Dental cleanings may help keep lungs clean, too

Posted at 5:08 PM, Oct 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-28 17:38:07-04

Researchers looked at records from 26,000 people and compared those who never went to the dentist to those who had twice-a-year checkups. The people who never saw a dentist were 86 percent more likely to get bacterial pneumonia.

Going for a checkup means you’re getting regular dental cleanings and these can reduce the levels of bacteria in your mouth that can cause lung infections. A typical human mouth is filled with billions of bacteria. Most of them are harmless while others are linked to problems like tooth decay and periodontal disease.

In addition to seeing a dentist regularly, you can reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth with good dental home care. Here are my prescriptions:

Partha’s RX

1. Brush your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day.
Use fluoride toothpaste.

2. Floss your teeth once a day.
This helps to remove plaque which can carry more than 500 bacterial species.

3. Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months
This helps avoid the buildup of bacteria.

4. Choose products with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance on them.
This lets you know the product is safe to use.

Your oral health might contribute to endocarditis, which is an infection of the inner lining of your heart.  And there’s research linking cardiovascular disease to inflammation and infections caused by oral bacteria. Keep in mind many medical conditions can be detected during an exam by your dentist.