Mouth care to prevent whole-body inflammation


It’s great when you feel confident about your smile. When your breath is not in the least bit dragon-ish, and when your choppers are nice and white.

Judging from the ads for those whitening trays and products in the US market, whiteness seems to be a national obsession. I don’t remember the last time I saw an ad for tooth floss. Although toothpaste wars are common, they mostly talk about fresh breath and cosmetics.

Most dental insurance policies in the US allow for two cleanings per year. I do mine every three months. Why? because your mouth is a gateway for inflammation. Gingivitis and periodontal disease can do more than make your mouth less than than picture-perfect.

The bacterial load in the mouth can affect your entire body. It’s been shown to have a relationship to heart disease. For those who have inflammatory auto-immune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, mouth health is also a concern. Mouth health and general well-being are intrinsically related.

When I was first diagnosed with MS, it took up almost all of the bandwidth my brain had to fret about healthcare. I neglected my teeth. Then my doctor told me how vitally important oral health was to reduce full-body inflammation.

Why is inflammation so important? Pain is inflammation. Injury is inflammation, The weird stabby, tingly sensations MS brings are inflammation. If you have an inflammatory disease, keep your mouth clean.

I have a friend who hates going to the dentist because his cleanings are so horrific, painful, and inevitably, bloody. So he does what many of us do. He puts them off. The visits aren’t pleasant. He routinely gets very ill the next day from the bacterial load the cleaning released into his bloodstream, runs a fever, and feels lethargic. He also happens to have gout.

My inflammation index is often high in blood test, because, well MS just does that. That’s why I go so frequently for teeth cleanings, as they are now trivial events. I want to reduce as much as I can, any contributing factor to my inflammation.

And that shiny just-clean feeling is also pretty wonderful.

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