Everyone who lives with healthy teeth has a good laugh. And not just because your teeth look better and you conserve strenuous dental treatments. "From every tooth hangs the whole human being," wrote the poet Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908). To what extent they were right, it is only gradually understood by researchers and doctors. Because as commanded by the state of our oral health, it has a profound effect on our common good. "Not only does caries and gingivitis develop in the oral cavity, as has been the case for decades," explains Dr. Med. Dominic Nischwitz, author of "In All Mouths – Biological Dentistry" (see page 82). "Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, infertility, stroke, bowel disease, and many autoimmune diseases have been proven many times today, often starting in the mouth or getting worse. Experts estimate the mouth at 70 percent of the causes of chronic diseases." Fortunately, we can do a lot of preventative for your oral health: with a toothbrush and the latest scientific breakthroughs.
Oral Microbiome – Hundreds of invisible roommates are pounding in our mouths
But let's start from scratch, at the root of the risk, so to speak. Although we don't see or feel anything about it: Over 400 different microorganisms, mostly bacteria, often fungi, live in our oral cavity. At birth, the oral cavity is usually sterile. Colonization takes place gradually from the environment. The warm and humid climate and the regular supply of nutrients provide heavenly living conditions in the mouth. "In the first years of life, a lot comes and goes. Depending on what conditions are present in our oral cavity, both microorganisms feel particularly good. It is only in adulthood that each of us has acquired the typical composition for him," Nischwitz explains. This oral microbiome is natural – our body lives in symbiosis with bacteria.One bacterium helps us: They remove pathogens, protect mucous membranes and break down food during chewing.The rest can cause damage throughout the body.In a balanced system, but also supposedly nasty bacteria are in. "But if our harmonious ecosystem is confused, the pathogenic bacteria, or the ones that cause the disease, get the upper hand and we can develop the disease," Nischwitz says.
Good cleaning keeps disease producers under control
Whether miles will lean into your mouth and the "bad guys" come to power is, among other things, a matter of proper dental care. The microorganisms form a thin biofilm, previously called plaque, and deposit on the teeth, in the spaces and on the edge of the gingival. This biofilm is quickly becoming a difficult community: "Microbes work diligently to communicate and organize themselves. Together, they are more efficient and robust," Nischwitz explains. If this biophile is not regularly removed, the oral microbiome can be removed and pathogenic bacteria outgrow the natural flora. Caries and periodontitis occur. "Mouthwashes remove this bacterial layer almost ineffectively. Just a thorough brushing, peeling and interdental brushing will help," explains Prof. Benjamin Ehmke, Director of the Department of Periodontology and Dental Care at Münster University Hospital. In theory, reaching for a toothbrush every 48 hours would be enough. It takes so long for the biofilm to recover from scrubbing and become harmful again. "Nobody creates 100% clean teeth," Ehmke says. Even those who brush twice a day and use a dental floss once a day: Up to 40 percent of the tooth's surface remains contaminated with bacteria after brushing. Prophylaxis expert Ehmke advises: "With daily hygiene, regular teeth cleaning in practice helps to control the biofilm well." And that should be our goal, because as banal as it may sound: anyone who does not clean regularly receives an earlier or later admission in the form of dental problems.
Mouth healthy – how it works
If the acids attacked the tooth enamel, it will strain the brushing. Rinse with water after eating and give saliva for one to two hours to remineralize the enamel.
In interdental spaces, caries and inflammation occur most commonly. Daily brushes with thread or interdental prevent. Clean gently as this may result in injury.
Gentle help with small inflammations comes from nature. Chamomile promotes wound healing, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Yarrow has a hemostatic effect (for example in "Kamillan").
Fluoride in toothpaste is often discussed (e.g., in "Parodontax full protection"). Still, "this is a very well-studied standard for caries prevention," Ehmke points out. If you want to protect yourself without fluoride, you must pay attention to nutrition and hygiene. Pastes with hydroxyapatite zinc carbonate have been shown to reduce biofilm (e.g., "biorepair"). Coconut oil as a base has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (for example, in the permanently produced Niyok toothpaste).
Probiotics inhibit the growth of pathogenic microbes. Of course, they are found mainly in fermented foods like yogurt, cheese and sauerkraut. Probiotics (e.g., "Probio-Dent Syxyl") can regulate imbalance, such as antibiotic therapy.
Prebiotics have an anti-inflammatory effect and improve the absorption of minerals. Indigestible fibers are, for example, in parsnips, asparagus, chicory, garlic, artichokes, oats and rye. It is also available as a dietary supplement in combination with probiotics (for example, "Doppelherz Pro Lacto Balance Trinkgranulat").
Extract oil has an antibacterial effect and helps the microbiome. "It's a useful home remedy – especially if an infection approaches," Nischwitz says. This is how it works: mix good oil, such as olive, walnut or coconut oil in your mouth for 5 to 20 minutes. Do not swallow!
Strong chewing improves oral immune defenses. Researchers have found that nibbling on foods with a hard consistency promotes the formation of certain accessory T-cells (TH17) in the mouth.
Periodontal disease does not hurt, but it can damage the entire body
"Fortunately, fewer and fewer people have a classic hole in their teeth," Ehmke says. In contrast, attacked gums are still widespread – an undervalued problem. Since the age of 35, more than half of Germans have gingivitis and the next highest levels of disease, periodontitis, inflammation of the gums and dental bed. Unlike tooth decay, bacterial infectious diseases cause little pain but pose a danger to the entire body. Warning signs such as red or swollen gums are often overlooked for years. "Even if it bleeds in the mouth, few take it seriously. Some even think it's just a cleaning, and stopped it," says Ehmke of the practice. But the further the inflammation progresses, the more fatal it will be. On the one hand it damages locally: the gums are pulling more and more. After a few years, the loss is often clearly manifested in increasingly independent teeth.
In addition, the gum is released and there are cavities between the teeth and gums, the so-called gum pockets. In the terminal phase, periodontitis leads to tooth loss. Chronic inflammation but also has a detrimental effect on the national level. After all, pathogens can easily penetrate the entire bloodstream and become harmful in other parts of the body. Several analyzes show an increase in the risk of stroke or myocardial infarction in patients with periodontitis. In pregnant women, there is a striking relationship between periodontal disease and preterm birth and low birth weight.
New research even suggests that periodontal disease germs are involved in the onset and progression of dementia. In contrast, recent research shows that consistent treatment of periodontal disease has a positive effect on the health status of, for example, type 2 diabetics and rheumatism. Therefore, Ehmke strongly recommends, "If there is no improvement in gum bleeding within one to two weeks, the specialist must take care of the inflammation."
Commission is the best method
Experts estimate that more than 80 percent of all gum disease could be prevented by timely diagnosis and professional treatment. "A lot has changed in the treatment of periodontitis. In the past, systemic antibiotics were used, antibiotics that are absorbed through the intestines and enter the body. Today, this is only dealt with in the case of seriously ill patients or aggressive disease," explains Ehmke. The background is the protection of the microbiome. Careful use of antibiotics should prevent even good bacteria from being killed. Because a balanced microbiome is the best prevention.
Our lifestyle can also disrupt the microbiome. Multiple oral balance is affected by many factors. They include hormonal changes through puberty, pregnancy or aging. For example, in pregnancy, the pH of saliva is lower than usual, it is more acidic. Future mothers should therefore pay special attention to dental care. Saliva production often declines with age, the mouth is less flushed and the teeth less mineralized. "Spitting is the right nutritious cocktail for our teeth. It often helps with dry mouth, drinking more and chewing gum, "Nischwitz says.
Lifestyle plays a big role
But our lifestyle has a particularly powerful effect on microbial balance in the mouth. For example, the risk of periodontitis in smokers is three times higher than in nicotine abstinents. Researchers from the University of New York School of Medicine studied the oral flora of more than 1,200 Americans. More than 150 different bacterial species have been found in smokers' mouths in increasing quantities, such as the dental caries-causing bacteria Streptococcus. 70 other "good" bacteria, however, were less common. But that's not all: Because cigarette consumption also reduces blood flow, typical signs of inflammation such as redness, swelling and bleeding often go away – diseases are recognized very late.
The role of nutrition should not be underestimated. Why dentists do not learn nutrition during their studies is incomprehensible to holistic dentist Nischwitz. "Because we don't usually feed properly, the composition of the microbiome changes. Sugars and sweeteners like aspartame emphasize our microbiome. And often macros and micronutrients are lacking. This demineralization alone means that teeth become porous and even caries can appear." and healthy proteins are the two major components of a species-appropriate diet. Real carbohydrates, healthy fats from nuts and oils, fish, seafood, rarely meat. Vitamin D3, K2, magnesium, vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids in particular are among the key nutrients of the Nischwitz tooth.
It's not just about cleaning
Ehmke also helps remove snacks. "Roughly speaking, 30 minutes after a meal, the bacteria in the mouth stimulate metabolism; there are acids and demineralize the tooth. Then it takes saliva about two to three hours to make up for that damage to the acid with minerals. If you don't eat as often during the day, Not between the two, the risk of tooth decay is less. "Stress also plays a special role in our oral flora. A Canadian study suggests that the biodiversity of the oral microbiome drastically reduces chronic stress, but potentially diseased bacteria multiply." In times of stress, the body gives up all digestive functions, including saliva production. But the lower the saliva, the higher the risk of caries, "explains Nischwitz. Because without saliva, which constantly flushes away food, germs and tissue particles, the important power of cleansing the oral cavity is lacking.
One thing becomes clear when you work intensively on mouth and tooth health: it’s not just about cleaning! Or in the words of Nischwitz: "So that your teeth and oral cavity stay healthy, unfortunately there is no pill that can solve all of our problems for us. Everyone has to be holistic."
In his book "Verzahnt" (waterfront Verlag, € 19.99) by Dr. Ing. Annette Jasper with proper oral care, the effects of inflammation, but especially with the little-known effects of CMD (craniomandibular dysfunction) on our bodies like tinnitus, headache, disc herniation and more.
Exciting, fun and still based on the latest research by Dominik Nischwitz in "On All Lips" (Mosaik Verlag, € 16) the ecosystem of the mouth and how to keep the oral cavity and thus the whole body healthy.