Maintaining the Oral Microbiome
By Kevin Luan, BDS, MS, and Aniruddh Narvekar, BDS
The evolving understanding of oral biology and the role of a healthy oral microbiome, as well as various factors that may lead to a dysbiotic state, drive the need to consider what will be “the next generation of prevention.” In the oral cavity, billions of microbes comprise an ecosystem that colonizes both the hard tooth surfaces and the soft mucosa tissues. Evidence shows that decreasing bacteria in the whole mouth through the use of antimicrobials correlates with significant reductions in plaque, gingivitis, and other harmful biofilm-related oral diseases. To achieve and maintain oral health, it is necessary to elevate the importance of fighting harmful bacteria on 100% of mouth surfaces, which will lead to better oral health outcomes for all patients. This article reviews the development and characteristics of the oral microbiome and provides a list of strategies for maintaining a healthy oral microbiome. I am sure it will be a valuable resource in pursuing a proactive and preventive approach in your practice.