Good oral hygiene may ward off pneumonia

Lisa Wurth

January 3, 2012

Good oral hygiene may ward off pneumoniaMany seniors prefer to age in place independently, as it ensures that they are still able to hold on to some of their freedoms. Although may do so successfully, one area that may be overlooked by them or their family members is oral health. Most will brush at least twice a day, but may refrain from flossing. However, a new study finds that poor oral health could lead to pneumonia, an especially serious condition among the elderly.

Researchers from Yale University School of Medicine and the British Dental Health Foundation looked to find out if there is a correlation between the bacteria found in the mouth and throat and infections in the chest, such as pneumonia. The research showed that there is a relationship between the two, and although more testing needs to be done to find out how serious the bond is, researchers say the information is clear enough to prompt people to start taking extra good care of their mouths.

This means brushing at least twice a day, flossing each day and making appointments for routine check ups with a dentist.

Since pneumonia is so dangerous among seniors, taking care of oral hygiene is crucial. Most mouth activities are done in the bathroom, a place full of potential fall risks. To make sure a senior is able to brush safely, relatives may want to install a medical alert system into a loved one’s home. This way, a parent can take care of their health, without worrying about a fall.

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