Dental 4 Less, Chewing your food could protect against infection
“Chew your food!” This is a phrase likely to have been heard by many of us during childhood. According to a new study, we would be wise to take that advice. Researchers have found that chewing food prompts the release of an immune cell that can protect against infection.
The study, recently published in the journal Immunity, found that chewing food – otherwise known as mastication – can stimulate the release of T helper 17 (Th17) cells in the mouth.
Th17 cells form a part of the adaptive immune system, which uses specific antigens to defend against potentially harmful pathogens, while enduring “friendly” bacteria that can be beneficial to health.
According to the study team, led by Dr. Joanne Konkel of the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, in the gut and the skin, Th17 cells are produced through the presence of friendly bacteria.
However, the researchers note that the mechanisms by which Th17 cells are produced in the mouth have been unclear.