2021 How the Oral-Systemic Link is Changing Lives and Practices
what is the oral-systemic link?
The mouth is the gateway to the body. Plain and simple, many chronic conditions and illnesses first show symptoms in the mouth. The oral-systemic link focuses on detecting, preventing, and treating conditions and illnesses including heart disease, sleep disorders, diabetes, periodontal disease, and more. This can be done by educating dentists and physicians and encouraging them to collaborate to cure.
Dr. Ellie Campbell, DO, and Dr. Doug Thompson, DDS, bring you a collaborative interview proving the importance of medical dental collaboration in their practices. This in-depth message raises questions as to why the oral-systemic link is not being utilized by medical professionals everywhere and brings you science showing the power of collaboration and how it can cure your patients from all ages.
At AAOSH, it is our mission to connect dentists and physicians while providing them with the tools to understand the importance of the oral-systemic link. With this comes the power to cure and prevent patients from falling down paths we see patients unknowingly succumb to everyday in healthcare. Instead of constantly treating these chronic illnesses, we have learned how to manage them individually for each patient. You can learn more about AAOSH here.
"Inflammation is the root of all medical evil and often the root is the roots of the teeth. If we don't have a partnership where we identify that, we will never be able to get the patient optimally well."
-Dr. Ellie Campbell, DO
why does THE oral-systemic LINK matter and WHY SHOULD MEDICAL AND DENTAL COMMUNICATE?
Dentists and physicians can create health for patients. The science is there and the science is clear. We don't need more research, we need more collaboration! It is estimated that up to 60%, possibly 80%, of adults have some form of chronic inflammatory illness. It is clear that a healthy mouth is VITAL for a healthy body.
From CDC - NHANES 2009/2010 study (Periodontitis Among Adults Aged ≥30 Years — United States, 2009–2010, 2021):
50% of Americans > age 30 have periodontal disease
70% of Americans > age 65 have periodontal disease
..most of them don't even know! Even worse, it is estimated that only 5% of them will get treated.
Up to 57 systemic conditions have already been studied and hypothesized to be linked with periodontal diseases. When we see patients with increased risk we should be looking hard for other associative diseases that need a physician's care.
Dr. Thompson on collaboration, "A physician cannot manage a disease comprehensively and a dentist cannot manage periodontal disease comprehensively without stable blood sugar and other things as well. This is where the collaborative bidirectional relationship [between dentists and physicians] comes in."
disease and oral health
In their video interview, Dr. Ellie Campbell, DO, goes over a case study of a patient showing no reported evidence of radiographic bone loss except asymptomatic dark spots where her wisdom teeth had been. On paper, the patient checked every box as no risk for cardiovascular diseases.
However, during a routine workup, her LPPLA2 was elevated, saying she has rumbling white blood cells of inflammation. While studying this, Dr. Campbell learns that the bioenergetic chart, the lifeforce of the heart, runs electrically through the wisdom teeth. After searching for a biological dentist with a CT Scan machine, they found she had deep cavitations in her wisdom teeth. The doctor scraped the bones and over time, her levels came down.
current challenges in dental medical collaboratiON
Before AAOSH, physician Dr. Ellie Campbell never had a "Dental History" box on her patients health screening. What should you look for in your patients dental history?
- routine dental exams
- swollen, puffy, bleeding gums
- bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- missing teeth and why
- tooth recession or tooth lengthening
- shifting, flaring, or loose teeth
- bad breath
- black spots or holes
What do dentists need to be aware of when collaborating with physicians?
- clarify why the patient is being referred
- be clear about what you want the physician to look for
- summary of current disease status
- don't send an unmotivated patient to a physician
Dr. Ellie Campbell and Dr. Doug Thompson discuss in depth the current issue of practitioner alignment. Not every dentist handles disease the same way and not all physicians handles disease the same way. Collaborative medicine requires a list of physicians and dentists that align with your patient, patient's needs, geographic location, and your practice.
Understanding red flags of systemic disease is only the beginning to preventing and treating oral and whole body health. Learning and understanding this new "language" will take time for you and your team. Providing a support system for your team to understand the role they play in their patient's wellness will take time, training, and patience and is vital as you move your practice to providing a higher level of care. Dentists can make huge contributions to the health of their patients and should not be underestimated or underutilized.
Physicians should of the time and patience it can take to collaborate with dentists working to advance their medical language and medical issues education and vice versa. Without physicians being open to a concept of subclinical disease diagnosis and treatment, it is not possible for dentists to fully prevent or treat chronic disease.
As a last note to dentists, find functional medicine trained physicians and physicians on concierge care who have the time to spend with patients and have training in root cause resolution and early subclinical disease management.
AAOSH and our members work to educate and implement the oral-systemic link into the practices of dentists and physicians all over the world. Oral-systemic practices will bring profitability to your office along with patients that value, respect, and admire knowledgeable practitioners who will refer the patients and employees you need to continue building a quality and health driven practice. When dentists and physicians work together, everybody wins.