To schedule an interview with El Solh or Genco, contact Sara Saldi in the Office of University Communications at 716-645-4593 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good oral hygiene may help prevent pneumonia and heart disease, according to two UB researchers. A study done by UB professor of medicine, Ali A. El Solh, MD, indicates that periodontal microbes are a possible reservoir for recurrent lower respiratory tract infections in nursing home residents.
And research done by UB Distinguished Professor and Vice Provost Robert J. Genco, DDS, shows a strong association between periodontal microbes and non-fatal heart attacks.
El Solh’s research, published in the academic journal Lung, shows that the control of gingivitis and dental plaques has been effective in reducing the rate of pneumonia, but the provision of dental care for those in nursing homes is inadequate.
“Pneumonia remains the leading cause of death attributable to infection in patients aged 65 and older and accounts for 13 to 48 percent of infections in the nursing home setting with mortality rates as high as 55 percent,” he says.
Development of an individualized oral health care plan for elderly in long-term care facilities will enable early identification and prevention of known risk factor for pneumonia, he says. “It is equally important that oral hygiene is maintained throughout the stay of the resident,” he adds. “Further studies are needed to determine the optimal method and frequency of treatment.”
Genco’s study was published in Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology. A pioneer in research showing the effect of oral bacterial on health, Genco is co-editor "Periodontal Disease and Overall Health: A Clinician's Guide," a new textbook that features 18 chapters of information regarding the relationship between oral and systemic diseases.
“There is strong evidence for an association of periodontal disease and heart disease,” he explains. “Recent studies show that by reducing periodontal disease, many of the factors associated with increased heart disease are reduced.
“So it is reasonable to recommend daily oral hygiene as a measure not only to prevent tooth loss, but also it may reduce risk for heart disease.”
View El Solh’s and Genco’s studies: