Preventing Systemic Diseases Through Dental Oral Health Education

The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease recently reported the findings of a scientific study which clearly stated that periodontal disease and poor dental health could be an early sign of Alzheimer's.

The researchers examined the brains of 10 deceased Alzheimer's victims, and found that the brains of the dementia patients were found to show signs of the bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis, which may have triggered an immune response that lead to the condition. This process could trigger the symptoms commonly seen in Alzheimer patients such as memory loss and confusion.

As Dentists, and health care providers, it is our duty to treat our patients with their overall systemic health in mind, and not just their mouths. We all know about the primary risk elements for periodontal disease, including smoking, diabetes, nutrition, dry mouth, poor oral hygiene, stress, heredity, and more.

What we see in the mouth has a direct relationship to the rest of the human body, and it is our responsibility to educate that patient as to the benefits of preventive care. Periodontal disease can certainly be a nasty condition to treat, so why not do everything in our power to prevent it from the beginning. But the responsibility is not all ours. We can talk about home hygiene until we are blue in the face, but the ultimate test rests with the patient themselves.

By the time most patients reach the door, they have already forgotten about the valuable recommendations that we give them. They revert to their old habits if we don't educate them well, and convince the patient that if they don't decide to change their ways, serious consequences to their overall health Will result.

The patient needs to be held accountable for their own well being, and we can help them with very simple follow-ups as soon as the next day, the next week, and even months end. A simple call or text to let them know that we are there to support them can be very effective.

The problem in the past is that both the Dental and Medical professions have operated on a model that addresses disease after it has manifested. By becoming more aware of the preventive aspect of care, diseases can be managed prior to their development. In this case your dental examinations, with implementation of a strict periodontal program, can make the difference between enjoyment of the "Golden Years", or being oblivious to them altogether.

Come and join us again to learn more about updates in Digital Dentistry, and also find other ways to make your practice much more efficient.