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Residents of nursing homes who follow a good dental hygiene routine may enjoy additional benefits to their health, according to research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
The study suggests that those who practice good dental care - often with the help of a nursing aide - may be less likely to die of pneumonia, Reuters reports.
Dr Carol W. Bassim and colleagues compared the mortality rate from pneumonia between two groups - one that was given oral care and another that was not.
"Several studies have shown that poor oral hygiene or inadequate oral care are also associated with pneumonia," the authors write, when describing their reason for investigating this relationship.
When trying to pinpoint the reason behind the relationship between dental care and pneumonia mortality, the scientists proposed that it could have something to do with the aspiration of saliva or food.
Although they said that these factors may not be directly affected by dental health, caring for teeth and gums can reduce "the harmful quality of the intra-oral environment."
In related news, a 2005 study conducted at University of Buffalo's School of Dentistry revealed that cost was the main reason elderly people did not visit the dentist.
Discount dental plans can provide savings of between 10 and 60 percent on most dental procedures.
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