We recently introduced the oral microbiome and the close relationship between oral health and systemic disease. Now, we’re taking a deeper dive into the mouth’s role in aiding digestion and reducing inflammation.
Because the mouth plays such a critical role in so many different areas of your overall health, we figured breaking up these topics into separate articles would be more...digestible.
your mouth activates digestion
The digestive process starts in the mouth. Right when a food or drink enters your mouth, your teeth+saliva get to work. Your teeth obviously play a huge role in chewing....breaking down food to make them easier to digest. And your saliva contains special enzymes that break down the nutrients in your food+drinks and make it easier for your body to absorb them.
You’ve probably experienced this process starting before you even take a bite of food...when you see or smell delicious food and your mouth starts to water. It’s pretty cool that your body prepares for digestion even before the food hits your mouth! Of course, only for the really good foods.
Eventually, the work from your teeth, saliva, tongue, and esophagus gets the food down to your stomach...where new enzymes take over and continue the digestive process in your gut. This is, quite literally, the mouth gut connection (aka the oral-gut axis) we’ve mentioned before.
your mouth is closely linked to inflammation
If something is “off” in your oral microbiome, this can greatly impact your gut microbiome and its ability to regulate digestion and defend the rest of your body against harm. A common example of this is inflammation.
Inflammation happens when your body attempts to heal itself from a harmful intruder (like unwanted bacteria, viruses, toxins, etc.) or even an injury. When this happens, your body releases antibodies+proteins that wake up your immune system. Your immune system then sends “fighter” cells (T cells) and increases blood flow to the threatened area. This process can result in swelling, pain, irritation, discomfort, redness, fatigue, fever, and more....commonly known as inflammation.
When intruders like bacteria+viruses disrupt your oral microbiome, this can also disrupt your gut microbiome, hindering digestion and potentially causing inflammation in various parts of your body. This is why so many people are researching and discussing diseases caused by poor dental hygiene these days.
A good example of this is periodontitis (aka: the advanced stage of gum disease). When periodontitis forms, your gum begins to separate from your tooth, leaving a little pocket for viruses and bacteria to fester. This leads to painful gum inflammation and other common periodontitis symptoms like bleeding gums, painful chewing, and bad breath.
Studies have shown that periodontitis activates T cells in your mouth that can migrate to your gut...disrupting the gut microbiome and causing more inflammation for the rest of your body. This can lead to more overall discomfort, weaken your immune system, and make your body more vulnerable to disease.
The same studies confirm how dental health affects overall health and emphasize the importance of maintaining a balanced oral microbiome. Studies have shown that a prebiotic+probiotic approach has the potential to promote digestion, reduce inflammation, and improve your overall health because of the close relationship between the mouth and gut.
Davids can help
As a natural toothpaste made with minimal, intentional ingredients, Davids can play a critical role in protecting your oral microbiome....and promoting your overall health.
Davids toothpaste ingredients aim to balance the bacteria in your mouth...without completely wiping out the good bacteria (probiotics). While peppermint oil, calcium carbonate, and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) work together to fight plaque and reduce bad bacteria, the xylitol in Davids toothpaste works to promote one's natural saliva production, promoting the regeneration of healthy bacteria which aids in rebalancing the oral microbiome.
The daily routine of brushing with a thoughtfully formulated toothpaste like Davids helps clean your teeth and mouth by continually removing the harmful bacteria while promoting the healthy bacteria which helps nurture a happy oral-gut relationship. Pair it with a mouth-friendly diet, and you’re on your way to creating a strong oral-microbiome defense system.