Today these trillions of bacteria that live in or on our bodies are known to play important, beneficial roles in a wide range of biological processes, including resistance to pathogens, regulation of immune function, and energy metabolism.
The human microbiome may have a role in auto-immune diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and perhaps some cancers. A poor mix of microbes in the gut may also aggravate common obesity. Since some of the microbes in the human body can modify the regulation of some neurotransmitters, it may be possible to use certain micro-organisms to supplement treatments for depression, bipolar disorder and other stress-related psychiatric disorders.
The microbes being discussed are generally non-pathogenic (they do not cause disease unless they grow abnormally); they exist in harmony and symbiotically with their hosts. The microbiome and host may have emerged as a unit by the process of integration.
The US Surgeon General said it best in 2000: The mouth is the ‘mirror’ of health and disease in the body. If we think of the gastrointestinal tract as a river, then the mouth is the source of that river. It sets the stage for everything that follows in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as in the whole body.
The mouth has a variety of micro-environments that host different bacterial populations: the tongue, the hard palate, the teeth, around the tooth surfaces, both above and below the gums. 800 species 7,8,9 of aerobic and anaerobic organisms live in the mouth and are organised in biofilm communities. The mouth is the meeting place between the alimentary canal, the immune system, and the outside world, which explains why it’s so important!
Research indicates that gum disease may be associated with several other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke, and more will likely be uncovered. However, saying that two conditions are associated is not the same as saying that one causes the other. For example, studies have shown that more people who have gum disease have or experience one of the conditions mentioned above than people without gum disease. The health of one’s gums is a diagnostic tool. Inflammation of periodontal tissue may indicate inflammation elsewhere. The gums’ sensitivity to hormonal fluctuations may signal an endocrine disruption or imbalance. 10,11
Proper attention to gum health to cure (in the case of gingivitis) or arrest progression of (in the case of periodontitis) gum disease reduces the load on the immune system. Oral bacteria and other microscopic assaults induce the inflammatory response, which increases levels of C-reactive protein (among other proteins) throughout the body. When the threshold of oral bacteria is reduced and infection controlled, the acute immune response in the oral cavity may subside, lowering the levels of inflammation-inducing proteins. Research indicates that lower levels of C-reactive protein lower the risk for cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke.
The delicate balance of bacteria is constantly challenged by stress, medication, illness, exercise, what we eat and drink, how often we’re able to brush, and other environmental factors.
To put it simply, the body is an ecosystem, and like all ecosystems it needs to be balanced. The mouth is no different to any other part of this ecosystem; we need to keep the beneficial micro-organisms while reducing the harmful micro-organisms. When groups of harmful bacteria become dominant we begin to see conditions such as gingivitis, periodontitis and cavities. Sometimes there is no visible oral infection but there may be an odour or unpleasant taste, which are symptoms of halitosis. Bacteria are vital to our health and are beneficial to us if they are controlled through good oral hygiene and dental care.
A balanced oral ecosystem is essential for improved oral health, fresher breath, and whiter teeth. Numerous trials, have shown that supplementation with probiotics can improve overall oral health by rebalancing the bacteria in the mouth. This represents a positive approach versus the common antibacterial approach, and is a more natural, targeted and gentle way to maintain positive oral flora balance.
For five years, Cleanition researched various products that were aimed at improving oral health. BreathActiv was developed, the world’s first and only comprehensive oral probiotic system, and ThroatActiv, an oral probiotic that serves as the first line of defence against ENT infection.
Our scientists study data from healthy microbiomes found in the mouth and compare them with microbiomes found in various periodontal and gingival disease states. By making these comparisons, and combining them with years of expertise in the dental field, we are able to empirically identify variations between the bacterial ecosystems of healthy individuals, and those of affected individuals, identifying the causes of oral diseases.
By isolating the beneficial bacteria, we then create the optimum formulation as supplements containing these microbes, which then deliver the beneficial functions back to the mouth. By establishing and maintaining a healthy oral microbiota, you can improve oral health, freshen breath and whiten teeth safely and effectively.
At Cleanition, we make every effort to bring innovative products to serve the needs of our patients and healthcare providers. Your mouth is the gateway to your body and a healthy mouth keeps you healthy.