Oral microbiome changes and why does it matter?

Microbial communities are called microbiota, their genetic information is the microbiome. The second most diverse microbiota is in the oral cavity. The largest in the gut received a lot of attention recently. More and more links have been discovered between the gut and other parts of the body and its key roles in health and illness.

But think about a toothache for a moment. Fortunately, our memory of pain is limited. Yet you may still remember feelings, emotions attached to it, showing its importance.

The oral microbiome deserves just as much attention. A healthy microbial ecosystem supports oral health. Negative shifts in the bacterial composition are called dysbiosis.

ecological diversity
Oral dysbiosis happens for various reasons and has a detrimental impact on the mouth and general health. The healthy state can be maintained by good practices, such as having a good diet and oral hygiene and using oral probiotics.

The role of oral bacteria in tooth decay (cavities) and periodontal disease (gum disease) is well understood. Pathogenic bacteria in the mouth are linked to several diseases such as autoimmune disease, infections-abscesses in different parts of the body, heart problems, premature birth, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and many others.

Science successfully conquered most infectious diseases. The plagues, pandemics, and other infections were responsible for most deaths in the past. This step contributed to huge improvements in life expectancy and quality of life for modern humans.

Yet still, those oral conditions are among the most prevalent chronic conditions on Earth.

So common we almost tend to think it’s normal. It’s part of life, part of aging. That’s completely false.

These are just results of the environmental changes and the way we live life. Events in the past, around 10000 and 200 years ago, the invention of agriculture and the industrial revolution caused significant changes. These affected every aspect of life, including the microbiota in our bodies. Read more about it in our previous post.

We’re a beautiful symbiosis of millions of different human and non-human cellular agents working toward the same or similar goals in harmony. There is this new term holobiont, that describes how we are organized biologically as a complex superorganism. Every change has an impact on the holobiont.

Oral health issues should be relatively simple to solve. That’s why understanding dysbiosis and supporting oral microbiome matters a lot.

As many fields in life are accelerating, processed, unhealthy overconsumption is accelerating, too. Very soon humans are colonizing Mars, yet astronauts still need to make sure they have some tools to scrape their teeth with. Now it’s plastic, later maybe some other space material, rather than roots and ashes. Sometimes it feels like major improvements happen rather slowly.


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