You probably already know that gum disease is not something you want to have, because it compromises the health of your mouth, but you might not realize the seriously negative effect it has on your immune system.
Gum disease is caused by Porphyromonas gingivalis, the same bacteria that weaken your immune system, causing an imbalance called dysbiosis.
According to a recent study done by the University of Pennsylvania in the United States,
the bacteria block the immune system cells’ ability to defend the body but preserve their ability to create inflammation.
The inflammation actually provides a breakdown product that then feeds the dysbiotic microbial community, allowing it to grow, which in turn severely weakens the immune system.
Prevention Is Best
Rather than waiting until your immune system is compromised by gum disease, the best way to avoid it is to prevent it altogether.
Aside from the basic oral hygiene that we all know we should practice, such as brushing after every meal, flossing, regular visits to the dentist, and so on, there are some other very simple steps you can take to maintain health of your mouth.
Plenty of water is a sure way keep your whole body healthy, but don’t stop there—a diet rich in fresh vegetables, lean meats, dairy products, and whole grains is also extremely beneficial to your overall health.
Keep Those Snacks In Check
Snacks can wreak all kinds of havoc on your teeth and your overall health if you don’t pay attention to what you’re snacking on. This is especially true for kids.
Now that it’s summer and a lot of kids are out of school, it’s difficult to keep an eye on what they’re snacking on throughout the day.
The best way to keep tabs on their snacks and not worry about exactly what they’re eating is to stock your cupboards and refrigerator with healthy snack options, such as
Strawberries and Kiwis – Most kids love these great summer fruits, which are packed full of vitamin C. Both fruits are also highly astringent, which may help reverse the discoloration caused by some foods.
Nuts and Seeds – These are packed with protein and healthy micronutrients for the teeth, such as magnesium, zinc, phosphorous, calcium, and potassium. Almonds and brazil nuts are highest in calcium.
Apples and Celery – Both apples and celery taste great with a little peanut butter or cheese and are pretty easy to get kids to eat. Best of all, these foods are high in water content and stimulate the production of saliva, which actually helps keep harmful bacteria at bay.
Cheese – What kid doesn’t love a grilled cheese sandwich? Cheese contains bone-strengthening calcium, and it is an alkaline food, so it raises the pH of your mouth. Some studies have shown that a lower pH level in the mouth can contribute to cavities. If your child has a sensitivity to cow’s milk, you could always try alternatives such as cheese made with goat’s or sheep’s milk.
The most important thing to remember when you’re picking out snacks is to stay away from sugary foods like candy, cookies, sodas, sports drinks, and yes, even juice—eating the whole fruit is much better than drinking fruit juice, because the whole fruit contains fiber and will fill you up faster, so you end up consuming much less sugar overall.
All of these tips will help keep your gums and immune system healthy.
~Dr. Chai (a.k.a. Dr. Tooth!)