Chest Infections

Got a Chest Infection?

It could be because you skipped your six monthly dental check-up

In February DentalCareXtra published some blogs regarding holistic dentistry and the links between oral health problems causing whole-body ailments.

You can find the link to those blogs here. Now, we have discovered more evidence regarding the importance of maintaining oral health in order to keep the whole body running optimally.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that a US study has found a correlation between the contraction of pneumonia and failure to maintain dental check-ups. It is alleged that 86% of participants in the study had not maintained their 6 monthly dental check-ups.

Of those particular participants, 1.68% of them contracted pneumonia over the course of the study period. It is believed that these contractions of pneumonia are caused by inhaling the bacteria known as streptococcus, which is a bacteria that can be found in the mouth.

The author of the study believes that regular visits to your dentist, coupled with a proper oral hygiene routine, would reduce the subject’s chances of inhaling the infectious bacteria. There is additional evidence supporting these claims.  As numerous studies have been conducted in aged care facilities which have found the same results.

However, the causation of the problems is slightly different; as many patients in nursing homes, particularly those suffering from dementia, have poor oral health as they cannot maintain their oral cleaning regime themselves. Nonetheless, the end results are the same, as the patients still suffer from tooth decay and bacteria build up. These bacteria are then inhaled which then leads to problems like pneumonia.

Studies into holistic dentistry are not uncommon. And of these studies, most ‘have reported small but significant associations between oral infections, mostly periodontitis, and CVD (cardiovascular disease)’ (Journal of Complementary Medicine 2007, p. 2).

Further, most of the suggestions resulting from the studies are the same; with recommendations that dentistry needs to be linked and thought of in the same sphere as other services for treatment of the entire body. That is to say that dentistry needs to be considered just as important to your overall health as seeing your GP or your chemist or other health practitioners. As well as this, the conversations in the GP rooms need to shift slightly to incorporate dentistry related links i.e. your GP needs to tell you that your diabetes could possibly increase your risk of gum disease. But, we as dentists, need to alter our conversations to include whole body ailments as well – such as those tongue tie and sciatic pain links mentioned in our earlier blogs.

So for you, the takeaway from all of this information is: remember to consider your mouth as a potential cause of some of your whole body ailments. Further, remember the seasons where illness is paramount (such as the upcoming flu season), take extra special care of your oral health. Your body may already be fighting the beginning signs of the flu or pneumonia which you don’t want to exacerbate by inhaling bacteria from your teeth. Finally, don’t forget to book your six monthly check-ups!

For more information on holistic dentistry, please do not hesitate to contact DentalCareXtra. Alternatively, complete the form below, and one of our friendly team members will contact you.

References: Kron, J (2007), “Holistic Dentistry”, Complementary Medicine, Vol 6(1) pp. 42-47.

Power, J (2016), “Don’t see the Dentist? You could be increasing your risk of pneumonia”, Sydney Morning Herald, retrieved from: see-the-dentist-you-could-be-increasing-risk-of-pneumonia-20161119-gsszqj.html

Terpenning, M. (2005), “Geriatric Oral Health and Pneumonia Risks”, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Vol 40(12), pp 1807-1810

Scannapieco, F.A., Bush, R.B. & Paju, S. (2003), “Associations Between Periodontal Disease and Risk for Nonsocomial Bacterial Pneumonia and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease” Journal of Periodontology Online, Vol 8(1), pp 54-69