Did you know that the health of your mouth can both reflect and affect your overall health? Your mouth is, obviously, an entry point to your body, and regular care such as tooth brushing and flossing can help keep bad bacteria from causing cavities and gum disease as well as cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, and complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
However, even with regular oral hygiene, some diseases and medications can contribute to infection and inflammation in the mouth. As a result, taking care of your whole body and your immune system are key to preventing dental issues. Fortunately, there is a friendly fungus out there that can help enhance your immune system and your oral health.
Reishi mushrooms can help strengthen your body as a whole, as well as improve your oral health.
Disease and Medications Can Affect Oral Health
Diabetes, some cancers, chronic infections, and autoimmune disorders like HIV/AIDS, Sjogren’s syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis can increase inflammation and lower the body’s resistance to infection, increasing the risk for gingivitis, periodontitis, and cavities. Osteoporosis can also cause periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Acid reflux or gastroesophageal disease (GERD), if poorly treated or missed (as in “silent reflux”), can weaken the teeth, as the acid erodes the protective enamel.
Saliva is important to wash away food and neutralize the acids produced by bacteria that are in the mouth. That’s why medications—including antihistamines, decongestants, diuretics, and some painkillers and antidepressants—that reduce salivary flow can negatively affect oral health.
Poor Oral Health Increases Risk of Other Diseases
Whenever my dogs have had health checkups, their vet always checks their teeth. Why? Because my dogs can’t easily tell anyone what they are feeling, and dental health can indicate other health issues. While we can tell our healthcare providers what’s going on with us, our mouths can also provide visual (and scent) information.
Studies have shown that those with periodontal disease are at an increased risk for coronary heart disease and are more likely to suffer a stroke. This is thought to be due to an accumulation of bad bacteria in the mouth contributing to artery-clogging plaques and inflammation within the lining of the heart and heart valves (endocarditis).
Since we can inhale micro-organisms through the mouth, if they reach the lower respiratory tract, they can worsen and promote bronchitis, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and emphysema. These bacterial infections, if they become severe, can also increase blood sugar levels, making diabetes more difficult to manage. And, as if that weren’t enough, it may also contribute to issues with pregnancy, impact sleep, and be a factor in behavioural and developmental problems in children.
Reishi Mushrooms for Oral Health
For good oral health, we want to address oxidative damage, inflammation, and infections. Reishi mushrooms are powerful medicinal mushrooms that have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. Reishi mushrooms contain polysaccharides and triterpenes, which are, amongst other things, powerful antioxidants that help prevent oxidative damage, one of the foundation elements that contributes to chronic inflammation, cancer, diabetes, stroke, and a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases.
Reishi mushrooms also contain beta-glucans, which have been shown to help establish a healthy immune response, while also promoting healthy cholesterol levels and improving cardiovascular health. We want our immune systems to respond quickly and appropriately to the bad bacteria that can be found to accumulate in our mouths. But we also want our immune response to be moderated so that it doesn’t overreact in an autoimmune dysfunction. And, while you might think that all you have to do is use antibacterial mouthwashes, remember that you also have good bacteria in your mouth that these rinses will destroy.
In addition to regular brushing and flossing, taking Japanese reishi mushrooms can help you treat or avoid the infection and chronic inflammation that are primary components for problems associated with oral health. These powerful mushrooms promote a better immune response, fight infection, and manage inflammation to help you avoid the need for urgent dental visits. A bonus benefit of reishi include that it can help calm your nervous system, so you can attend those important regular dental checkups, even if they scare you.
If you’re looking for an effective way to improve your smile, reishi mushrooms could be just what the dentist ordered!