Does Gum Disease Cause Or Worsen Lung Problems?

Daniel Vinograd

At first, it seems like there could be no relationship, but it’s a question that’s been studied recently: does periodontal disease cause or worsen the progression of pneumonia and other lung diseases? Amazingly, a review of current research indicates that treating gum disease can reduce pneumonia occurrence by 40 percent.

And there are other findings that show a strong connection between the two conditions.

Nearly 1,700 studies were examined, and 36 of them had relevant information that was included in the analysis by Susanna Paju of the University of Buffalo’s School of Dental Medicine Department of Biology.

This review resulted in two main findings:
– that oral interventions to improve dental hygiene with mechanical or topical chemical means or antibiotics reduce a certain kind of pneumonia by about 40 percent, and
– that numerous studies show a link between gum disease and the collection of debilitating lung conditions called COPD.

Based on the information gleaned from the review of the studies, Paju was able to make some important conclusions, including:
– that colonization in the mouth of lung pathogens that results from bad oral hygiene and the presence of periodontal disease is associated with nosocomial pneumonia
– That more studies are needed to help the medical community better understand the effect of oral hygiene treatment to help prevent this type of pneumonia in high-risk patients, and
– that there isn’t enough information yet to understand the strength or depth of the connection between oral health issues and COPD, so more research in this area is needed as well.

This much is certain, however. The bacteria that causes gum disease is also associated with a growing list of other issues and conditions. It seems prudent, then, for patients to do whatever is necessary to get their mouths healthier so they can enjoy better overall health for years to come. If they don’t, a variety of illnesses may be in the waiting, including serious lung issues.

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Dr. Daniel Vinograd, DDS |
10450 Friars Rd, San Diego, CA 92120 |
Phone: 619-630-7174    •    Dr. Vinograd, DDS, is a Dentist in San Diego, CA, offering services as a periodontist, and providing teeth whitening, dental crowns, invisalign, implants, lumineers, dentures, root canals, holistic, family and cosmetic dentistry.


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