The Connection Between Oral Health and the Immune System
Not just that, whenever there is constant pain in your body, your immune system gets compromised. Your body’s defensive mechanisms will weaken and will be prone to viral and bacterial attacks.
The bad news is, if the pain is prolonged and the inflammation becomes chronic, it can lead to more severe illnesses and conditions. Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential to taking care of your overall health as well.
Painful Teeth and Swollen Gums Lower Your Immune System
The immune system is the body’s main defense against intruders such as bacteria and viruses. Its main job is to thwart the threats to prevent them from developing into larger infections and illnesses.
As you can imagine, any type of infection or parasite will stress the body’s defense to fight off the bacteria. Once your immune system is already in “defense mode” from painful teeth or swollen gums, its ability to combat other infections will significantly decrease, therefore making the body more susceptible to threats.
Root Cause of Mouth Inflammations
There is one common denominator when we talk about mouth inflammations and infections, and that is the presence of bacteria.
Bacteria thrive in warm, moist and nutrient-dense environments, such as our mouths. If you allow them to live there by being irresponsible with your oral health, they will proliferate and cause infection. Unfortunately, bacteria won’t just stay in your mouth, it will travel to other parts of your body and can cause more illnesses.
A simple bacterial infection in your mouth can worsen and turn into more complex conditions such as gum disease and tooth decay or worse heart problems, diabetes or cancer.
When is Gum Inflammation Bad?
Before we talk about when and why gum inflammation is bad, let’s discuss what gum inflammation is.
Gum inflammation, also known as gingivitis, is a form of periodontal disease that is not yet destructive. However, if allowed to progress, it may develop into periodontitis, which is a more serious condition and may lead to loss of teeth. This is usually caused by plaque build-up between the base of the teeth and gums.
Gingivitis symptoms include redness in the gums, pain and bleeding. It usually heals by itself after a shift to better oral hygiene, like frequent brushing and flossing. A regular visit to the dentist is also necessary to check your oral health and to conduct preventative care or any needed treatment.
Your gums may swell up as your body fights the infection. This is normal and it only means that your immune system is trying to ward off the bacteria. If there is frequent inflammation, your immune system will constantly try to defend you from bacterial attacks. So, that is when gum inflammation becomes a health threat.
A constant state of gum inflammation
As mentioned earlier, if left untreated, mild gingivitis may progress into periodontitis (also called gum disease). This condition damages the soft tissues and in more serious cases, can destroy the bones that support your teeth, leading to loss of teeth.
With the infection worsening in your mouth, the bacteria have a higher probability of entering your bloodstream and spreading throughout your body. Studies have shown that gum disease can cause other illnesses such as heart attacks, diabetes and strokes.
By practicing proper oral hygiene, you can minimize the chances of developing oral diseases and infections. Here are 3 ways that you can care for your oral health.
3 Ways to Care for Your Oral Health
Practice proper oral hygiene at home. Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Additionally, flossing will help remove food particles from areas not reached by the brush. You may also want to augment these by gargling salt water or an antiseptic oral mouthwash.
Proper diet and exercise will also keep your immune system healthy and boost your body’s capacity to fend off disease and infection.
Visit the dentist regularly for preventative dental care
As a general rule, visit your dentist at least twice a year. If you’re one of those who are seemingly healthy, then once a year is acceptable to track your oral health. However, for those with more susceptibility to oral infections and diseases, you might want to visit every 3 to 4 months.
Live a Long and Healthy Life with a Healthy Mouth
Striving to keep your mouth healthy is harder than it seems. But it is doable! Discipline is a key requirement in adhering to proper oral hygiene.
You may not think about it as much, but taking care of your mouth is just as important as caring for your heart or liver as it can be the entryway for unwanted illnesses. We should aim to keep our mouth not just clean but also healthy.