The Low Down on Low Grade Inflammation
Low grade inflammation is one of the most detrimental conditions a person can live with. Unfortunately our mouths are like magnets for this type of inflammation, even more startling is that if low grade inflammation isn’t addressed while it’s in the mouth, the effects can be felt throughout the entire body. It is our job as wellness dentists in Jacksonville, Florida to educate our patients on the dangers of low grade inflammation on their oral health, and how it can affect their overall health. We pride ourselves on helping our patients prevent inflammation and promote healthy mouths and bodies.
Inflammation is the body’s response to an antigen – or foreign matter. When something enters the body with the capacity to cause damage our immune system kicks into high gear. If we are in good health, our immune system is always at work. When we tear up to rid dust from our eyes, or cough when that dust enters our airway, this is our body working to keep us safe. There are many different types of immune responses. Your innate immune response are what we are born with, they include the two previous examples as well as the production and expectoration of mucus, our stomach acid, and our body’s ability to raise our temperature when our cells are under attack. Passive immunity is part of our immune system that is created by antibodies that enter your body from an outside source.They are acquired through the placenta during pregnancy, and later in life when vaccines are introduced into your body to protect you from deadly, infectious diseases. Blood components of our immune system are found in white blood cells and other proteins and chemicals in the blood. B and T lymphocytes produce specific antibodies to fight off infection and control our immune response by releasing cytokines respectively. These types of cells learn what cells are yours and what cells are foreign, they are particularly helpful because they have memories that prevent you from contracting the same illness twice. Inflammation is a part of the immune response. When bacteria or a virus enters the body the affected tissues release several specific chemicals called histamine, bradykinin and prostaglandins. These initial swelling of the tissues in an attempt to contain the bacteria to one area of the body so the blood cells can get to work and fight off the disease. Our bodies do all they can to fight off infection, however if we do not step in and give our bodies a boost or a break, the infection can take over.
You can think of low grade inflammation as paddling up stream. Your body is putting a lot of work into fighting the infection. Inflammation is persistent and the body is more or less keeping the infection contained. However at some point the body won’t be able to continue this futile effort. Eventually the bacteria is able to move into another area of the body. This is where low grade inflammation becomes systemic and really causes problems. Your organs and tissues that are affected by this inflammation can’t work at their peak or properly because so much energy is going to keeping the infection at bay. Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome are caused and aided by low grade inflammation.
Low Grade Inflammation And the Mouth
Our digestive system is full of millions of bacteria, and our bodies are ready to the task of keeping the bad ones out. Our mouths bare the brunt of this burden and as a result our oral tissues, most specifically our gums, can become easily inflamed if they are not properly cared for. We can keep our gums and oral tissues healthy by removing as much surface bacteria as possible every day. This means twice daily brushings and flossing of the teeth. Gums that become inflamed and stay inflamed lead to periodontal disease. It is well documented that periodontal disease causes tooth and gum loss and has been linked to a myriad of other diseases throughout the body. By keeping low grade inflammation out of our mouths we are keeping our body safe from this slow and silent condition.
Low grade inflammation can be prevented in many ways. Living a healthy lifestyle full of activity and consuming whole foods can be a great start. It is also imperative that you practice beneficial oral hygiene to prevent inflammation in your mouth. If you have any questions on how to improve your oral health routine, don’t hesitate to ask at your next appointment with your Jacksonville, Florida dentist.