The gut starts at the mouth so it should be no surprise that the bacteria and microbes that live in our oral cavity affect overall health and wellness. But chances are good that if you’re feeling under the weather, the last thing that’s on your mind is what’s happening in the world of your oral microbiome. You just want to feel better, fast!
The reality is that our mouth is the gateway to the body and scientists are discovering what a vital role it plays in how we feel each day. And, believe it or not, your entire oral cavity is teeming with bacteria - this includes your teeth, gums, tongue, tonsils, and sinuses.
Furthermore, if there aren’t enough of the good guys dwelling within your oral microbiome to maintain a healthy microbial balance, problems can begin to develop for the rest of your body.
What happens when the oral environment isn’t healthy
Most often, the result of an unbalanced (aka unhealthy) oral microbiome is temporary inflammation. That's when the immune system leaps into action to protect you - ideally with the help of probiotic bacteria present in the mouth.
The truth of the matter is that temporary inflammation can, over time, negatively influence the balance of our body’s overall immune function by causing it to become overburdened, according to holistic practitioner Dr. David M. Marquis.
That's why it's so important to ensure that you have a plentiful population of the right oral probiotic strains. These strains were designed by nature to assist in the immune system’s first line of defense - guarding the gate, if you will - so your whole body benefits.
Specifically, S. salivarius K12 and M18 are two highly beneficial probiotic strains traditionally present in the mouths of healthy individuals. In fact, S. salivarius bacteria colonize in the upper respiratory system just a few hours after birth and become some of our body's first defenders, helping to keep us well as the immune system matures during early childhood.1
These two key strains also produce powerful antimicrobial molecules called BLIS (bacteriocin-like-inhibitory substances) that work to keep bad guys at bay by competing for space and nutrients in the oral cavity.2 S. salivarius K12 bacteria also produce an unprecedented protein which halts the growth of undesirable bacteria.
An abundance of good bugs paired with this specialized BLIS activity promotes overall microbial balance and, to explain further, helps optimize your immune system, supports strong teeth and gums, and a promotes a healthier upper respiratory system.
Unfortunately, there are many reasons that most of us don’t have an abundance of these two key strains of bacteria present in our mouths. They range from using oral hygiene products like common mouthwashes and toothpastes designed to wipe out bacteria to consuming sugary beverages, smoking, or simply not caring for our oral health as we should.
Supplementing for oral and immune health
While you can get probiotics into your system through fermented foods, it’s very difficult to obtain a consistent dosage of these two important probiotic strains: S. salivarius K12 and S. salivarius M18, and thus an excellent option is to supplement with a probiotic designed specifically for oral health.
Beyond dental and immune system benefits, taking an oral health probiotic can also benefit your breath (which may in turn benefit your life). In the Archives of Oral Biology, L. Masdea and other Swiss scientists reported that S. salivarius K12 produces antimicrobials that help curb the bacteria that creates bad breath.3
If you’re looking to upgrade your oral and immune health -- and freshen up your breath while you’re at it -- then a natural, chewable probiotic supplement like Hyperbiotics PRO-Dental is the perfect choice.
With S. salivarius strains BLIS K12 and BLIS M18, you’ll have the strength of our body’s natural, powerful defenders helping your upper respiratory and immune systems function at their best. PRO-Dental also includes Lactobacillus strains L. paracasei and L. reuteri that further act on your behalf to help fend off intruders, ease inflammation and support oral wellness.
We have roughly 90% more bacterial cells than we have human cells which means that it’s imperative to keep microbial health at the forefront of your mind if you’re looking to feel your finest.
In addition, there are a myriad of startling and fascinating studies on the direct correlation between oral wellness and heart health, blood sugar levels, pregnancy wellness, bone and joint health, and immune function - each implicating poor oral health as a factor in the degradation of health in other areas. We look forward to learning more as the quest for understanding continues.
So whether you’re seeking overall wellness or you feel a case of the sniffles coming on, remember that a vital part of your immune health actually begins within your mouth.
1. Pierro, F. D., Donato, G., Fomia, F., Adami, T., Careddu, D., C., & Albera, R. (2012). Preliminary pediatric clinical evaluation of the oral probiotic Streptococcus salivarius K12 in preventing recurrent pharyngitis and/or tonsillitis caused by Streptococcus pyogenes and recurrent acute otitis media. International Journal of General Medicine, 2012(5), 991-997.
2. Burton, J. P., Drummond, B. K., Chilcott, C. N., Tagg, J. R., Thomson, W. M., Hale, J. D., & Wescombe, P. A. (2013). Influence of the probiotic Streptococcus salivarius strain M18 on indices of dental health in children: A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 62(Pt_6), 875-884.
3. Masdea, L., Kulik, E., Hauser-Gerspach, I., Ramseier, A., Filippi, A., & Waltimo, T. (2012). Antimicrobial activity of Streptococcus salivarius K12 on bacteria involved in oral malodour. Archives of Oral Biology,57(8), 1041-1047. doi:10.1016/j.archoralbio.2012.02.011
Julie Hays is the Communications Director here at Hyperbiotics. Health writer and mama of two little girls, Julie's on a mission to empower others to live lives free of the microbial depletion many of us face today. For more ideas on how you can maximize wellness and benefit from the power of probiotics, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.
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