Avoid the Cold and Flu: Brush Your Teeth

We have officially entered cold and flu season, and most of us are taking extra precautions in order to maintain our health.  Washing hands regularly, not sneezing or coughing into your hands, avoiding touching your face, and even getting an annual flu shot are easy steps to steer clear of getting sick in the winter months.  But there is another small behavior that may also keep you from catching that nasty cold, flu, or even pneumonia bug, according to a recent study conducted at Yale University School of Medicine; brush your teeth.

PRNewswire recently published a story about the project that revealed a change in the bacteria found in the mouth just before the development of pneumonia in hospital patients.  Dr. Samit Joshi, who headed up the project, studied 37 patients over the span of a month and concluded that a person’s risk for developing pneumonia can be linked to changes in oral bacteria.  There have been other studies conducted that have linked oral health and respiratory diseases, but more research is required to understand the relationship more thoroughly.

Dr. Joshi highly recommends maintaining a good oral hygiene routine.  This includes brushing your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day, with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, minimizing your intake of sugary foods and drinks, and regularly visiting a dental professional, such as a cosmetic or sedation dentist.  It is believed that bacterial infections in the chest often originate from breathing droplets that form in the mouth and throat that then travel to the lungs, linking respiratory illnesses and oral health.  In fact, earlier studies have shown a positive correlation between pneumonia fatalities and gum problems.  No one likes getting sick, and this new research proves that there is one more simple step everyone can take to help prevent it.  Be sure to protect yourself from the cold and flu, and make oral hygiene a priority.

Written by Mark Paulsort

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