Can Good Oral Care Help Maintain Respiratory Health?

The Correlation Between Your Lungs and Your Teeth

As you may know, poor dental care – such as not brushing your teeth often enough or skipping important dental appointments – can inevitably lead to diminished oral health. This can mean tooth decay, gingivitis, sore teeth and gums, and much more. However, did you also know that not taking care of your teeth could lead to more damaging health issues? When you allow oral bacteria to develop in your mouth, it can travel to other areas of the body, such as the lungs, and may negatively affect things like your respiratory health.

Battling Bacteria

Maintaining proper oral health is all about reducing the number of bacteria that grows and develops in your mouth. The easiest and most effective way to do this is to keep up with regular brushing and flossing. That means 2x a day for 2 minutes. This can reduce the amount of plaque and harmful bacteria that forms and causes damage to your dental health.

In an ideal oral environment, both good and bad bacteria are present. The good bacteria helps maintain probiotic health while maintaining bad bacteria at a minimum ensures a healthy balance. Unfortunately, bad bacteria have a tendency to grow and spread when left unattended, which results in a bacterial imbalance in your mouth. Additionally, when you introduce foods and drinks that help bad bacteria thrive it can put you at a greater risk for this disparity. When an imbalance occurs, your oral health can be threatened; an increase of bad bacteria can lead to tooth decay, gingivitis, bleeding gums, and more. Thankfully, there are steps that can be taken to help reduce the number of bacteria that enter your body to help prevent poor oral health.

The Link Between Gum and Lung Disease

Now how does this affect your respiratory health? As you inhale, bacteria in your mouth and in the air can enter your lungs. Each time you breathe or cough, drops of saliva can travel to and from your mouth to your lungs, taking bits of bacteria with it.

This is where your immune system comes in. One of its most important responsibilities is to prevent harmful bacteria from affecting your body negatively, but that does not always mean you are safe from possible irritation or infection. When bacteria are present in your mouth and saliva, it poses a greater risk of it traveling to the lungs. When there is an influx of bacteria, it can overpower your immune system and cause issues such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Patients who have illnesses such as emphysema, chronic pulmonary disease, or lung disease may also see a worsening in symptoms due to oral pathogens being aspirated into the lungs.

Keep in mind this works both ways. That is to say, poor respiratory health may affect the overall strength and well-being of your teeth, gums, and jawbone. Patients who are at a higher risk of respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia or asthma are simultaneously at a higher risk of contracting an oral condition such as periodontitis.

Taking Care of All Aspects of Your Health

When it comes to maintaining a happy, healthy, and sparkling smile, it takes more than just basic dental care! Keeping up with all aspects of your physical wellbeing can help prevent a myriad of oral and general health ailments, including periodontitis and lung diseases. At Acosta Dental Arts, PA, our team of dedicated dental professionals works closely with patients to help provide all-inclusive dental health care. Contact our office to schedule your Free Cosmetic Smile Assessment with Dr. Acosta today!

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