How Your Oral Health and Skin Health Go Hand-In-Hand
We’ve learned the steps to caring for our skin and caring for our mouth, but not for the reason that the two go together. However, it turns out that the link between oral health and skin health is stronger than you may have thought. Caring for your oral microbiome requires attention to your nutrition and hygiene habits. Researchers and dental health experts say that doing so can not only prevent cavities but lead to positive improvements in your skin health, too.
The Link Between Oral and Skin Health
We’ve all had complaints when it comes to our skin or oral health at one time or another. Whether it’s sore gums, a cavity, acne, dry skin, or redness and irritation, having a skin or mouth issue can interfere with daily life.
If you’ve ever noticed that the two often seem to go hand in hand, that’s because there’s a real connection between them. In fact, dermatologists and dentists are reporting more oral and skin conditions occurring at the same time, requiring a collaborative treatment approach.1 This is likely largely influenced by the health of your oral microbiome, or the community of microorganisms living in your mouth.2
In other words, when oral health is suboptimal, it can trigger skin-related issues as well. For example, pay attention to where most of your skin issues are occurring. If you’re getting blemishes around your mouth, chin, or cheeks, it’s possible that oral hygiene may be a factor.
Even if you’re getting acne in other areas around your face, oral hygiene may still be partially to blame. This is because oral conditions like gingivitis, gum disease, and cavities can allow bacteria to spread through your bloodstream and impact your skin anywhere. In either case, it’s important to have both good oral and skin hygiene practices in place.
5 Habits to Improve Skin and Oral Health
Improving the health of your skin requires not only good skin hygiene but also taking good care of your mouth. Here are 5 everyday habits that can benefit both.
1. Visit your dentist regularly.
Receiving proper oral exams and getting regular cleanings are key to the health of your gums, teeth, and mouth — and your skin. While it’s easy to put off appointments if you’re not experiencing pressing health concerns, preventive care is critical.
After all, it’s much less enjoyable to see the dentist later for a serious oral health problem that may have been prevented with regular cleanings. It’s recommended to see your dentist twice per year, once every six months, for an exam.
2. Brush and floss.
Brushing your teeth morning and night is something we learn to do as kids, and it’s important to continue on throughout adulthood. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and gently brush your teeth in a circular motion on the inside and outside for two minutes.
After you’re done brushing, floss between your teeth at least once per day. This helps remove extra plaque and food particles as well as strengthen your gums. Removing any extra oral bacteria can help prevent them from getting onto your face and causing skin issues.
3. Use mouthwash after brushing.
Once a day, consider rinsing your mouth with mouthwash after you’ve finished your brushing and flossing routine. This helps kill any remaining bacteria that may still be lurking.
4. Eat a healthy diet.
What you’re putting into your body influences your overall health, but also your oral and skin health. Limiting added sugars and sweets — and instead choosing predominantly whole, minimally processed, and naturally sweet foods — is one of the best approaches. This helps prevent added sugars from building up in your mouth.
Furthermore, eating a diet that includes a variety of vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds has been shown to support skin health. Good nutrition is important for supporting a healthy oral microbiome, which is better equipped to help fight off mouth-related health concerns.34
5. Wash your face.
After you brush your teeth, you can remove any persistent germs from the surrounding skin by washing your face. Consider using a gently exfoliating scrub once per day to help remove dead skin cells and bacteria from your face. Washing your face before bed is also helpful to take off any makeup that can otherwise clog pores and cause further skin issues.
Your oral health and skin health go hand in hand. Fortunately, with a few simple everyday habits, you can take better care of both at the same time.
Macklis P, Adams K, Kaffenberger J, Kumar P, Krispinsky A, Kaffenberger B. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2020;13(6):48-53.
Willis JR, Gabaldón T. Microorganisms. 2020;8(2):308. Published 2020 Feb 23. doi:10.3390/microorganisms8020308
Michalak M, Pierzak M, Kręcisz B, Suliga E. Nutrients. 2021;13(1):203. Published 2021 Jan 12. doi:10.3390/nu13010203
Santonocito S, Giudice A, Polizzi A, et al. Nutrients. 2022;14(12):2426. Published 2022 Jun 11. doi:10.3390/nu14122426