The Oral Microbiome Trend: Putting the Mouth Back in Health & Wellness

In our just-released Mid-Year Wellness Trends Update, we explore not only how the gut microbiome has become a burning issue in medicine and wellness in 2021 but how there’s also a new focus on other crucial microbiomes in our body. 

The “microbiome” refers to ALL the bacteria, viruses and fungi that live in and on our bodies. And now the mouth, vaginal and skin microbiomes are getting major, overdue attention—with new approaches and products aimed at rebalancing the disrupted microbiota in these crucial ecosystems. 
One clear, fast-moving trend: new approaches that tackle the mouth-body connection and the oral microbiome.  
The mouth microbiome is the second-largest after the gut, home to 20 billion microorganisms and 700+ different bacterial species. While bad bacteria cause tooth decay and gum disease, both modern dental “hygiene” (which has for decades been blasting our mouths with “germ-killing” toothpastes and mouthwashes) and our modern lifestyles (carb-and-sugar-heavy diets and stress) can decimate our mouth ecology. 
A disrupted mouth microbiome hurts the immune system, and there has been a flurry of recent research indicating it’s the path to premature aging and many diseases.
 Studies reveal a powerful mouth-gut axis and how oral microbiota disturbances are the gateway to gut inflammation. One new study showed that an unhealthy oral microbiome is linked to rheumatoid arthritis, while another found that a species of oral bacteria (Enterococcus) was one of the greatest predictors of COVID-19 infection and severity. 
The future: decoding the oral microbiota to enable personalized testing, which will power a whole new era of dental/medical and natural therapeutics. 
It means goodbye to harsh detergent-and-alcohol-heavy oral products that destroy the mouth microbiome (even the natural ones with microbiome-harming essential oils). It means hello to more solutions that work to re-optimize the mouth microbiome, whether
 Gallinee’s new oral microbiome product range or prebiotic Revitin Toothpaste or Elemental Oral Care’s new kits with probiotics and antibacterial nightguards to restore the mouth’s good bacteria. 
It means new interest in the ancient medicines of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, which have made the mouth/tongue and overall health connection for thousands of years. And interest in functional foods as oral microbiome solutions: For instance,
 a new study suggests that beetroot juice (and other foods such as spinach and celery) promotes a mix of mouth bacteria associated with healthier blood vessels and brain function because it’s full of inorganic nitrate. 
Experts agree that the ways that dentistry has been siloed from both medicine and wellness is not only bizarre but has had significant negative health impacts. A new holistic, preventive dentistry wants to put the health of the oral microbiome at the center while also putting the “mouth back in medicine.” There is no doubt that oral care is getting a major “wellness rethink” and that the chic, dentist-created products are spawning. And it’s an opportunity for the wellness world to put the “mouth back in wellness,” too.
This is part of the “Microbiomes Move to the Center of Health and Wellness” trend in the GWS’s new trends report update. 

Summit Trends in the News

The Secret to Oral Health: Protecting Your Mouth’s MicrobiomeThe Times UK 

For years we’ve been attacking the second-largest bacterial community in our bodies: our mouths, a delicate ecosystem of microorganisms that mirror the importance of the gut microbiome and which researchers are discovering can be cultivated in the same way to boost health and longevity. 

The Power of the Mouth-Body ConnectionCoveteur

Presents the evidence as to why the “mouth-body connection” needs to become a much bigger focus in 
health and wellness because studies agree that mouth diseases/disturbances are linked to everything from heart attacks to Alzheimer's. Interviews Dr. Gerry Curatola, one of the new integrative dentists breaking down the barriers between medicine, dentistry and wellness, who is proposing a new “organic gardening” approach for the mouth. 

The Pandemic Was Bad for Our Teeth. Will It Change Oral Health Forever?New York Times

Explains how the pandemic took a major toll on our oral health, from the rise in stress-related oral conditions to a lack of access to dental care. A silver lining: a new focus on preventative dentistry, with mounting research that oral health is inextricable from a person’s overall physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing—along with the rise of tele-dentistry and other alternatives that tackle major disparities in dental care.

Can Your Dental Hygiene Be Too Good?The Cut

Dentists now argue that the old “clean at all costs” model is wrong. Enemy #1: blasting your mouth with alcohol mouthwashes. Discusses better ways to care for the oral microbiome—from using tongue scrapers (very effective) to a low sugar/carb diet. 

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