Today, the oral cavity is no longer separated from the body in discussions of health. The evidence is clear that oral health is an essential part of general health, and that both should be addressed in an integrated continuum of care. Studies continue to be conducted on the relationship between the oral cavity and the body as a whole, pushing the provision of oral health and medical services to evolve with the emerging data. As more information is revealed, clinicians will have additional opportunities to provide patient-centered care and to improve health outcomes.
Clinicians and patients can review the American Academy of Periodontology and the American Dental Association statements regarding oral and overall health to improve their understanding of this important relationship.1,2 Philips is committed to sharing the most contemporary and advanced research with dental and medical professionals to support their efforts to improve patients’ oral and overall health.
In October of last year, Philips hosted the first of two 1-day symposia titled “Oral Health and the Connected Body” in Anaheim, California. It is from these presentations that the content of this continuing education series is derived. The second symposium will be held October 2, 2015, with the location to be announced soon.
In the following continuing education article, Frank A. Scannapieco, DMD, PhD, discusses the relationship between oral bacteria and the risk of lung infection. He shares his insight on how microbes from the oral cavity can be aspirated into the lower airways—due to the oral cavity being adjacent to the trachea and lower airways—possibly causing lung infections.3 This provides an opportunity for oral health professionals to discuss the need for biofilm control, both in the dental setting and in self-care regimens, not only to improve oral health but also to reduce the risk of lung infection, especially among vulnerable populations.
Philips is dedicated to developing products and systems to help patients improve their self-care regimens, and, ultimately, achieve and maintain oral health. The company is pleased to partner with dental professionals who aspire to improve the oral and overall health of their patients. We hope you find this continuing education article and the remainder of the series supportive of your quest to provide the highest level of patient care.
- American Academy of Periodontology. Periodontal Disease and Systemic Health. Available at: perio.org/consumer/other-diseases. Accessed March 19, 2015.
- American Dental Association. Oral-Systemic Health. Available at: ada.org/en/member-center/ oral-health-topics/oral-systemic-health. Accessed March 19, 2015.
- Wade WG. The oral microbiome in health and disease. Pharmacol Res. 2013;69:137–143.
From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. April 2015;13(4):56.