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Link Between Dental Health and Respiratory Health

  1. Introduction

    Dental and respiratory health are essential components of overall health and wellbeing. Dental health refers to the overall health of your teeth, gums, and mouth, while respiratory health pertains to the health of the lungs and the upper and lower airways. The relationship between dental health and respiratory health has gained significant attention in recent years, as research has shown that poor dental health can have adverse effects on respiratory health. This article will explore the link between dental health and respiratory health and discuss oral health habits that promote respiratory health.

  2. The Link Between Dental Health and Respiratory Health

    Oral bacteria can travel from the mouth to the respiratory system, and potentially cause respiratory infections such as pneumonia(1). Poor dental health, including periodontal disease, has been linked to an increased risk of respiratory problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma(2). Additionally, poor oral hygiene can also lead to the accumulation of oral bacteria that can worsen or exacerbate the existing respiratory or breathing problems(4).

    However, a sound dental health can have positive effects on respiratory health. Studies have shown that individuals with good dental hygiene practices have a lower risk of respiratory infections and complications from respiratory diseases. Maintaining good oral or dental health may also help reduce the severity of upper or lower respiratory infections.

  3. Oral Health Habits That Promote Respiratory Health

    There are many oral health habits that can help promote a good respiratory health(3). Brushing and flossing regularly can be helpful in reducing the amount of oral bacteria and prevent plaque accumulation, which can cause periodontal diseases. Regular use of mouthwash and nasal saline spray can also help reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth and nose, potentially reducing the risk of respiratory infections.

    Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can help prevent periodontal disease and identify any potential oral health problems. A healthy diet consisting of foods rich in vitamins and minerals can also promote a good dental and respiratory health.

  4. The Impact of Covid-19 on Dental and Respiratory Health

    COVID-19 has brought attention to the importance of practicing good oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene can help reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 and may help reduce the severity of symptoms for individuals who contract the virus. The pandemic has also had significant impacts on dental care, with many routine dental appointments and procedures delayed or canceled, potentially leading to an increase in oral health problems.

    Additionally, COVID-19 has highlighted the connection between respiratory health and overall health. Individuals with underlying respiratory problems, such as asthma or COPD, are at increased risk of developing severe symptoms if they contract COVID-19 (6).

  5. Conclusion

    In conclusion, maintaining good dental health is vital for promoting a good respiratory health. Poor dental hygiene can have an adverse effects on the respiratory health, while good dental hygiene practices can help reduce the risk of respiratory infections and complications from many common respiratory diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene practices and the connection between respiratory health and overall health. Future research in this area may help identify additional ways to promote good dental and respiratory health.


  1. Scannapieco FA, Genco RJ. Association of periodontal infections with atherosclerotic and pulmonary diseases. J Periodontal Res. 1999 Feb;34(2):340-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0765.1999.tb02247.x. PMID: 10357502.
  2. Sharma A, Ramesh A, Thomas B, Joshi SR. Periodontal pathogens and respiratory infections: a review. J Med Microbiol. 2011 Nov;60(Pt 11):1419-28. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.034157-0. Epub 2011 Aug 4. PMID: 21816908.
  3. Tan WC, Tan WS, Lim FS, Tan HK. The association between oral health and respiratory infections and diseases in older people: a systematic review. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2020 Nov;68(11):2623-2632. doi: 10.1111/jgs.16858. Epub 2020 Aug 31. PMID: 32864858.
  4. Azarpazhooh A, Leake JL. Systematic review of the association between respiratory diseases and oral health. J Periodontol. 2006 Nov;77(11):1465-82. doi: 10.1902/jop.2006.060010. PMID: 17076601.
  5. Abusleme L, Dupuy AK, Dutzan N, Silva N, Burleson JA, Strausbaugh LD, Gamonal J, Diaz PI. The subgingival microbiome in health and periodontitis and its relationship with community biomass and inflammation. ISME J. 2013 Nov;7(11):1016-25. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2012.174. Epub 2013 Feb 14. PMID: 23407650; PMCID: PMC3806269.
  6. Liu L, Wei Q, Alvarez X, Wang H, Du Y, Zhu H, Jiang H, Zhou J, Lam P, Zhang L, Lackner A, Qin C, Chen Z. Epithelial cells lining salivary gland ducts are early target cells of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection in the upper respiratory tracts of rhesus macaques. J Virol. 2011 Dec;85(23):4025-30. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02292-10. Epub 2011 Sep 14. PMID: 21917947; PMCID: PMC3209323.
  7. Iwata K, Doi A, Ohji G, Oka M, Kohno S. The influence of oral care on prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia. Intensive Care Med. 2010 Oct;36(10):1728-35. doi: 10.1007/s00134-010-2002-2. Epub 2010 Aug 11. PMID: 20700681.
  8. Little JW, Falace DA, Miller CS, Rhodus NL. Dental Management of the Medically Compromised Patient. 9th ed. St. Louis, Mo.: Elsevier/Mosby; 2020.
  9. Scannapieco FA. Role of oral bacteria in respiratory infection. J Periodontol. 1999 Sep;70(9):793-802. doi: 10.1902/jop.1999.70.9.793. PMID:
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 26, 2023

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