Because your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body, maintaining good oral health is the key to having a strong immune system. Since we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s important to keep your immune system as powerful as it can be. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to do that – taking good care of your teeth and gums. Continue reading below as a dentist explains the connection between mouth and body as well as some easy tips for strengthening your immune system.
How Poor Oral Health Affects Your Immune System
It all begins with bacteria. When you fail to effectively remove leftover food debris by brushing and flossing, oral bacteria feed on these particles. They then release an acidic waste product that destroys your enamel, which causes cavities, and irritates your gum tissue, resulting in gum disease. To prevent these infections from spreading, your body will focus its immune response on the bacteria in your mouth.
The Effect on the Rest of Your Body
If you have an infection in your mouth, your immune system will do everything in its power to protect you from these dangerous invaders. However, when your immune system is focused on one part of the body, it can’t effectively handle infections in other areas. This increases your risk of dealing with serious complications if you contract another infection. By being proactive about your oral health, you can decrease this risk and promote the overall health of your body.
Tips for Strengthening Your Immune System
Maintaining a generally healthy lifestyle is important to keeping your immune system strong. Here are some easy tips for making that a reality:
- Brush your teeth every morning and every night
- Floss at least once daily
- Limit sugary and acidic foods and drinks like soda or sour candies
- Don’t use tobacco products
- Wash your hands at regular intervals throughout the day
- Eat lots of leafy greens
- Exercise regularly
- Get at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night
- Limit your alcohol intake to no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women
- Visit your dentist every six months for a routine checkup and cleaning
Keep in mind that a strong immune system starts with good oral health. By following the tips listed above, you can ensure your body is as healthy as it can be.
About the Author
Dr. Katherine Lee is a dentist in Cumming, GA who graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine in 2003. She has achieved a Mastership in the American Dental Implant Association as well as a Fellowship in the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. In addition, she thoroughly enjoys being able to improve a patient’s general health through dentistry. To learn more about how excellent oral care can improve your immune system, visit Dr. Lee’s website.