It is good practice to visit the dentist every six months for professional cleanings and dental checkups, according to dentist in irvine, Doctor2th. In addition to keeping your teeth and gums healthy, new study shows that these visits may also decrease your risk of pneumonia by limiting bacterial buildup in the mouth.
An estimated one million Americans suffer from pneumonia every year, 20 percent of whom succumb to the infection and die. While older people and those suffering from conditions like lung disease or AIDS are more likely to get pneumonia, new research shows that anyone can be a victim, especially if you don’t exercise good oral hygiene.
According to the research that was based on the analysis of over 26,000 subjects via a national database, people who never attend dental checkups have an 86 percent risk of getting pneumonia compared to those who schedule a dental checkup every six months.
In the study conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Division of Infectious Disease, the researchers used data retrieved from the 2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey seeking information on healthcare (including dental care) utilization, patient satisfaction, and costs. In the analysis, they found that 441 people out of a total 26,246 individuals (1.68 percent) had bacterial pneumonia. In addition, 86 percent of the infected people had never gone for a dental checkup.
Why poor dental care puts you at risk of getting pneumonia.
Michelle Doll, an assistant professor and lead author of the study, argues that the connection between dental health and pneumonia is well documented, and dental checkups play a vital role in ensuring good dental health.
According to Dr. Doll, the human body has 10 times more microbes (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) than human cells either in or on the body – this includes the skin, the mouth, and gastrointestinal system. Not all microbes are bad, and even the harmful ones only cause illness under specific conditions. For instance, harmful bacteria can be accidentally aspirated or inhaled into the lungs resulting in pneumonia.
The bacteria responsible for pneumonia include streptococcus, staphylococcus, haemophilus, and anaerobic bacteria. With regular professional dental cleanings, Dr. Doll claims that anyone can successfully reduce the amount of harmful bacteria aspirated, reducing your risk for getting pneumonia.
Moreover, the researchers found a close association between oral health and overall health. In this regard, the study concludes that it is essential to integrate proper dental care, which includes attending dental checkups twice a year, into your standard preventive health care routine to reduce the risk of illnesses such pneumonia.