We know that practicing good daily oral hygiene including brushing and flossing your teeth daily leads to improved dental health, however, a recent study shows that it may also be important for maintaining good overall health. Researchers from Yale University School of Medicine discovered that changes in the mouth bacteria preceded the development of Pneumonia in hospital patients. The lead researcher, Samit Joshi, M.D. studied thirty-seven participants over the course of a month. Afterwards, he concluded that changes in oral bacteria play some role in a person developing Pneumonia. The research team discovered that patients on ventilators who contracted Pneumonia experienced a significant change in their oral bacteria prior to falling ill. Dr. Joshi presented the findings of his research at the Infectious Diseases Society of America annual meeting in October, 2011. While further research is needed to definitively link oral bacteria with Pneumonia, other studies have affiliated oral health with respiratory diseases. This could have important implications, especially in the elderly who are more susceptible to developing Pneumonia and other respiratory problems.
Most experts agree that brushing your teeth thoroughly (for at least two minutes) twice per day and flossing your teeth once daily can go a long way in helping patients achieve and maintain optimal oral health. Visiting the dentist regularly (once every six months for most patients) for a professional dental cleaning and examination is also vitally important to your dental health. If you have not been to the dentist for a regularly scheduled dental cleaning and examination in more than six months, schedule an appointment with your dentist today. Your dentist and dental hygienist can also provide you with important tips on maintaining good oral hygiene at home.
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