Oral-Systemic Associations

In 2006, a series of articles in a JADA supplement addressed the association of periodontal disease to:

 

The body of research has grown since the 2006 Journal articles were published and while the links between oral and systemic health have become more clear, it remains difficult to ascribe causality. However, despite the absence of clear evidence of causality and the direct impact of treatments, the consequences of these chronic conditions for the population are well understood. Dentists, family physicians, and all primary care providers must increase their collaboration and communication to maximize the benefit to patients.

Besides the aforementioned oral systemic associations, dental hygienists must also be on the lookout for other conditions that have an impact on oral health, such as:

  • Crohn’s disease which is a contributing factor for mucogingivitis, cobblestoning of the lining inside the cheek, lip swelling with or without fissuring, and indurated taglike lesions are common oral pathologies that present with Crohn’s disease and may be an indication of a bigger problem.

  • GERD/acid reflux which causes enamel erosion.

  • Stress, anxiety, or depression-related disorders are linked to frequent canker sores, noticeable xerostomia, and ongoing, unresolved gingival inflammation. 

  • Anemia which may manifest itself in the mouth as pale mucosal tissue or glossitis of the tongue.

  • Alzheimer’s, dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or chronic fatigue syndrome which may be characterized as loss of energy, memory loss, signs of forgetfulness during conversation, confusion and difficulty planning or solving problems or doing familiar tasks. 

The practice of interdisciplinary care is evolving. Dentistry and dental hygiene are vital to the process of providing real-time triage assessments to aid the patient with referrals to their primary care physician to help  them with overall health.

 

Following are some Resources to help the dental hygienist understand more about Oral Systemic Associations:

The national public health challenge to improve access to oral health and decreasing health disparities to improving both oral health and overall health outcomes requires building interprofessional workforce capacity among nondental providers. This article outlines the educational and clinical innovation for transitioning the traditional head, ears, eyes, nose, and throat (HEENT) examination to the addition of the teeth, gums, mucosa, tongue, and palate examination (HEENOT) for assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of oral–systemic health.

Recent evidence suggests a link between periodontitis (PD) and hypertension, but the nature of this association remains unclear. The overall aim of this review was to critically appraise the evidence linking these two common disorders. Systematic search was conducted for studies published up to December 2018. 

​Results of the study concluded periodontitis could be associated with increased risk of hypertension in a linear fashion. Further, management of periodontitis could impact on the management of hypertension. Our findings highlight the potential to improve CV outcomes by addressing poor oral health in the general population. Longer and larger studies are needed however to determine whether periodontal treatment benefit patients in terms of CV health, ultimately resulting in reduced morbidity and mortality. ​


Georgia Dental Hygienists’ Association

A Constituent of the American Dental Hygienists' Association Representing Dental Hygienists throughout the State of Georgia.

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