Periodontal Health and Your Immune System

Boosting your Immune System

For years we have known the most important thing we can do to prevent disease and infections is be healthy. There is no better guard against catching a bacterial or viral disease than a robust immune system. This applies to old viral issues as well as new ones. Obviously, the body has a harder time fighting off a virus it has never met. However, the fact remains that the best chance to win that battle is to enjoy a healthy and robust immune system. The best way to do that is simply to be healthy. Of course, the challenge is how to be healthy. Not that we don’t know the answer.

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We all know a healthy diet made up of lots of vegetables and fresh food, minimal processed food and sugar is healthier than McDonalds. We also know that regular exercise isn’t picking up the TV remote. And, we know that a good night of sleep isn’t one brought on by a couple glasses too many of wine or when you fall asleep watching TV at 1:30 and have to drag yourself out of bed at 6.

We also all know that ignoring a chronic infection in the body is a very unhealthy and dangerous way to live. Unfortunately, in the United States, 80% of adults have some level of periodontal infection and 50% of adults have progressed to chronic and irreversible periodontal infection that has caused bone loss. What we may not all know is what is happening to our bodies and immune systems because of that infection.

Biofilm and Infections

The bacteria that cause the infection we call Gingivitis or Periodontitis are found in colonies that are called biofilm. This is exactly like the slime layer that is in the drain of your sink. The slime layer of biofilm makes it harder to remove the bacteria and protects the bacteria so it grows unchecked. As it matures, the bacteria gets more aggressive and more dangerous and even breaks off and circulates through our blood system.

This compromise to our immune system leads to a long list of infections and diseases that have been found related to periodontal bacter

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ia. Currently, studies have come out suggesting that people with periodontal disease are more at risk for contracting COVID-19, but this is also simply common sense. If our body is sick, it has less ability to fight off additional illnesses. Some of the more surprising findings associated with periodontal infection are Alzheimer’s Disease, Diabetes, and Colorectal cancer.

Other issues like lung disease and heart disease are more logically related. The pathogens in our gum tissues circulate through our blood and so that system would be more at risk. Also, the mouth is part of how we breathe, so any infection in the mouth would be inhaled into the lungs. The endocrine system is also stretched to the limit and blood sugar is harder to manage. Patients who have gum disease and diabetes report higher blood sugar levels than patients with diabetes and healthy gums.

The Good News

The good news is if the periodontal infection is treated and the gums are returned to a healthy condition, blood sugar levels drop. When the gums are returned to healthy, the pathologic bacteria can no longer float through the blood stream and combine with fat and create plaque and restrict blood flow. Obviously, removing the pathologic bacterial biofilm from the gums would reduce the risk of stroke.

There’s no question there is more to the process than just gum tissue. On the other hand, eliminating your chronic infections makes you much healthier and more resistant to secondary infections. The first step toward having a healthy robust immune system is getting your gum tissues healthy. At Aesthetic Dentistry of Georgetown, we use six routine screenings to protect your health and immune system. If you find issues during the periodontal health screening, there are several amazing options to help get you healthy!

The laser perio therapy is a powerful non-surgical solution to detoxify the gum tissue and break down the biofilm. Along with that, we use gentle micro-ultrasonic waves to flush out the debris and eliminate the pathologic bacteria. In early cases, this is often enough to restore the tissues to the normal healthy state. More advanced infections may also need additional work to get healthy. Fortunately, we have some great options!

What else is there?

ProBioraPro is a probiotic specifically designed for the mouth. You have a lot of available options, but ProBiora is the only one comprised of the healthy bacteria that should be in the mouth. The ProBioraPro is the most concentrated level you can get and is only available through a dental office. This is simply a daily lozenge that you use to replenish the levels of the bacteria that keep your gums and teeth healthy. This is one of the most convenient and easy ways to keep your mouth healthy and immune system strong!

Another option is the PerioProtect Trays. Exceptionally well fitted trays filled with a hydrogen peroxide gel is just short of magical!  Used routinely, the gel recreates and protects health in your gums! The oxygen in the gel kills the bacteria causing the infection and the gum tissue is allowed to regain health. Hydrogen peroxide has also been noted as effective in killing the coronavirus. On a lighter note, it is also great for keeping your teeth whiter and brighter too!

Is it time to get your mouth in order?

The reality is 80% of adults have some level of infection in their mouth, and 50% have chronic infection.   Gum infections are progressive and the longer it festers, the more tissue it destroys. This leads to a host of problems starting with bad breath and tooth loss.   The future also includes heart disease, cancers, pneumonia, Alzheimer’s, COVID infections, and sometimes death. Fortunately, the process is completely treatable and we are here to help! If it is past time for your periodontal screening, give us a call and set up a New Patient Experience.

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