A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If you are a generally healthy person but neglect your oral health at times, you are giving bacteria an opportunity to potentially compromise your immune system.
Especially as the calendar shifts into fall and then winter, flu season will ramp up and COVID-19 cases could spike, so it is more important than ever to attempt to be as healthy as possible. Learn how prioritizing your oral health through activities like visiting your dentist in Houston can foster valuable immune system protection.
How Can Gum Disease Weaken My Immune System?
Your mouth offers a point of entry for bacteria and germs to enter your bloodstream and respiratory system. Considering the global pandemic is still underway, working to keep your immune system strong remains very important, so your oral health should be prioritized.
Bacteria feeds and grows on food debris that accumulates around the edges of your gums and between your teeth. The early form of gum disease, gingivitis, is easily reversed by removing plaque through brushing and flossing, as well as professional cleanings. If your gums bleed when you brush or eat hard foods, you may have gingivitis.
Periodontitis, which is more severe gum disease, can only be treated by a dentist. Otherwise, the inflammation caused by bacteria not only attacks the gums, but the underlying bone that holds the teeth in place! Periodontal diseases cause the immune system to overload.
How Can an Infection in My Mouth Cause Problems Elsewhere?
As your immune system focuses its attention on an infection in your mouth, it must ignore other parts of the body. According to a study by the University of Pennsylvania, the bacteria causing gingivitis “subverts the immune system” and promotes further inflammation by prohibiting the immune system’s ability to “eat” the invading bacteria.
There is an array of diseases related to a weakened immune system, such as asthma, AIDS, heart disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. Certain cancer treatments and organ transplants can weaken the immune system, along with smoking, drinking alcohol, and poor nutrition. When you are dealing with a head cold, the flu, mono, or the measles, your immune system is temporarily weakened.
Your immune system has a lot of potential issues to deal with, so keeping your mouth healthy and free of infection allows your immune system to focus on the rest of the body.
How Can You Keep Your Immune System Strong?
There are many activities you can work into your routine to avoid infections:
- Try to avoid stress
- Exercise regularly
- Get enough sleep
- Brush your teeth daily
- Wash your hands regularly
- Cook meat thoroughly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat a balanced diet
- Floss daily
- Have your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year
- Try to avoid smoking, sugar, acidic drinks, and alcohol
Nearly half of all adults in the United States over age 30 suffer from some form of gum disease. If you can do what it takes to ensure you are not one of them, it will lessen the burden on your immune system and keep you healthier!
About the Practice
At Tamborello Dental Associates, our team is committed to providing a full-service dental experience. We have the training and expertise to handle almost any dental situation while you relax in a comfortable environment. We recognize the importance of keeping your gums healthy and your immune system strong, so we offer gum disease therapy including at-home products, antibiotic therapy, and scaling and root planing. To schedule an appointment or simply to ask a question related to dentistry, visit our website or call (713) 522-7540.