The Role of Oral Health in Maintaining a Strong Immune System

Our immune systems are one thing that we should not take for granted. Our immune system helps protect us from harm and fight away diseases, including oral diseases. Our oral health and immune systems are undoubtedly connected, so if one is out of whack, so will the other. That is why it is extremely important to maintain a healthy mouth and immune system to help avoid consequences on the entire body.

Poor oral hygiene has been linked to numerous systemic health issues, including diabetes, cancer, memory disorders, heart disease, and more serious medical conditions. This article will give complete information about how oral health helps in maintaining a strong immune system.

The Role of Oral Health in Maintaining a Strong Immune System
  • Approximately 3.5 billion people around the world suffer from oral disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Connection Between Oral Health and the Immune System

Bacteria is one of the main culprits of most oral health problems. If bacteria become tipped off their harmonious balance within the mouth, they can begin to take over and cause an infection that can spread to other parts of the body. Oral bacteria can travel through the bloodstream and set off an immune reaction that triggers inflammation that leads to other health conditions if not treated early on.

In fact, numerous research reports have suggested that periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, is linked to several systemic health issues including diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, certain cancers, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Keeping your oral health in check can go a long way in terms of protecting other parts of your body from inflammatory bacteria.

What Oral Health Conditions Affect the Immune System?

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a common condition that is characterized by inflammation. The early stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis, which fortunately can be reversed if treated early. Gum disease that advances to a more severe form is referred to as periodontal disease, which can cause permanent damage to your oral and overall health. Periodontal disease is linked to other diseases that are also triggered by inflammation, including heart disease and diabetes.

Wisdom Tooth Infection

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of adult teeth to come into the mouth, typically around the early twenties. These teeth often do not have the space to properly come into the mouth, and consequently tend to become trapped at weird angles within the gums. In some instances, this can create an infection, as the teeth are often hard to keep clean and free of bacteria. Your dental professional may recommend your wisdom teeth to be extracted to help eradicate the infection and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth occurs from an inadequate amount of saliva. The body's immune system can attack the salivary glands that secrete saliva. This may be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as Sjögren's syndrome. Dry mouth can increase the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues that further harm your oral health and immune system.

Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is a serious infection that requires immediate treatment by a medical professional as this condition can be life-threatening. It is caused by a bacterial infection and can cause your body’s immune system to work in over-drive causing other parts of the body to become targeted.

Tips to Strengthen Immune System with Oral Health Care

Brush Teeth Daily

Brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes is the main way to eliminate oral bacteria from accumulating and causing damage within your body. The American Dental Association recommends the use of fluoride toothpaste for all individuals, as it is proven to help strengthen your teeth and eliminate bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay.

Regularly Floss to Clean Between Teeth

Floss once a day is necessary to clean between your teeth and lower your risk of bacterial infection.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking tobacco can make it harder for your body’s immune system to fight off infections. In addition to the numerous health conditions linked to smoking, smokers are also more likely to suffer from various oral infections including tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer.

Consider Using Mouthwash

Mouthwash can be an additional oral health tool that combats oral bacteria. Choose a mouthwash that contains anti-bacterial properties and fluoride.

Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Heavy alcohol consumption can make it harder for your immune system to function properly. Alcohol use also increases your risk of developing tooth decay and dry mouth.

Minimize Stress Levels

Stress is known to suppress the immune system, which can negatively impact your oral health. The release of stress hormones makes it harder for your body to fight off bad oral bacteria, making you more prone to dental disease.

Follow a Healthy Diet, and Avoid Sugary And Acidic Drinks

Foods and beverages high in sugars and simple carbohydrates should be avoided, as these promote oral bacteria growth. Choose tooth-friendly foods like cheese, lean proteins, fish, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

Do Regular Dental Checkups

One of the best ways to keep your oral health and immune system in check is to keep up with your regular dental checkups. Your dentist can identify signs of infection early on and help you improve your overall quality of life. Your dental professionals will perform a thorough dental examination and create an ideal treatment plan catered to your needs so that your immune system can keep doing its job properly.


An easy way to boost your immune system is to take care of your oral health. Plus, when your immune system is strong and healthy, it will make your oral health easier to maintain!

Oral infections can lead to numerous health issues and in severe cases even be life-threatening. Make sure you are visiting your dentist regularly for dental check-ups and cleanings to ensure you are staying strong and healthy.