mouth body connection - respiratory infectionsSince much of the air you breathe passes through your mouth, it isn’t much of a stretch to assume that your oral health and respiratory health are connected in some way. Still, the extent of that relationship (as part of the more overreaching mouth/body connection) isn’t exactly common knowledge. The truth is, research indicates that maintaining a disease-free mouth can have a significant impact on your risks for certain respiratory illnesses, in addition to the many other benefits of a clean, healthy smile.

What is the Mouth/Body Connection?

The mouth/body connection describes the intricate relationship between the state of your oral health and its risks to your systemic wellbeing. The relationship spans a number of different areas, including your respiratory health, but the source of it usually involves the microbes that inhabit your mouth. There are over 600 identifiable kinds of oral bacteria, each with unique qualities, and in some cases, poor oral health can allow the bacteria to spread to other areas of your body. For instance, gum disease bacteria incite inflammation in your body’s tissues (like your gums). If allowed into your bloodstream, their presence can increase your risk factors of other chronic inflammatory diseases, like heart disease.

The Connection Between Oral and Respiratory Health

In the case of your respiratory system, infections and illness commonly develop when bacteria are inhaled into the lower respiratory tract. Though the bacteria are not always the same as those found in your oral cavity, research as shown that excessive oral bacteria can increase the chances of pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other respiratory conditions. To help ensure effective control over the growth of oral bacteria, be sure to brush and floss your teeth at least twice every day, and attend a dental examination as often as recommended.


Located in Brighton, Mass., Brighton Family Dental Group features experienced dentists and an excellent range of in-office treatments for every member of your family who needs dental care. If you’d like to learn more, you can schedule an appointment or consultation with Dr. Thomas Villani or Dr. Richard Kondrat by calling our office at (617) 562-5210.