August 3, 2020
Because we’re in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are searching for ways to minimize their risk. Social distancing, wearing a mask, and frequent hand hygiene are great ways to do this, but it also helps to make sure you have a strong immune system. One way to boost your immune system that you might not have heard of is maintaining excellent oral health. Since your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body, it’s important that you keep it healthy. Keep reading as a dentist explains the mouth-body connection and some easy tips to strengthen your immune system.
How Poor Oral Health Impairs Your Immune System
Like many warm, moist environments, your mouth is teeming with bacteria. Some of these are harmless or beneficial, while others can cause damage.
If you go without brushing or flossing, the “bad” bacteria feed on the food particles that linger in your mouth. They then create an acidic waste product that irritates your gums and erodes your tooth enamel, causing gum disease and cavities. To prevent these infections from spreading to the rest of your body, your immune response will focus all of its energy on your mouth.
However, when your immune system is dedicated to fighting an infection in one area, other parts of your body are more vulnerable to damage if you were to get another infection. For example, if you caught COVID-19 while your body was already battling gum disease, you’d be more likely to develop serious complications. That’s why it’s crucial to strengthen your immune system by being proactive about your oral health.
Tips for Boosting Your Immune System
It should come as no surprise that maintaining a generally healthy lifestyle is the key to having a strong immune system. Here are a few easy tips for making that happen:
- Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day
- Floss every evening
- See your dentist every six months for a routine checkup and cleaning
- Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco
- Limit sugary/acidic foods and drinks like soda, fruit juice, and sour candies
- Eat plenty of leafy greens
- Exercise regularly
- Try to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
- Wash your hands frequently throughout the day
Keeping your immune system strong starts with having healthy teeth and gums. Follow the tips described above to make sure your mouth and body are as healthy as can be.
About the Author
Dr. Bita Kamali is a dentist in Plano, TX who worked as a dental hygienist before pursuing her dental doctorate from the Baylor College of Dentistry, graduating in 2000. She has undergone advanced training to be able to provide a wide variety of services, from fillings to tooth replacement to sedation. To learn more about how to take good care of your mouth, visit her website or call her office at (972) 818-1300.