Watch highlights of symposium
With innovative research surrounding oral care and connected health, the dental industry is presented with a new opportunity to increase impact on patient wellbeing. Philips Oral Health recently hosted oral-systemic health symposium, featuring research from distinguished scientists, academicians, and practitioners in the medical and dental fields, to discuss how periodontal diseases impact key health issues such as pregnancy, cardiac health, COPD, and diabetes. Below are highlights from the cardiac and pregnancy portions of the program.
Effects on Cardiac Health: Dr. Souvik Sen, MD, MPH, is the chair of the neurology department at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. He shared that there is a strong link between periodontal diseases and stroke. Biofilm present in the mouth of patients suffering from periodontal diseases trigger inflammatory proteins that ultimately result in arterial wall damage.
When combined with other factors such as hypertension and obesity, this leads to atherosclerosis and increased plaque instability, posing increasing risk for myocardial infarctions and stroke. In Dr. Sen’s research on the link between periodontal diseases and recurrent vascular events, it was determined that after the first heart attack, individuals with more serious cases of periodontal disease were at higher risk of experiencing another vascular challenge.
Given the link between periodontal diseases and new or recurrent ischemic stroke and attack, developing effective oral hygiene routines and providing patients with effective tools are key to improving their health.
Effects on Pregnancy: Periodontal diseases pose threats for expectant mothers. Dr. Steven Offenbacher, DDS PhD, M.Msc, is the chair for the department of periodontology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the director for the Center of Oral and Systemic Diseases. His research has found that, if an expectant mother has periodontal disease, bacteria from her teeth and gums can travel through her body via the bloodstream.
For most mothers, antibodies within their body can protect baby from these organisms. However, for those whose antibodies cannot fight the organisms, harmful bacteria can enter the placenta, causing complications.
To manage periodontal diseases during pregnancy, dental professionals should base treatment plans on monitoring patient oral health, promoting daily care and providing continued evaluation for those with more severe periodontitis. Ultimately, as with care for patients suffering from cardiovascular problems, it is essential to arm expectant mothers with clinically-proven tools, such as those by Philips Sonicare, to help mitigate risk.