Dr. Nammy talks about your immune system and its connection to the health of your teeth and gums, as well as your overall health, and ways that you can improve your immune system.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health, and whole body health, and author of the best-selling book Age With Style: Your Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living. Today our topic is your immune system and your teeth. Welcome Dr. Nammy.

Dr. Nammy Patel: Thank you, John. Thank you for having me.

How Is Your Immune System Connected to the Health of Your Mouth?

John: Sure. So Dr. Nammy, how is your immune system connected with your teeth and the health of your mouth?

Dr. Nammy: So your immune system is connected to your teeth and the health of your mouth in many ways. The first is that we have bacteria, and our microbiome controls how much bacteria we have in our system. And we have a direct access from our mouth to our belly, which is our immune system. Our intestines is where our immune cells really live.

The second is your mouth also has access to your nose where you’re breathing in oxygen, the vital nutrient of life. And when you’re breathing the air in, it goes through the nose and the back of the throat, then into the lungs. So in order to make sure that you have a healthy immune system, the mouth is in the center of your entire, I would say, network of our immune cells, because oxygen is going to come from your nose, food is going to be the nutrient your body needs to break down in order to make antioxidants, which fights bacteria, which fights cancer, which fights viruses, which fights any other disease that may be in the body.

Can You Improve Your Immune System?

John: And I often hear people say “Oh, my immune system is really strong. I rarely get sick.” Or maybe even the opposite of that, “My immune system, isn’t very good. I get sick all the time or sick really easily.” Is the immune system just sort of something that you’re born with, it’s either good or bad, or is it something that can be changed or improved?

Dr. Nammy: You can absolutely change your immune system. There are many things you can do to boost your immune system. And the first one starts with breathing, making sure that we are taking deep breaths every single day. Giving our body the vital nutrients that it needs is really the key.

The second is going to be … So first is going to be breathing. The second is going to be water. Our body is 90% water, so we need to drink enough water.

The third thing we can do to boost our immune system is control the amount of movement and have more movement. We’re a society sitting on our computers all day long. We’re not getting enough sunshine. We’re not getting out to exercise. We’re not getting out to really get that movement, and that movement is so key because it circulates the nutrients in our blood system and gets some nutrients to all of our vital organs. Also all the little cells in our fingers and toes and parts of our brains. And it really makes sure that the river is flowing in the right direction.

The other reason is because our lymphatic system is our drainage system. We must get rid of the trash in our body and our lymphatic system does that. So when we have enough oxygen, when we have enough water, when we’re moving, our lymphatic drainage system is working in order to eliminate all these toxins that have built into our body. And of course we have to control what we put into our body, which is the quality of foods. So making sure we’re avoiding processed foods, meats, my preference of a diet is a vegan, a green diet, which is the best because you do get a lot of antioxidants from the greens. And that really helps our body get the right fuels in order to fight bacteria and viruses and cancer and any other disease.

Tips to Boost Your Immune System

John: Okay. So you mentioned the green diet, that’s one way to boost your immune system. Do you have any other little tips or tricks or things that people could eat or drink in order to help boost their immune system?

Dr. Nammy: Yes, we definitely do. I always say, first of all, the most important is the … I call it the hour of power, which is kind of a Tony Robbins thing too. And really making sure when we wake up, making sure we’re getting enough water or spending time to do 20 minutes of deep breathing. So, oxygenating our body; 20 minutes of exercise so that we’re really getting things flowing around.

Making sure we’re getting enough sleep is another thing that we can do. There are a lot of spices that we can utilize in order to get our body to work really well. Curcumin is very common, turmeric is very common and even pepper. Believe it or not, pepper is really great because it activates our internal body to release heat and it detoxifies. So any food that we can use to add spices that we can utilize to detoxify our body is going to be a great way to boost our immune system.

John: All right, sounds great. I’m going to go take some deep breaths right now, Dr. Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Dr. Nammy: Awesome John.

John: And for more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website at sfgreendentist.com or call 415-433-0119.