So what do you do to tame chronic, low-grade inflammation?
The first step, if possible, is to eliminate the source of the problem. If that source is gum disease, then it’s essential to address it as soon as possible. After all, early stage gum disease is reversible.
In our office, this involves a three-step approach:
Remove the pathogens – through deep cleaning, subgingival irrigation with ozone, and antimicrobial botanical rinses and herbal antimicrobial supplements.
Alter the host response – that is, balance body chemistry to improve periodontal conditions.
Reduce susceptibility – through regular exams and cleanings, as well as home hygiene and supplements.
For many, this is enough to turn conditions around. Especially severe cases of gum disease, though, may call for laser treatment or even surgery, followed by routine periodontal care.
Of course, gum disease is far from the only cause of chronic inflammation. Others include emotional or physical stress, poor diet, hormonal issues, digestive problems, toxic exposures, or other chronic health problems. Here, consultation with an integrative or naturopathic physician can help you understand how to address your particular health situation.
Still, there are plenty of things you can do on your own to help tame chronic inflammation, starting with diet.
An anti-inflammatory diet is based on whole, nutrient-dense foods that are rich in antioxidants. One thing it most certainly doesn’t include is sugars. Sugars not only fuel inflammation but also promote obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes – all inflammatory conditions.
Likewise, you should limit – if not totally eliminate – refined carbohydrates and starches. These include white flour breads and pasta; cereals; white rice; and potato chips, fries, tots, and other hyper-processed potato products.
These two exclusions alone will eliminate most ultra-processed products from your diet.
Processed meats should also be avoided, along with hyper-processed vegetable oils such as those made from corn and soybeans. Eating these leads to an imbalanced omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio, which promotes inflammation. Reach for healthier options such as olive or coconut oil instead.
With so many pro-inflammatory foods out of the picture, you can easily replace them with healthy natural foods, including
Vegetables – raw and cooked, across the whole color spectrum
Fruit – especially deeply colored berries
Healthy fats – avocados, olives, walnuts, almonds, and more
Fatty fish – wild salmon, for instance, or herring, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, et al
Spices & herbs – such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, and chili peppers
If you drink alcohol, a glass of red wine a day is fine (two for men). And when you want something sweet, think plain dark chocolate that contains as little added sugar as possible.
If anti-inflammatory diet looks a lot like what is commonly thought of as healthy, so are the other things that you can do to fight inflammation. Strive to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. Get plenty of sleep. Avoid toxins. Get enough exercise.
All of these reduce inflammation.
It’s also important to not stress out about it too much. Stress is itself one of the causes of chronic inflammation. You must also find ways to deal with the existing stress in your life that work for you.
Taming chronic inflammation isn’t easy, but if a long life of good health is your goal, it’s essential that you do. The consequences of letting it burn unchecked are too dire.