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Eczema and Oral Health



Eczema, an inflammatory skin condition that causes itching, discoloration, and irritation, affects approximately 31 million Americans. There are a number of comorbidities associated with eczema, but researchers have recently discovered a bi-directional link between eczema and oral health. This means that this means that your oral health can affect eczema as much as eczema can affect oral health. 


Some evidence suggests that babies whose mothers have gum disease may be exposed to oral bacteria that may impair the development of the child’s innate immune system which includes the development of barriers of skin infections. This same theory suggests that the immune dysfunction that prevents skin from maintaining an optimal level of hydration can also contribute to gum disease vulnerability. 


This cross-reaction continues in the form of heat-shock proteins, or proteins that cells produce under stress. When cells create this protein, the immune system mistakes them for bacteria, creating an inflammatory response in the skin which presents in the form of eczema and gum disease. 


Managing your overall health includes maintaining proper oral health as these two are interconnected. Some ways to help keep your oral health in top condition include maintaining adequate moisture in your mouth. A study from 2021 showed that drinking less than 1 cup of water a day was associated with a greater prevalence of periodontal disease. In addition, saliva helps to wash away food debris and contains microbial substances that help to fight bacterial growth. This along with keeping regular dental visits and brushing and flossing regularly can help to ensure good oral hygiene and the promotion of better overall well being. 



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