When B cells react aggressively against self, the potential for pathology is extreme. It is therefore not surprising that B-cell depletion is seen as an attractive therapy in autoimmune diseases. However, B cells can also be essential for restraining unwanted autoaggressive T-cell responses. Recent advances have pointed to interleukin-10 (IL-10) production as a key component in B-cell-mediated immune regulation. In this Opinion article, we develop a hypothesis that triggering of Toll-like receptors controls the propensity of B cells for IL-10 production and immune suppression. According to this model, B cells can translate exposure to certain microbial infections into protection from chronic inflammatory diseases.