Is your home plagued with the flu virus? It seems to be everywhere. The young and the elderly are those most commonly affected by it; in fact there have been many reports of death associated with the 2018 flu virus. Here’s the scenario: You bring your sick loved one to the doctor, and the doctor orders laboratory test(s) typically, by a blood and urine sample. From those lab results, a determination is made if your loved one has a virus or bacterial infection. With this valuable information the health care professional knows if and/or what antibiotic to prescribe. The patient never thinks twice about this process, or how much it will cost. Their number one priority is getting out of the pain and discomfort they are experiencing. This test ordering process should be no different when it comes to periodontal disease!
The 2018 flu virus is all over the news, but for some reason we do not see any coverage about periodontal disease. Don’t you find it odd that periodontal disease, a chronic infection that affects 50-80% of the adult population over 30 years of age, gets little to no publicity? Periodontal disease is not a virus that takes over only in certain seasons; it affects people everyday throughout the year. It is a chronic inflammatory disease, with sometimes-fatal consequences, due to its systemic connections. The research regarding oral systemic connections only emphasizes why we need to start taking periodontal disease more seriously!
Our body pumps more than 2,000 gallons of blood a day. The epithelial lining in our blood vessels is equal to 70,000 miles or the size of 5 tennis courts; our bodies are quite the machines. A bacterial infection in the mouth can directly enter the blood stream through ulcerative tissue, making early detection of an oral infection so important. How do dental health care professionals customize patient care and how are they targeting the specific bacteria? Unfortunately, many may be utilizing products where the bacteria do not respond. This will ultimately waste the patient’s time and money, causing frustration along the way.
What is your protocol in your dental practice? The AAP states that “microbiologic, genetic, biochemical, or other diagnostic tests may also be useful, on an individual basis, for assessing the periodontal status of selected individuals or sites.” Testing would allow the identification of specific bacteria, and only then, can you know what antibiotic therapy is truly appropriate, if any. OralDNA Labs® allows us to obtain this detailed information with the simple collection of a saliva sample. In my opinion, performing MyPerioPath® on every adult patient makes so much sense, not only to customize treatment, but to allow for recare intervals based on personalized risk factors. Imagine if we all thought this way, and were able to stop periodontal disease before it happens. It is time for us all to think outside of the box and add this piece of the puzzle to our preventative and active therapy protocols.