Background: Recent research indicated that periodontal infection may worsen systemic diseases, including pulmonary disease. Respiratory infections, such as pneumonia and the exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, involve the aspiration of bacteria from the oropharynx into the lower respiratory tract.
Methods: A group of 100 cases (hospitalized patients with respiratory disease) and a group of 100 age-, sex-, and race-matched outpatient controls (systemically healthy patients from the outpatient clinic, Department of Periodontics, Government Dental College and Hospital, Calicut, Kerala, India) were selected for the study. Standardized measures of oral health that were performed and compared included the gingival index (GI), plaque index (PI), and simplified oral hygiene index (OHI). Data regarding probing depths and clinical attachment levels (CALs) were recorded at four sites per tooth and compared statistically. The χ(2) and Student t tests were used for statistical analyses.
Results: The comparison of study-population demographics on the basis of age, sex, education, and income showed no significant differences between groups. Patients with respiratory disease had significantly greater poor periodontal health (OHI and PI), gingival inflammation (GI), deeper pockets, and CALs compared to controls. In the case group, patients with a low income were 4.4 times more prone to periodontal disease compared to high-income patients. Smokers had significantly higher CALs compared to non-smokers in the control group.
Conclusion: The findings of the present analysis support an association between respiratory and periodontal disease.