processed food can harm oral microbiome

Too much Processed Food can harm your Oral Microbiome

processed food can harm oral microbiomeThousand Oaks, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village, CA

At Integrative Dental Arts, Dr. Kathleen Carson and her staff practice the philosophy of biological dentistry. This is a more holistic approach to dental health that focuses on treating and improving the overall health of our patients, rather than focusing solely on problems occurring in the mouth. Your mouth is the window to the body; you use it to eat and breathe, and having good oral health is connected to maintaining the stasis of your oral microbiome—which refers to all of the microorganisms that live naturally in your mouth. Your oral microbiome can be thrown out of harmony because of the presence of too many harmful microorganisms due to causes like poor dental hygiene and breathing frequently through the mouth. However, what you eat and drink also can affect your oral microbiome—for good and bad. Let’s take a more in-depth look at how your nutrition, and the consumption of processed food, in particular, can harm your oral microbiome.

Medical research continues to show that processed food is bad for your health

Two studies recently published in the BMJ produced disturbing facts about the impact processed foods can have on your wellness. One study conducted in France found that processed and industrially manufactured foods led to an elevated risk of a host of cardiovascular issues, including heart disease. The second study, which was held in Spain, found that individuals with high consumption of ultra-processed foods were at greater risk of death from all causes by an alarming rate of 62 percent.

An increasingly popular hypothesis in the scientific world suggests these health risks stem from the composition of processed foods, which typically have more additives, less fiber, and more sugar than whole or minimally processed foods. Scientists hypothesize that these processed foods disturb the digestive microbiome, which consists of trillions of bacteria contained in the intestines and colon.

Not all processed foods are created equal

Certain foods are processed but not particularly harmful: vegetables pickled in a brine solution, or fish that is canned in oil. These foods are a less nutritious choice than whole foods, but their processing usually entails salt, sugar, and oil. Ultra-processed foods, on the other hand, are made with a wide array of complicated additives to improve their appearance or flavor. These are considered to be much more harmful to your health. 

Processed foods affect the oral microbiome in particular because of the heightened intake of carbohydrates. A 2013 study examined the oral cavities of humans from the Neolithic and medieval eras. It found their bacterial colonies in their mouths to be much more diverse when compared to the oral microbiome of humans living in the current, modern, post-industrial age. Processed foods also have been found to increase inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation can fuel the development of a host of chronic ailments such as diabetes, arthritis, gum disease, and even cancer.

Holistic Nutrition Counseling in Agoura Hills

Integrative Dental Arts can do much more than just clean your teeth and fill cavities. We offer services you won’t find at other dental offices that aim to improve your overall health and wellness. One of these services is holistic nutrition counseling. This is based on the concept of holistic nutrition, and recommending a diet to improve the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of each individual. Are you ready to learn more about our treatment philosophy? Give us a call at (818) 889-0400 or contact us to schedule your consultation if you’re located in the areas of Agoura Hills and Westlake Village in Southern California.