Gateway to Good Health

More proof that good dental hygiene reduces the risk of diseases in other parts of the body. Many studies have linked poor dental conditions with heart disease and other major diseases. Now the evidence is building that good dental hygiene reduces the risk of pneumonia. This may seem insignificant to many people but for people that have a compromised immune system, the elderly, young children, or HIV patients, pneumonia can be serious.

According to researchers from Yale University, changes in mouth bacteria due to poor dental hygiene preceded the development of pneumonia during hospital care. The study further suggests that elderly with risk of lung disease could increase their chances of pneumonia when dental hygiene is substandard.

During the study, researchers found that bacterial composition changed prior to elderly patients contacting pneumonia suggesting these changes were the precursor, if not the cause of pneumonia. The British Dental Health Foundation has gone so far as to warn patients that poor dental hygiene could cause pneumonia.

Dr. Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Dental Foundation said, “during the winter months we’re all susceptible to colds, coughs and chesty viruses due to the drop in temperature. “What people must remember, particularly those  highlighted as vulnerable, is that prevention can be very basic.  Systemic links between gum disease and overall health have been well documented, and at this time of year keeping up good oral health can really help stave off illness.”