Swellness Blog


Connection Between Gut and Oral Health

wellness Jan 15, 2024
connection between gut and oral health

Photo by Shiny Diamond

Your dentist likely recommends brushing and flossing as the primary ways to protect your oral health. Although those are excellent ways to maintain your dental well-being, understanding the interconnectedness of your body is equally crucial. Read this guide to learn the surprising connections between your gut and oral health. You’ll take care of yourself more effectively if you understand your microbiomes.

What Is a Microbiome?

A microbiome is a community of microorganisms like bacteria, viruses or fungi. They can exist on or inside the human body. The mouth and the gut have two separate microbiomes that constantly interact, affecting your dental health if one unbalances the other.

Why Does the Mouth Have a Microbiome?

Your mouth is constantly coming into contact with substances from outside the body. It interacts with bacteria and microorganisms when someone chews on their fingers, eats with their hands or simply drinks from a glass.

Microorganisms gather in the mouth for various purposes — some help with digestion, while others contribute to oral disease. Researchers have found over 250 types of bacteria in the human mouth.

What Is the Gut Microbiome?

The gut microbiome is a community of microorganisms that break down food and fight or contribute to gut disease, depending on the biome makeup. When it becomes imbalanced, you might experience more gas or uncomfortable symptoms because your body can’t effectively digest what it contains.


Photo by Ella Olsson

Connections Between Gut and Oral Health

Although these two biomes have internal organs separating them, they affect each other in various ways. These surprising connections between your gut and oral health could influence how you care for your body.

1. Your Diet Impacts Your Tooth Strength

The foods and beverages in your diet can strengthen or weaken your gut health. If they cause an imbalance in your microbiome, your immune system loses strength because it doesn’t have the energy to produce antibodies. Fewer antibodies mean bacteria can replicate more freely anywhere, including the mouth.

Excessive amounts of bacteria cause tooth decay when left to fester. Though you can always use floss to prevent plaque buildup and stop rot, bacteria will continue to thrive if your immune system is weak.

Foods with probiotics and prebiotics help strengthen a healthier connection between your gut and oral health. Options like kefir, yogurt and pickles are great places to start. Explore the possibilities with new recipes to see which gut-supporting — and, therefore, tooth-supporting — treats are your favorite.

2. Oral Bacteria Travels to the Gut

Bacteria doesn’t stay in your mouth forever. Every meal and drink washes some down your throat. You even swallow bacteria when managing your continual saliva. Since it’s impossible to prevent, oral bacteria eventually affect your gut.

When the oral bacteria overwhelms an unbalanced gut microbiome, it’s particularly effective at causing gut inflammation. Keeping oral bacteria at bay with a daily dental routine is the best way to ensure this doesn’t happen.

3. Stomach Acid Can Harm Your Teeth

Acid reflux sometimes occurs when your esophagus loses the tension keeping it closed, allowing stomach acid to reverse into the throat. The uncomfortable burning isn’t just unpleasant. It can also burn through your enamel if it reaches your teeth.

Excessive gut bacteria produce more gas, which can cause bubbles that pressure the esophagus into opening. Whether the acid lingers in the back of your throat or causes vomiting, it can result in tooth decay.

Consider battling this unfortunate experience by replacing highly acidic foods or drinks with healthy alternatives. Trying new things in the kitchen improves a person’s mental health by making life more fun. It’s a simple and effective way to protect your well-being and prevent acid reflux while working on your microbiomes.

How to Improve Your Overall Health

Target your gut and oral health simultaneously by implementing tips like these. You’ll improve your long-term quality of life and potentially avoid dental disease that starts with unbalanced microbiomes.

1. Enjoy More Fermented Foods

There are numerous ways to fortify your gut and oral microbiomes. You could talk with your doctor about starting a daily probiotic supplement, but they may require extra room in your monthly budget. Instead of finding that space right now, you could swap a few of your regular meals for fermented foods.

Fermented foods have numerous health benefits because they feed the gut microbiome. Options like kombucha fight disease with antioxidants, eliminating free radicals that could turn into oral health conditions.

When fermented food strengthens your gut health, your body can digest nutrients and maintain your immune system. You’ll have the energy to keep up with your dental health while your body battles bacteria.

2. Practice a Daily Dental Routine

Your daily dental routine can strengthen or weaken your oral microbiome. Brushing twice a day removes bacteria before it can build up. Flossing prevents plaque buildup, which signals an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, too.

Using mouthwash at least once a day can also boost your oral health. The liquid will kill bacteria as it swishes around your mouth. Just ensure your preferred product has positive reviews from dental organizations. Options like Chlorhexidine have prescription approval for short-term use but can cause some bacteria to grow because it doesn’t kill every type of bacterium in a person’s mouth.

3. Visit Your Dentist Twice a Year

Talk with your dentist if you have any questions about your dental routine or oral microbiome. They’ll likely recommend you visit them twice a year for standard cleanings and inspections. Your dentist can catch any problems developing from poor oral health before they become a concern, recommending options like changing your diet or dental hygiene to support your mouth more effectively.

Balance Your Gut and Oral Health

Sometimes, people don’t realize the surprising connection between their gut and oral health can affect their body in numerous ways. Keep an eye out for issues like plaque buildup, acid reflux or other signs of overabundant bacteria. You can make these positive changes to your daily routine alongside any recommendations from your dentist to reverse or prevent issues.