19 September 2008

The medical and dental communities are taking steps towards accurately documenting the connection between medical conditions, diseases and oral health.

Did you know that vascular diseases and cancer have both been linked to oral health? It Seems like the oral cavity is often the mirror of the body. Preventing oral disease often seems to prevent diseases in other organs or systems. Many diseases appear first in the mouth and are thus found while patients are in the dental chair.

Dentition & Diet
Maintaining a perfect dentition allows you to maintain a healthy diet. For example, people with no teeth have to change their diet to accommodate for their handicap. Finding it difficult to eat fruits or raw vegetables, they instead opt for softer foods that are high in saturated fats.

Further, recent studies have determined a connection between untreated dental infections and death.There are many children who die from dental infections or conditions relating to dental infections. Yet, many cases were not documented as such due the lack of knowledge about the oral-systemic connection.

The Oral-Systemic Correlation
An oral-systemic connection describes a link between diseases and conditions of the mouth, and medical conditions of the body. Certain medical conditions of the body have early oral manifestations. Regular dental visits are integral to maintaining a healthy oral environment and to controlling oral infections from the body that can cause tooth caries and periodontal disease.

Medical conditions, viruses and diseases that have an oral-systemic connection :
  1. AIDS : Intra-oral hairy leukoplakia (white patches on tongue and inner check) and Kaposi Sarcoma are indicators for AIDS.
  2. Autoimmune Conditions : Pemphigus and lichen planus (auto-immune diseases) have oral manifestations.
  3. Diabetes : People with diabetes who happen to have periodontal disease may suffer excessive bone loss of the jaw or surrounding bone structure and have difficulties in healing.
  4. Fanconi Anemia : Fanconi anemia is a rare genetic syndrome characterized by short stature, myelosuppression (diminished bone marrow activity) and the development of oral cancer in young adults. The genetic disorder has been linked with an increased tendency towards periodontal disease and other dental abnormalities.
  5. Heart Disease : Evidence is mounting as to the role that oral microbes and host response might play in the causation of heart disease and stroke. Authorities have concluded that poor oral health caused by chronic dental infections may increase the risk forcardiovascular disease and stroke.
  6. Human Papilloma Virus : Human papilloma virus has been linked to oropharyngeal cancer as documented in a recent study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine.
  7. Stroke : The evidence is mounting as to the role that oral microbes and host response might play in the causation of heart disease and stroke. Recent studies have linked periodontal disease with strokes.

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