Link between Mouth Bacteria and Respiratory Health

Poway and Rancho Bernardo, CA

Bacteria are all around us. While bacteria are a necessary part of the circle of life, we as humans have an interesting relationship in that certain bacteria are healthy for our bodies, while others are not. There is a new study that links mouth bacteria to lung diseases. Dr. Nicol Cook, a family dentist in Poway, would like to take a closer look at this study, highlight the importance of keeping your mouth clean, and provide you with easy steps to do just that.

The study

Dr. Yoshihisa Tamashita conducted this study along with a team of Japanese scientists from the Kyushu University in Fukuoka. The team analyzed the tongue microbiota composition of 500 elderly subjects ages 70-80 who were living in a senior community located in Hisayma, Japan. By using genomic sequencing, a complex scientific technique, the team discovered Prevotella histicola and Streptococcus salivarius, which are bacteria previously linked to death caused by pneumonia.

The results

The team discovered that these bacteria were found in subjects who had an excessive amount of oral plaque, tooth decay, and missing teeth. The results were that the seniors with poor oral health ingest more dysbiotic microbiota from the tongue. Furthermore, the results indicate that more research should be done that shows the connection between tongue bacteria found in seniors, as Dr. Yamashita’s findings show there could be possible health consequences later down the road.

How to keep your mouth healthy

Dysbiosis means a microbial imbalance in the mouth. While many of the microbes that are present in our mouths are necessary for digestion, and to fight off the bad bacteria to maintain good oral health, these bacteria should be balanced. The bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease tend to favor sugar and simple starches as their food source, which ironically is what our Western diet is comprised of for many of us. While brushing and flossing daily are essential in maintaining good oral health, so is maintaining a healthy diet.

According to the American Heart Association, adult men should consume less than 35g of sugar daily, and less than 25g for women, to reduce the risk of heart disease. Just to put things into perspective, those amounts are equal to 9 and 6 teaspoons, respectively. That doesn’t sound like much, does it? Now, stop to think about how much sugar you may be consuming in your morning cup of joe, not to mention all the other snacks and food options saturated with sugar that you might consume throughout the day! It’s a good rule of thumb to follow these guidelines for your daily sugar intake, which not only will help your overall health but your oral health as well.

Another way to help maintain the balance of your oral microbiota is to brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. Also, commit to seeing your Rancho Bernardo dentist, Dr. Cook, twice a year for dental cleanings and checkups. These cleanings are the only way to remove plaque from your teeth. Plaque naturally forms on everyone’s teeth as a result of the oral bacteria and foods and beverages that we consume. No matter how good of a brusher you are, you still need those regular cleanings to remove tartar buildup!

Dental Checkups in Poway

If you aren’t taking good care of your oral health, and you are a senior, you could be at an increased risk of developing respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia. Don’t take the chance, commit to a regimen of oral hygiene, and contact Smiles by Dr. Cook today for an appointment, or call us at (858) 384-4009 or. We welcome patients of Poway and Rancho Bernardo, California.

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