How many patients a day do you see with chronic disease or complicated medical histories? Sadly, obesity, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune and heart disease are all too common. What if there was a simple way to utilize the power of your hygiene department to not only improve the physical health of your patients but the financial health of your practice?
As dental professionals, we can help our patients detect, manage, and even avoid these and other health risks. We understand the relationship between oral and overall health. Recent published studies suggest that up to 50% of cardiovascular events may be triggered by oral infection1.
It is now well known that inflammation is the root cause of disease and that significant inflammation and oxidative stress trigger an inflammatory burden in the body that takes over and fuels disease. For example, inflammation caused by periodontal disease spreads readily through the circulatory system, attacking the body and causing chronic illness. So, what can we do?
- Do a thorough assessment
As a dental professional armed with this knowledge, you’re in the best position to identify inflammation and work with your patients to contain or eliminate it.
- Recognize the warning signs. Bleeding on probing is the first indication something is wrong.
- Learn more with bacterial testing. OralDNA® MyPerioPath® testing allows us to quickly and accurately identify the specific pathogens that may be responsible, as well as learn our patient’s predisposition to risk for periodontal disease and chronic systemic inflammation through the genetic components, MyPerioID® IL-6/IL-1 and Celsus One™
- Create a treatment plan. Customize a treatment plan that fits your patient’s unique needs and will effectively reduce or eliminate these periodontal bacteria thus reducing their risk of chronic disease.
- Learn even more with blood testing. Inflammation can be easily measured with advanced testing that reveals systemic inflammation and increased risk of disease. Some common tests are F2-Isoprostanes, Oxidized LDL, Microalbumin, hsCRP, Lp-PLA2, and MPO. Some tests can be done chairside with a simple finger prick test, and all can be obtained through a referral to the patient’s primary care provider (opening the door for wonderful collaboration).
- Look beyond your patient’s mouth. Know their medical history. Learn about their overall health. Discussing inflammation should be easy because more than ever, there is much at stake for patients with diabetes, heart or other diseases, or these risk factors: a large waist, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, LDL cholesterol, or triglycerides.
Patients, with three or more risk factors have metabolic syndrome, a condition that can lead to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. If your patient has periodontal disease, you may be the first to notice the warning signs and help them address an even bigger problem.
- Provide education and support
Once you know what your patient – and you – are dealing with, you’re ready to help. Educate them about treating their periodontal disease and talking to their doctor about needed blood tests. Also, encourage them to make small lifestyle adjustments to reduce inflammation. These may include healthy sleep patterns with no sleep apnea, stress management, exercise, strong social connections and freedom from nicotine and alcohol addiction. In addition, nutrition is the cornerstone of health playing a tremendous role in promoting or preventing inflammation.
- Encourage a healthy diet for oral and systemic health
Because 70% of our immune system resides in our gut, a healthy diet can reduce chronic systemic inflammation. Processed foods and fermented carbohydrates promote inflammation and cause salivary pH to drop, creating an environment for bacteria. A whole food, plant-based diet does the opposite.
Not only are fruits and vegetables anti-inflammatory, but they have unique antimicrobial properties that kill and prevent bacteria growth. Found only in fruits and vegetables, phytonutrients help clean up oxidative stress, reduce inflammation and ward off disease. But it’s hard for most to eat the recommended amount of 7-13 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables a day (up to 19 for athletes).
How can your patients get what they need? Juice Plus® may just bridge that gap. It is fruits and vegetables, picked at their peak, pulverized & dehydrated to a powder. Because they are never exposed to high temperatures during processing, their nutritional value stays intact. Your body absorbs the nutrients in the capsules or soft chews as if you were eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
Juice Plus® is an easy way to help ensure that your patients are getting enough fruits and vegetables, a key part of a balanced diet. More than 40 Gold Standard Clinical Research Studies published in leading medical journals confirm its positive effects on heart, lung, skin, oral and immune health, as well as obesity, oxidative stress, systemic inflammation, and even our DNA2.
Juice Plus® is safe for all, including pregnant and nursing mothers, children, and the elderly. In fact, the Juice Plus® company is so passionate about the power of fruits and vegetables, that children get theirs free.
- Be an advocate for better health
Patients trust you with their oral health, and their mouth is the main portal to their body. By shifting your focus, just a bit, to include their total health and well-being, you can help them identify health risks and make changes for their health. Helping patients focus on maintaining a healthy mouth, having good nutrition, and implementing positive lifestyle changes can put them on the road to overall health. It also puts you and your practice at the forefront of prevention.
These 4 steps will help you better serve your patients and elevate what you do on a daily basis to Total Health Dentistry.
- Pessi T, Karhunen V, Karjalainen PP, et al. Bacterial signatures in thrombosis aspirates of patients with myocardial infarction. Circulation. 2013;127(11):1219-1228. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.112.001254
Geralyn Beers RDH, BS, FAAOSH- As a Juice Plus® Partner, Dental Hygienist, and
Oral Health and Wellness Consultant, I would be pleased to offer you a
complimentary consultation to discuss what aspect of practice development
surrounding Total Health Dentistry I may be able to assist you with.
Contact: Geralyn@oral-systemic.com cell: 203-671-8948
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