Oral microbiome: what is it and why it matters

Last updated: 2 August 2022

Meet your oral microbiome, learn its function, and discover how it can help you on your journey towards a better, healthier you.


 

The mouth is one of the most complex places in our bodies. It is the second most diverse habitat in the human body next to the gut microbiome, and it harbours over 800 different microbial species!

These species perform vital functions to help keep our mouths healthy and protect us from harmful environmental organisms. That's why it's crucial we take care of it properly – the sooner, the better. 

In this article

What is the oral microbiome?

Did you know that a newborn is almost sterile? Although there are some microbes present in the placenta, a baby’s own microbiota really starts developing right after birth – with the first breath, the first touch of the warm blanket and the mother’s first kiss.

That's when a baby starts forming its so-called oral microbiome. The term describes microorganisms living in our mouth cavity.

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You may not see them, but they're there! 

The oral microbiome is defined as the collective genome of microorganisms that reside in the oral cavity. After the gut, it is the second-largest microbial community. 

Having fewer microbes in our mouth is preferable for good oral hygiene. Contrary to what all the toothpaste commercials tell you, it's not optimal to remove them all! However, you should aim to have primarily good ones. 

Besides the good kind, you can also have bad or neutral microbes residing in your mouth. Bad microbes can indicate dysbiosis, and when our oral microbiome is out of balance, we can signal symptoms such as bad breath, bleeding gums, and frequent tooth decay

But don't fret. We know that it's hard to find out what can help you protect your oral hygiene, as there is a lot of information about addressing this issue. Well, your genes can help!

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But more on that later. To understand the oral microbiome, let's first focus on the composition of oral bacteria. It is similar in healthy people across different countries. However, just like gut microbes, oral bacteria are associated with various problems both orally and throughout the rest of the body.

The microbiome doesn't exist only in your mouth. Besides the mouth, body parts that have microbiomes are: 

  • Gut
  • Skin
  • Reproductive tract
  • Lungs
  • Eyes

Actually, if you took all the microbes off and out of your body and put them in a bucket, they'd weigh about three pounds or 1.3 kilos, which is almost as much as your brain!

Dive deeper into the background of the oral microbiome

Our mouth is made out of microenvironments – the teeth, tongue, hard and soft palates. These are all homes for bacteria and perfect for microbes because they are warm and a source of nutrients and water.

The most prevalent bacteria in the oral cavity are Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, and Actinomycetes phyla members. The different members of the oral microbiota coexist in dense communities known as biofilms. However, some research suggests that biofilm bacteria are part of a group known to cause chronic disease.

This means that we must support the healthy flora in our mouths. Otherwise, it can lead to severe problems that expand over mouth diseases.

Let's take a look at how this biome can impact your overall wellbeing.

How oral microbiome impacts your wellbeing

Many factors can affect the oral microbiome and cause dysbiosis, which is what we call an imbalance of your microbial communities. Those include:

• increase of protein, sugar, or food additives,
• drinking two or more alcoholic beverages per day,
• new medications such as antibiotics,
• poor dental hygiene,
• high levels of stress or anxiety, which weaken your immune system,
• unprotected sex, which can expose you to harmful bacteria.

Check the infographic below to see what dysbiosis can lead to!

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However, good oral hygiene is not only important to keep your teeth protected and prevent bad breath. Oral imbalance can contribute to several diseases outside your mouth, as the human microbiome interacts very closely with our immune system. In fact, more than 70% of your immune system is located in your gut!

As a consequence, the immune system can be affected by dysbiosis. It can contribute to developing several conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, HIV infection, inflammatory bowel disease, Alzheimer's, diabetes, pancreatic cancer, and liver cirrhosis.

Researchers also made some connections with dysbiosis, the cardiovascular system, and the development of atherosclerosis. These findings show the significant influence that the oral microbiome has on whole-body wellbeing. 

Meet MyOral microbiome test

If you've read this far, you can call yourself a dentist now!

We're just kidding – however, we've covered a lot about the oral microbiome and oral hygiene in general. As you can now tell, having fewer bad microbes in our mouth is preferable for good oral condition. 

As we noted above, our oral microbiome profile consists of good microbes, bad microbes, and neutral microbes. A balanced oral microbiome consists mainly of good microbes that form a thin, protective, clear, and odourless film. Bad microbes can cause an imbalance in our oral microbiome and at the same time, we can signal different symptoms listed in the sections above. 

Research has linked certain microbes to specific oral conditions such as bleeding gums, ulcers, caries, etc. With the MyOral microbiome test, you get the results in a shape of an oral microbial profile. You can see exactly which microbes are present in your mouth and how they can affect you!

This knowledge helps you improve different areas of your life – from the digestive and immune systems to sleep, stress management, energy, and focus.

What do I get with MyOral?

You receive results of MyOral microbiome test in the form of a personalised report on our online platform. It reveals:

The amount of microbial DNA in your saliva (bioburden). A high amount of microbial DNA in your saliva sample shows there are too many microorganisms in your mouth. It can indicate that your oral hygiene or diet might not be optimal.

Microbial profile or the share of different bacteria in your mouth.

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The potential association between bacteria and conditions which can cause various oral problems.


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You will find out all that about the conditions we've mentioned:

- bleeding gums (periodontitis),
- tooth decay (dental caries),
- oral ulcers (oral leukoplakia),
- CVDs, diabetes.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Most importantly, based on your results, the MyOral microbiome test gives you personalised recommendations. They will help you recognise dysbiosis in the making, prevent it, and act to protect your oral health.

Specifically, you will learn:

- the right way to brush and floss your teeth,
- which dental products help decrease the levels of dental pathogens,
- which foods can prevent or slow periodontitis development, reduce inflammation, and prevent cardiovascular issues.

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ABOUT

We explain each condition in detail. This helps you understand where and how it develops, the possibilities of its detection and therapy, which factors influence it, and much more.

How do I get the test?

MyOral microbiome is a saliva-based test. It is simple, quick, non-invasive, and completely safe. It does not require a doctor to buy or perform.

After you buy the test, you receive a home kit for taking the saliva sample. After sending us the sample, you complete an oral microbiome questionnaire on our platform – and wait for the results! You receive them and their interpretation on our secure digital platform. To read more about taking a sample for our tests, head here.

MyOral microbiome test is available as part of our most comprehensive product, the Premium DNA test.

Analysing your microbiome arms you with vital knowledge. However, it only observes one part of the story. That's why you shouldn't understand microbiome results as a diagnosis, but rather as an association to a possible condition.

Discovering the microbes that share your body is exciting and intriguing. If that knowledge also helps you protect your health, that’s some serious added bonus. So, make sure to get MyOral microbiome test to meet your microbes and enlist their help in creating a healthy future!

Sources

∙ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31110428/
∙ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6605021/
∙ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6503789/
∙ https://atlasbiomed.com/blog/oral-dysbiosis-affects-gut-health/
∙ https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/nutrition-and-oral-health/how-your-oral-microbiome-impacts-your-dental-health
∙ https://draxe.com/health/oral-microbiome/
∙ https://biomcare.com/life-science/oral-microbiome/
∙ https://askthedentist.com/oral-microbiome/
∙ https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/immunology-and-microbiology/oral-microbiome
∙ https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/70793/10-fascinating-facts-about-your-microbiome
∙ https://www.healthline.com/health/digestive-health/dysbiosis#causes-and-risk-factors


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