Your pet’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract hosts a unique community of hundreds of different types of bacteria and other microbes (such as viruses and fungi), referred to collectively as the gut microbiome. A diverse, well-balanced gut microbiome is essential for digestion and nutrient absorption. Each bacterial group in the gut plays an important role in your pet’s body, so a healthy gut microbiome is also crucial for overall wellbeing and longevity.
When some key beneficial bacteria are missing from the microbiome or the different bacterial groups aren’t present in the right amounts, the resulting imbalance can trigger inflammation. Constant inflammation can lead to chronic illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), skin issues, immune system reactions, diabetes, and even depression.
Balanced gut microbiomes and oral microbiomes are both very important for your dog’s overall health. Many think the route from the mouth to the gut is a one-way street, but oral health and gut health are actually quite connected. A microbiome can become imbalanced when ‘bad’ bacteria are present, overpower beneficial bacteria, or grow too numerous.
For example, an imbalanced gut microbiome can cause bad breath because an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine can produce a lot of smelly gas. This gas can be absorbed into the bloodstream and eventually exhaled, causing bad breath.
Alternatively, an imbalanced oral microbiome can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the gut microbiome. Dogs swallow a lot of saliva, which contains bacteria from the mouth, so it’s no surprise that some of those bacteria end up living in the gut. Too many ‘bad’ bacteria in the mouth could end up growing in the gut, causing an imbalanced microbiome, which can also contribute to bad breath.
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