REGULAR DENTAL VISITS MAY HELP PREVENT PNEUMONIA
That twice-yearly trip to the dentist could do more than keep teeth and gums healthy: It may decrease the risk of pneumonia by reducing bacteria in the mouth, suggests new research.
Nearly one million Americans become ill with the infection every year and 50,000 die. While it is more common among older people and those with conditions such as AIDS or lung disease, anyone can get pneumonia. Based on an analysis of a national database of more than 26,000 people, the new research found that people who never get dental checkups had an 86 percent greater risk of pneumonia than to those who visit the dentist twice a year.
The body contains 10 times as many microbes (bacteria, fungi and viruses) as human cells on or in the body, from the skin to the gastrointestinal system (including the mouth). Some microbes are good and some are bad, but even bad microbes only cause disease under certain circumstances. In some cases, bacteria can be accidentally inhaled or aspirated into the lungs and cause pneumonia. Routine dental visits may reduce the amount of bacteria that can be aspirated.
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