analysis was performed on immune system cells for both human and mouse subjects to indicate the presence of neutrophils.

Periodontal Disease Can Aggravate Pre- Existing Conditions

After analyzing immune system cells

harvested from the oral cavities of both healthy and PD-infected tissues, research- ers observed that the numbers of neutro- phils in diseased tissues were greatly in- creased over the neutrophils present in healthy tissues. They further found that PD in mice mimics human PD when it comes to the number of neutrophils recruited to sites of oral bacterial infection. This aggressive neutrophil response to

PD primes the immune system to attack, and much like what is seen in autoimmune diseases, the target of the attack is the body's own tissues and organs. If second- ary infection sites are present in the body, as is often the case with cardiac and dia- betic patients, the abundance of neutro- phils can respond to these areas with ex- cessive force, leading to negative health outcomes for patients. The study's lead author, Noah Fine,

states, "We believe this is the mechanism by which oral hygiene can impact vulner- ability to unrelated secondary health chal-

lenges. Neutrophil (immune) priming … can connect these seemingly distinct conditions."

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body Studies like this underscore the impor-

tance of oral health as a window into the overall health of the body. Periodontitis is a serious yet common gum infection that can destroy the soft tissues and bone struc- ture supporting teeth. Over time, this damage can result in permanent tooth loss and lead to worsening comorbid condi- tions. Symptoms of periodontitis include:

• Swollen, sore gums

• Chronic halitosis (bad breath) • Red or purple spots on the gums • Bleeding of the gums when you brush or floss • Pain when chewing • Loosening or lost teeth

Tooth decay, or dental caries, is often a precursor to periodontitis and serves as a warning sign that oral hygiene, and pos- sibly diet, need to be improved. Outside of poor oral care, dental caries are a com- mon side effect of a high-sugar diet, espe- cially in children.

The addition of probiotics has been

shown to significantly reduce caries in young children, and both green tea and black tea have been effectively used in clinical studies as a mouth rinse to reduce the presence of harmful bacteria in the mouth.

While most synthetic, non-nutritive sugar alternatives are toxic to the body, xylitol, made from birch bark, discourages bacterial growth that can lead to dental caries, and stevia is a safe, plant-based sweetener that can satisfy your sweet tooth without causing it to fall out.

Practice Healthy Eating and Oral Hygiene for a Happy Mouth Fortunately, dental cavities and peri- odontitis can be reversed and are largely preventable by reducing sugar consump- tion and paying attention to good oral hygiene. Start by brushing your teeth at least twice daily for around two minutes per session to remove dental plaque. Floss a minimum of once per day and use a water pic to remove bacteria around the gumline (where teeth meet the gums).

Coconut Oil Pulling Superior to Chemi- cals for Oral Health Swishing your mouth out with coco-

nut oil may be a more effective and safer alternative to chemical mouthwashes, according to new research. A new study has proven for the first time that the oral use of coconut oil is effective in reducing plaque related to gingivitis, a common form of inflamma- tion in the gum tissue of the mouth that occurs in response to bacterial biofilms (known as plaque) adhering to the sur- faces of the teeth and which can lead to more serious oral condition known as periodontal disease. Titled, "Effect of coconut oil in plaque

related gingivitis - a preliminary report", and published in the Nigerian Medical Journal, researchers decided to test the hypothesis that the increasingly common practice of "oil pulling or oil swishing therapy" today, is as effective for main- taining oral health as has been believed for centuries. Oil pulling, in fact, is a traditional therapy that stretches at least as far back as 1500 years ago, where it was mentioned in the early Ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita, and which we covered in our article "Oil Pulling: An- cient Secret for Optimal Health." Yet, traditional oil pulling was believed per-


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