Re-enforcing natural defencesNews
Posted by: The Probe 20th August 2020
With health awareness at an all-time high right now, dental professionals have an ideal opportunity to promote dental health. This is especially important during an epidemic, as it strengthens cross infection and encourages patients to look after their health while they have restricted access to professional care. The body already has a number of natural defences in place, which it utilises when triggered to protect itself from infection. However, there may be quick and easy steps you can take in the dental practice when seeing patients again in order to support these defences further.
A strong natural defence
Pathogens commonly enter the human body through the mouth, eyes, nose or urogenital openings, or open wounds.[i] From here, they can spread around the body. Their replication in the body is referred to as infection, making us ill when they start to damage organs within the body and/or inhibit their functions.
The immune system is activated when immune cells detect antigens – any microbes that are not the body’s own. There are two subsystems providing immunity – innate and adaptive. [ii] The former provides the first line of defence, fighting pathogens with phagocytes. These contain, kill and process pathogens by enveloping them and causing them to degrade.[iii] It is a non-specific system and is designed to attack any microbes it doesn’t recognise. The adaptive immune system creates antibodies to fight specific pathogens, which it uses whenever it detects a pathogen that the body has encountered before. The adaptive immune system’s ability to constantly learn and remember pathogens protects the body from potentially infectious microbes it regularly comes into contact with. How well it does this and the effectiveness with which the antibodies adhere to and destroy antigens is believed to influence the level of immunity the body builds to a particular pathogen. There is also some research to suggest that the body loses its protective immunity over time.[iv] For example, antibodies triggered by protein vaccination decay quicker than those caused by replicating viruses.
As with many areas of the body by which pathogens can enter, the oral cavity puts up its own fight against infection. There are several defence proteins in saliva, including immunologlobulins, which support the innate and adaptive immune systems with immune activator or modular properties that help to trigger the immune system when foreign microbes are detected in the mouth. This defence may be stepped up around mucosal surfaces, periodontal sulcus and oral wounds or ulcers to provide greater protection.[v]
How can mouth rinses help?
While mouth rinses should never replace traditional oral hygiene techniques (or standard pre-procedural infection control protocols), careful use of the products could provide an adjunctive layer of protection for patients. The formulation of the products in question is key. Various ingredients have different roles to play. For example, chlorhexidine helps to fight any pathogens present in the oral cavity, binding to the mucosa and teeth to provide an effective defence. Other substances like cyclodextrins help to deactivate viruses. In addition, polymers are used to form a protective layer over the hard and tissues in the mouth for a longer-lasting barrier against pathogens. Plus, hyaluronic acid is known and widely utilised for its ability to support tissue repair and help restore any damage caused by previous infection.
As such, some mouth rinses could prove highly effective either before or after dental procedures, helping to further reduce the presence of pathogens in the oral cavity and minimise the risk of infection. Using a combination of the above ingredients, leading products afford greater peace of mind for you and your patients. They are also quick and easy to use and therefore simple to integrate within your existing protocols.
Not all mouth rinses were created equal
As suggested, not all mouth rinses will be equally as effective at defending against infection in the oral cavity. Perio Plus+ provides a range of mouth rinses you can trust. They contain chlorhexidine to fight pathogens, but their unique formula minimises any potential side effects associated with other products like taste disturbance and staining. They combine this with cyclodextrins, polymers and hyaluronic acid to offer superior protection. Taking this one step further, they even contain CITROXÒ – a naturally occurring bioflavonoid derived from bitter oranges. With anti-microbial, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it helps to break down plaque in the mouth and attack bacterial cells for total protection.
At any time, the minimisation of infection risk is crucial for all dental procedures, but it is of even greater importance right now. By simply using high-quality mouth rinses in pre- or post-procedural protocols, you can give your patients’ natural defence systems a boost and help protect them from infection.
[i] Drexler M; Institute of Medicine (US). What You Need to Know About Infectious Disease. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2010. I, How Infection Works. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK209710/ [Accessed May 2020]
[ii] InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. How does the immune system work? [Updated 2020 Apr 23]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279364/ [Accessed May 2020]
[iii] Harris J. Phagocytosis. British Society for Immunology. https://www.immunology.org/public-information/bitesized-immunology/systems-and-processes/phagocytosis [Accessed May 2020]
[iv] Antia A, Ahmed H, Handel A, Carlson NE, Amanna IJ, Anita R, Slifka M. Heterongeneity and longevity of entibody memory to viruses and vaccines. PLoS Biol 16(8): e2006601. https://doi. org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2006601
[v] Fábián TK, Hermann P, Beck A, Fejérdy P, Fábián G. Salivary defense proteins: their network and role in innate and acquired oral immunity. Int J Mol Sci. 2012;13(4):4295‐4320. doi:10.3390/ijms13044295
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