You probably do not automatically think of your lungs when you consider what other parts of your body can be affected by oral health problems. However, gum disease can contribute to a variety of overall health conditions, including chronic respiratory problems. Keep reading to learn more.
How Does Gum Disease Affect Your Lungs?
Gum disease (as well as tooth decay) is primarily caused by the buildup of bacteria and plaque on your teeth and along the gum line. When gum disease is not treated and progresses into advanced periodontitis, this oral bacteria can spread to other parts of your body, including your lungs. Your respiratory system consists of pathways that connect your lungs to your nose and mouth, making it relatively easy for bacteria to travel from your mouth to your lungs. Just like a bacterial infection causes inflammation in your gums, it can also lead to inflammation in your respiratory system.
What Respiratory Problems Are Linked to Gum Disease?
Advanced gum disease can lead to breathing problems including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Both of these chronic conditions are triggered by inflammation, and if you already have either condition, the inflammation of gum disease can worsen your asthma or COPD symptoms. COPD mostly affects older adults and can be fatal, especially if you are a smoker.
How to Prevent Respiratory Complications of Gum Disease
Since gum disease is linked to the above respiratory conditions as well as other serious medical conditions including diabetes and heart disease, taking care of your gums can help keep you healthy overall. You can prevent gum disease and its many complications by brushing your teeth thoroughly twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, flossing once a day, visiting our office for regular checkups, and not using tobacco or drinking alcohol heavily. To learn more about the importance of gum health, contact us today.