its official your mouth and gut really are connected.
The amount of research that is being done on the human gut micro-biome: or the bacterial and fungal species that we share the bottom end of our digestive systems with has been growing exponentially in recent times.
There is no doubt that the gut micro-biome is essential for our health. Changes to the gut microbiome are associated with limited or unhealthy diets, as well as obesity and pain conditions such as inflammatory bowel disorder, irritable bowel disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Both the gut and oral micro-biome change in rheumatoid arthritis, indicating that the two may be more closely linked than previously thought.
Mice in which inflammatory bowel disease was chemically induced had changes to both the oral and faecal microbes. Interestingly different areas of the mouth had different amounts of change to their microflora, such as 5% on the tongue, and 35% in the saliva, compared with 10% in the faeces. Different areas of the mouth seem to create their own microenvironment.
After one exposure to antibiotics the gut micro biome is severely depleted and altered, but the oral micro biome appears to be slightly more resilient. Regardless we now know for sure that health of the microbiome is related to a large diversity of commensal species. Even oral conditions such as abscesses associated with dental decay are marked by a change in bacterial species, with a decrease in diversity and the usual streptococci, and a large increase in the numbers of prevotella and fusobacteria.
Although it is still very early, it seems that knowledge of our micro-biome and their effect on our health will become a very important aspect of personalized medicine in the future. While fecal “transplants” have been used to restore order “down below” in patients with life threatening intestinal dysbiosis, I’m not sure how that sort of treatment will catch on in the oral environment.