The Relationship Between COPD And Healthy Gums

A recent study makes absolutely certain that there is a correlation between oral health and COPD, or chronic pulmonary obstructive disease. This disease or multiple related symptoms is sometimes also called chronic bronchitis. Basically it is just coughing and having your upper respiratory tract be obstructed all the time from something, not even necessarily just one thing it can be by different things each time. Smokers, asthmatics and people working in industry usually suffer from this condition. 

The Study

The study was conducted on 200 patients with at least 20 natural teeth still remaining, between the ages of 20 and 60, who were being treated for respiratory illnesses. The same amount of control subjects were used, and both groups were given extensive oral check ups, and their conditions were analyzed. It turned out that folks who had respiratory diseases had much worse periodontal health, meaning they had a higher incidence of gum infections, periodontitis, and a host of other diseases as well. 

There are many theories as to why this might be the case, but currently, there is not enough evidence one way or the other to definitively prove that unhealthy gums cause COPD or any other respiratory ailment. But the correlation does seem stable enough to start off on, and may serve as the grounds for new research. 


Of course, correlation does not equal to causation, but may be an interesting thing to start off on. The current theory is that the bacteria form the periodontal disease will eventually work themselves down into the respiratory tract and start to live there. This theory holds water but the study is not enough to prove this theory and to raise from the level of hypothesis in and of itself.

There are many other things that can play a part in this that is not being mentioned, for instance, smoking. Smoking causes periodontal disease as well as COPD, and if those patients all smoke, than the correlation does not exist. There can be some industrial pollutants as well as a host of other factors that need to be looked at, and more samples from the bacteria need to be found. But the correlation does definitely exist. And that is already saying something.