Your oral health and immune system go hand in hand. Our mouth is a gateway into our body and it does its best to fight off anything that compromises our well-being. But if oral hygiene is left unchecked, it can have dire consequences on the body. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, as well as gum disease and cavities, have all been linked to poor oral health.
Bacteria is the Connection
Almost all problems that arise from poor oral health are from bacteria. The mouth is the ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. It is warm, moist, and has an ample amount of nutrients for bacteria. If you fail to brush or floss daily, food particles are left behind, which help bacteria grow and fester in your gums. When bacteria growth is out of control, many complications can occur.
Though bacteria enters via the mouth, complications are not limited to only the dental cavity. Bacteria can also infect the bloodstream and respiratory system if left unchecked. The most common form of gum disease bacteria, known as gingivitis, is only a mild case. However, the severe case, known as periodontitis, can build up in the mouth and enter the rest of the body via the bloodstream. When it enters the bloodstream, it can set off an immune response, which may set off a chain reaction that leads to other health complications if not addressed early on.
How it Affects the Immune System
It is the job of your immune system to attack and kill any bacteria that invade the body. Gingivitis and periodontal disease are inflammatory diseases that arise from an overabundance of bacteria. Inflammation from bacteria signals your immune system to step into action. These inflammatory bacteria are enemies of the immune system and work tirelessly to disrupt the germ-killing response of your immune system.
When your immune system must focus its attention on the mouth, it subverts attention from other parts of the body where inflammation and infections occur. This subversion promotes further inflammation by inhibiting your immune system from attacking invading bacteria in other parts of the body. Having other underlining health conditions increases the severity of this process, causing the disease to take over the body.
Keep Your Mouth Healthy, Help Keep Your Body Healthy
Having a strong and healthy immune system keeps the bacteria in your mouth and the rest of your body in check, minimizing the threat of adverse health effects. When your immune system is fully functional, it quickly eliminates bacteria and prevents other infections from occurring. As we make do with current circumstances, it is more important than ever to maintain good oral health and to protect your immune system. To ensure both a happy and healthy smile and a strong immune system, you should engage in the following:
- Brush teeth daily
- Floss regularly
- Wash hands regularly
- Minimize stress
- Exercise regularly
- Get proper sleep
- Eat a healthy diet, avoid sugars and acidic drinks
- Avoid smoking
- Moderate alcohol consumption
- Maintain a healthy weight
Keep Your Smile and Immune System Healthy at Today's Dental
The best way to protect your oral health and the immune system is to have your teeth professionally cleaned with routine visits to the dentist. Likewise, if you are experiencing bleeding gums, discomfort in your mouth, or difficulty chewing, you should seek a professional immediately. At Today's Dentist, our staff provides best-in-class dental services to ensure a happy and healthy smile. Contact our office to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment today. Because when you come to Today's Dental, you will never want to go to any other dental provider again!