There are a number of different respiratory diseases linked to periodontal disease. Pneumonia, COPD, and bronchitis are among the most common. Generally, bacterial respiratory infections occur due to the inhalation of fine droplets from the mouth into the lungs. COPD is a leading cause of death and should be taken very seriously.
Reasons for the Concern:
The fact that respiratory disease and periodontal disease are linked may seem far-fetched, but there is plenty of evidence to support it.
Bacterial spread – The specific type of oral bacteria that causes periodontal disease can easily be drawn into the lower respiratory tract. Once the bacteria colonize in the lungs, it can cause pneumonia and exacerbate serious conditions such as COPD.
Low immunity – It has been well-documented that most people who experience chronic or persistent respiratory problems suffer from lowered immunity. This low immunity allows oral bacteria to embed itself above and below the gum line without being challenged by the body’s immune system. Not only does this accelerate the progression of periodontal disease, it also puts the sufferer at increased risk of developing emphysema, pneumonia and COPD.
Modifiable factors – Smoking is thought to be the leading cause of COPD and other chronic respiratory conditions. Tobacco use also damages the gingiva and compromises the good health of the oral cavity in its entirety. Tobacco use slows the healing process, causes gum pockets to grow deeper and also accelerates attachment loss. Smoking is not the sole cause of periodontal disease, but it is certainly a cofactor to avoid.
Inflammation – It is possible that the bacteria which causes the inflammation seen in periodontal disease contributes to inflammation of the lung lining, thus limiting the amount of air that can freely pass to and from the lungs.
When respiratory disease and periodontal disease are both diagnosed in one individual, our doctors and your medical doctor will function as a team to control both conditions. There are many non-surgical and surgical options available, depending on the specific condition of the teeth, gums, and jawbone. When a diagnosis has been made, Dr. Suway and Cabrera will recommend the most conservative treatment that is appropriate.
If you have questions or concerns about respiratory disease or periodontal disease, please feel free to call the office.
Jenkintown Periodontics & Dental Implants, LLC
Neal B. Suway, DDS - Juan Carlos Cabrera, DMD, MS
Dental Implants, Cosmetic and Laser Periodontics
261 Old York Road Suite 319
Jenkintown, PA 19046
Phone: (215) 887-6060
Convenient to Philadelphia, Abington, Willow Grove, Elkins Park, Cheltenham, Horsham, Warminster, and Hatboro