Clean Teeth and the Prevention of Lung Disease and Cancer

A recent study published in the Journal of Periodontology (gum specialist’s journal) suggests it may have more of a relationship than previously thought.  The study reported that of those patients hospitalized for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and other types of lung disease had a significantly higher likelihood to have gingivitis or periodontal disease compared to those patients in a control group with healthy lungs.  It is not yet clear why those patients had more lung problems, but bacteria from the mouth make their way into the respiratory system.  Some researchers suspect these bacteria trigger the lung problems.

Another study published in the journal Lancet Oncology suggests that you can lower your risk of cancer (especially lung and pancreatic cancer) by as much as 14% by preventing gum disease.  Again, the exact reason why this relationship exists is as of yet unknown, people with gum disease do have higher levels of inflammatory response chemicals in their bloodstream, which can be linked to cancer and other diseases.

The bottom line here is that brushing our teeth for two minutes, twice per day and flossing at least once per day, can not only help prevent gum disease, it may also keep our lungs healthier and lower our risk of cancer.  And make sure to get to the dentist twice a year at least to have a professional dental teeth and gum cleaning.  This is very important, not only for our mouths, but our overall health.

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