Healthy mouth, healthy body: the link between oral health and systemic diseases

The mouth is responsible for many daily actions, from nutrition to language and social interaction. For this reason, oral health deeply influences the quality of life: dental and periodontal pathologies such as periodontitis can affect the body as a whole. 

In this article, we will shed light on the link between oral and systemic health and explore some solutions for preserving the well-being of teeth and mouth. 

What is the relationship between oral health and overall health?

The oral microflora includes up to approximately 1000 species of bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea, and protozoa that live in our mouths. Under normal conditions, the different components of this microflora maintain a perfect microbial balance, a state called eubiosis, while its opposite, dysbiosis, is a situation of imbalance that leads to inflammation and disease. 

Historically, oral disorders have been treated separately from the rest of the body. However, in recent years several studies have emphasized that oral health is an integral part of our overall health. 

Some periodontal diseases can indeed lead to cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, asthma, pneumonia, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, diabetes and complications of pregnancy. A connection that cannot be underestimated. 

The case of periodontitis and rheumatoid arthritis

One of the most serious threats to the well-being of the oral microbiota is periodontitis, a chronic inflammation of the gums that, if not properly treated, can result in the progressive destruction of the tissues surrounding the teeth.  

Scientific studies have shown a bidirectional relationship between periodontitis and systemic diseases. We are facing a potential cause of chronic infection, which represents a risk factor for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, peripheral arterial disease, and low birth weight in newborns. 

But periodontitis is not the only threat. Recently, a research project at the Queen Mary University of London has identified a link between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers coordinated by Magdalena Flank have found that the oral bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis exacerbates arthritis symptoms by interfering with anti-inflammatory molecules in the gut. 

Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to have gum disease. After treatment for this disease, they often see improvements in their rheumatism symptoms. This is a significant finding if we consider that rheumatoid arthritis affects the lives of 2.3 million Europeans. 

How to promote the well-being of the oral microflora 

Proper and timely dental care is the most important factor in preserving eubiosis and destroying harmful bacteria. If toothbrush, floss and antibacterial mouthwash are the first line of defense, you may also limit (when not eliminate) bad habits such as smoking, overconsumption of alcohol, sugar and fizzy drinks. 

Diet also plays a key role in the composition of the microbial flora, as it can promote the colonization of some species over others. 

There is an ever-increasing demand for innovative ingredients for functional foods (sweets, chewing gum, fruit juices, drinks, etc.) and for food supplements for oral health with a eubiotic action.

Planoràl, synergy for the hygiene of the oral cavity

The new EPO extract, Planoràl, is a response to these very needs. Our blend of Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora L.) and Cistus (Cistus × incanus L.) has been patented for its synergistic antibacterial action against Porphyromonas gingivalis and may be useful in the prevention of periodontitis. 

Skullcap is also effective against Streptococcus mutans, a bacterium responsible for dental caries and plaque. 

Planoràl preserves oral eubiosis and does not damage lactobacilli, unlike other chemical molecules commonly used in mouthwashes. Mouthwashes act against inflammation of bacterial origin, but may as well compromise the balance of the oral microflora, due to their indiscriminate bactericidal action.

If oral and body health are interconnected, Planoràl is an ingredient with major benefits for the entire organism. Find out more about the new EPO extract in this in-depth study and download the brochure. 

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