What is Health Focused Dentistry?
Health focused Dentistry is recognising the link between your dental health and the health of your body. Research today is producing more and more evidence that our dental health is a reflection of the health inside our bodies. The link between gum disease for instance, and systemic health is becoming increasingly evident.
The gum disease and systemic health link.
It is postulated that some bacteria that cause poor dental health particularly gum disease, if allowed to proliferate in our mouth may be responsible for systemic conditions that develop elsewhere in the body. Cardiovascular disease, low birth weight, diabetes, and respiratory diseases have been shown to be associated with gum disease.
Oral bacteria aspirated by children have been shown to be associated with chronic coughs. When aspirated by the elderly it has been shown to be connected to pneumonia.
Some studies have even demonstrated that oral health is significantly connected to fatal heart attacks. (Janson et al. JClin Perio 2001;28:762-768.)
A recent study in the UK has found that addressing the oral health needs of diabetics immediately after diagnosis can lead to substantial savings in later medical treatment. The research analysed data from 15 000 adults diagnosed with type-2 diabetes and found that those who sought treatment immediately after diagnosis, created savings equivalent to $2930AUD, over the following two years. We know there is a significant link between oral health and systemic health, and it was very obvious when the study looked at oral treatment performed on diabetic patients. Gum disease is one of the most common links and uncontrolled it can potentially lead to tooth loss. As gum disease becomes more unstable, blood sugars increase leading to an increased risk of diabetic complications. So addressing your oral health needs as soon as possible is better for your long term systemic health. Cleaning the teeth can be simple or sometimes more complex and these days we have the technology to make it far more comfortable.
Our dental focus
At Leichhardt St Dental our focus is firstly to achieve dental health. Do your gums bleed? Do you have holes in your teeth? These are all caused by diseases that can and should be controlled in the interests of your overall systemic health. With health focused dentistry we look at what controls we can put in place to prevent these problems recurring.
In a healthy mouth function and aesthetics is achievable. Healthy gums always look better than inflamed bleeding gums. Teeth without holes always look better than teeth with holes. Once you have a healthy mouth, functional restorative cosmetic changes can be far easier to achieve and not as big a problem as you may think.