The docs give advice: Brushing up your immune system

King Features SyndicateJuly 16, 2014 

In "Lethal Weapon 2," the bad guys use their (diplomatic) immunity to dodge the consequences of their evil actions - including trying to blow up LAPD's Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover).

In reality, your powers of immunity can be used for good (to war off the bad guys of infection and other conditions). You just have to make sure you avoid periodontal or advanced gum disease.

This new info comes on top of what you already know about the importance of preventing periodontal disease: Unchecked, it can boost levels of lousy (LDL) cholesterol and increase risk for heart problems. Now researchers are mouthing off about how it causes an imbalance in good and bad oral bacteria, and that harms your immune system. (We know you've just gotten used to thinking that it's a good thing trillions of bacteria live in your guts. Now, it's time to meet another world of gotta-have-'em bacteria living in your mouth.)

Seems when your gums become inflamed and infected, that boosts "bad" oral bacteria. They then interfere with your immune system's warriors, so they're less able to defeat all kinds of nasty invaders, from the common cold to more serious ailments.

So, make sure you get to a dentist at least twice a year for checkups and cleanings; more if you have a predisposition for plaque buildup or cavities, or already have gum disease or a weakened immune system. And daily, brush at least twice and floss at least once. That's your lethal weapon against disease.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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