it can impact our overall health. Just as we have a gut microbiome (and several other biomes for that matter) that needs tending to, we also have an oral microbiome that requires care.
Without proper oral hygiene, the balance of good to bad bacteria can become skewed leading to tooth decay and gum disease.
Several studies have shown links between poor oral health and various illnesses including cardio vascular disease and bacterial pneumonia.
But why does this matter when we speak of a cancer? It’s because poor oral hygiene can lead to chronic inflammation. And chronic inflammation can underpin many diseases including cancer. Note this excerpt from the abstract entitled: Poor periodontal health: A cancer risk?
Periodontitis (a chronic infection that affects the gums and the bones that support the teeth), characterized by epithelial proliferation and migration, results in a chronic release of inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, prostaglandins, and enzymes, all of which are associated with cancer development
The pathway, in fact, is fairly straight-forward. C-reative proteins are released by the liver when toxic oral bacteria enter our circulatory system. This ignites the inflammatory response and if left unattended percolates as chronic inflammation.
Now not all inflammation is bad. In fact, inflammation is a necessary part of our immune system.(I have written a blog about the inflammatory response called “5 Foods that Help Fight Chronic Inflammation. You can read it here.) But chronic inflammation does us no good.
So achieving oral health is an extremely important part of prevention and is very important during active cancer. And it’s all about promoting balance among the bacteria in your mouth.
5 Tips for achieving a healthy oral biome
Avoid Anti-Bacterial mouth washes
Anti-bacterial mouth washes throw the baby out with the bath water by killing both the good and bad bacteria in your mouth. Want to freshen your breath? Chew on some parsley.
Brush your teeth twice daily
Brushing your teeth twice a day helps to remove plaque, avoid cavities and prevent tooth and gum disease.
Flossing gets in to those hard to reach places that your tooth brush can’t. As with tooth brushing, flossing helps to remove plaque, avoid cavities and prevent tooth and gum disease.
Have your teeth cleaned and checked regularly
Your dentist and hygienist are the batman and robin of oral health. See them regularly!
Eat a healthy diet
Your mouth benefits as much as anywhere else by eating a healthy diet that full of fruits & vegetables and imited in processed foods & sugars. Without a healthy diet your teeth and gums are susceptible to disease.
Chronic inflammation can increase risk for cancer
Tips for caring for your oral biome
Avoid antibacterial mouth washes
Brush your teeth twice daily
Have your teeth cleaned regularly
Consider Oral Probiotics