Did you know that good oral health works hand-in-hand with a healthy immune system?
Good oral health affects your ability to fight infections, germs and diseases like COVID-19 and the flu. By supporting your immune system with a healthy diet, exercise, proper vitamins and minerals, as well as your daily oral healthcare, you can be better prepared to fight off the things that people worry about most these days.
Because your mouth is the primary barrier and entry point for bacteria and germs (depending on how healthy it is), it’s supposed to be able to help protect your respiratory system and blood stream.
By maintaining proper oral healthcare habits such as eating primarily fruits and vegetables (especially) you can help keep your immune system strong and actively protecting you against the bacteria, germs, and viruses that are being passed around. Whether you’re in a global pandemic or not, your body can use the support.
How gum disease weakens your immune system
While we’ve gone into depth to discuss the signs, symptoms and treatment of gum disease in the past, it’s important to protect against bad bacteria that like to collect in the mouth and survive off the food debris surrounding your gums and teeth after eating.
Early gum disease (gingivitis) is easily removed and can be quickly reversed within days to a couple of weeks by removing the bacterial film, called plaque, with a toothbrush, floss and tongue scraper. Fort more severe plaque build-up you will definitely want to see one of our dental hygienists for a deep teeth cleaning. You will probably notice some bleeding and inflammation of the gums after the fact, if there is sufficient plaque build-up.
If gum disease is allowed to continue on long enough, it becomes periodontitis and can only be treated by either our dentist, Dr. Pickett or one of our amazing dental hygienists. If you have let it get this far, you will probably notice some gum recession or separation of the tooth from the gums.
This is more common in those whose immune system is weak. The purpose of your immune system in regards to your oral health is to kill the bad bacteria that invades your body by triggering an inflammatory response. In a healthy person, the immune system will do all of this without notice. However, if a person isn’t healthy, the immune system can fail to kill the bacteria and the disease will take over.
How can I keep my immune system strong?
A strong immune system is the best response to bacteria in the mouth and the body. When your immune system is in good condition, most bacteria are no threat to your health. However, if your immune system is weak, then we need to boost your immune system to give it a chance to fight of the bacteria and germs.
Here are some ways to keep your immune system strong and remain healthy:
- Minimize stress
- Exercise regularly
- Get adequate sleep
- Brush your teeth daily
- Wash hands regularly
- Cook meats thoroughly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat a healthy diet heavy with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats
- Floss to remove bacteria between your teeth that your toothbrush cannot reach
- Have your teeth professionally cleaned at regular intervals
There are also four things to stay away from that are obviously detrimental to your oral health and your immune system:
- Do not smoke
- Avoid a diet filled with sugar
- Avoid acidic drinks like soda
- Avoid alcoholic drinks
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and being check for autoimmune diseases occasionally can also help prevent severe instances of gum disease and other oral health related problems from arising. Make sure to get a regular appointment at the dentist so that we can ensure you’re in the best condition to fight any incoming bacteria and germs.