As discussed in previous posts, oral health has been connected to other chronic health problems. Two recent studies have concluded that there is a relationship between oral health and respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia.
The studies conducted at Virginia Commonwealth University and Yale University School of Medicine suggest that patients who practice good oral health and visit their dentists regularly are less likely to develop pneumonia than those who don’t. Data from over 26,000 patients was used to determine the link between oral health and pneumonia. Of the 26,000 patients followed, 450 were diagnosed with pneumonia at least once during the 2 years of the study. Lack of dental insurance and the “inability to access needed care” were found to be associated with the instances in which patients developed pneumonia.
Interpreting the Findings
There is a link between respiratory illnesses and oral health as confirmed by the research.
“There is a well-documented connection between oral health and pneumonia, and dental visits are important in maintaining good oral health,” stated lead study author Michelle Doll, MD, MPH, in an ID Week press release. “We can never rid the mouth of bacteria altogether, but good oral hygiene can limit the quantities of bacteria present.”
Practicing good oral hygiene, (ie: brushing teeth twice a day and visiting your dentist regularly) is the best way to ensure you have a healthy mouth.