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Your Second Immune System
Oh hi! It’s me again. Back for our second Lumineux® Blog entry. I’m excited to dig into the minutia of your oral health and the routines that can help support you. The first thing I want to write to you about is the keynote of our battle cry here at Lumineux®, and that is the importance of your oral flora, otherwise known as the oral microbiome.
You are probably familiar with your gut microbiome. You may have even taken probiotics, or consumed things like yogurt to support it, but I have found that most people are not aware of the fact that in and on your body, you have several microbiomes that all provide vital functions for your health. You can find unique microbiomes on your skin, the surface of your eyes, in your ears, your gut, your birth canal (if you have one) and *drum roll please* your mouth!
Though each of these systems serve singular purposes, they are all vital to the overall health and well-being of your body day to day. If thrown off balance, a whole slew of problems can arise like autoimmune diseases1, mood disorders2, and even allergies3.
So, what exactly is a microbiome and what can you do to protect yours? Here at Lumineux® we consider ourselves advocates for microbiome health, so we feel uniquely positioned to weigh in here.
Your microbiomes are complex networks of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi. The majority of these microorganisms, however, are good bacteria4 and these good bacteria are imperative to good health. There are many different kinds of them present in these systems and they do a lot for you; including support immunity5, produce vitamins6 and enzymes, and even serotonin. In fact, 95% of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that influences learning, memory and mood, is produced by the microbiome in your gut8. Similarly, the bacteria in your mouth play an essential role in the production of nitric oxide9, a diverse messenger molecule with important vascular and metabolic functions. In fact, this is the reason for recent movement in the fitness community to do away with antibacterial mouthwashes, stating that mouthwashes that target and destroy bacteria in our mouths in turn have a negative impact on physical performance.
Which leads me to my next point! Let’s talk about how one or more of your microbiomes can become compromised through daily routines and the consequences of that. I’m sure it’s easy to see that because your microbiomes are largely made up of good bacteria, that anything used or consumed with ANTI-bacterial ingredients disrupt these systems. Foods containing antibacterial ingredients, antibacterial soaps, cleaning products, detergents, and oral care all impact our microbiome(s) negatively. These ingredients don’t target just bad bacteria and leave good bacteria be. They kill bacterial indiscriminately, and in doing so lessen your body’s ability to function properly while creating space for other foreign microorganisms in our environment to take hold and multiply.
I’m sure we’ve all heard the term “nature abhors a vacuum”. We see this in action here. Our microbiomes are incredibly good at protecting us from infection and disease1 simply by taking up a lot of space in and on our body. When our microbiomes are in good working order and we come in contact with a virus like Covid-19 for instance, it is very difficult for that virus to find enough space to take hold and multiply enough to tip us over into illness. This allows our immune system to stay dormant, which is a very good thing. When your immune system is triggered too frequently it can take a toll on the body and it can also be the source of movement of viruses throughout the body. Anytime we don’t let our body’s natural defense mechanisms handle harmful bacteria and viruses and they are being wiped out by chemical ingredients in the products we consume, then the immune system may not be able to develop properly and in turn can start to go haywire, even attacking healthy cells, tissues or organs, otherwise known as autoimmune response10.
Now, I wouldn’t be so bold as to say your antibacterial mouthwash is going to lead to an autoimmune disease tomorrow. That would be a little brazen. However, I will say that antibacterial mouthwashes wipe out highly beneficial bacteria that, looking at the big picture of health, you really don’t want to wipe out!
The good news is you don’t have to. Wiping out bacteria is not the only way to go about achieving oral health. In fact, given everything we just discussed, I would say it’s the wrong way.
Did you know that the thing that makes bad bacteria “bad” is actually the toxins they excrete? So, it seemed to us the best way to go about solving this conundrum was to simply do away with those toxins. The bacteria themselves didn’t need to be destroyed. And that’s where our awesome, Microbiome Safe® products take the stage. Lumineux® doesn’t kill bacteria. We neutralize the toxins of that small percentage of bad bacteria instead11, supporting the good microorganisms in your mouth to do what they do best; keep you healthy!
Now THAT is above and beyond if you ask me.
Above and beyond oral care, moral care.®