Is The Way You Brush Your Teeth Contributing To SIBO?

Oct 18, 2022 | Gut Health

If you have SIBO, should you brush your teeth before or after breakfast?

The correct answer is before.

If you have small intestine bacterial overgrowth and brush your teeth after breakfast, you may be adding fuel to the (overgrowth) fire.

In fact, this is a question I ask all my clients who I suspect have SIBO.

Some people believe colonic bacteria moving backward (through the ileocecal valve) into the small intestine is the main cause of small bowel overgrowth. However, I believe swallowing mouth bacteria (which then overgrow in the small intestine) is the main cause.

This is particularly true if you have low stomach acid (your stomach acid should kill the bugs you swallow).

Or sluggish bile flow (bile is antimicrobial).

Or a sluggish bowel (think swampy pond vs. clear moving creek).

Brushing your teeth before you eat breakfast removes the billions of bacteria that multiplied overnight.

Did you know that SIBO bacteria reproduce every 20 minutes?

So if you sleep for 8 hours, your mouth bacteria have multiplied 24 times!

And, remember, this is exponential growth. If you start with 1, that turns into 2, which turns into 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128…

Just think of the game 2048.

So, if you think you might have SIBO, do yourself a favor and brush your teeth as soon as you wake up in the morning. And definitely before you eat breakfast.

Here’s what stool test results might show

Stool test results showing elevated levels of mouth bacteria (yellow highlight) present in the colon.

Mouth bacteria are highlighted in yellow. This include Streptococcus, Micrococcus, and Enterococcus species.

Numbers greater than 20 indicate opportunistic overgrowth (when the reference range is <20.0).

So these results indicate many mouth bacteria are taking over (growing bigger and stronger) than the normal colon flora. Which is likely causing all sorts of symptoms.

To learn more about other SIBO-contributing factors, check out What is SIBO? A Beginners Guide to Diagnosing & Healing.

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