Oral Microbiome: The Key to Oral Health - truthpaste
January 06, 2023

Oral Microbiome: The Key to Oral Health

By Marisa Battrick

Did you know...

  • The mouth can host 700 types of bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea, and protozoans.

  • The average person has around 250 species from a pool of around 700 documented oral residents.

  • The only part of the body that has more microbiota is the gut

  • 53% of the microflora have not been formally identified

  • Your mouth is the first line of defense against viruses and infections. 

What is the oral microbiome? 

Microbiome refers to the complex ecosystem that exists in our teeth, gums and mouth. It refers not just to bacteria, but also yeasts, fungi and viruses. It sounds alarming, but if managed well then this tiny microsystem works symbiotically with the body to promote both health and wellbeing. 


Oral Microbiome Bacteria

The community of microorganisms begins to form pretty much from birth. It experiences surges in activity when a new tooth breaks through. Microparticles from food, drink and even in the air we breathe, find an ideal environment in the mouth to thrive and flourish. 

Environmental factors contribute to the oral microbiome. Starchy or sugary foods, smoking, the general environment. 


How to improve your Oral Microbiome

Oral microbiome can be controlled by good oral health habits, balanced diet and self-care. Likewise, stress, some medication and genetics can sometimes work against maintaining a healthy oral microbiome. 


Oral microbiome in health and disease

The role of oral microbiome in health and disease prevention is an important one. Gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath can all be prevented by paying attention to oral care. 

The microbiome system in the mouth is one of the most complex and diverse in the whole of the body. The mouth acts as a gateway to the whole body. As such a healthy microbiome is the first line of defense against harmful bacteria in foods, air, water, and airborne disease. 


Oral microbiome and cancer

Studies as early as the 1950s showed a correlation between periodontitis and leukemia. However, more recent studies have shown a link to various other cancers that can be affected by oral microbiome. Whilst this does sound alarming, there is a positive aspect to this. Research into the link between oral microbiome and cancer is identifying bacteria, fungi and protozoans that actually help to fight cancers. 



Gabriel Berg et al; Microbiome definition re-visited: old concepts and new challenges, June 2020, BMC 

Jesse R. Willis, Toni Gabaldon,The Human Oral Microbiome in Health and Disease: From Sequences to Ecosystems, (2020) MPDI

Muhammed Ifran et al,The Oral Microbiome and Cancer, 2020, Frontiers of Immunology, NIH National Library of Medicine

Tsute Chen et al, The Human Oral Microbiome Database: a web accessible resource for investigating oral microbe taxonomic and genomic information, (2010) NIH National Library of Medicine