Linking Dental Health and Medicine Together

Last week the Lawrence Dental Studio team attended the annual American Academy of Oral Systemic Health Scientific Session in Nashville, TN. Founded in 2010, the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH) is an organization of healthcare leaders and health professionals dedicated to expanding awareness of the relationship between oral health and whole-body health. The annual Scientific Session is one of the most recent advances in integrative dental medicine. One of the continued topics at AAOSH this year was the impact of periodontitis as a risk factor for other diseases that affect the whole body.

Dentistry and Medicine

AAOSH aims at educating people on how important dental health is, and how problems with dental health are reflected in different areas of the body. For example, gum disease is linked with blood vessel disease, heart attacks, strokes, many forms of cancer, and even Alzheimer’s Disease. It is not common knowledge that oral hygiene can have dramatic impacts on health as a whole, making it a necessary, if not vital, routine to get into. Dental care is often overlooked because consideration is placed on caring for other parts of the body, which is still important, but without consideration for oral care, people are disregarding a health aspect that has enormous consequences on the rest of the body. 

Alzheimer’s and P. gingivalis

Porphyromonas gingivalis is a known bacteria resulting in periodontal disease, and it has been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease, as outlined by AAOSH. While the article is pretty technical, the summarized version is that individuals who have chronic periodontal disease for 10 years or more are at greater risk for the development of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Periodontal disease is preventable and modifiable, but it is important for it to be widely identified and known as a risk factor, or the risk will continue to affect individuals.

Periodontitis is a highly prevalent oral disease in humans and affects nearly half of the global population. Risk factors for periodontitis include smoking, consuming alcohol, and poor oral hygiene — and the condition can worsen over time. As the infection gets increasingly worse, it can begin to affect the function of the brain, “potentially causing depressive illness as implicated in the development of dementia.” The development of dementia, the most common form being Alzheimer’s Disease, can be 22-65% worse in those who do not brush their teeth daily and do not modify their daily behaviors and seek professional intervention.

What is Periodontal Disease and How Do I Know if I Have It?

Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection of the gum and bone structures around the teeth. It often degrades these structures slowly and without pain. During a periodontal examination (which we perform at every dental hygiene visit) we look for signs of disease by measuring the crevice between the teeth and gums, utilizing x-rays for evidence of bone loss around the teeth when needed and by visually looking for signs of swelling, bleeding or infection. Our goal is to provide excellent oral health care, and if we detect a gum infection, we cannot and will not ignore it. The risk to your overall health is too great to let it go untreated. More information regarding our periodontal treatments, visit our website or contact us to set up an appointment with an oral health specialist today. You can call us at 785-749-2943, or fill out a contact form.