Connection Between Gum Disease and Lung Disease

March 10, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — bpsperio @ 1:08 am

Patient with advanced gum diseaseYour oral and general health are closely connected. While cavities are the most prevalent dental condition, tooth decay isn’t the only threat to your oral health and wellness. Gum disease affects at least 50% of Americans. Not only is it a leading cause of tooth loss, but it is also linked to many health conditions, like heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and pregnancy complications. However, new research has found an increased risk of lung cancer. Here’s how the infection can lead to life-threatening complications.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is a preventable infection caused by bacteria found in plaque and tartar buildup from poor oral hygiene habits. Red, swollen, and bleeding gums are the first signs of gingivitis, the earliest stage of the infection. With no treatment, the infection will progress, destroying the supporting structures of your teeth and jaw, ultimately leading to tooth loss.

Gum Disease and Oral Cancer

Besides diabetic complications, preterm delivery, and cardiovascular disease, gum disease is also linked to respiratory illness. 

Oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream, causing inflammation that can break down the lining of the lungs. You can also inhale bacteria found in the mouth and throat, which can lead to lower respiratory tract infections. It can also worsen existing lung conditions.

A study by the European Community Respiratory Health Survey found that people with deteriorating dental health can be a preamble for lung disease, including cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Recent studies have found that patients with periodontal disease have a 10% risk of lung cancer. If tooth loss has occurred, the risk of lung cancer further increases.

Most chronic lung diseases are associated with inflammation and mucus, which can affect respiratory functions. Improving gum health can lead to better lung functions by reducing inflammation in your body.

Safeguard Your Smile From Gum Disease 

Your oral and general health doesn’t have to be victims of gum disease. You can promote your gum health by:

  • Brushing Twice Daily: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth twice daily for 2 minutes each session.
  • Floss Daily: Use high-quality floss to clean between your teeth and around the gum line daily.
  • Regular Dental Care: Visit your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and checkup. Your dentist will remove tartar buildup and look for anything concerning, like gum inflammation.

If you develop any symptoms of gum disease between your regular appointments, don’t wait to contact your periodontist. They will create the personalized plan you need to stop the infection in its tracks to keep your mouth and body healthy.

About Dr. Peter Peterson

Dr. Peterson earned his dental degree at Tufts University and continued his education for 3 years to specialize in periodontics. He is a member of many professional organizations, including the American Academy of Periodontology. Request an appointment through our website or call (860) 600-5487.

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