• March 10, 2020
relation between oral health and respiratory disease

Since childhood, you have learned about the importance of taking good care of your oral health to prevent and avoid cavities, gum disease and bad breath. There is even a known link between poor oral health and liver cancer. Did you know there is also a connection between oral health and respiratory disease?

A study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that the risk for respiratory infections increases with the occurrence of periodontal (gum) disease. The infections, such as pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are the result of bacteria from the upper throat being inhaled into the lower respiratory tract.

Because bacteria from the oral cavity can contribute to lung issues, another study looked at the impact of enhanced oral care by dental professionals on the outcomes of patients in the intensive care unit (ICU).

In the study, patients in ICU were broken into two groups. The first group received enhanced dental care from dentists including teeth brushing, tongue scraping, plaque removal and topical application of chlorhexidine, a germicidal mouthwash that reduces bacteria in the mouth. The second group received routing oral hygiene from the nursing staff, which included cleaning of the teeth using gauze and topical application of chlorhexidine.

Results of the study revealed a 56 percent less chance of developing a respiratory tract infection in the patient group the that received enhanced dental care during their stay in the ICU compared to the second control group.

Staying Proactive Through Good Oral Care

The lesson of the studies is that good oral care, including regular brushing, flossing and use of mouth wash, is shown to help prevent respiratory disease. If you have signs of health problems, ask your doctor about the impact your oral health may play.

No one plans to spend time in the ICU. If you or a loved one requires care in the specialty care unit is the result of an accident or disease, it may be useful to request enhanced dental care to help prevent respiratory disease.

If you want more information about how to implement a good oral care routine from a dentist near Joliet, be sure to call Shorewood Family Dental Care at 815-725-5991 or book an appointment online.