The mouth is the gateway into the body, whereas the immune system is your body's bodyguard. We use our mouths to perform several functions—to eat, talk, laugh, drink, spit, and sometimes breathe. On the other hand, the immune system fights off germs, infections, and diseases. So, how are the mouth's health, i.e., dental health and immune system, connected? Let's understand this in the blog.
How Does Oral Health Affect Your Immunity?
First, the mouth could be an entry point for bacteria and other germs entering your respiratory system and bloodstream. That's why cleaning your mouth is essential to keeping it germ-free and preventing infectious diseases. Besides, mouth germs, i.e., microorganisms, also live in your mouth. These germs can cause oral health disease, infection, and tooth decay.
The immune system focuses mainly on your mouth when inflammation increases because of oral health-related reasons. This puts other body parts with infections or inflammation at risk, thus affecting your overall health. Some other health conditions may also contribute to oral health problems. For example, diabetes raises the possibility of gum diseases, and osteoporosis may cause periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Thus, oral health's importance remains unquestionable in maintaining overall health.
Do Mouth Germs Affect Your Health?
Bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses are the four types of microorganisms living in our mouths. Here's what you should know about mouth germs.
A review in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology estimates that about 700 bacteria species live in our mouths. However, not all of these are harmful to our health. But, when bad bacteria multiply in our mouth because of lack of oral health hygiene, plaque settles on our teeth. In severe cases, it causes acid formation, enamel erosion, gum diseases, and tooth loss. Gum problems can worsen to periodontitis, an inflammatory condition that may lead to the jaw bone and tooth loss.
The Journal of Patient-Centered Research and Reviews has identified about 100 fungi species in the human mouth. Most of them are harmless. However, when their number increases because of reasons such as specific medications or upper dentures, it results in oral thrush. Also known as candidiasis, oral thrush causes creamy white lesions in your mouth.
Entamoeba gingivalis and trichomonas tenax are two types of protozoa living in the mouth. They may turn invasive and aggravate periodontitis.
Nearly always bad for your mouth, viruses commonly cause herpes, HIV, and HPV.
How To Protect Your Oral Health And The Immune System?
1. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day.
2. Use fluoridated toothpaste.
3. Limit the consumption of sugary foods and drinks.
4. Avoid smoking and alcohol.
5. Eat a healthy diet.
6. Exercise daily.
7. Sleep 7-9 hours every day.
8. Destress yourself.
9. Go for comprehensive health check-ups and professional dental cleaning regularly.
10. Be extra careful regarding your oral health if you are pregnant or have any other condition that may affect dental health in the long run.
The benefits of good oral hygiene and strengthening your immune system are symbiotic. Therefore, do your best to keep your mouth and immunity in tip-top shape.