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Gum Disease May Increase Pneumonia Risk By Up To 40 Percent

pneumonia lungsIt’s a staggering statistic to comprehend, but recent research has shown that periodontal disease can increase your risk of a certain kind of pneumonia by up to 40 percent, perhaps indicating an urgent need to get gum disease under control before it spawns or contributes to other even more serious conditions.

A review of almost 1700 studies was undertaken by Susanna Paju, who does her research for the Department of Biology at the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. She found 36 relevant studies and did a complete and thorough analysis of them. What she found may surprise you.

The first important fact she uncovered is that taking action to deal with gum disease through either manual cleaning, topical chemicals or antibiotics was able to reduce how offer a certain kind of pneumonia happened by about 40 percent.

The second, related, fact was that while there are strong links between gum disease and COPD, no definite connection could be found for certain.

With those findings in mind, Paju reached several important conclusions. Most obvious is the fact that the link is strong enough to believe that mouth pathogens are connected to the development of what is called nosocomial pneumonia.

And she made two additional conclusions. One is that the medical community doesn’t know enough about this subject and should study it further using standard research methods. Another is that the connection with COPD needs to be further studied so it can be determined if a real and valid link can be shown.

For patients with gum disease who have other risk factors of lung disease — including a history of smoking — there’s every reason to believe that treating the gum disease will result in better overall health and a decreased risk of potentially debilitating lung problems.

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