Interview with Michael Carter MD

Dr. McGlennen: Who/what introduced you to OralDNA® Labs’ services?

Michael Carter MD: I was introduced to OralDNA® Labs testing during an oral health summit about 3-4 years ago. As I listened to Dr. Bale and Dr. Doneen express how important testing for periodontal pathogens is, I became inspired to learn more about the oral microbiome and the oral connection with systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, arthritic conditions, and neurodegenerative processes.

Many people think bleeding gums with brushing and flossing is normal. A major direction of my patient care is education. Ask the bleeding questions and the answer cannot be dismissed. I prioritize these bleeding patients for testing. Once the results are viewed, the connection is made. Pathogens can hide in many places in the mouth and most people don’t have symptoms or pain – yet. The “critters” are multiplying, however, and wreaking havoc on systems beyond the mouth.

Dr. McGlennen: What is your favorite part of the MyPerioPath® results? Why?

Michael Carter MD: MyPerioPath® results very clearly elucidate the seriousness of my patient’s oral health. The report is impressive as to how it links systemic diseases with the various individual pathogens. We all have bacteria in our mouths, both beneficial and pathogenic. The colored bar graphs depicting my patient’s pathogen biome is a very clear representation of the severity of their risk. This is particularly important with the more aggressive pathogens found on the report. It makes it easy to communicate to patients visually.

Dr. McGlennen: How do your patients respond to this technology? What is their #1 question?

Michael Carter MD: Most patients have never heard of testing, but they love it. Maybe their dentist has expressed concerns, but the report shows the individual pathogens and makes the concerns more tangible. The whole-body diagram shows how the various pathogens contribute to diseases outside of the oral cavity and almost always intrigues my patients. The connection to cardiovascular, autoimmune, arthritis, eye diseases like glaucoma, or brain disease really lays it out perfectly for the patient to understand and see a connection between oral health and their existing health issues.

The question that is #1 with my patients is, “Now that I have the results, what can I do to address the pathogens detected?” In general, I will refer the individuals to a holistic dentist and suggest a cone beam CT scan and assess their history of root canals or cavitation and we will co-manage this patient going forward. Patients are receptive to this; they understand, and they seek a qualified professional in the dental arena.

Dr. McGlennen: If a new OralDNA® provider were to ask you for advice, what would be your best tip?

Michael Carter MD: This is a test that everyone should be doing – even in the traditional realm. I would highly recommend health care providers of all ilk consider this testing because there is such a clear cause and effect between oral pathogens and overall health. MyPerioPath® is a game-changer test in the constellation of chronic disease testing. Keep in mind, the founder of the Mayo Clinic, Charles Mayo, publicized the connection between oral and whole-body health over 100 years ago.

Dr. McGlennen: Where do you see salivary diagnostics in 3-5 years? 10 years? What would be the impact on your practice/patients?

Michael Carter MD: The future of salivary diagnostics is now. Telemedicine has grown in use over the past year and a half. Our practice knows telemedicine is only going to increase in popularity. This testing needs to be in every practice and can be done by patients at home through their health care provider. We have been using the OralDNA® Labs At Home Collection feature seamlessly. (View video below for At Home Collection details.)

As more practitioners and patients find out about the value of the testing and quality of the report, this will become more ubiquitous. It is clearly an evidence-based science. And, with OralDNA® tests, the data on the pathogens and the literature on these pathogens show a strong connection beyond just mitral valve prolapse and heart disease. We particularly see a connection between oral pathogens and glaucoma in our patient cohorts. This is not well recognized by most practitioners but is a real and important connection to the cause of many diseases.

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Michael Carter MD
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