Riverside Dental Arts recently joined an organization called the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, or AAOSH (aaosh.org/). We felt it was important to be connected with this membership of like-minded dental professionals for several reasons, but mainly because of our commitment to our patients’ whole health wellness that, as you’ll see, begins with excellent oral health.
Years ago, the connection between the mouth and the rest of the body was not something many people knew about. Today, hoards of research has brought to light the link between our oral health and its impact on our overall health. As more is known, more people are becoming aware of the connection.
For example, I find it remarkable that periodontal disease can trigger the onset of arthritis, and vice versa. As a matter of fact, the tissues in arthritic joints have an almost identical makeup to that of the oral bacterium of periodontal disease. (www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/comorbidities/gum-disease/ra-and-gum-disease.php)
Similarly, people with diabetes can actually improve their blood sugar levels by maintaining healthy gums. (www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease-and-diabetes.htm)
However, as research more closely hones in on the intricate connection – the cause & effect – of oral bacteria and how it relates to other functions of the body, we saw the need to follow the findings more closely through AAOSH.
What is “oral systemic health?”
According to AAOSH, oral systemic health is the connection between oral health and overall health. Countless studies have demonstrated a link between poor oral health and systemic disease such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, and even pregnancy complications.
Other conditions include oral cancer, oral airway and sleep apnea, TMJ (which can cause headaches & migraines), dental decay (cavities), and bio-compatibility of dental filling materials (in genetically susceptible individuals).
By staying on top of the latest relating to this intriguing spectrum of oral health, we feel we can help our patients stay healthier, overall, through helping them to be better involved in their day-to-day living. Knowing the ‘Why’ of an issue provides a deeper appreciation of the ‘What,’ we believe.
So, what can you do? First, reconsider your relationship with your regular dental checkups. Because of our commitment, we incorporate an extensive level of periodontal wellness into each 6-month dental exam and cleaning. These appointments are structured to give you a ‘clean slate’ of sorts twice a year so you can more-effectively maintain good oral health between visits.
Additionally, we’ll make recommendations to help you be proactive when it comes to keeping healthy teeth and gums. We will make specific recommendations for ways to help you be thorough in brushing, flossing, preventing ‘dry mouth,’ reducing plaque buildup, and keeping oral bacteria levels in check.
If we note signs of early periodontal disease, we’ll also make treatment recommendations to help resolve the problem while treatment needs (and costs) can be minimal. Because gum disease begins silently (like most diseases that form in our bodies), some patients are surprised to learn their gums are infected. For this reason, it is beneficial to be aware of the signs and symptoms of gum disease so you can respond promptly should they emerge.
These include gums that may become tender or swollen in certain areas. The gums may ‘ache’ like there is a toothache in the area. You may notice blood in the sink when brushing your teeth. The gums may also pull away from some teeth or appear deeper in color versus the healthy pink they should be. Your breath may seem bad more often as well.
While these problems may indicate gum disease, some can be easily ignored, unfortunately. This merely enables the disease to progress further. For example, some people assume that seeing blood in the sink when brushing means they are doing a good job. Healthy gums do not bleed easily and unless you’re scrubbing too vigorously or using an abrasive substance (such as baking powder), bleeding gums are anything but normal.
Another reason that Riverside Dental Arts is pleased to be affiliated with AAOSH is its commitment to truth. While certain media, online sources, biased research findings, and some professional organizations can cast doubts or alarm when it comes to communicating to the general public, the AAOSH takes a stance that is unbiased and thorough in its assessment so it can relay the true picture to its membership.
We will keep you informed of developments as they occur through our web site as well as during your visits to our office. In the meantime, you may find this video both easy-to-watch and informative. We felt it gives a brief, uncomplicated explanation of how your mouth relates to your general health. (www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=1IDXhLr0ULU)
Just know that our commitment to your well-being, head-to-toe and from the inside out, is important to Dr. Rich, Dr. Black and each member on the Riverside team!