Many health-related articles and websites point to having a healthy gut microbiome as the key to living an overall healthy lifestyle. However, before the gut microbiome comes into the picture, it’s the oral microbiome that is at the forefront of keeping you and your immune system in good condition.
Maintaining a healthy oral microbiome is a major focus of my dentistry, so I am always looking for resources that will help guide people in taking the best care of their mouths.
That’s where the book, Heal Your Oral Microbiome, by Cass Nelson-Dooley comes in. This book focuses exclusively on the oral microbiome and teaches you how your mouth paves the way towards full-body health, as well as important steps to take in order to heal and balance your oral microbiome.
It’s the first book of its kind. During 40 years of dental practice, I had never before read information like this- all in one place. Yet, as dentists, we are working with the oral microbiome every day. I’m so happy this information is finally available to patients and dentists alike. This is why I call Heal Your Oral Microbiome a “pillar book.” It’s one of my top four most highly recommended books.
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What is Heal Your Oral Microbiome about?
Heal Your Oral Microbiome dives into the world of bacteria contained within your mouth and offers science-based tips on how you can improve your health by first fixing your mouth-gut microbiome connection.
The author, Cass Nelson-Dooley, M.S., began her career in the field of science and natural medicine after she studied medicinal plants in the rain forests of Panama, in 2003. She researched the pharmacology of medicinal plants at the University of Georgia and AptoTec, Inc, and then started a career in laboratory testing at Metametrix Clinical Laboratory. She has over a decade of experience teaching doctors about integrative and functional laboratory results. She owns Health First Consulting, LLC, a medical communications company with the mission to improve human health using the written word. In addition to Heal Your Oral Microbiome, Ms. Nelson-Dooley has published case studies, book chapters, and journal articles about natural medicine, nutrition, and laboratory testing.
What This Book Will Tell You
From the start of her book, Nelson-Dooley aims for the reader to recognize that the oral microbiome is made up of 99 percent “good,” or necessary, bacteria and only about one percent “bad,” or infectious, bacteria, and the key to having a healthy oral microbiome is actively nourishing those good bacteria instead of trying to kill off the tiny amount of bad ones.
The author highlights the essential roles that the good bacteria in your oral microbiome perform, including protecting you from pathogens, regulating your immune response, making vitamins, and even helping you lose weight. But most importantly, the good bacteria in your oral microbiome help you build up a resistance to infections from any bad bacteria that manage to slip past your defenses.
Amidst an informative tour of the oral cavity and easy-to-understand scientific descriptions of the most common oral diseases, Heal Your Oral Microbiome focuses on the natural, safe things you can do to optimize your oral microbiome.
Key Tips from the Book
Here are a few key takeaways from Heal Your Microbiome that I found to be the most helpful and that you can easily apply to your day-to-day life.
Eat more prebiotic-rich foods such as vegetables and fruits to build your oral microbiome
A diet that is low in sugar and refined carbohydrates can encourage a healthier oral microbiome. Sugar and packaged foods (those containing refined carbohydrates) promote dysbiosis of the oral microbiome, which show up as cavities, gum disease, or root canal infections. To feed your healthy oral bacteria with the prebiotics they crave, it’s best to eat whole foods rich in fiber, and eat the rainbow of fruits and vegetables. But you can also take prebiotics in a powder form or a chewable, like Hyperbiotics’ Prebiotic.
Boost your dental health and say goodbye to the bacterium that causes stomach ulcers, Helicobacter pylori
It’s hard to believe that brushing and flossing can reduce stomach ulcers, but Nelson-Dooley shows that the mouth is intimately linked to the gut in Heal Your Oral Microbiome. People who get regular dental cleanings can get rid of ulcers and H. pylori more effectively than those who don’t. The benefits of dental hygiene for whole-body health don’t stop there. Brushing and flossing can also lower inflammatory markers in your blood and reduce the risk of heart attacks.
Stay away from antiseptic mouthwashes
Bacteria that live in your mouth help you make a chemical called nitric oxide, which plays a critical role in your cardiovascular system by making blood flow smoothly. However, using antiseptic mouthwash usually kills both the bad and good bacteria in your mouth. And once the good bacteria is damaged, it can no longer produce nitric oxide, and your blood pressure can increase.
Final Thoughts on Heal Your Oral Microbiome
Heal Your Oral Microbiome is a must read if you truly want to understand oral health and how it affects the health of your overall systemic wellbeing. I have been practicing dentistry for 40 years and I think this should be required reading in dental schools. Easily read by both the layperson and professional, this book is a healthcare gem, and will, by reading it, greatly improve the quality of your life. An essential read for better health!
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