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Chronic Inflamation | May 31, 2024 | 3 min read

Gum Guarding: Your First Line of Defense Against Inflammation

Essential Takeaways

  • Chronic inflammation can be a silent threat, but focusing on oral health can help prevent it. This post explores the causes of inflammation and how gum disease can contribute. pen_spark

In small and intentional doses, inflammation is a very natural and normal bodily function — but when unchecked, inflammation can cause long-term and irreparable damage to organs, tissue, cells, and more. In this post, we run through the ins and outs of inflammation, why chronic inflammation is so taxing on the body, and what you can do to prevent it. 

What is inflammation? 

Inflammation is the body’s reaction to injury or infection; when your body encounters a bacteria, virus, toxin, or other threatening organism, it deploys immune cells to fight or heal whatever is at risk. 

For example, if you have a bacterial throat infection, you may experience inflammation in your throat as your body fights the infection. If you fall and sprain your ankle, you may experience swelling, heat, and redness at the injury site — all signs of inflammation and your body’s attempt to heal the injury. These examples showcase immune responses when inflammation is both helpful and healing. 

What is chronic inflammation, and why is it harmful? 

When delivered in manageable doses, inflammation is incredibly helpful, but chronic inflammation — inflammation that goes on for months or even years — can be life-threatening and cause a host of troublesome conditions; chronic inflammation diseases are the most significant cause of death in the world, and include diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, COPD, and more. 

When your body is in a state of chronic inflammation, it’s continually operating in an immune-response state. The body’s persistent dispatch of inflammatory cells can cause long-term damage to joints, organs, tissue, and cells. That damage can add up to life-threatening — and even life-ending — diseases. 

What causes inflammation? 

Some common causes of inflammation include:

  • Infection or injury 
  • Chronic stress
  • Gut microbiome imbalance
  • Poor sleep
  • Poor diet
  • Toxin exposure
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol use
  • Obesity

However, a lesser-discussed and equally harmful cause of chronic inflammation might surprise you. 

How oral care can help prevent chronic inflammation

Periodontal disease, also known more commonly as gum disease, is known to cause inflammation: Sensing an infection in the gums, the body triggers inflammation. If it does its job and heals the infection, this response is healthy and helpful

The problem arises when people don’t even know they have gum disease. The signs and symptoms of gum disease can be silent and seemingly innocuous, but a startling 47.2% of Americans 30 and older have some form of gum disease. When unaware of their condition, many people will fail to change their oral health habits to better care for their gums, and the gum disease can persist for years — meaning years of inflammation. 

More than 50 systemic conditions have been specifically associated with periodontal and gingival inflammation, and it’s widely known that gum inflammation both raises the risk of other chronic health conditions and triggers whole-body inflammation

This means the simple daily acts of brushing your teeth and flossing could help prevent wide-spread inflammation and chronic disease while potentially extending your life. The next time you consider skipping or skimping on your oral health routine, consider the impact just a few focused moments could have on your overall quality of life for decades to come.

Turn habits into rituals

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Meet the Author

Kenny Brown

We founded Feno to revolutionize dental care, understanding the vital connection between oral and overall health. Our tech driven products offer more than superb cleaning—they give you routine & insightful health monitoring to help improve your overall health.

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