Can Unhealthy Gums Lead to Unhealthy Lungs?

An increasingly large amount of information, garnered from numerous studies and experiments across the globe, point to a significant connection between the state of your oral health and your overall physical wellbeing. This oral-systemic connection unveils a plethora of new worries concerning our oral health, but also opens the way to greater understanding by investigating the mouth and body’s reaction to certain conditions. In the course of increasing our pool of dental knowledge, scientists have uncovered a possible link between oral infection and respiratory disease. San Jose dentist Dr. Randall LaFrom discusses the study, which was published in the Journal of Periodontology.

Not Just Clean for Clean’s Sake

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is not the same as cleaning your house. You cannot put it off until it is convenient, and still expect the same results. Most oral health issues, including tooth decay and gum disease, can be traced back to oral bacteria. Unfortunately, this does not mean that simply eradicating the bacteria in your mouth will prevent the formation of oral health issues. Besides, with 10-15 billion bacteria continuously growing in your mouth at any given time, that task may seem too daunting to realize. Rather than eliminating the bacteria, good oral hygiene (i.e., brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day) is designed to control the bacterial population by removing it with every cleaning. Brushing and flossing at least twice a day minimizes the accumulation of bacteria, thereby lessening your teeth’s chances of succumbing to infection or disease.

The Spread of Bacterial Population

A cornerstone of the oral-systemic connection is the ability of oral bacteria to enter the bloodstream through diseased oral tissue. The study, which included 200 participants between the ages of 20 and 60, suggests there may be another facet of the connection. Half of the participants, which were hospitalized patients with some form of respiratory disease (including pneumonia and acute bronchitis), exhibited considerably worse periodontal (gum) health than the control group, who did not suffer respiratory disease. The findings indicate a connection between gum disease and respiratory infection, which can often originate from bacterial infection.

Keeping your mouth clean, healthy, and strong can offer more benefit than merely a pretty smile. A healthy mouth can help you maintain a healthy body, as well. To learn more about maintaining your oral health, or to schedule a consultation with your Dr. LaFrom at our Cupertino dentist office, call (408) 996-8595. We serve patients from Saratoga, Campbell, Sunnyvale, San Jose, and Santa Clara County.

~ by cupertinodentist on September 5, 2012.

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