Every time your dog swallows, they are sending thousands of bacteria, viruses, protists and fungi (microbiome) from the mouth down the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to the stomach. We were always taught that the fate of these microbes is death by stomach acid…turns out that is not necessarily true.
Microbes from the mouth survive the stomach to impact gut function and gut health.
Not surprisingly, who lives in the mouth has now been shown to impact microbes that inhabit the lower gut. In our studies, we show that the fastest way to improve the gut microbiome (all the microbes that inhabit the lower gut) is surprisingly through the improvement of the oral microbiome.
Growing friendly bacteria in the mouth leads to increased levels of friendly bacteria in the gut and helps gut function.
Decreasing the levels of dangerous microbes such as Candida albicans, Aspergillus niger, Salmonella spp., Shigella spp. and others from your dog’s mouth can not only improve the oral health of your dog but also your dog’s gut health. These organisms are linked to inflammation, leaky gut and diarrheal diseases.
Here are some easy ways you can help your dog’s gut health:
- Nutrition – dog food DOESN’T actually feed a dog…it feeds the microbes that inhabit the mouth and gut. Your dog absorbs the nutrients that the gut bacteria break down. If your dog eats the same food and same brand all the time, their oral and gut microbes are less diverse and the risk of a “bloom” of harmful bacteria becomes significant – this can compromise gut integrity (leaky gut), gut function (malabsorption, loose stool, etc.) and lead to inflammation. Diversifying the diet is therefore the key to a healthy and diverse oral and gut microbiome. More leafy vegetables, less starches and grains, and alternate proteins very often.
- Oral hygiene – daily dental hygiene is essential for keeping a well-balanced oral microbiome and keeping inflammation of the lining of the mouth low. How do you do that? Stop using dental treats and treatments with harsh chemicals and detergents (triclosan, cetylpyridinium chloride, chlorine dioxide, sodium tripolyphosphate) that DECREASE diversity of the microbiome. Why? These chemicals do not discriminate between good vs bad and they kill beneficial bacteria in the mouth and gut.
- Let them eat dirt – yep, a little bit of dirt every now and then is a good thing. Soils contain minerals and a diverse set of microbes that can help diversify the oral and gut microbiomes. It is a cheaper and more robust way to get access to “probiotic-like” beneficial microbes.
We took these keys to mouth and gut health to heart when designing TEEF’s Protektin42™. We use microbial nutrition [from soil] to increase microbiome diversity in the mouth, with the proven ability to increase diversity of the gut microbiome, too.
Dr. Stein holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of California at Berkeley where she studied signaling pathways involved in stress response and community development in bacteria and received her B.S. in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Iowa where she studied the interaction between M. tuberculosis and innate immune cells. She founded Primal Health, LLC to focus on improving the quality of life and longevity of both humans and animals by producing innovative, consumable and safe dental hygiene products. Their patented prebiotic technology centers on re-engineering disease-causing bacterial biofilms into those that are health-promoting.