The Link Between Oral Health and the Immune System
Looking after your teeth and maintaining good oral care can have a positive effect on your overall health. Research shows problems with oral health can cause problems elsewhere in the body — including your immune system.
Inflammation within the body is a signal of a problem and is often a response to an illness or an injury. The immune system helps suppress the inflammation, concentrating its efforts where required. However, gum disease can have an impact on inflammation throughout the body, not just in the mouth. When your immune system is required to tackle gum disease, it will not be able to fully tackle problems elsewhere in the body.
Similarly, any problems with your immune system puts your oral health at greater risk. An immune system which is weakened for any reason cannot tackle to its fullest extent the bacteria which causes gum disease. An underperforming immune system can also mean an increased risk of other oral conditions too, such as the fungal infection – oral thrush.
More research is still needed to show the strength of the link between oral health and the immune system.
Ultimately there is still no substitute for a good oral care routine. By brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing and keeping regular dental appointments you help prevent oral health issues like gum disease and tooth decay. In so doing you help reduce the pressure on the immune system and allow it to focus its efforts where required.