The Intriguing Connection Between Oral Microbiome and Health 


The Intriguing Connection Between Oral Microbiome and Health 

In the vast ecosystem of the body, there exists a microscopic world within our oral cavity, teaming with diverse microorganisms. This intricate community, known as the oral microbiome, encompasses bacteria, viruses, fungi, and archaea, collectively orchestrating a symphony of functions crucial for maintaining oral health and beyond. 

At the heart of this microbial orchestra lies a fascinating discovery – the role of nitrate and its impact on the delicate balance of the oral microbiome. Recent studies have shed light on the profound influence of dietary nitrate on the composition and function of the oral microbiome, unveiling a connection that extends far beyond our mouths*. 

Research reveals that several commensal oral bacteria possess the remarkable ability to reduce nitrate, thereby shaping the landscape of the oral microbiome. From Neisseria to Haemophilus, these bacterial genera play a pivotal role in nitrate reduction, with significant variations observed among individuals. While some species like Rothia dentocariosa and Haemophilus parainfluenzae exhibit variability, others like Prevotella melaninogenica and Veillonella dispar remain steadfast in their abundance and function. 

But what does this mean for our health? 

It turns out, the effects of nitrate supplementation reverberate throughout the oral microbiome, triggering shifts in microbial populations. Prevotella and Veillonella may decrease, while Rothia and Neisseria thrive in response to nitrate supplementation. These changes, in turn, have profound implications for Nitric Oxide bioavailability and blood pressure regulation, highlighting the interconnectedness between oral health and systemic well-being. 

Nitric Oxide, a versatile molecule with potent antimicrobial properties, acts as a pivotal mediator in this intricate dance between the microbiome and host physiology. Its influence extends beyond the oral cavity, shaping the composition and function of the gastrointestinal (GI) microbiome. As dietary nitrate replenishes both oral and gut microbiota, it fosters a healthier microbial milieu while fortifying mucosal integrity and reducing permeability – a crucial step in mitigating leaky mouth and gut. 

But the story doesn’t end there. Nitric Oxide’s influence transcends microbial boundaries, modulating the activity of the vagus nerve and orchestrating a cascade of physiological responses. By impacting vagal tone, blood flow to the gut, and the release of neurotransmitters like acetylcholine, Nitric Oxide exerts a profound influence on GI inflammation and tight junction integrity, crucial for maintaining gut health. 

In the realm of gut dysbiosis, where macrophages in the intestinal lumen can succumb to an inflammatory phenotype, the role of Nitric Oxide becomes even more pronounced. By supporting healthy Nitric Oxide levels through dietary nitrate, we can effectively combat dysbiosis and mitigate macrophage activation, thus preserving gut homeostasis and overall health. 

In essence, the relationship between Nitric Oxide and the microbiome unveils a complex interplay that underscores the intricate balance between host physiology and microbial communities. From the oral cavity to the depths of the gut, nitric oxide emerges as a key player in maintaining microbial harmony and promoting holistic well-being. 

So, the next time you ponder the intricacies of oral health and its broader implications, remember the silent orchestrator – Nitric Oxide – and its profound impact on the microbial symphony within us. Unlocking its potential may just hold the key to a healthier, more harmonious existence. 

For more, tune in to The More You NO video series hosted by Berkeley Life’s Clinical Education Manager: Berkeley Life – YouTube 

Reference: Beneficial actions of nitric oxide (NO) in the mechanism of…  Scientific Diagram (researchgate.net)   

Shannon, O.M., Easton, C., Shepherd, A.I. et al. Dietary nitrate and population health: a narrative review of the translational potential of existing laboratory studies. BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil 13, 65 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13102-021-00292-2   


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