As the number of COVID-19 cases spikes in many areas of the country right as we enter cold and flu season, many people are understandably looking for ways to boost their immune system. Getting plenty of sleep and exercising regularly are great ways to do this. However, did you know that taking care of your teeth can also reduce your risk of getting sick? Your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body. Mouth infections like gum disease weaken your immune system, increasing your risk for serious diseases like COVID-19. Read on as a dentist in Springfield explains how to strengthen your immune system through good oral health.
Gum Disease Impairs Your Immune System
When you don’t brush and floss often enough, plaque builds up along your gumline and between your teeth. Plaque is full of bacteria that irritates your gums. This may result in symptoms like swelling, soreness, or bleeding when you brush or floss.
As gum disease progresses, bacteria attack not only your gums, but the bone keeping your teeth in place. Eventually, your teeth can loosen or even fall out altogether. In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the United States.
That’s not all. As your gums pull back from your teeth, it creates pockets through which bacteria can access your bloodstream and, from there, your entire body. Because of this, gum disease has been linked to several medication conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and dementia.
Oral Infections Harm the Rest of Your Body
If your immune system is too busy battling gum disease, it won’t be able to fight off other infections as easily. For example, if you were to contract COVID-19, you’d be more likely to experience serious complications. By keeping your mouth healthy, your immune system can focus on fighting more urgent infections that may arise.
How to Keep Your Immune System Strong
Preventing oral health issues like gum disease is pretty simple. You should:
- Brush and floss every day
- Schedule a dental checkup twice a year
- Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables
- Avoid smoking
In terms of keeping the rest of your body healthy, it helps to:
- Get adequate sleep
- Exercise regularly
- Wash your hands often
- Minimize stress to the best of your ability
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
In general, if you take good care of your body, it will take good care of you if you get sick. Follow these tips to avoid your risk of COVID-19 and other illnesses.
About the Author
Dr. Aliana Henkin is a dentist in Springfield, NJ with over a decade of experience so far. Since graduating from Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, she has become a Fellow of the International Dental Implant Association. She strives to help every one of her patients at Skyline Dental achieve great overall health by ensuring their teeth and gums are in good shape. To learn more about how to boost your immune system, contact Dr. Henkin at (973) 963-8181.