Periodontal Disease and Respiratory Disease

A lot of recent research has linked periodontal disease to some forms of respiratory disease. These studies have shown that gum disease can worsen conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and may actually play a role in contracting a number of diseases, including pneumonia, COPD, and bronchitis.

These bacterial respiratory infections can occur when droplets from the mouth are inhaled into the lungs. Some of the resulting diseases are treatable, but others, like COPD, is lethal and should be taken very seriously.

What Connects These Diseases?

Many people are surprised to learn respiratory disease and periodontal disease are linked, but modern research has provided plenty of evidence to support it. Some of the reasons for this link include:

  • Low immunity – Most people who experience chronic or persistent respiratory problems likely suffer from low immunity. This is the same condition that allows oral bacteria to crawl below the gum line totally unchallenged. This accelerates the progression of periodontal disease and increases the risk of emphysema, pneumonia, and COPD.
  • Bacterial spread – The bacterium that causes periodontal disease can be drawn into the lower respiratory tract. Once it colonizes in the lungs, it can cause pneumonia and increase the risk for more serious conditions such as COPD.
  • Inflammation – Periodontal disease causes the inflammation and irritation of oral tissue, and it is possible that the bacteria that causes this irritation can inflame the lining of the lungs and limit the amount of air that can pass into and out of the lungs.
  • Tobacco – Smoking is one of the leading cause of COPD and other chronic respiratory conditions. Any tobacco use can damage the gingiva and compromise the health of the oral cavity. Tobacco slows the healing process, increases the size of gum pockets, and accelerates attachment loss.

Spotting the Problem and Getting Treatment

When we diagnose a respiratory disease and periodontal disease, we will work with your doctor to ensure that you receive the necessary treatment. We offer a range of options, depending on the condition of the teeth, gums and jaw, to treat the problem.

We will assess the extent of the inflammation and tissue loss and then begin treatment of the bacterial infection. Scaling and root planing are effective options, and we may also place antibiotics into the pockets after they’re cleaned to promote better healing and reduce the risk of the infection returning.

As we work to control periodontal disease, it will reduce any discomfort in the oral region and the gums will be much healthier. Also, the frequent, unpleasant respiratory infections associated with COPD and other conditions will be minimized.

Contact us today if you have any questions or concerns about the connection between periodontal and respiratory diseases.

Read More: