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What’s The Big Deal About Your Oral Microbiome?

Oral Microbiome

By Hilarie Steele, RDH CEO Operations and Relationships
at Best Natural Smile, Santa Monica, California

Be the first to know about this groundbreaking research and how we can now provide you with a simple saliva test that will give us tons of information regarding the health of your oral microbiome.

With just one small sample, this test participates in our mission to keep your teeth intact for your entire life span. Not to mention will aid in your overall health, minimize the chance of costly repairs, and prevent smile breakdown.

Learning about and testing your oral microbiome – the world inside your mouth – is the first step to knowing how to better understand it, take care of it, and what to start doing if you’re looking to improve it for better overall health.

You may not realize that our mouths are home to millions of microbes, known as our oral microbiome.

As a part of our 360° smile analysis, oral microbiome testing “gives us insight into your unique oral bacteria and their impact on bad breath, tooth decay, gum inflammation, and other conditions.”

When we talk about the oral microbiome, we refer to the collection of microorganisms that live in our mouth – over 700 microbes (mostly bacteria) can be found in our oral microbiome at any one given time. These microbes cover our teeth, gums, and tongue, and each area of our mouth is home to different groups of microbes.

While some of these microbes are actually “good” and helpful to our mouth and our health, others can do serious damage like create inflammation, gum disease, and cavities. Not to mention impact the survival rate of each tooth as well as the health of your gums and the bones that keep your teeth in place.

It’s hard to tell the difference between good and bad microbes, but it’s actually simple to strike a balance – which we call symbiosis.

Why should you work to create balance in your oral microbiome?

Finding balance in your daily health and wellness practices is always a good idea, but it’s especially important when it comes to caring for your mouth. Too many bad microbes in your mouth lead to inflammation, which starts as gingivitis. Your gums can become red and swollen which may show up as bleeding gums. All of this is an indication that an inflammatory process is present and that means trouble for your gums, teeth and also other organs in your body that are accessed via the mouth.

If left untreated, simple gingivitis can become a serious disease called periodontitis. While it is a very common situation, you want to fix this issue because it can lead to a myriad of smile breakdowns such as tooth decay, tooth loss, or even abscesses and infections of the gum tissue that spread to other parts of the body.

Tooth loss isn’t just a cosmetic concern, it’s an emotional roller coaster which can ultimately limit what we’re able to eat or chew, leaving us with nutritional deficiencies. This can wreak havoc on your gut microbiome – another key player when it comes to your overall health. At the end of the day you may feel a lack of confidence and be embarrassed to smile.

Keeping your oral microbiome balanced can help to ward off the onset of gum disease.

While making regular visits to your dental care provider is the best, the most efficient way to help keep gum disease at bay is by a proper home care routine. There are many things you can do in between visits to keep your oral microbiome happy and healthy. 

Each of us has different nutritional needs and oral hygiene habits, but a few risk factors are universal: smoking, poor nutrition, and high-stress levels will all impact the health of your oral microbiome

Research shows that people who smoke are more likely to have dental plaque buildup – and not the good kind of plaque. Gum infections are far more likely and will be slow to heal because smoking limits oxygen in the bloodstream, something that’s necessary for a strong immune and infection response system.

Poor nutrition is also a major contributing factor to gum disease, especially when you have a sweet tooth and consume a lot of sugary foods and drinks. A lack of calcium in the diet leads to weaker teeth and bones in your jaw and mouth, prone to damage that can become decay and eventually a serious gum infection.

Those of us under stress know all too well how hard it can be to remember to brush our teeth (not to mention eat well) when life gets hectic. We’re also more likely to grind our teeth at night, something called bruxism, and this too can lead to irritation and inflammation of our gums.

Knowing how to prevent gum disease is the first step to balancing your oral microbiome and your overall health. Testing your oral microbiome helps to determine that proper balance.

But what about healing it?

Dysbiosis refers to an imbalance in your gut microbiome. Some of the first steps of gut dysbiosis start in the mouth. If you’re seeing signs of even the faintest touch of blood or red and swollen gums, the first thing you should do is make an appointment to chat with us. Depending on your unique needs and health profile, we will likely recommend testing of the oral microbiome to understand what bad bacteria are present and offer you a personalized approach to help you restore your smile and your oral microbiome.

Without treatment or steps to help your oral microbiome, it can turn into something even more serious and affect our body as a whole system.

Science has uncovered legitimate correlations between periodontitis (gum disease) and

  • Respiratory disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • and even cancer

While oral microbiome symbiosis isn’t a cure for these diseases, maintaining and healing it is one of the many ways we can mitigate our risk of developing serious complications.

There are some universal strategies for keeping your balance once you find it through oral microbiome testing.

The good news is that small changes can pay off in major ways, and some of them you already do every day to help keep your oral microbiome in symbiosis: brushing and flossing your teeth. This is the best and most efficient way to mitigate the buildup of harmful bacteria and plaque. 

Make sure to ask us at your next visit about our favorite brands and products to use. We can recommend oral pro or prebiotics that can “feed” your microbiome with good organisms to balance out the bad. It’s just one suggestion from our group of experts to help maintain symbiosis.

With that in mind, we remind you again with this tip: “You are what you eat.”

At least a few microbes from everything you eat stick around in your mouth, and some microbes from your mouth will travel to your stomach every time you eat. Sugary foods and starchy, processed carbs leave behind traces of bacteria that love to fuel the growth of bad organisms that eat away at your tooth enamel and healthy gum tissue. These organisms then travel from the mouth to your gut, landing in your bloodstream, where they can put other microbes into distress.

On the other hand, fiber-rich whole foods and especially fruits & vegetables are a great way to add good bacteria into the mix. Not only does your mouth benefit from this introduction, but more fiber also creates a better balance in your gut microbiome, the other “most important” system in your body.

We take a whole-human approach to help you heal your oral microbiome if we suspect that it is in trouble.

We have a protocol to test, identify, and treat dysbiosis in ways that help boost your overall wellness and protect the integrity of your smile. Through our partnership with Bristle Oral Health, we can test your oral microbiome to ensure it is robust and healthy. Please click on this link to learn more about Bristle. Trust us you will love what they have to say!

Bristle Oral Health is our go-to for oral microbiome testing. With their delivery of detailed results and what bacteria are present, good or bad, we can use their amazing science to treat you and improve your overall wellness.

After reading this blog and learning more about how the oral microbiome can affect your health, it’s time to give us a call for an appointment – before this dysbiosis leads to something more serious. Especially if you’re noticing that your gums are bleeding, red or swollen, and think that your oral microbiome may be out of balance.

We truly believe that testing your oral microbiome is the way of the future to minimize all the stress and financial outlay that can be associated with maintaining your oral health. With proper dental cleanings and oral hygiene routines at home we strongly believe that these are the best, most effective, and most affordable ways to avoid smile breakdown and keep a healthy, beautiful smile for life.

The health of your oral microbiome is key to keeping your immune system strong, fighting off disease, and creating a harmonious environment that promotes smile longevity.

Smile care is your ticket to smile longevity.

Understanding where you are today and incorporating a smart life smile plan is the key to success. Our 360° smile analysis includes every vital step to reach your goals and keep you on track.

We’ll take a deeper dive and rate your overall smile wellness with our trademarked 360° smile analysis. We’ll screen you for oral cancer, assess your oral microbiome, breath and total gum health along with determining your tooth shade potential, an evaluation of the wear and tear on each tooth. We will also assess how your teeth are aligned, and your overall aesthetics.

Through this analysis, we will rate your current oral health status and make recommendation that can prevent unplanned surprises from occurring down the road. We’ll support you in choosing the best path for your smile. Remember, the smile care you receive today plays a huge role in what your smile looks like 20 years from now.

Let’s Ask The Dentist – find out what Dr. B has to say about our oral microbiome.

Dr. Mark Burhenne is a bestselling author in the world of dentistry. As a patient advocate, his focus is on creating a better pathway for smile care by addressing the root cause of smile breakdown. 

He has created and a podcast where his purpose is to empower dental patients with easy-to-digest, approachable information that allows them to understand the connection between oral health and overall health in such a way that good oral health habits become a part of their everyday lives.

In this episode of this podcast, Dr. B discusses keeping the oral microbiome healthy, the harmful effects of modern toothpaste, and the connection between the microbiome’s health and overall well-being.

Some points that Dr. B addresses:

  • The link between the oral and gut microbiome and what foods to avoid eating
  • Different colonies of biomes that exist in different areas of the mouth
  • The role genetics can play in people having different experiences with their microbiome

Want to learn more about how to best balance & heal your oral microbiome and improve your overall health?

Email us at, and we’ll support you! We read and reply to every response.

P.S. If you want to book an appointment, you can text or call at 310.393.0465 

A note from Hilarie:

As a dental hygienist and patient advocate located at Best Natural Smile in Santa Monica, California, I am a strong believer that the current dental space experience does not lend itself to achieving smile longevity or giving patients the tools and education they need to get there. We are stuck in an ancient system that creates barriers to accessing modern smile care. 

I have made it my mission to disrupt the old ways of doing things in the dental space and create a more accessible path to maintaining oral health. I provide complimentary coaching to hundreds of patients. At the end of the day, the story is always the same: patients endlessly ask “How do I stop the breakdown of my smile and who can I trust to keep my smile healthy?” 

If you’re interested in learning more or scheduling a complimentary coaching session with me please fill out the form below. From there, my team will reach out to schedule a time for us to chat.

I’m so happy you’re here and can’t wait to see you shine.

hilarie steele, rdh

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