How To Reduce Inflammation and Improve Health
Bleeding gums, red gums, sore joints, painful muscles, heart disease, cancer and chronic health issues – what do they all have in common? Inflammation…
Inflammation – it’s the starting point for many illnesses, poor health conditions and diseases. It’s also avoidable, yet every day millions of people set themselves for health failures – like cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and many autoimmune diseases – by making choices that promote chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is the result of an immune system imbalance usually caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices. If we can reduce inflammation, we can cut the risk for long-term health problems and help ease many minor ills, like gum disease, skin disorders, joint pains (including TMJ issues), digestive problems, migraines, anxiety and mood problems, that occur as a result of inflammation.
Dentistry and Inflammation – What’s The Link
So why is a dentist talking to you about inflammation? Inflammation is a trigger for poor dental health leading to conditions like gum disease, oral cancers and increased risk of tooth decay. Inflammation causes poor general health and immune responses that are weak or overactive and this means your dental conditions will be harder to manage. This creates a cycle of inflammation in the mouth and gums which adds to the inflammation in the whole body by allowing harmful mouth bacteria to circulate and spread via the bloodstream to other organs and parts of your body. Bacteria that have been linked to heart disease, strokes, Alzheimer’s and several types of cancers.
Inflammation and Health
Once inflammation takes hold our body will get sick and as dental professionals, we can help reduce the risk and severity of inflammation by supporting you to have a healthy mouth and by addressing your dental disease and lifestyle factors that are creating inflammation in the first place.
The Number 1 Cause of Inflammation – is the way we live! This includes what we eat, stress, quality of sleep, hydration and level of exercise/activity and our weight.
One of the biggest triggers of inflammation happens because of ‘leaky gut syndrome,” which starts with poor diet, alcohol, food sensitivities (gluten and dairy for example), medications, gut infections and chronic stress.
These cause damage to the lining of the gut, letting proteins and bits of bacteria into the bloodstream, setting off an inflammatory response throughout the body.
Because so many of our lifestyle factors are at the root cause of inflammation the good news is that by making changes to your diet and lifestyle you can significantly reduce and even stop chronic inflammation and in return protect yourself from health problems to have a long healthy life.
How To Reduce Inflammation and Improve Health
Sugar is one of the worst toxins we expose ourselves to daily on the conventional Western diet. Ingesting sugar on a regular basis sets you up for inflammation and creates the perfect storm for cancer, diabetes and heart disease, dementia and depression, infertility and acne, tooth decay and more.
Dump Processed Foods
If it comes packaged or has a list of ingredients longer than your arm the label, it’s a processed food which will deliver low to nil nutritional benefit. Most likely it will be loaded with gluten, sugar, trans fats and other chemicals that can trigger your immune response and chronic inflammation.
Try An Elimination Diet
A great way to put a stop to inflammation is by eliminating as many foods and drinks that could be acting as toxins, irritants or allergens. For a period 2-3 weeks (or longer!) eliminate sugar and processed foods, alcohol, gluten dairy, soy, and corn. Some people may need to also get rid of eggs and white potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers/capsicums.
Slowly reintroduce foods so you learn which ones may be triggers for you.
Eat Fresh, Real Food
Eating fresh, local or organic food is one of the easiest, healthiest things you can do to reduce chronic inflammation. Real food feeds the good bacteria that keep the gut lining strong, preventing leaks and inflammation.
In addition to fresh produce, eat other foods that are anti-inflammatory like wild salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies and extra virgin olive oil.
Spice It Up
Spices add more flavour to your food, they also deliver an anti-inflammatory boost. Try turmeric, ginger, rosemary and basil to really reduce inflammation quickly.
Love Your Gut – Bone Broth
Bone broth is full of gelatin and collagen, which soothes the intestinal tract and helps heal leaky gut. The gelatin and collagen also support your joints and bones, and reduce inflammation throughout your body. It’s great as a base for soups and stews.
Reduce Chemical Exposure
Buy organic produce as much as you can, filter your water, switch from plastic to glass for food storage, organic or homemade natural cleaning products, and reduce the use of personal care products or use ones with clean ingredients. Also consider removing toxins from your teeth by having your silver mercury-containing fillings safely removed.
Say No to Pain Killers and Alcohol
Popping pain meds like ibuprofen every day for aches and pains, or having a few glasses of wine a night, means you’re throwing off the bacterial balance in your gut, weakening the integrity of your gut wall, and setting yourself up for chronic inflammation.
Antibiotics kill bacteria, both good and bad, and will create bacterial imbalance and set you up for leaky gut and chronic inflammation. Only take antibiotics for bacterial infections and not for viral conditions like a cold or the flu.
Clean Up Your Mouth
We all know that regular brushing and flossing is great for the health of your mouth, but actually, the benefits go far beyond the teeth and gums. Good dental hygiene keeps the mouth’s bad bacteria from invading into the bloodstream and triggering inflammation. This is why at Evolve we are so devoted to helping our patients have the best dental health.
Fat cells fuel inflammation as they secrete a hormone that contributes to inflammation, so keeping your weight in check is simple way to reduce inflammation.
Exercise With Respect
Regular exercise is great but pushing yourself to the max and going for the burn isn’t as overtraining promotes chronic inflammation. Keep your body active and supple without pushing too hard.
Meditation in the morning or before bed can support to calm the body and your mind, reduce stress and release feel good anti-inflammatory chemicals in your brain, which means less inflammation. Ongoing stress weakens your immune system and promotes inflammation.
Sleep To Heal and Repair
Not enough quality deep sleep puts your body in the inflammation zone. Sleep helps to restore, refresh and repair your body. Poor sleep or not enough sleep promotes oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.
Balance The Gut
To rebalance your gut bacteria you can use probiotics to correct the imbalance and use antimicrobial herbs, like olive leaf extract, grapefruit seed extract and oregano oil, which kill the “bad” guys.
Support your body’s anti-inflammatory processes with supplements such as vitamin D3, Omega 3 fish oils, Vitamin C and curcumin (found in turmeric).
Other things you can do to reduce inflammation: quit smoking if you smoke, drink more water, try infra-red saunas, get lymphatic massages and support yourself with healthy, positive relationships and of course get your gum health checked and treated.
Worried about the health of your teeth and gums – then give us a call 07 3720 1811 and book for your oral health assessment today.