When it comes to preventive health, a lot of focus is given to gut health: looking after gut microbiomes with the intake of more probiotics. But there is not just one microbiome in the body to think about. Granted, the gut microbiome is indeed the largest in the human body, but there is also the mouth microbiome, skin microbiome, etc.
Second to the gut microbiome in terms of size, is the mouth microbiome that houses an astounding array of 700 different kinds of bacteria and viruses. In supporting this type of microbiome extravaganza, it is no wonder then that a dentist St John’s Wood can make insightful assumptions about the state of a patient’s overall health just by having a look at the patient’s tongue. From its shape and colour to texture and even coating, there is much the tongue can reveal about the patient’s risk profile to certain life-threatening diseases including heart disease and diabetes.
The bacteria that exist in the mouth microbiome consist of both the good and bad kinds. When there is an imbalance of more bad than good, then the resulting inflammation can cause all sorts of problems. When a patient suffers from chronic inflammation, his or her immune system can exhaust itself fighting against an overwhelming influx of bad bacteria. A worn out immune system then becomes less effective against an invasion of undesirable aggressors from external sources.
The question that then arises is: how can we keep the mouth microbiome in balance? Oral care is more than just ensuring you smile a bright smile. It is also about protecting mouth microbiomes by implementing all the pro dental health behaviour recommended by dental authorities.
Determinants of pro dental health behaviour
The very first determinant of good oral health practice is good dental hygiene – daily brushing (once in the morning and then again at night) and flossing of teeth and gums. When taking the time out to implement this obligatory practice, it is essential that proper dental tools and techniques are used to ensure one’s efforts are effective.
For instance, brushing for less than two minutes does not provide the same level of cleanliness as two or more minutes does. Also, dental experts recommend gentle circular strokes with a soft-bristled toothbrush as this is kinder on the gums. What type of toothpaste one uses is important too as some brands can be too abrasive and damage enamel.
Eating healthily, too, is considered a critical part of pro dental health behaviour. Consuming sugar-laden foods and beverages too frequently can boost the volume of bad bacteria in the mouth. Bad oral bacteria thrive on sugars and acids that are commonly found in these sugary foods and drinks.
Any patient focused on dental health will not skip out on their scheduled check-up appointments with their dental practitioner. Even if one pays close attention to the previous two determinants, the knowing and practised eye of a dental professional is still required to reliably confirm that all is well with one’s oral health and that there are no worrying signs that foretell an oral health issue down the line.