Chew on This: Sleeping with Dentures Could Double Pneumonia Danger!

Medical researchers are delving deeper into understanding how the health of your mouth is connected to the overall health of your body. Poor oral habits increase the chances of developing pneumonia and other health issues. As such, it is essential to pay attention to taking proper care of your teeth and gums.

The Mouth-Heart Connection

A number of studies have found that there is a significant link between the health of your teeth and gums, and your heart. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth and it results from harmful bacteria that reside in your mouth. These bacteria produce toxins that damage the gums and can even break the gum lining, allowing even more bacteria to enter your bloodstream. This eventually leads to inflammation of the blood vessels and heart issues.

Poor Oral Health Leads to Pneumonia

Overlooking your oral hygiene, especially in your later years, poses a significant risk for pneumonia. Wearing false teeth or dentures puts you at an even higher risk. A study conducted at the Nihon University School of Dentistry in Japan has established that wearing dentures during sleep doubles the risk of pneumonia for elderly individuals in their late 80s. However, the study also revealed that simply removing dentures during the night significantly lowers this risk.

Researchers found that wearing dentures while sleeping is associated with an increase in plaque accumulation on the tongue and dentures, inflammation of the gums, growth of Candida albicans (yeast) in the mouth and throat, and higher blood levels of interleukin-6, an indicator of inflammation. Moreover, participants in the study who exhibited problems with swallowing had an increased risk of pneumonia.

Tips for Maintaining Oral Health

To minimize the risk of pneumonia and maintain good oral health, follow these basic tips:

  1. Brush properly: Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, making sure to reach the inner, outer, and chewing surfaces of each tooth.

  2. Floss daily: Flossing removes plaque and food particles from the spaces between your teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Failing to floss leaves a large area of your mouth unclean and creates a breeding ground for bacteria.

  3. Clean your tongue: Gently clean your tongue using a tongue scraper or a soft-bristle toothbrush to remove bacteria, fungi, and dead cells.

  4. Regular dental checkups: Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral examinations. This will ensure early detection of gum diseases and any required treatment for teeth and gums.

  5. Quit smoking: Smoking not only stains your teeth and affects your sense of taste and smell but also weakens your immune system, making it harder to fight off gum infections. Moreover, once you have gum damage, smoking makes it more difficult for your gums to heal.

  6. Eat a balanced diet: A diet high in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products will help protect your teeth and gums. Limit sugary and acidic foods, as they can erode tooth enamel and encourage bacteria in the mouth.

  7. Stay hydrated: Drinking water throughout the day helps wash down and dilute acid and sugar production in the mouth, preventing cavities and minimizing the risk of gum disease.

  8. Take care of your dentures: Make sure to remove your dentures before going to bed, and clean them thoroughly to prevent infections. Soak them overnight in a good-quality denture cleaner and rinse well before putting them back in your mouth.

Taking care of your teeth and gums is crucial in maintaining overall health. By following these simple oral health tips, you can significantly decrease your risk of developing not only pneumonia, but other health issues as well. A healthy mouth represents a healthy body.