Over recent weeks there has been some debate surrounding the amount of times people should visit their dentist. Last month chief dental officer, Sara Hurley, expressed concern over some dental practices putting pressure on people to attend check-ups twice a year. Her view was that once a year is adequate for people with good dental health.
However, researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University, analysed US national data on 26,000 people and found that 1.68% of those had the various bacteria responsible for pneumonia present in their mouths. This then led to findings that people who had never visited a dentist increased their risk of developing the infection by 86%, in comparison to people who had bi annual check-ups. Quoted in the Daily Mail, head researcher, Dr Michelle Doll, explained, “There is a well-documented connection between oral health and pneumonia, and dental visits are important in maintaining good oral health.”
Pneumonia causes inflammation of the lung tissue and symptoms can range from breathing issues, coughing, increased heart rate and chest pain, which can often result in a hospital stay. In some extreme cases, it can also cause disorientation and the coughing up of blood. The study shows that good dental health can reduce the number of bacteria present in the mouth, and in turn can lower the risk of the infection developing.