Protect Your Lungs…with a Toothbrush?

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

So, as it turns out brush, flossing and rinsing regularly could help your...lungs! A new study says that maintaining good dental health -- especially those gums -- may contribute to a healthy respiratory system. That dose of health news comes courtesy of the "Journal of Periodontology."So, as it turns out brush, flossing and rinsing regularly could help your…lungs! A new study says that maintaining good dental health — especially those gums — may contribute to a healthy respiratory system. That dose of health news comes courtesy of the “Journal of Periodontology.”

Doctor’s advice for your lungs probably doesn’t touch upon this subject — cleaning your gums — so we present it here for you. Researchers found that gum disease may increase the risk for respiratory infections, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pneumonia. These infections, which are caused when bacteria from the upper throat are inhaled into the lower respiratory tract, can be severely debilitating. They are also leading causes of death in the U.S.

The study included 200 participants between the ages of 20 and 60. Half were hospitalized patients with a respiratory disease such as pneumonia, COPD, or acute bronchitis, and the other half were healthy control subjects with no history of respiratory disease. Each participant underwent an oral evaluation to measure the health of their gums.

Researchers discovered that patients with lung diseases had worse gum health than the control group. They suspect that the presence of oral pathogens (bacteria, etc.) linked with periodontal disease may increase a patient’s risk of developing or making respiratory disease worse. More studies will be needed to support that idea. But it does allude to a relatively simple way for people who are at higher risk of lung diseases (such as smokers) to help ward off such illness: keeping good hygiene.

Pulmonary, or lung, diseases can be severely disabling and debilitating. This study says that you can work with your dentist to perhaps prevent or diminish the progression of harmful diseases such as pneumonia or COPD. It further illuminates the importance of how good periodontal health helps keep the whole body healthy.

Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gum tissue and other structures supporting the teeth. There is research out there that has found it linked with diabetes, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

So keep good oral health by daily tooth brushing and flossing, and seeing the dentist every year. Ensure you focus on the prevention of gum disease (and, if need be, diagnosis and treatment as well).

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