Understanding the inner workings of the mouth is important if you want to protect you and your family’s health. It equips you with the knowledge you’ll need when it comes time to select the very best mouth care products — which impacts more than just your pearly whites. The mouth is the gateway to the body, and what we put in it (and what we don’t), can largely impact both our oral and overall health. But you probably didn’t need us to tell you that.

While your dentist has probably covered the basics with you on the importance of brushing and flossing, we want to equip you with a deeper understanding of your mouth to empower you to make better choices concerning it. Here we cover the basic anatomy of your chompers and how it can directly affect the rest of the body, the oral microbiome (probably never heard of that, huh?), pH-balance and the mineralization process of teeth.

The Anatomy of the Tooth

Let’s take our exploration of the mouth one step further. We won’t bore you with a full-blown anatomy class (just a mini one), Your mouth is much more than just a collection of teeth, and your teeth are more than just inorganic objects that require only brushing from the outside twice a day and cleaning by the dentist twice a year. Teeth have living internal structures that require nutrients to grow and develop correctly and to help protect them from the harsh environment of the rest of the mouth. Understanding these three major players in a tooth’s structure can help you protect your child’s overall health.

See, that mouth anatomy lesson wasn’t so bad, was it?

The Oral Microbiome

Did you know there are over 700 species of bacteria shacking up with your smile right now? Our mouths are not just a set of teeth, they play house to an entire ecosystem of both helpful and harmful bacteria, formally known as the oral microbiome. But don’t let that skeeve you out!

When the helpful and harmful bacteria are living in harmony, your whole body benefits. Here’s how:

The mouth sends microbes (bacteria) to the rest of the body, and when they’re healthy, they help with:

  • digestion
  • absorbing nutrients
  • regulating the metabolism
  • fighting off infection

However, if your delicate ecosystem is being overrun by “bad” bacteria, those harmful microbes eat away at teeth causing cavities and other dental horrors and could wreak havoc on the rest of the body.

So what’s the secret to optimizing your mouth’s ability to fight off health-threatening microbes? It all comes down to the pH balance of the mouth, and the demineralization and remineralization of teeth.

pH Balance & the Demineralization and Remineralization of Teeth

Maintaining a healthy pH balance in the mouth creates a helpful balance of good and bad bacteria. Every time you eat or drink something, however, the pH of your saliva drops and becomes acidic for about 30-60 minutes. During this time, it leaves the door (or mouth, rather) open for bad bacteria to eat away at the minerals on your teeth and dissolve the shiny, white enamel that protects them. The removal of minerals is called demineralization. Your saliva then begins to reverse the pH and neutralize the mouth by bathing your teeth in protective minerals. This is called remineralization.

Vitamins K2 & D3

If you’re not eating foods high in vitamin D or K2, your teeth cannot defend themselves from the sugary and acidic assaults, nor can a baby’s developing teeth grow properly. Vitamin D helps transport calcium from your intestines, and vitamin K2 helps activate the proteins needed to pull the calcium from blood and direct it into your teeth and bones. So, without this duo or a balanced microbiome, one increases their risk for developing cavities and oral diseases.