06 Mar Gum Disease and Inflammation
Everyone knows what inflammation is like – if you hit your finger with a hammer it will swell up, get red, get hot, hurt! and it’s hard to use it.
Inflammation is the body’s way of reacting to protect itself against infection, and usually it begins to resolve after a few hours. However, this process doesn’t always work well for example, if the immune system isn’t working well or when the immune cell activity actually damages the body. Many cells, mediators and processes are involved in the immune process.
Imflammation Caused by Gum Disease
In the situation of gum disease, the body tries to protect itself against the bacteria which live in plaque. The gums swell up, become red, and bleed, which is the inflammatory response. Unfortunately if the plaque is left to stagnate, such as in between teeth, this response doesn’t resolve the situation, and the inflammation becomes chronic. This is when the immune cell activity starts to damage the body and the attachment of the gum to the tooth begins to be destroyed. Lots of people experience occasional areas like this and they then do their best to get on top of the inflammation by brushing and cleaning properly into the inflammed area. Some unfortunate people have an extreme response to this chronic inflammation and the damage spreads quickly and begins to affect the bone around the teeth. This is called periodontal disease which if untreated leads to tooth loss.
We also know now that this chronic inflammatory response isn’t just confined to the effects on the teeth but can cause inflammatory response in other areas of the body. This is thought to be due to inflammatory mediators in the blood stream. These can be involved in heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other chronic inflammatory conditions.
Improving your Immune System
• Get plenty of sleep and rest.
• Eat a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, and polyunsaturated fatty acids- such as walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds or flax oil, fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, albacore tuna and trout, corn oil, soybean oil and safflower oil.
• Your immune system is impaired by stress so try to find a way to manage the natural stresses of life better.
If you would like to book an appointment for your dentist in Edinburgh, please call us on 0131 225 7576.