(CHICAGO) -- New research published in the Journal of Periodontology suggests that periodontal disease may increase risk for respiratory infections such as chronic pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia.
Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease which affects gum tissue and other structures supporting the teeth. Respiratory infections like pneumonia or COPD occur when bacteria from the upper throat are inhaled into the lower respiratory tract. Researchers infer that oral pathogens associated with periodontal disease increase the risk of developing respiratory illnesses.
Donald S. Clem, DDS, the president of the American Academy of Periodontology, emphasized the importance of proper oral care to prevent or treat the development of periodontal disease.
"By working with your dentist or periodontist, you may actually be able to prevent or diminish the progression of harmful diseases such as pneumonia or COPD," he said. "This study provides yet another example of how periodontal health plays a role in keeping other systems of the body healthy."
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