The Oral Microbiome and Gut Microbiome Epithelial Connection
Your gut and your mouth are connected by virtue of your human anatomy. Not only are they literally connected like two stops on the same bus line, they also share an epithelial lining which is loaded with microbes. These microbes contribute to your immunity, as well as your susceptibility to disease, so if the microbes in your mouth are "off" so are the ones in your gut. Called dysbiosis, this upset in your natural bacterial state can make you susceptible to pathogenic bacteria or "bad bugs" that take advantage of your microbial weakness and proceed to pounce in attack.
For example, IBD or Inflammatory Bowel Disease (like Chrohn's disease and ulcerative colitis) is characterized by uncontrolled inflammation that leads to damage to the intestinal barrier.
Patients with IBD often have inflammation of the oral mucosa and up to 80% of patients with Crohn's have symptoms of oral disease, like Gingivitis and Periodontitis (characterized by inflamed, bleeding gums). Dysbiosis of the microbiota, damage to the mucosal membranes and altered immune response are shared conditions by IBD and these oral diseases, so treating inflammation in the mouth and the gut is important. Ironically oral inflammation is often discovered before signs of inflammatory bowel disease begin, so regular dental visits are key for early detection and preventative health measures. And finding a good dentist who investigates your overall health when viewing your mouth is equally as important!