Periodontal Disease and Respiratory Disease

Periodontal disease (also called periodontitis and gum disease) has been linked to respiratory disease through recent research studies.  Researchers have concluded that periodontal disease can worsen conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and may actually play a causal role in the contraction of pneumonia, bronchitis, and emphysema.

Periodontal disease – is a progressive condition which generally begins with a bacterial infection.  The bacteria found in plaque begin to colonize in gingival tissue, causing an inflammatory response in which the body destroys both gum and bone tissue.  The sufferer may notice the teeth “lengthening” as the gums recede while the disease progresses.  If left untreated, erosion of the bone tissue brings about a less stable base for the teeth, meaning loose, shifting or complete tooth loss.

There are a number of different respiratory diseases linked to periodontal disease.  Pneumonia, COPD, and bronchitis are among the most common.  Generally, bacterial respiratory infections occur due to the inhalation of fine droplets from the mouth into the lungs. COPD is a leading cause of death and should be taken very seriously.

Reasons for the Connection – The fact that respiratory disease and periodontal disease are linked may seem far-fetched, but there is plenty of evidence to support it. Here are some of the reasons for the link between periodontal disease and respiratory disease:

  • Bacterial spread– The specific type of oral bacterium that causes periodontal disease can easily be drawn into the lower respiratory tract.  Once the bacteria colonize in the lungs, it can cause pneumonia and exacerbate serious conditions such as COPD.
  • Low immunity– It has been well-documented that most people who experience chronic or persistent respiratory problems suffer from low immunity.  This low immunity allows oral bacteria to embed itself above and below the gum line without being challenged by the body’s immune system.  Not only does this accelerate the progression of periodontal disease, but it also puts the sufferer at an increased risk of developing emphysema, pneumonia, and COPD.

Modifiable factors – Smoking is thought to be the leading cause of COPD and other chronic respiratory conditions.  Tobacco use also damages the gingiva and compromises the good health of the oral cavity in its entirety.  Tobacco use slows the healing process, causes gum pockets to grow deeper and also accelerates.

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  • Silke SancaktarSilke Sancaktar

    I needed an implant on one of my rear molars, and Dr. Thousand and his team did the implant work at the Aurora office. I had to do the procedure with minimal sedation due to the fact that I had to drive myself back to work after the procedure. Despite this, there was minimal pain and discomfort, and everyone did an incredible job. He's very good about telling you what he's doing and is very detail-oriented. He is never dismissive and always takes time to answer questions.

    After everything healed up I went to my regular dentist to have the crown installed. After the crown placement I had a terrible headache and toothache for a week before my regular dentist would see me again to adjust the crown. However, even after she made some adjustments I was still in pain the next day.

    I didn’t know what else to do so I reached back out to Dr. Thousand for help even though he wasn’t responsible for the crown. Knowing that I was in acute pain they were able to get me in the same day at the Littleton office. Turns out there were some major defects on the crown that my dentist had overlooked that contributed to the acute pain, and would have likely resulted in infection down the road. Dr. Thousand spent almost an hour working with me and modifying the crown for temporary use so that I could have it placed back over the implant while a new crown is made.

    He didn’t need to do this since this wasn’t a mistake attributable to his office, but he and his team went above and beyond, and didn’t even charge me for the work. I had been in so much pain I could barely focus, and so this help meant so much to me because I could now function again. This was at the end of their day so I’m sure it meant a later day for everyone, but I can’t thank you all enough for giving me that relief. We’ll certainly be coming here for future dental issues, and referring Dr. Thousand and his team to friends.

  • Nina JasonNina Jason

    We have been going to Periodontal Associates for 27+ years. We see Dr. Heller and he is great. I have had bone replacement surgery and continue to see the practice for check ups every six months. Great caring group of staff, and hygienists as well. Wouldn't go anywhere else.

  • Daniel J KlaimanDaniel J Klaiman

    Dr. Eric Beckman and the entire staff of Periodontal Associates provide excellent and compassionate care for all of your Periodontal and Implant needs. I highly recommend them.

  • Floyd VissatFloyd Vissat

    Had 2 molars extracted within 2 years. No discomfort during and after the procedure. Healing went well.
    Friendly staff

  • Zachary SpeerZachary Speer

    I had a great experience for my periodontal surgery and recovery wasn’t as bad as I thought. The team at periodontal associates were very caring and answered any questions during my recovery process.

  • Bridget B.Bridget B.

    Wow, from the moment I walked in I felt welcome. Super nice people and caring. I am a chicken and do not like dentist anything. Doctor Heller explained...

  • Melissa H.Melissa H.

    Let's be honest here - there is nothing fun about having gum surgery. However, the staff and Dr. Heller were as good as it gets with regard to my treatment....

  • Sara KluhsmanSara Kluhsman

    Dr. Thousand is pure genius! He fixed a failing implant & placed a new 1 as well. I will never go anywhere else. That man preforms miracles!

  • Karen Pelling LevineKaren Pelling Levine

    Dr. Doug Heller is one of three of the doctors that make up the driving force in my efforts to save my teeth and my overall health. What started out as one broken tooth led to the possibility of my losing all of my teeth to gum disease. Panicked, I reached for a second opinion and found Dr. Heller, along with my regular Dentist & Orthodontist. I am now the proud owner of only 5 implants, as opposed to full upper and lower implants OR full dentures. Though dental procedures are hardly fun, Dr. Heller and his staff have made it a smooth process, from financial to face-changing....I couldn't be happier. 😁 You be the judge. My profile pic, there on the left, is a fine example of their handiwork.
    Double Bonus: Doorbell just rang. Beautiful plant has just arrived to cheer me in my recovery....Thank you, Dr. Heller and your wonderful Staff!

  • Jerome GilmerJerome Gilmer

    I was sent to Dr. Beckman on a referral from my dentist because of a slightly loose tooth. Dr. Beckman evaluated the situation and recommended a gum graft and bite adjustment. It is now six weeks since the procedure, and while the recovery was not painless, it was pretty much exactly as he said it would be. Upon evaluation earlier this week it was clear that the procedure was successful.

    Dr. Beckman and the staff were very nice, supportive and professional and I would highly recommend this practice to anyone needing this kind of help.

  • Tori Horton HamillTori Horton Hamill

    Dr Beckman performed a gum graft. I was nervous, but he explained everything clearly and thoroughly. The staff were very accommodating when I had to reschedule and they keep the schedule flowing on time so I was not sitting and waiting beyond the appointment time. The only downside was having to ask multiple times about the cost and what my calculated out of pocket would be. Would definitely recommend.

  • Ashley AndersonAshley Anderson

    5 stars! Dr. Beckman and the entire office staff provide superior customer service and care. I recently had a gum graft performed and from the very first meeting I felt at ease. Dr. Beckman took his time explaining the procedure and patiently answered any questions I had. On the day of the procedure they go the extra mile to make sure you are comfortable- they use top of the line medical treatment for an effective procedure and speedy recovery. The team was very supportive and available through the entire process and even calls to check on you post procedure. I highly recommend Dr. Beckman and his team!

  • Doris BinderDoris Binder

    I needed to get some implants and Dr. Heller was recommended. Thankfully, he was absolutely wonderful. I wasn't sure what to expect, but he explained everything that needed be done and the procedure began. Now it's not an over night process, but the weeks after each step was a piece of cake. I am so happy with my implants. I had to have a tooth pulled a few weeks ago, and I don't know how he does it, but I had zero pain, no complications and I needed no pain Meds. The staff is so friendly and I highly recommend them.

  • Kenneth McCallKenneth McCall
  • Jan BernsteinJan Bernstein

    Dr. Beckman and the staff couldn't have been nicer or more professional. I highly recommend the practice to anyone in need of a periodontist.

  • Chelsy LaForceChelsy LaForce

    Dr. Heller and the rest of the team is absolutely amazing. They are super helpful through the entire process and I knew I was in great hands. Thank you so much!

  • Terry Lavitt SeiverTerry Lavitt Seiver
  • Aprille Tripler MooreAprille Tripler Moore

    Dr. Beckman and the entire staff at Periodontal Associates are amazing! Dr. Beckman performed a gum graft procedure on me and to my surprise and relief I felt no pain. Not during the procedure or post op. The entire experience from consult through my last follow up appointment was topnotch.

  • Terry SandahlTerry Sandahl

    I have been a patient of first Dr. Versman and then Dr. Heller for over 20 years. This is an amazing periodontal group! I feel so comfortable having them take care of my needs~and there have been many! Dr. Heller is so easy going and I never feel like whatever he does will fail. They have a great support staff too! All their assistants are competent and friendly, and my hygienist Michelle is the best! Love these guys and wouldn't think of going anywhere else!

  • Holly DeLuise BodineHolly DeLuise Bodine

    I have some complicated dental issues but Dr. Heller and his team have handled them very well, and as painlessly as is possible. Dr. Heller explains things very thoroughly!

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