On Monday (August 22nd), it was National Tooth Fairy Day. While we might be too old to believe in this magical, whimsical tale, it’s a great reminder that there’s a magical connection between our dental health and our immune system. In fact, your toothbrush may be one of the most powerful ways to boost your immune system and help reduce your risks of numerous diseases. Here’s what you need to know about dental health, your immune system, and why the two are so interconnected.
How Your Dental Health Influences Your Immune System
When we think of our immune system and how we can support it, we often focus on proven supplements like vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and BioPro-Plus 500’s thymic proteins. But there are also many lifestyle practices that influence our immune system and its ability to fight off infections, and your dental health is one key indicator.
For example, in one study on the risks of inflammatory bowel disease, researchers found a significant correlation between immune system health, dental health, and the rise of this disease.
Bad bacteria in your mouth is the reason why, warn doctors, dentists, and researchers. Poor oral health is attributed to the rampant spread of bad bacteria in your mouth, since the environment is warm, moist, and nutrient-rich and therefore conducive to bacterial growth.
When these bacteria grow unchecked, it manifests itself in things like cavities and dental disease. And that’s where it puts a strain on your immune system. Since it’s the responsibility of your immune system to fight off infection, dental problems like gingivitis create an inflammatory response that triggers your immune system to send white blood cells and other “fighter cells” to the area. Put simply, dental disease causes your immune system to focus on your mouth, thus leaving the rest of your body more prone to infections.
Gingivitis is a prominent case study. More than 1 in 2 Americans have gingivitis. The University of Pennsylvania’s dental researcher George Hajishengallis has focused a lot of his research on how this disease works, specifically addressing dental health and your immune system.
“Publishing their findings last year in the journal Cell Host and Microbe, Hajishengallis and colleagues delved into P. gingivalis’s mechanism of action,” reports the university. “They discovered that P. gingivalis subverts the immune system response by ‘hijacking’ a receptor on white blood cells, rendering them unable to clear infection. As a result, other bacteria increase and, along with P. gingivalis, feast off the nutrients released by the inflammatory response and destruction of gum tissue.”
Additionally, sometimes the bad bacteria in your mouth can enter your bloodstream and spread to other parts of your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the most common health concerns caused by germs entering your bloodstream due to poor dental health include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Pregnancy complications and premature birth complications
Improve Your Dental Health to Improve Your Immune System
- Brush your teeth a minimum of two times a day using a toothbrush
- Floss twice a day, ideally after each meal
- Rinse your mouth after every meal
- Avoid or limit your intake of sugary foods and especially sugary beverages
- Avoid smoking, which is significantly linked to dental health issues
- Eat a healthy diet (later this week, we’ll share immune-boosting recipes that are also good for boosting your dental health)
- Visit your dentist regularly
- Take a probiotic supplement, which enhances your gut health, immune health, and boosts the beneficial bacteria in your mouth
- Regularly use BioPro-Plus! Did you know this supplement is taken by rinsing in your mouth? There are benefits of both Thymic Proteins, by supporting your immune system, and silver solution, by killing bad bacteria but leaving beneficial bacteria unharmed, to your oral hygiene.