Perio and Immunity

African American woman with gum inflammation The health of your gums and teeth is closely linked to your immune system. Inflammation within the mouth can cause bacteria or other irritants to move into the bloodstream, where they may lead to a variety of health problems elsewhere in the body. Poor periodontal health can actually weaken your overall immunity, making you more susceptible to illness and infection when compared with those whose gums and teeth are in better condition. Understanding this relationship is critical if you hope to promote good oral hygiene and maintain great general physical health as well.

Below are just some of the ways in which your periodontal health impacts your overall health:

  • Inflammation. One reason why poor periodontal health can adversely impact your immune system has to do with how inflammation works within the body. When inflammation occurs due to an injury or infection, it can trigger the release of various chemicals in the blood. These chemicals may ultimately travel to other parts of the body, where they can lead to symptoms such as a fever or inflammation in other organs. In this way, poor oral health may lead to systemic inflammation throughout the body, which is likely to weaken your immune system and make it more difficult for you to fight off infections both inside and outside of the mouth.
  • Cytokinesis. Furthermore, when bacteria or other irritants accumulate within the mouth, they may cause your immune cells to produce a response known as cytokines. This response can be thought of as “crying out” for help from surrounding cells and tissues that are specialized at fighting infection and promoting healing. However, if you have a chronic infection in your mouth due to poor dental care or other factors, these cries for help may become more frequent. Over time, this can lead to a state of chronic inflammation, which is damaging to the body and can increase the risk of many different health problems.
  • Resistance to other health concerns. In addition to increasing your vulnerability to infections throughout your body, poor periodontal health can also impact how well you are able to resist specific health conditions that are caused by bacteria or viruses. Because of this, it can weaken your immune system and result in more time spent sick than those with healthy teeth and gums.

Call Drs. Mark Duncan and Mandy Holley of Georgetown, TX Today!

If you are worried about your oral and overall health, connect with our team at Aesthetic Dentistry of Georgetown at 512-819-9100 to request an appointment.

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