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Healthy gums may ensure infection-free respiratory health
Updated: 1/19/2011 5:00:04 PM
 

Healthy gums are key to preventing respiratory diseases. Routine dental care is essential to maintaining periodontal health. By brushing and flossing daily, patients can prevent and manage gum disease, and by scheduling regular annual dental checkups, they can seek treatment.

These techniques may also help maintain respiratory health, according to a study that has linked incidences of periodontal disease with an increased risk of infections like pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

In the study, published in the Journal of Periodontology, researchers analyzed the dental health of 200 subjects aged 20 to 60, half healthy and half with infections like COPD or pneumonia. The individuals with respiratory diseases had markedly worse periodontal health.

If inhaled, bacteria from the upper throat can heighten the risk of potentially fatal respiratory illnesses.

Donald S. Clem, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, notes "this study provides yet another example of how periodontal health plays a role in keeping other systems of the body healthy." Periodontal disease has also been linked to arthritis and diabetes. Further research, however, is needed to more accurately link how dental disease-related bacteria precisely causes these infections.

Scheduling a visit with a dentist today may help lower risks for respiratory disease.

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