Although I have counseled people for decades about the importance of healthy bacterial diversity from the mouth to the anus it took a personal dental experience to remind me how crucial oral probiotic balance is to total health.
My upper incisor broke in two. Since it was an emergency the dentist could only glue it back together and reschedule another appointment to come back and get a crown. For 8 days, no flossing around the tooth, no high fiber chewing, no water picks, etc. Not only did my digestion become sluggish and tired, my gums, tongue and mouth went into full revolt.
My mouth was sore, gums puffy and red, and my tongue (which was always pink and clear) had a hairy gray film on it. TMI? Not being able to clean around teeth and gums can lead to infection pretty quickly. I remembered reading about a European researcher Dr. Jeffrey D. Hillman that was working on a vaccine for dental carries. He found dental caries could be prevented by supplementing gut bacteria nearly every day with a little jug of the probiotic mixture. He collected biofilm samples from people with healthy teeth, isolated three particular bacteria branded them with a specific number, and grouped them together with outstanding results.
Before brushing, I dissolved a packet of VSL#3 in a glass of water and swished it for 5 minutes. I did this several times until the mixture was gone swallowing the wash after swishing. Magically and immediately the grey color disappeared from my tongue. I repeated this 2 times a day and within 24 hours my gums calmed down and normal digestion resumed.
Unbelievable! Maybe there were times in the past where I could have avoided or managed extreme measures such as root canals, oral surgeries, infections, antibiotics, or pain medications just by restoring oral bacterial balance. A practice of rinsing with yogurt water (cheaper and much tastier) or probiotics dissolved in water or even used with the water pick can quite possibly prevent gum disease and dental caries. After eight days my gums and teeth felt better than ever before.
See the yogurt recipe. Making your own yogurt from raw, grass fed, or organic milk along with a healthy Greek yogurt starter will ensure getting many active strains of probiotics.
Other ways to cultivate healthy microbiome are to eat fermented foods, resistant starch such as cold rice or cold white potato. For added antibacterial support during gum or oral infections try an antibacterial mouthwash (pulling) with organic sesame seed or coconut oil. Swish 2 T or so of the oil in your mouth for up to 20 minutes and then spit. See the link for instructions for oil pulling.
All of these combined might be a good answer to staving off the flu and colds. Just keep the immune system healthy.