Chicago based Dental Coach Stephanie Lodding joined with more than 400 health care professionals at the third annual American Academy for Oral Systemic Health Science Meeting, recently held in Las Vegas. Conference presenters spoke about the strong connection between mouth health and general health. These include links between oral health and heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Alzheimer's disease: Are you at risk?
Stephanie noted nearly 80 percent of the American population has gingivitis or gum disease, and 20 million people have sleep apnea. “It is time for something new. We have been telling the same story for years and too many people still have these problems. They are at an increased risk for serious diseases and increased healthcare costs. It’s simply time to change the conversation. We have new information and new ways to test for and treat these conditions.”
Stephanie added that bleeding gums create an open doorway for harmful bacteria to enter the bloodstream and activate the immune system. “The ultimate goal is to have a healthy mouth and close this pathway. More people are becoming aware of this mouth-body connection and are asking for more complete dental care. Many physicians are insisting on it. We’re all working hard to lower risk factors and people want help doing better,” says Stephanie. “This is all a part of the new trend in dentistry and medicine where physicians and dentists are starting to work closer together to lower healthcare costs; to help manage diabetes; avoid heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s; prevent problems during pregnancy; and better control inflammation; among other things.”
This year’s conference featured 27 presentations focused on the mouth-body health connection:
- Amy Doneen MSN ARNP, a national authority on heart disease, stroke, and diabetes prevention in Spokane Wash., and one of the featured speakers at the conference stated, “poor oral health and germs from the mouth are associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and rheumatoid arthritis.”
- Dr. James Winde, a sleep physician showed that sleep apnea produces changes in body chemistry that promote inflammation. Winde states that behavior problems in children can also be closely tied to sleep apnea and snoring in children. “Dentists play an important role in developing the jaws and open airways and providing dental appliances when CPAP therapy is not successful,” says Winde.
- Dr. Judith Miklossy, a leading Alzheimer’s researcher showed oral bacteria can directly cause Alzheimer’s disease. This is a new and exciting area of research and suggests that proper treatment to eradicate these bacteria could prevent Alzheimer’s dementia in the future.
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