This week we’re celebrating Dental Health Week and have been talking about our collaboration with Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV). This aims to promote good oral health in disability services – you can read more about it here. So we thought we’d get our resident Nutritionist, Alix Murphy, to weigh in on the topic.
One of the key ways to support healthy mouths is through eating a healthy diet.
Another key way to support healthy mouths is through improving and supporting your gut health. When we think about digestion and our gut health, we instinctively think about our stomachs first. Whilst this is a large part of digestion, the health of your gut and microbiome actually starts in your mouth!
Fun fact: your mouth can be home to up to 700 species of bacteria – but don’t worry, these bacteria are great!
Brushing your teeth twice daily is very important for the care of your mouth, but the bacteria in your gut and mouth can dictate more than you realise. Your mouth and gut are constantly interacting with each other. This means the health of your mouth can provide some insight into your overall health in the rest of your body. It also means that poor oral health can affect your gut bacteria and the rest of your body.
For example: Inflammation to the gums may be caused by dietary or lifestyle choices like a high sugar diet, smoking cigarettes and infrequent oral hygiene techniques. This inflammation can cause an imbalance of “bad” bacteria (pathogens) – which can increase the risk for heart attacks and heart disease.
Here are some things you can do to support the healthy bacteria in your gut and mouth:
– Brush your teeth and tongue twice daily to remove plaque.
– Have regular dental check-ups and replace your toothbrush a couple of times per year.
– Slow down when chewing your food so your stomach can digest your food properly. This helps you absorb nutrients better and supports a healthy gut.
– Regularly consume good quality fermented foods, which naturally contain lots of healthy bacteria. This could include Greek style yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha and apple cider vinegar.
– Reduce cigarette smoking, which can cause inflammation and gum disease.
– Limit sugary foods and drinks as they can cause tooth decay and damage healthy bacteria.
*Disclaimer: This is generalised information. These tips may not be suitable for everyone. Please consult your local health care practitioner prior to significantly modifying your diet