How does oral health affect the immune system?

July 7, 2020

With the COVID-19 pandemic still disrupting many routine activities, you may be wondering whether it makes sense to delay your dental visit. It’s becoming widely understood that oral health plays an important role in your overall health, including your immune system. In this post, we’ll explore how oral health problems like gum disease can impact your immune system, and why it’s crucial to maintain regular appointments with your hygienist.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease occurs when enough bacteria builds in the mouth to cause your gums to become inflamed. Gum disease can vary in severity, from gingivitis to more severe forms of periodontitis. Left untreated, periodontitis can cause gum recession and even tooth loss. To diagnose gum disease, your dentist and hygienist perform a thorough assessment to classify the severity and extent of bone loss. Bleeding, overall health status and risk factors are also considered.

How does gum disease impact the immune system?

As this article from Guardian insurance explains, when you have gum disease, your immune system must work to fight off the infection. This can make it less available to fight off other problems in your body. In fact, writer Dr. Alvin Danenberg recently explored the question of whether poor oral health, combined with an unhealthy diet and a weakened immune system, could worsen the impact of COVID-19 on your body. The good news is, twice-daily brushing and flossing, along with regular visits to the dentist, can help keep your mouth healthy and support a strong immune system. 

Missed your appointment? Give us a call!

Keeping your regular hygiene appointments can go a long way toward a healthy smile. If you missed an appointment due to COVID-19 restrictions, please contact us to schedule. While we’ve always followed standard safety protocols, we’ve implemented several extra precautions in response to the pandemic to keep our patients and team members safe.

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