Magazine article USA TODAY

Periodontal Care May Deter Lung Disease

Magazine article USA TODAY

Periodontal Care May Deter Lung Disease

Article excerpt

Periodontal disease may increase a person's risk for the respiratory disorder chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the sixth leading cause of mortality in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Periodontology. A study led by researcher Frank A. Scannapieco noted a correlation between the amount of periodontal disease and lung capacity.

The researchers analyzed the periodontal and respiratory health of 13,792 patients. Those with periodontal disease, defined by mean periodontal attachment loss of greater than three millimeters (approximately an eighth of an inch), were found to have nearly a one-and-a-half-times greater risk of COPD. A distinct trend also was noted in that lung function seemed to diminish with increased periodontal attachment loss. This suggests that periodontal disease activity may promote the progression of COPD.

"Identification of potential risk factors that contribute to the development of chronic bronchitis or emphysema--respiratory diseases that comprise COPD--may suggest interventions that could prevent or delay the onset of the disease, or slow its progression," explains Scannapieco. "Based on these and previous research findings, it is conceivable that improved oral health may prevent the progression of COPD. …

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