How Lung Damage Can Come from Untreated Gum Disease

Most of our patients don’t know that gum disease, if left untreated, can damage the lungs. The following information will show how this can happen.

How Gum Disease Can Lead to Lung Damage

According to the Information Series for Patient Education provided by the American Thoracic Society (ATS), gum disease can lead to damaged lungs. Gum infections, such as gingivitis or more advanced forms of periodontitis, produce bacteria that travel through the blood stream and into the lungs. In some instances, tiny droplets of saliva may be inhaled that includes the bacteria caused by plaque. While healthy lungs can protect themselves against these kinds of invasions, damaged lungs cannot defend themselves easily, thereby increasing the risk of ongoing respiratory problems and disease. If you don’t treat the gum disease, you can also have a problem with breathing.

Why Gum Disease Needs to Be Treated to Support Lung Health

Gum disease worsens the chronic inflammation present in respiratory diseases, such as COPD and asthma. That’s because inflammation of the airways leads to lung damage. Therefore, when gums become infected and inflamed, they are sending out a type of distress signal. As a result, lung inflammation can worsen. Whether you have your natural teeth or dentures, you need to clean your teeth thoroughly to prevent gum infections or health conditions, such as lung damage. For example, patients who do not soak their dentures, or do not take them out each night, risk inhaling bacteria into the lungs. Moreover, medicines used for lung problems can also have detrimental effects periodontally, as some medicines cause dry mouth, which leads to and worsens gum infections.

We know that gum disease is linked to your overall health. Taking care of you gums and teeth also means keeping healthy overall. If you currently have problems with bleeding or swollen gums or you have not had a periodontal screening, give us a call today. We can help you improve your gum health and prevent more severe health issues, such as lung damage.

Contact us today for a periodontal consultation and take charge of your oral health.