March 2014 Professional Oral Care Newsletter

San Diego Conference focuses on the Oral-Systemic Health Connection 

Inflammation a common link

Periodontal disease and heart disease share some of the same major risk factors namely smoking and diabetes.  While this has made it challenging for researchers to determine a causal link between the two diseases, it is well-established that these two conditions are associated with one another; occurring together more frequently than by simple chance.

The common link between periodontal disease and heart disease appears to be uncontrolled, chronic inflammation.  The same pro-inflammatory cytokines that are produced in periodontal disease have also been linked to cardiovascular disease. Importantly, periodontal inflammation has been shown to produce both a local and systemic cytokine response.

What does this mean for our patients?  Those with periodontal disease who have two or more risk factors for CVD should be referred to their physician.  Risk factors may include: smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, obesity, or family history.  In people with newly diagnosed periodontitis, a medical exam may be recommended if they patient has not had one recently.

Reference:

  1. Freire MO, Van Dyke TE. 2014. The mechanisms behind oral-systemic interactions. In M Glick (Ed). The Oral-Systemic Health Connection A Guide to Patient Care.  Chicago: Quintessence Publishing Co, Inc.

Resolving Inflammation

Important for Oral and Overall Health

Most of us are familiar with the term anti-inflammatory and can even name some fairly common anti-inflammatory agents like aspirin or ibuprofen.  Drugs such as these block inflammatory pathways to reduce inflammation. Today, with greater knowledge of the oral/systemic connection, it appears that resolving inflammation is a broader or more important tool in general health.  The outcome of resolving inflammation is the restoration of homeostasis.

We do not have the definitive evidence to tell our patients that treating their periodontal disease can improve their cardiovascular health. Yet we do know that when we successfully treat periodontitis, we have the best chance at resolving chronic oral inflammation, and this has been shown to also reduce systemic markers of inflammation. 

It appears more important than ever that we should strongly and confidently intervene early when periodontal disease is present.  There is no 'upside' to allowing periodontal inflammation to persist. Periodontal disease is debilitating and costly, and may ultimately lead to tooth loss.  Tooth loss can affect our ability to eat, talk, and smile. On the surface, these factors may not seem as compelling as a connection to CVD; however, they have the ability to impact our self-esteem and quality of life.  Isn't this too an oral-systemic connection?

Reference

  1. Freire MO, Van Dyke TE. 2014. The mechanisms behind oral-systemic interactions. In M Glick (Ed). The Oral-Systemic Health Connection A Guide to Patient Care.  Chicago: Quintessence Publishing Co, Inc.
Aquarius Professional Water Flosser

Resolve Inflammation with the Waterpik® Water Flosser

Superior results when compared to string floss; studies show that the Water Flosser is up to:

When it comes to good oral health and the reduction of inflammation, why take chances with your patients.  Most don't floss and the ones that do often exaggerate how much they do it.  The Waterpik® Water Flosser has been shown to be superior to both string and air floss in improving oral health.