All About The Beneficial Bugs!

Believe it or not, the bugs in your kids’ mouth may play one of the biggest roles, not only in their oral hygiene, but in their overall health through something that is known as the oral microbiome. 

Explore how you can improve the dental health of your child with preventative dental care from the best pediatric dentist in Henderson — Anthem Pediatric Dentistry! Learn all about the oral microbiome in today’s post. 

The Oral Microbiome: The Beneficial Bugs In Our Mouth

In dental care, you often hear how germs and bacteria slowly eat away at your enamel causing cavities and gum disease, and while this is certainly true, not all bacteria are bad — it’s all about a balanced oral microbiome! 

What is the oral microbiome?

While the microbiome is relatively new to a lot of us, it’s simply an ecosystem that works with our bodies to support many systems including our immune system and gastrointestinal system. Each person has their own unique microbiome made up of a variety of microorganisms, including bacteria, that evolves and thrives with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Our oral microbiome is a vast community of bacterial organisms that perform specific functions to keep our pearly whites in tip-top shape! When you’re able to create a beneficial terrain for bacteria, it can take your oral health to the next level and help prevent common issues such as cavities and gum disease. 

These tiny bugs are able to carry oxygen to soft tissues such as the gums, better balance the biofilm where harmful bacteria produce acids that cause plaque build-up and cavities, and transport ionic minerals in the saliva to help keep your teeth strong. 

Is my oral microbiome balanced?

When the oral bacteria is balanced, your gums will have a nice healthy pink color (meaning they’re well-oxygenated) and you’ll have a clear biofilm that is odorless with very little plaque build-up.  

When the bad bugs are taking over, you’ll notice more dental health issues such as a biofilm that is sticky, thick, and smelly — the kind that makes your teeth feel fuzzy and that kids love to dig at with their fingernails. With kids, this build-up can happen. They may forget to brush one night or are bad about drinking water throughout the day, but it’s the repetitiveness that can begin to disturb the oral microbiome. 

A chronic disruption of the biofilm in the oral microbiome leads to bleeding gums, bad breath, and persistent tooth decay. 

What causes an uprise in harmful oral bacteria?

When the oral microbiome is disrupted, it can be from a myriad of diet and lifestyle choices — from eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar to frequent antibiotic exposure that kills both all (even the beneficial) bacteria and stress — yes, Kids are experiencing more stress than ever!  

A poor diet can shift an otherwise healthy oral microbiome from a slightly alkaline environment to acidic, disrupting the beneficial bacteria and making the harmful, cavity-causing bugs more abundant. 

Stress can decrease saliva production, and saliva is vital to a healthy mouth. The oral microbiome interacts directly with your saliva — your saliva carries minerals such as calcium and phosphorus that supports tooth enamel. Stress can also shift your oral pH, making it more acidic, in addition to making you more susceptible to teeth grinding and jaw clenching. 

Making Sense Of The Oral Microbiome

The oral microbiome is just a new way to explore and consider your dental health. We’ve always known that it’s important to brush, floss, and eat healthy, but now we understand the why behind it. 

We know that when our mouths and teeth are healthy, generally, so is the rest of us — our teeth provide a snapshot of our overall health. 

This is a great opportunity to explain the oral microbiome to your kids to create more context around the importance of oral health. It’s a fun topic to navigate because you can talk to them about the bugs that live in our mouths! 

Pediatric Dentistry in Henderson

Beyond at-home dental care, your child needs preventative dental care such as teeth cleanings that our Henderson dental clinic provides. Help support your child’s health and wellbeing with routine care from Anthem Pediatric Dentistry today! 

Schedule an appointment!