The Link Between Oral Health And The Microbiome

kania-implant-candidateYour smile and your stomach are linked in a number of surprising ways. In the human gut are over 600 types of microbial communities, known as the microbiome. These microbiomes can have a major impact on a person’s susceptibility to certain diseases. Your oral flora is connected to these and as a result, the health of your smile and have far reaching impacts on your overall health. There are surprising links between your oral health and the vast microbiome that inhabit your stomach.

Recent Discoveries

While we have known for decades that our stomach hosts millions of microbes that aid with digestion, only recent genetic testing has allowed us to see the ways in which this microbial community impacts overall heath. Using DNA sequencing, scientists discovered links between the microbiome and colon cancer, diabetes, stress, and possibly even Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, studies are being conducted to see if changes to our health can impact the microbiome and help address many of these serious health issues. These studies have led to recent breakthroughs, such as fecal transplants.

How Your Oral Bacteria Impacts Overall Health

Your mouth also contains a vibrant and widespread microbial community. In fact, the two are so linked that you can consider your oral flora as an extension of, or the beginning of, the digestive tract. Just as testing revealed the complex nature of gut flora, new studies have revealed the complex factors behind the onset of gum disease. While most microbes in the mouth are beneficial, certain ones can band together under particular circumstances to disrupt oral health, much in the way microbes in the gut may do. When this occurs, microbes cling to the teeth or hide in shielded areas, such as periodontal pockets, causing a biofilm to form that leads to inflammation. In addition, clear links are beginning to form between inflammation in the mouth caused by these biofilms and the rest of the body, as gum disease may be impacting diabetes, heart disease, and more.

The importance of Prevention

The microbiome in our mouths and gut are connected, which once again gives credence to what oral health professionals have been talking about for years: oral systemic health. When you develop gum disease, the complications are not just limited to your mouth. The inflammation can impact your immune system and disrupt the gut bacteria.  As a result, prevention is more important than ever to keep the microbiome functioning as it should. A healthy diet, along with routine oral care, can help protect both your gut and your smile.


As a board-certified periodontist, Dr. Ann M. Kania is specially qualified to diagnose and treat issues concerning periodontal tissue and the supportive structures of a patient’s smile, as well as place dental implants to restore teeth lost to dental disease or trauma. Dr. Kania also offers the Pinhole® Surgical Technique (PST) for minimally-invasive, scalpel-free gum grafting. To seek Dr. Kania’s expertise, contact her office today at (760) 642-0711.