UP YOUR ORAL CARE WITH PROBIOTIC TOOTHPASTE
Yep, I know. Probiotics are in everything these days. They’re in protein bars, fancy chips and popcorn, granola… your dreams! Do they really need to be in your toothpaste? Maybe! But not always for the usual, gut-related reasons. Your mouth has a microbiome of its own, and if something is setting yours off course, a toothpaste with probiotics could be a major boost in balancing the bacteria that live there.
Let’s start with candida. By now, you may have heard this semi-buzzy, villainous word tied to a multitude of problems, but the truth is, this yeast-like fungus is a part of all of us in some small way. It exists, if only a little, in every mouth, gut, and on the skin. That’s not necessarily an issue, unless it grows out of control. And what does a yeasty fungus like to eat? Sugar.
When you eat an excess of sugar or a high-carb diet (which gets converted to sugar), the yeast feasts. This can do a huge number on shifting the bacteria wherever the candida lives, i.e. gut, skin, and mouth, remember? When yeast and bad bacteria outnumber the good bacteria in your mouth, you’re in for a whole slew of issues. Bad breath is one thing, but halitosis– chronic, sulphury bad breath often linked to candida overgrowth– is like bad breath on steroids, and an Altoid won’t cut it.
On a larger scale, studies have also shown that not only can oral bacteria can travel all the way to the gut, but if there is too much of a bad thing, it can displace the good bacteria in the mouth and change the population of your microbiota and it’s immune defense. Just as many diseases that manifest themselves nowhere near the gut are actually stemmed from gut microbiome imbalances, the same can happen within your oral microbiome.
An overgrowth of bad bacteria in the mouth not only encourages candida overgrowth that can lead to gingivitis, but also an overproduction of plaque, which leads to, well, also gingivitis, as well as cavities! No matter how you spin it, too much bad bacteria in the mouth is just about as gross as it sounds. But not all hope is lost.
Cavities are more and more controversial these days when it comes to treatment, i.e. fluoride, expenses, drilling into your skull, the steep price tag, etc. But, there is substantial evidence linked to restoring your own carious lesions (cavities, gum, and tooth decay) at the early stages with changes in your diet, and keeping close tabs on the bacteria in your mouth.
It starts with remineralization. This is a process in which important minerals, like calcium and phosphates, bind together to create a crystalline layer over your enamel, including shallow, newly formed cavities, which prevents them from decaying further. You can support this process by taking a vitamin K2 supplement in conjunction with vitamin D, which is a powerhouse combo that helps direct calcium for proper usage in the body. Microbiome Labs has a fantastic K2 supplement called MegaQuinone K2-7– my top choice.
Vitamins A and C are also incredibly important in assisting with bone density as well as rebuilding the soft tissues in your mouth. To ensure you’re absorbing these crucial nutrients and fat-soluble vitamins properly from your food and supplements, eat healthy fats! Grass fed butter is a great source of healthy fat that also contains D3, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin K2, if you’re into being efficient and all.
Eating foods rich in calcium in conjunction with taking K2 and D supplements are your best bets for optimal absorption. Try a probiotic rich option like yogurt, if you want to opt for calcium from dairy! On that note, eating fermented foods is not only great for the gut, but lactic acid/lactobacillus bacteria found in them is great for fighting the bacteria and yeasts that cause tooth decay and halitosis, too.
On top of adding these nutrients and supplements to your diet, there are a few things you can avoid consuming to prevent tooth decay, as well. At the top of the list is candida and bad bacteria’s favorite snack, processed sugar– in case you needed another reason to cut down on the stuff. But, a lesser-known evil is a compound known as phytic acid, which is found in most nuts and grains, which impairs the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Before I cause an emotional breakdown in my suggestion to cut back on nuts and grains, let me clarify. If you’re not eating them every day or in large portions, you’re not going to dissolve your teeth right out of your skull. But, if you’re cavity prone, very sensitive, or have a few shallow cavities you want to keep an eye on and try treating naturally, consider these steps you can take to reduce the phytic acid content in your favorite snack.
Buy sprouted grains, or rinse grains like quinoa until the water runs clear to rid as much phytic acid as you can. Cooking will help take care of the rest. Soak nuts overnight then rinse away the released phytic acid, and lightly toast them in your oven’s lowest setting (or use a dehydrator) to yield a delightfully light crunch and a nutrient dense, sprouted result! Opt for sprouted grains like Ezekiel bread, or lacto-fermented grains like delicious sourdough. See? Things are looking up.
Obviously, don’t forget to brush and floss, and up your good bacteria game with a probiotic toothpaste. Try making your own remineralizing probiotic paste with the recipe below.
DIY remineralizing toothpaste + probiotics:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon baking soda
5 drops peppermint essential oil
15 drops trace minerals
1 capsule of probiotic powder (containing Lactobacillus paracasei or Lactobacillus acidophilus - used Gut Instinct Probiotic)
Small jar with lid. Store in refrigerator.
Mix all ingredients together until well combined.