How to reduce pneumonia risk by 86%

Similar to your gut, your mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria. Some of that bacteria are good and some are bad. The bad guys include disease-causing doozies like Staphylococcus, Streptococcus and E. coli.

The longer you let the bad bacteria brew, the more likely they are to travel to other places in your body — especially your lungs…

In a 2016 study, researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University found that regular dental visits can reduce your risk of developing the dangerous respiratory infection, pneumonia, by an astounding 86 percent.

These researchers examined the health and dental records of 26,000 people and concluded that those who never visit the dentist for check-ups are 86 percent more likely to develop pneumonia than people who visit the dentist twice a year.

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Of course, if you’ve only missed one or two dental visits, your pneumonia risk isn’t quite that sky-high. But you’re heading down a dangerous road…

A 2014 study confirmed the perils of putting off your dental visits too. In this study, Brazilian researchers found that people in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) who received extensive dental care from a dentist were 56 percent less likely to develop a respiratory infection while in the hospital than those who just received run-of-the-mill dental care.

Related: 4 supplements that fight aging and gum disease

Clearly, there’s a connection between bad bacteria in your mouth and bad bacteria in your lungs… which makes perfect sense. If there are more bad bacteria lurking around anywhere in your body, there’s a greater risk of it going rogue and causing serious health problems.

And it’s not only your lungs that are affected. Bad mouth bacteria can make their way to your heart, blood and other organs too. It’s even been tied to an increased risk of cancer.

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Get yourself to a dentist…

When life gets busy, it’s easy to let healthy practices fall to the wayside… including your biannual trip to the dentist.

But don’t put twice-yearly dental visits off too long. Because, if you do, it could set the stage for a serious infection. And if next year’s flu season is anything like this year, you need to do everything you can to make sure you’re protected. About a third of all pneumonia cases start as a respiratory illness, most often the flu.

If you’ve missed more than a few dental check-ups, make an appointment right away. You can even visit a holistic dentist if you prefer natural, mercury-free dental care.

Of course, it’s also critical to practice good oral hygiene in-between dentist visits. That includes obvious habits like brushing your teeth daily, as well as less obvious habits like eating a healthy diet, taking supplements for oral health and practicing the ancient art of oil pulling.

  1. “Regular dental visits may help prevent pneumonia, study shows.” ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  2. “Proper dental care linked to reduced risk of respiratory infections in ICU patients.” ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  3. T. Bellissimo-Rodrigues, et al. “Effectiveness of a Dental Care Intervention in the Prevention of Lower Respiratory Tract Nosocomial Infections among Intensive Care Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, 2014; 35 (11): 1342.
Margaret Cantwell

By Margaret Cantwell

Margaret Cantwell began her paleo diet in 2010 in an effort to lose weight. Since then, the diet has been instrumental in helping her overcome a number of other health problems. Thanks to the benefits she has enjoyed from her paleo diet and lifestyle, she dedicates her time as Editor of Easy Health Digest™, researching and writing about a broad range of health and wellness topics, including diet, exercise, nutrition and supplementation, so that readers can also be empowered to experience their best health possible.