Direct links found between oral health and pneumonia

Posted on: 21 June 2019 by 50connect editorial

New research has found considerable evidence that poor oral health can lead to serious illnesses such as pneumonia and heart disease, especially for those over 50.

oral health

According to the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, aspiration pneumonia is linked to poor dental hygiene and health because dental plaque can be colonised by certain types of bacteria, which are then subsequently inhaled.

These studies have also shown that this serious condition can also be caused by periodontal disease, poor hygiene and malnutrition due to the inability to swallow food, which are all common for the elderly.

Heart disease is another serious illness that is commonly linked to poor oral healthcare.

According to Bupa, 90% of UK adults suffer from some degree of gum disease, which can go undiagnosed or unmanaged.

Those who suffer from this disease are also at greater risk of developing heart disease than those with healthy gums. This again is connected by the spread of bacteria from your mouth to the heart via the bloodstream, causing inflammation and infection of the inner lining.

Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, says:

"The link between oral health and overall body health is well documented and backed by robust scientific evidence.

Despite this, only 1 in 6 people realise that people with gum disease may have an increased risk of stroke or diabetes. And only 1 in 3 is aware of the heart disease link."

Dr Parneet Sehmi, the principal dentist at Hermes London Dental Clinic, stresses the importance of looking after your oral health, even if you feel and see that there is nothing wrong with your teeth, mouth or gums.

Dr Sehmi says: “The population of the UK is constantly growing and people are living longer than ever before, which will only increase the amount of poor oral health and the demand for healthcare.

“The good news is that brushing your teeth, looking after your gums and visiting your dentist on a regular basis will not only improve your overall health but also reduce the risk of developing serious health problems, such as heart disease and pneumonia.”

Dr Parneet Sehmi also emphasises that patients don’t visit their dentist often enough for regular check-ups, due to traumatic past experiences, the pain that they might endure or even the screeching drilling - the anxiety a visit can cause.

Hermes London Dental Clinic prides themselves on offering pain-free treatments and techniques, such as IV sedation to put nervous patients at ease.

Even treatments such as dental implants and dental crowns can be carried out under sedation to provide relaxed treatment from start to finish.

It is clear that the dental clinic succeeds in supporting adults and children of all ages the elderly in order to prevent them from developing oral health problems that can lead onto these serious conditions later on in life.

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