patients gum

Patients with early gum problems

Poor gum health: a red flag for dysbiosis?

The latest research challenges traditional ideas about microorganisms and health. We now know that the collection of human microbes (the microbiome) colonising the human body don’t only cause disease but are integral to health. The mouth is no exception; the health of the oral microbiome is intrinsically linked to the health of the mouth and gums. This highlights an important opportunity: by detecting the obvious signs of microbiome disturbance, such as bleeding or inflamed gums, can we act early to improve health outcomes?

How does the microbiome influence gum health?

Until recently, the theory was relatively simple: if pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria persist in the mouth, gum problems or caries can result. But it now seems the picture is more complex, because many bacterial species have valuable functions. In fact, both health and disease-associated bacteria co-exist in a diverse natural oral ecosystem. Salivary enzymes and proteins naturally help to keep this system balanced in a state of symbiosis.

Disease can occur if the finely tuned ecosystem in the mouth is disturbed. Then, a single or few disease-associated species may begin to proliferate and dominate, leading to dysbiosis and potentially gum problems or caries. For example, this can happen if inflamed and bleeding gums reduce oxygen levels in the affected area, favouring anaerobic bacteria associated with tissue damage and gingivitis. The cycle can be self-perpetuating. Tissue damage in turn provides nutrients for disease-associated bacteria, promoting further dysbiosis.

Which patients could be affected?

Dysbiosis of the microbiome be triggered by changes to lifestyle or health. Patients affected by these changes are then more likely to develop gum problems and caries, and early signs of poor gum health can be an important flag for dysbiosis.

  • During pregnancy, changes in hormones can affect the oral microbiome. Up to three-quarters of women suffer from gum disease while they are pregnant.
  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, poor diet or stress can trigger chronic inflammation, disrupting the natural balance of the oral microbiome.
  • Diabetes is associated with metabolic dysregulation leading to a highly inflammatory state that can affect the microbiome balance.

By detecting early signs of gum problems in these patient groups, dental practitioners have a window of opportunity to intervene and prevent progression to poor gum health.

Factors that affect the oral microbiome

Factors that affect the oral microbiome

Zendium is clinically proven to improve gum health

Physical disruption of the microbiome through twice-daily brushing with a fluoride toothpaste is fundamental to keep gums healthy. In addition, Zendium toothpaste is clinically proven to improve gum health by balancing the oral microbiome.*1 This makes Zendium suitable for patients with early signs of gum problems that could indicate microbiome imbalance.

*Refers to the oral plaque microbiome and the relative abundance of bacterial species with a known association with gum health or disease after 14 weeks of brushing twice a day with Zendium when compared to baseline.

1. Adams S.E. et al. Sci. Rep. (2017) 43344.