Epigenetics and environmental exposures drive our internal ecology from head to toe, beginning in the mouth. After we’ve played medical detective for years in attempts at uncovering hidden sources of immune-gut dysregulation through identifying stealth infections, sealing and healing the gut, and tampering down inflammation only to be left with more medical mysteries, we’re finally confirming what biological dentistry has been telling us for so long — start in the mouth. 

Dr. Steven Lin, functional dentist, speaker, and author of The Dental Diet explains that there are three distinctions: 

1 | factors that create a strong immune system 

2 | factors that create strong teeth

3 | factors that balance the entire microbiome

The mouth is the gateway to one of two places: systemic chronic inflammation or total health transformation. When we study inflammation, we consider the vast preponderance of tissue permeability and how that has led to widespread autoimmune issues, cancer, heart disease, and serious neuro-cognitive and neuro-degenerative concerns such as learning disabilities and early-onset Alzheimer’s. 

When you hear “leaky gut,” “leaky brain,” and “leaky mouth” the meaning is literal — tissues, due to toxic exposures become eroded and “leak” toxic substances and proteins directly into the bloodstream.

Blood is the highway by which these instigators now travel to other cells, tissues, and organs, continually wreaking havoc. Restoring the SIgA — the secretory immunoglobulin that is our immunological mucosal lining — is key to protecting the viability of the human microbiome. 

In the overlapping practice of integrative and biological medicine, we draw insight into whole-person health optimization through a strategic cross-disciplinary approach. Rather than recognizing dental wellness as separate, we unequivocally view it as a paramount reflection of whole health. An American Academy of Oral Systemic Health study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, found that P. Gingivalis actively invades the human brain. Identification of this oral bacteria within the brain helps drive the point across professions on the necessary clinical importance of a unified multi-systemic immunological understanding in disease prevention. By determining what enters our mouth and airways first helps us realize how the rest of the body will respond and adapt immunologically.

Dr. Lin who merges research in dental anthropology and quantum biology into his practice, asserts that in the modern world we are far more exposed to toxins than we (once) thought: 

“Packaged, processed foods with artificial ingredients are a source of unknown baddies. Foods that are grown with industrial agriculture practices that use pesticides with heavy metals and antibiotics are a common source of toxins. Poor sleep breathing is an epidemic level problem today. If we breathe incorrectly — like through the mouth — we bypass the respiratory immune system. Toxins contained within building materials and mold-infested houses provide a constant onslaught to the immune system. In the mouth, chemically-based oral care products such as toothpaste and mouthwashes are consumed on a regular basis. Aging dental restorations, especially those with heavy metals are a common source that are a constant challenge to the immune system.”

Knowing that 80% of immunity is derived from the gut-oral microbiome, Lin begins by asking all of his patients about their digestive health and any potential environmental variables that may be influencing it.

Biological, holistic dentist, Dr. Yani Kuljis, shares Dr. Lin’s perspective saying, “We are in the era where it is eminently recognized as a dogma that a healthy gut microbiome, lowered stress, and proper nutrition ensure prevention of leaky gut syndrome and adrenal fatigue.” She agrees that when exposed to environmental toxins the entire gut system starts to break down. “Degeneration starts to be seen in your oral cavity which comprises the start point of your digestive microbiome system.”

Gut and mouth barrier dysfunction is what stands between you and a potential immune weakness, but by identifying environmental provocateurs, we can optimize whole-person immunity.

Work to identify and eliminate the following to seal “leaks:” 

Mercury amalgams 

Repair or remove root canal dental procedures


Greasy, fatty, fried foods, trans-fats

Refined sugars

Non-purified water



How to optimize the oral-gut microbiome at home:

Vitamin A — Vitamin A exhibits a pivotal immunological role by protecting and enhancing gut-immunology specific to secretory IgA, the immunoglobulin mucosa that lines the gut. Once the gut lining is enhanced, probiotics remain appropriately stationed throughout the digestive system while potential trouble-makers such as food-borne pathogens and proteins remain out.

Vitamin D — According to a recent study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Science, Vitamin D deficiency can lead to gut microbiome dysbiosis, therefore disrupting immune regulation. Supplementing with regular Vitamin D can “remodel” the oral microbiome route. 

Personalized Probiotics — Specific probiotic strains have been linked in studies to restore mouth and gut microbial balance. Integrative clinicians and functional biological dentists agree that personalized gut microbiome analysis can help you dial in which probiotic strains are best for you.

Start here and in the meantime, find yourself a functional, biological dentist that specializes in oral microbiome and immunological research. 

Christine Dionese, co-founder of flavor ID is an integrative, epigenetic health specialist, as well as a wellness, lifestyle, and food writer. She has dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health by harnessing the power of the epigenetic landscape. Her podcast, Well Examined explores the depths of personalized wellness and sovereignty for modern living.

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