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How Your Oral Health Can Affect Your Immune System: Understanding The Basics

Did you know that your oral health can have a major effect on your immune system’s ability to respond to threats like viruses and bacteria? In this guide from Nashoba Valley Dental, we’ll take a look at the basics about how a healthy mouth can help keep the rest of your body healthy, too. Let’s get started! 

A Healthy Mouth Helps Strengthen Your Immune System

Keeping your mouth healthy and free of bacteria helps strengthen your immune system and may help you avoid getting sick. Why? It’s simple. Because your immune system is limited. It only has so many resources that it can use to fight back against infections from harmful pathogens.

So, if your immune system is sending a lot of immune cells to your mouth to fight back against bacteria, there will be fewer cells available to respond to other threats in your body. If you have gingivitis, for example, your immune cells will go to your gums and fight bacteria, causing gum inflammation and swelling.

This will help control the infection, but it also means these cells can’t be used to fight back against viruses and bacteria elsewhere in the body.

If your mouth was healthy and free of gingivitis, though, these immune cells would be free to spread throughout your body and attack any virus or bacteria that may enter your system. The result? A stronger overall immune response! 

Our Tips For Keeping Your Mouth Healthy

Wondering how you can keep your mouth healthy? Here are our top tips for controlling the buildup of oral bacteria and plaque. 

  • Brush at least twice per day – Make sure you brush at least twice a day. Consider switching to an electric toothbrush if you don’t already have one, as they may help you brush more effectively. 
  • Floss once per day – Make sure you floss at least once per day! Flossing helps remove food particles and plaque that are unreachable by your toothbrush. It’s particularly important for keeping your gums healthy, because gum inflammation often occurs in the spaces between your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach.
  • Rinse with antibacterial mouthwash – You can rinse at any time, but for maximum effectiveness, we recommend rinsing with an alcohol-free, antibacterial mouthwash after flossing. This can help dislodge and rinse away any plaque or food particles that were loosened by flossing. 
  • Maintain a tooth-healthy diet – Eat a healthy diet full of mostly unprocessed foods like lean meat, fresh vegetables and fruit, dairy products, and whole grains. Avoid eating too many sweets, as well as drinking beverages like soda, juice, and sugary cocktails. 

Follow Our Tips And Keep Your Mouth & Body Healthy!

Proper oral hygiene is essential for your overall health in more ways than one. If you keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean, you’ll enjoy a better overall immune response, and you also will get peace of mind, knowing that you won’t have to worry about gum disease or tooth decay.

Need more information about your oral health and immune system? Want to schedule a teeth cleaning and oral exam to ensure your smile is at its best? Contact Nashoba Valley Dental now at (978) 425-9088 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Matthew Annese in Shirley, Groton, or Lunenburg.

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