Respiratory disease occurs when fine droplets are inhaled from the mouth and throat into the lungs. These droplets contain germs that can spread and multiply within the lungs to impair breathing. Recent research shows that bacteria found in the mouth and throat can be drawn into the lower respiratory tract and cause infection or worsen existing lung conditions.
Bacteria that grow in the oral cavity and travels into the lungs can cause respiratory problems such as pneumonia. This occurs mostly in patients with periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can have a role in the contraction of bronchitis and emphysema. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a respiratory condition characterized by blockage of the airways, and caused mostly by smoking, may worsen if the patient also has periodontal disease.
One of the reasons for the connection between respiratory problem and periodontal disease is low immunity. Patients who experience respiratory problems generally have low immunity, meaning bacteria can easily grow above and below the gum lines without being confronted by the body’s immune system. Once periodontal disease is contracted in this way, it will only progress and worsen respiratory issues.
Inflammation of the oral tissue has also been linked to respiratory problems. Oral bacteria causing the irritation can travel to the lungs, and contribute to the inflammation of the lung lining. This creates respiratory problems because it limits the amount of air that can be passed freely through the lungs.