Your entire body works on its own to maintain function and a healthy system, so it should come as no surprise that what goes on in your mouth will have a lasting effect on the rest of the body. For example, did you know that periodontal disease can lead to respiratory problems? According to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology, researchers found a strong link between the two, which could possibly be a result of the increased amount of anaerobic bacteria in the mouth.
Researchers studied a pool of 14,000 patients from the Third National Health and Nutrition Survey, all of whom were at least 20 years old and still had at least six natural teeth. Each person was examined for their lung, dental and periodontal health, and they were questioned regarding their respiratory health. When comparing data, the researchers found a direct link between people who had poor oral health as well as lowered respiratory health. An individual with poor oral health was characterized as someone who had bleeding gums, gingival recession and periodontal attachment level. Appropriate adjustments were made based on age, income, race and frequency of dental visits.
“It’s possible that people with periodontal disease and chronic lung disease might find their lung disease perhaps worse than if they did not have periodontal disease,” study author Frank Scannapieco, an associate professor of oral biology at the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, said. “It could be that bacteria in the mouth somehow travel into the lower airway and contribute to the inflammatory process that is involved into the progression of chronic lung disease. It’s also possible that inflammatory mediators in the saliva may somehow play a role in the process.”