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Not Just What, but How?


 You may already know that what you eat impacts your waistline, but did you know that what you eat can affect your oral health, too?

Researchers from Japan have shown how eating can affect the makeup and balance of microbes in the oral and gut biomes.

The results, published in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology in December 2019, show how regular feeding is necessary to establish and maintain bacteria in the mouth and intestines.

The body is full of cells and microorganisms that usually exist in symbiotic harmony. The microbes and bacteria found in the body play a significant role in how we digest food, our moods, sleep and susceptibility to chronic diseases illnesses.

Looking at tube-fed patients, the researchers theorized that resuming oral food intake could change oral and gut microbes. They tested this hypothesis in individuals who were recovering from stroke and suffering dysphagia, or swallowing difficulties. Dysphagia can cause trouble swallowing certain foods or liquids for some people, but can make eating impossible for others. Patients recovering from stroke frequently experience dysphagia as a side effect, and, as a result, require tube feeding to bypass the mouth.

To test their theory, they compared the oral and gut microbiome compositions in eight patients before and after the resumption of oral food intake.

To find the differences in the oral and gut microbiota, the researchers tested the profiles taken from each community through sequencing 16S rRNA in saliva and feces samples. They were looking for interaction patterns and co-occurrences of these communities and used computers to predict function.

The researchers found resuming oral food intake both significantly altered and diversified oral and gut microbiomes. While both areas are vastly different in terms of the microbiota that live in them, researchers found that both areas had a significant increase in the bacteria family known as Carnobacteriaceae and the genus Granulicatella.

These findings suggest that bacteria that are orally ingested can affect the health of the gut and affect overall health.

"This further supports the idea of the oral-systemic link," said Dr. David Buck, a Lynnwood, Wash., epigenetic dentist.

The oral-systemic link is a theory in dentistry that the health of the mouth and the overall body are connected.

Earlier studies have also shown that the bacteria in the mouth that cause periodontal disease can also contribute a higher risk of developing some forms of colon cancer.

"The mouth-body connection is important to consider when it comes to taking care of yourself," Buck said.

Source: Tokyo Medical and Dental University. "Not only what you eat, but how you eat, may affect your microbiome." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2020.

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