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The Link Between Periodontal Disease And Respiratory Illnesses

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The body is linked in such a way that a health condition in one part may affect other parts of the body. For example, did you know that your oral health and respiratory health are linked? Yes, many people know of the link between dental plaque and cardiovascular diseases, but the link with respiratory diseases isn't well known. Well, the connection is there for the following reasons:

Poor Respiratory Health Lowers Your Immunity 

If you have been struggling with respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, then chances are high that the infection has compromised your immune system. As you know, compromised immunity means that foreign microorganisms such as bacteria can easily attack your body without getting repelled. Thus, such respiratory illnesses make it easy for oral bacteria to embed themselves in your oral tissues. This makes it easy for you to develop periodontal disease.

Oral Bacteria Can Spread To Your Respiratory System

If you have periodontal disease, then your hope is that it will be treated long before it spreads to other parts of the body. Just like oral bacteria can enter your bloodstream and reach the heart, they can also enter your respiratory tract and reach your lungs.

That would be a serious complication because the bacteria would weaken your respiratory organs and make them susceptible to other variants of bacteria. This is possible because the bacteria may breach the normal defenses that keep your lower respiratory sterile. Such defenses include cough reflexes and tracheobronchial secretions. The tracheobronchial secretions, produced by the mucous glands, help in fighting microorganisms that enter the respiratory airway.  

Oral Bacteria Can Inflame the Lungs

Even the oral bacteria themselves would be dangerous to your respiratory health if they were to reach your lungs. Periodontal disease isn't exactly one type of an infection; it can be caused by different bacteria such as Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans. The same bacteria can attack your respiratory organs.

If these bacteria reach your lungs, they will attach themselves the linings of the lung and cause irritation. Your lungs would then initiate an inflammatory response that would limit the amount of air reaching them. An inflamed lung lining plus sub-par breathing is a clear recipe for respiratory illness.

This is one of the reasons physicians and dentists need to collaborate when treating the same patients. Tackling the diseases on both fronts is far more effective than dealing with either of them alone. For example, if you treat the respiratory infection and ignore the dental one, then the former can reoccur soon after. For more information, contact a dentist at Northland Village Dental Centre.