It’s kind of stunning to think about: Your body contains roughly as many microbes as human cells. If you could gather them all together and weigh them, they’d come to about two pounds. Most dwell in your gut, but billions live in your mouth, representing hundreds of species. Some are helpful, while others can lead to disease.

Unfortunately, oral microbes don’t always stay confined to the mouth. Recently, for instance, we noted how P. gingivalis – one of the main bacteria involved in gum disease – appears to play a role in rheumatoid arthritis. Other research has shown that oral bacteria may be found in the hearts of people with cardiovascular issues, for instance, and even the brain tissue of those with Alzheimer’s.

In short, oral health can have big systemic effects.

But as our regular readers know, the goal isn’t to just kill the “germs.” Indeed, a completely antiseptic mouth is an impossibility. Rather, the goal is healthy microbial balance, largely through hygiene, nutrition, and encouraging helpful, health-promoting microbes to help keep the bad guys in check.

To learn more, sit back and check out this excellent video from Dr. David Kennedy, in which he explores the world of “Bad Bugs,” their impact on oral-systemic health, and how to prevent the baddies from taking over and wreaking havoc:

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