Dentist in Baltimore | Can Regular Dental Visits Help Prevent Pneumonia?

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Pneumonia is a common infection of the lungs, usually affecting older adults or those with immunodeficiencies, though anyone can fall ill. However, did you know that going to your dentist can help prevent your risk of pneumonia? While your oral health and your respiratory system are usually thought of as entirely separate, research has shown a curious connection between them.

The Bacteria of your Mouth

You may be surprised to hear that your body is full of bacteria — both beneficial and harmful alike. Your mouth itself is host to many cultures alone, and has defenses in place to ensure your health and your safety. Saliva can help keep oral bacteria in check, but it isn’t a failsafe. Bacteria like streptococcus or staphylococcus can invade through your oral cavity and make it to your lungs, causing infection and pneumonia. So how can you bolster your body’s defenses?

Dental Visits and Pneumonia

Regular dental visits are one of the most significant ways of retaining optimal oral health, salivary regularity, and other forms of homeostasis. When dental visits are foregone, tooth decay can set in, disrupting oral health. Bacteria may then have an easier time making their way through your mouth and throat. A study in 2013 showed that in a sample size of almost 30,000 individuals, those who did not follow regular dental visits had an 86 percent higher risk of developing pneumonia than those with regular, twice-yearly appointments.

The Mechanisms Behind It All

While brushing and flossing can help control the amount of oral bacteria you have, plaque removal requires a dental cleaning to truly combat. With proper dental care, the amount of oral bacteria present can be limited to a safe degree — which, in turn, limits the amount that may aspirate into your lungs and cause infection.

If you have seen delays in your dental visit schedule, don’t hesitate any longer. Protect your oral health, reduce your risk for pneumonia, and make your future brighter with a smile. Contact our office to set up an appointment today.

36 S Charles St #2202

Baltimore, MD 21201

Current Patients: 410-837-0304