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Oral microbiome

Published on 19-06-17

The oral cavity hosts a complex microbial ecosystem, with a great diversity of bacterial species and developmental features depending on the anatomical structure (lips, teeth, tongue, jugal mucosa, palate, saliva, gingival cracks), the prosthetic works on which it is located ( bridges, dentures) and the nutrient substrate. Many bacterial species interact either in a synergistic way, helping each other, creating the right environment or food for the survival of others, or antagonistically – because some species are in competition with others for food and survival. The oral cavity acts as a “gateway” for the rest of the human body, which is why it is so important to maintain a balanced state of the microbiome in the oral cavity.

The oral microbiome is composed of over 700 bacterial species, which contribute to the formation of oral biofilm, a soft deposit and adhesion that accumulates constantly. These bacteria feed on sugars and foods present in the oral cavity.

A balanced bacterial flora contributes to the good functionality of the oral cavity, through the potential to maintain the health of the teeth and gums, to counteract the numerous aggressions of the environment and to provide support in the pre-digestion of food.

Halitosis or halena (popularly called bad breath) can develop as a result of overpopulation with pathogenic bacteria and indicates an obvious imbalance of the oral microbiome. To combat halitosis (after making sure it has no biological cause) it is necessary to support the development of the oral bacterial flora with potential benefit, which, by multiplication, will inhibit the development of pathogens, as it competes with food and binding sites. pathogenic species.

Oral flora evolves throughout life, depending on age, hormonal status, stress, but also many external factors. Oral flora can be unbalanced by:

– Poor oral hygiene;

– Daily diet;

– Alcohol consumption;

– Smoking;

– Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, etc

– Antibiotics;

– Orthodontic treatments.

Most oral lesions are opportunistic infections which means that they are caused by commensal bacteria in the oral cavity, but are prevented by their own defense mechanisms.

These microorganisms can induce massive infections that compromise general health and can also spread to the body if normal barriers are affected.

The oral mucosa is such a barrier that provides protection against pathogens. Salivary secretion is a second important line of defense. Impairment of the oral mucosa by mechanical trauma, infectious processes, or dysfunction of the salivary glands with impaired antimicrobial function and salivary lubrication (possibly as a result of chemotherapy, irradiation, and medication) opens the door for pathogens to enter the body.

Maintaining a balanced relationship between potentially beneficial bacterial species and pathogenic species in the oral cavity is a strategy for the prevention of upper respiratory tract infections (pharyngitis, tonsillitis, acute otitis media) and for the prevention and treatment of oral inflammatory diseases (stomatitis, gingivitis, oral candidiasis, halitosis).

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