How can oral health affect your immune system?
Scientists are continually discovering more about oral health, and especially its connection with your overall health. This connection is because of bacteria naturally present in your mouth. The mouth contains hundreds of different species of bacteria, and they thrive in the warm moist environment. However, some species of bacteria are harmful and if not regularly removed during tooth brushing and flossing will grow out of control. When this happens, these bacteria can eventually cause gum disease (periodontal disease) and tooth decay.
The problem with gum disease is that it creates inflammation as your body tries to fight the bacterial infection. The inflammation causes the gums to begin bleeding, allowing bacteria to enter your bloodstream. This sets off an immune response in your body, which is a natural reaction to any inflammation. It becomes an issue when the immune response continues in the longer term as it can create the perfect conditions for other health problems.
Poor oral health is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. It can also be harmful to pregnant women as the heightened immune response can affect the baby’s immune system. This can be damaging because the baby’s immune system isn’t yet fully developed, and this problem has been linked to cerebral palsy. Other potential complications include a preterm birth.