Nitric Oxide: The Surprising Link Between Oral Health and Your Sex Life

Nitric Oxide: The Surprising Link Between Oral Health and Your Sex Life

Is your oral health ruining your sex life? 

Yes, I’m going there today - into your bedroom! Because there’s something happening inside of your mouth that can affect your sexual health.

Your mouth is a thriving ecosystem of bacteria, both good and bad. Maintaining a balanced oral microbiome isn't just essential for fresh breath and healthy teeth and gums - it may influence your overall well-being in unexpected ways…including erectile dysfunction!

Recent research suggests that an imbalanced oral microbiome can lead to inflammation and an increase in harmful bacteria. This imbalance triggers a cascade of events that could disrupt Nitric Oxide (NO) production, a molecule vital for blood flow regulation.

Nitric oxide (NO), is a remarkable molecule that despite being voted the “Molecule of the Year '' in 1992, still remains largely uncelebrated despite its pivotal role in various bodily systems and processes. 

If you’re interested in reducing inflammation or improving your digestion, sleep quality, immunity, memory, sexual health, and behavior, then you need to know about nitric oxide, and the critical role your oral health plays in producing enough of it in your body.

Nitric Oxide (NO): The Marvel Molecule

Nitric oxide is a signaling molecule. It's a tiny but vital messenger used by cells in your body to communicate. Comprising just one atom of nitrogen and one of oxygen, Nitric Oxide is a gas that is produced in your body. Astonishingly, within less than a second, it pierces through cell membranes and tissues, transmitting important signals.

While scientists technically classify nitric oxide as a "free radical," don't let that label fool you. This molecule plays a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions, particularly blood vessel dilation.

Here's how it works: Nitric oxide prompts arteries to relax and expand. It also influences immune cells to eliminate harmful bacteria and cancer cells, and it aids in the communication between brain cells. Most of it is produced in the endothelium, a layer of cells that line the interior of blood vessels. From there, nitric oxide diffuses to smooth muscle cells, where it signals relaxation. This process leads to increased blood flow and reduced blood pressure.

For instance, patients experiencing chest pain from angina use nitroglycerin. In the body, nitroglycerin is transformed into nitrite, which is then converted into nitric oxide. This nitric oxide helps relax the arteries, relieving chest pain by improving blood flow. So, despite its classification as a "free radical," nitric oxide is an indispensable molecule that keeps your blood vessels healthy and functioning optimally.

Nitric Oxide is involved in a variety of systems and processes in the body such as:

  • Memory and Behavior: NO affects memory and behavior through its interaction with nerve cells in the brain.
  • Immunity and Disease: This remarkable molecule enhances immunity by safeguarding against bacteria and cancer cells, bolstering your body's defense mechanisms.
  • Inflammation Buster: NO is a potent anti-inflammatory agent, offering relief from various inflammatory conditions.
  • Quality Sleep: NO plays a role in improving sleep quality, ensuring you wake up refreshed and energized.
  • Endurance and Strength: Athletes and fitness enthusiasts, take note – NO enhances endurance and strength, helping you push your limits.
  • Digestive Health: NO is involved in enhancing gastric motility, promoting healthy digestion.
  • Insulin Signaling: It participates in insulin signaling, a crucial process for regulating blood sugar levels.
  • Proper Erectile Functioning in Men (and women): NO  plays a key role in the male and  female genital sexual arousal response.  NO holds the key to proper erectile (and clitoral) functioning facilitating improved blood flow for better erections. Medications used to treat erectile dysfunction work to increase the amount of nitric oxide, therefore allowing more blood flow and improved erections.

The Oral Microbiome: Your Unsung Hero

Now that we've unveiled just what NO is and its versatile nature, let's delve into how it is related to the oral microbiome. This bustling community of bacteria within our mouths plays a pivotal role in NO production, but how does it all work?

Fifty percent of our daily NO production is derived from our diet and oral bacteria. This intricate process relies on a three-way system: consuming enough nitrate-rich foods, having the right oral bacteria, and maintaining proper stomach acid levels.

The foods you choose to include in your diet play a significant role in this process. Opting for a diet rich in high-nitrate vegetables like beets, spinach, and arugula allows your mouth to efficiently convert them into nitric oxide. On the other hand, processed foods like bacon and deli meats can hinder nitric oxide production, so it's best to avoid them.

Once you eat the nitrate-rich food, the healthy bacteria on the tongue break down the nitrates and convert them into nitrites. Unhealthy bacteria, the bacteria responsible for cavities, bad breath and gum disease, do not break down nitrates and therefore hinder the vital process of nitric oxide production.

So, with the right diet, oral bacteria, and stomach acid, your body becomes a nitric oxide-producing powerhouse, all thanks to the unsung heroes of your oral microbiome, helping protect not only your oral health but potentially influencing your overall well-being, including conditions like cavities, gum disease, and even aspects of sexual health.

Antibacterial Mouthwash: Nitric Oxide’s Enemy

Now that we know the importance of your oral microbiome and its role in the production of Nitric Oxide, let’s talk about the one thing you may be doing that is blocking your ability to produce NO. 

And that is using commercial antibacterial mouthwash. 

Using mouthwash disrupts the delicate balance of your oral microbiome, leading to negative consequences for your overall health.

This microbial massacre doesn't just elevate the risk of cavities and gum disease by decimating your oral microbiome; it also interferes with your nitric oxide production, affecting your entire body's well-being - including your sexual health.

The Solution: Protect Your Oral Microbiome

So, what's the solution?

It's simpler than you might think. First, protect your oral microbiome. Avoid using antibacterial mouthwashes that decimate these essential bacteria, which are instrumental in maintaining nitric oxide production.

Next, boost your body's NO production! Here are a few things you can do to ensure your nitric oxide is flowing, enhancing your overall health and wellness:

Eat a Real Foods-Based Diet: Incorporate probiotics and fiber-rich foods, healthy fats, and nitrate-rich vegetables like leafy greens and root vegetables.

Mouth Tape: Consider using mouth tape at night to ensure moist nasal passages, which is crucial for NO production. A quarter of overall NO is produced in the nasal passages.

L-Arginine and L-Citrulline-Rich Foods: These amino acids, found in various foods, contribute to NO production. Incorporate watermelons, meats, lentils, and nuts into your diet.

Exercise: Regular physical activity triggers the release of endothelial nitric oxide, leading to relaxed arteries and increased blood flow.

Indulge in Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate consumption has been linked to higher NO levels and reduced systolic blood pressure. Choose dark chocolate with minimal sugar for maximum benefits.

Use Nasal Spray: Consider using a nasal spray with xylitol to keep your nasal passages moist and support nitric oxide production. Staying proactive with nasal health can help prevent the need for steroids.

Finally, the switch or an Oral Wellness Program that detoxes the mouth tissues and supports a healthy oral microbiome.  Mouthwash and toothpaste can contribute to impaired NO production, but making the switch to microbiome friendly dental products is imperative to sexual health and overall wellness.  We recommend starting with a Dental Detox with a clay based toothpowder and oil-pulling gum serum. 

In conclusion, the remarkable molecule nitric oxide holds the key to sexual health and overall well-being. By understanding its pivotal role, protecting your oral microbiome, switching to healthy dental products and adopting NO-boosting practices, you can unlock a healthier, happier you. It's time to shed light on this hidden secret and revolutionize your approach to well-being.