The immune system protects the body with its flexible, fast reaction to the changing environment. It responds to oral diseases—like periodontitis, caries, and oral cancers—by activating cells that fight infection and repair tissue damage. However, there are several factors that challenge the ability of the immune system to maintain this flexibility, such as interactions with other organ systems like the neurological system. The immune system also changes as we age, responding less efficiently to immune challenges like disease and injury. The immune system should also not be overactive, as this can lead to autoimmune diseases like Sjögren's syndrome. Therefore, it is essential that the immune system is adaptable, responsive, and dynamic as it functions to maintain good oral health and target oral diseases across the lifespan. This initiative will support research that advances our knowledge of how the immune system remains flexible and responds to a vast array of diseases and injuries. Further, this initiative builds upon existing research to encourage the development of tools and technologies for restoring immune system flexibility to better fight illness and maintain good oral health.
For more information, you may review the full concept clearance here.