Periodontal disease causes pockets in the gums. These pockets then become a reservoir for the toxic bacteria from periodontal disease. However, these bacteria do not stay put in the oral cavity. They spread throughout the mouth and can travel to the lungs where they can cause disease.

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease of the tissues that support the teeth. A specific group of bacteria causes it. The disease results in progressive damage in the gums, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone that support the teeth. As the disease progresses, it causes the formation of periodontal pockets or gingival recession. In many instances of the disease, it causes both.

Periodontal pockets are the spaces that form between teeth, which allow food to be caught there. Gingival recession is caused by loss of gum tissue. It manifests itself as receding gums, which exposes the roots of the affected teeth.

Bacteria in the mouth from periodontal disease become airborne in fine droplets, which then are inhaled into the lower respiratory tract. These inhaled bacteria can create an infection in the lungs, which can cause new respiratory diseases as well as worsen existing ones.

Many of the infectious respiratory diseases that periodontal bacteria can cause are quite serious.

Among the most common of such illnesses are bronchitis and pneumonia. Although it is slightly less common, researchers also found a link between periodontal disease and chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) as well as emphysema. In fact, researchers think that inhaling the periodontal bacteria causes frequent bouts of infection in patients who have COPD. In addition, researchers say bronchitis, pneumonia and emphysema caused by periodontal disease is more of a problem in the elderly, particularly those who are in nursing homes or hospitalized.

These are expensive respiratory diseases to treat. However, the most common reservoir of the bad bacteria caused by periodontal disease is not expensive to treat. Researchers think the primary reservoir of the bacteria that causes respiratory disease is the dental plaque that forms and sticks to the teeth.

Nevertheless, dental plaque is easily removed by regular visits to have your teeth cleaned. Moreover, people who form plaque easily often need to schedule more frequent cleanings.

Inflammatory periodontal disease is one of the most common infectious diseases in the world. Health officials say that moderate periodontal disease affects at least 10 percent of all adults in the United States.



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