The Oral-Systemic Health Link has become an area of considerable interest, as a result of recent and ongoing research in that area. Oral health, and in particular, periodontal disease, has been shown to have a direct impact on diseases throughout the body. The inflammation and oral bacteria associated with periodontal disease has been associated with 6 out of the 7 leading causes of death in the United States: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, and Alzheimer’s. So, preventing and treating periodontal disease has a positive impact on the management of these other conditions and diseases, which in turn yields fewer hospitalizations, better medical outcomes, and health care savings.
The Center for Disease Control studies have estimated the following:
Those are staggering statistics.
The WPFD Wellness Plans
As part of our focus on patient wellness, we are developing programs related to patient education about the Oral-System Health Link. We also have developed the WPFD Wellness Plans, in which patients enroll as members, and are “incentivized” to have regular dental hygiene done, in order to prevent or minimize periodontal disease. We test blood pressure on each of our patients at every visit, and in addition, we will soon be adding diabetes screening of our patients, since often it is the case that patients see their dentists more often than their medical doctors.