Perhaps your mother intuitively knew something when she told you to “chew your food.” Memories of mothers saying, “Chew your food” stick with many people, but what if there were scientific facts that support this common sense habit? It turns out there are.

Scientific Facts that Back Up “Chew Your Food”

According to Medical News Today, the journal Immunity recently published a study that chewing food can release immune cells in your mouth.

The immune cells, called T helper 17 (Th17) cells, defend against pathogens that are likely to cause harm. At the same time, they don’t interfere with friendly bacteria that are good for oral health.

The study found that the presence of friendly bacteria in the gut and skin produced Th17 cells. Researchers conducted studies on mice and discovered that rubbing in the oral cavity with a sterile cotton applicator developed an increase the amount of Th17 cells. They also concluded that chewing is what stimulates Th17 cells in the mouth rather than the presence of friendly bacteria. Chewing causes a protective immune response in the gums.

Too Much Chewing

On the other hand, you shouldn’t overdo the chewing. Researchers also discovered that too many Th17 cells in the mouth could increase the risks of gum disease, which is also associated with health conditions like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. As true with most things, moderation is best.

In the case of this study, researchers referred to long-term exposure to physiological damage in the mouth that can result from excessive chewing.

Their discovery is important for overall health as well because diseases throughout the body many times have an association with inflammation in the mouth.

See a Dentist for Regular Checkups

Following dental tips can go a long way towards good dental care and staying healthy. At Hutto Hippo Family Dental, Dr. Baker enjoys helping patients take good care of their teeth and gums.