4 Ways How Oral Care Makes Your Immune System & Body Stronger
If you’re looking simple for ways to boost your overall health, your quest just got easier. In fact, you don’t even need to travel to a health food store or gym to do it. Research shows that taking good care of your teeth and gums impacts your whole body and can even influence your immune system too. Here’s how.
1. Controlling oral bacteria may be key in a healthy immune system.
Not all bacteria are bad. Some are necessary for digestion and some help keep cavity and disease-causing bacteria in check. Because of this, experts say it’s not a good idea to use products that annihilate all the bacteria in your mouth. The problem is, Porphyromonas gingivalis, the very bacteria responsible for periodontal disease knows how to hijack your immune system. They effectively reduce the functionality of immune cells so they can’t kill the bacteria, while still allowing them to create an inflammatory response. The problem feeds upon itself creating a major bacterial imbalance that ultimately results in disease. Researchers are actively working to better understand how the mechanism works so they can prevent periodontitis and other diseases. In the meantime, keeping Porphyromonas gingivalis in check falls on your shoulders, but you can address it by practicing good oral health care at home and visiting your dentist regularly.
2. Caring for your oral health may reduce the risk of developing health conditions and/ or associated complications.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, there are links between a myriad of health conditions and periodontal disease.
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Heart Attacks
- Respiratory Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
Although researchers aren’t sure which comes first in many cases—the periodontal disease or the additional condition—they often build upon one another. For example, people with untreated periodontal disease often have trouble controlling their diabetes. Periodontal disease can cause blood sugar spikes. Diabetes can impact blood flow, making it harder for gums to heal and fight localized oral infections. This in mind, taking care of your oral health may help reduce your risk of developing other serious conditions and has the potential to help you avoid complications if you’ve already developed them.
3. Addressing bacteria and inflammation in one area may reduce them in other areas too.
Although research is still being conducted, scientists have discovered that your oral bacteria doesn’t stay in your mouth. Moreover, it appears to cross the blood-brain barrier too. Researchers found that patients with Alzheimer’s disease, for example, are far more likely to have the bacteria responsible for periodontitis in their brains than healthy patients. The same transfer is seen with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
At the same time, chronic inflammation, triggered by many of the conditions mentioned and periodontal disease, influences inflammation throughout the body. While inflammation is the body’s natural immune response and it can help it defend against foreign invaders and promote healing, chronic inflammation damages the body. In other words, if you keep “bad” oral bacteria in check and keep your gums healthy to eliminate inflammation, you also improve systemic health.
4. Nourishing your smile contributes to overall wellness.
A whole lot goes into having a well-balanced oral ecosystem. For example, teeth demineralize in an acidic environment and remineralize in a balanced one. You can also “starve” bad bacteria by feeding them xylitol, keeping it in check while preserving the good bacteria without using alcohol-based rinses that can dry your mouth out. When you include things like plant-based essential oils that nourish your smile, as well as vitamins and minerals to fortify it, you bring your smile full-circle, giving it everything it needs to beam and support your overall health.
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