While pneumonia can be caused by more than two dozen organisms, pneumonia in the elderly is usually caused by bacteria or viruses. The streptococcus (or pneumococcal) pneumonia bacteria are responsible for an estimated 40,000 deaths every year, according to the CDC. The good news is that, aside from being vaccinated against pneumonia, regular dental checkups can help prevent pneumonia in older adults. According to a study involving 26,246 individuals, 441 of whom had bacterial pneumonia, getting twice-yearly dental cleanings reduced the risk of getting pneumonia by 86%. The fact is that the oral cavity serves as a reservoir for bacteria that can be aspirated into the lungs and cause pneumonia. Regular dental cleanings and home brushing/flossing reduce potentially harmful bacteria.
At West Brookfield Dental, we firmly believe that education and preventive care are key to optimal dental health as well as overall health. That’s why we are focused on a healthy smile as well as a healthy body for all our patients. To achieve these goals, we conduct thorough exams, review medical histories, and provide instruction on proper brushing and flossing techniques. If you are as concerned as we are about healthy teeth and gums, call our office today for an appointment for comprehensive dental care. Located at 9 West Main St., West Brookfield, you can reach us at 508.867.2777.
P.S. There is accumulating evidence that oral bacteria are linked to systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, preterm birth, diabetes, and pneumonia.