Immune System: The Unlikely Culprit Behind Cavities

woman having pain in her tooth

When it comes to fighting infections and diseases, the immune system is the type of defense you’ll probably first think of. But ironically, in a recent study, it’s this very system that puts your well-being at risk, particularly your oral health.

For the longest time, the majority think that it’s the nasty bacteria that are causing cavities. But in what scientists lately discovered, immune cells may have a part in it as well.

What the Study Says

A type of immune cells called neutrophils is responsible for getting rid of infections. When the body detects foreign elements in the mouth, it releases these cells to locate and destroy the unhealthy microbes.

In the process of fighting the infection and removing the bacteria though, it may cause damage to the structure of the teeth, as it triggers the creation of harmful acids that eat away important minerals in the enamel and dentin. This then renders the teeth weaker against bacteria.

Researchers found that the damage occurs instantly, even affecting tooth-colored fillings, the most common treatment for tooth decays. This could explain why some patients who have gotten such dental care still develop cavities after a few years.

If your tooth decays keep coming back even after fillings and if the inner structures of the teeth are already affected, your dentist may suggest alternative solutions, like crowns, root canals, or tooth extractions and replacements. It depends on your physical health and the extent of the tooth damage.

Now, getting that perfect smile back isn’t cheap, of course, especially when you need a lot of treatments done. If you’re looking for affordable root canals in Meridian, some dental clinics provide discounts for first-time patients. Keep yourself updated about promos in clinics’ websites.

How About Prevention?

a family brushing their teeth together

It seems like cavities are an inevitable problem when the very system that’s supposed to protect you from it betrays you. But here’s the thing, remember that neutrophils only take action when there are foreign bodies in your mouth. This then goes back to the basic principle of oral health: make sure to take care of your teeth to lower risk for cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. Brush up on your dental hygiene habits.

Brush your teeth twice daily, with a minimum of two minutes in duration. Don’t neglect the often-forgotten spots: the back surface of the front teeth, gum line, the roof of the mouth and the tongue. Use the 45-degree angle position when cleaning the hard-to-reach corners of the mouth. Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after eating acidic food, like citrus fruits. This only weakens further the tooth enamel.

Of course, it’s also a must to visit your dentist regularly. How regular is regular? It depends on the state of your oral health. The average person should go to the dentist every six months. You should be able to get the professional routine cleaning and check-up.

Someone who’s on treatment, say, on orthodontics, should go every month though. You’re more at risk of developing cavity-causing bacteria because food debris can be trapped in the corners of dental appliances and misaligned teeth. So prioritize your monthly appointments.

The recent study about the link between immune cells and tooth decays informs a lot about people’s oral health. For one, it’s fragile and can easily be compromised. And two, protecting it is delicate, deliberate work. Strive for better dental hygiene for better oral health.

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