We’ll try to be mindful of the semantic gap here between cause and effect when we start talking about things like oral systemic dentistry and oral health relating to overall health.
It seems simple for us non-doctor types to make the connection; we can all probably see how the state of our dental health has a direct impact on our overall health. If our teeth and gums look, feel, and are unhealthy – we can pretty much assume the inflammation, infection, and any other oral malady affecting our teeth and gums will eventually trickle down around and throughout other parts of our bodies.
Makes sense, now tell me how we’re going to work together on fixing it doc!
It’s when we get into the direct gum disease psoriasis – or heart disease, stroke, pregnancy, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis – cause and effect relationship with oral disease like periodontitis or gum disease that we run into conflict. Especially how that ‘causal relationship’ is defined by public health organizations, special interest groups, corporations, lawmakers, non-profits, or just plain ol’ you and me.
When this conflict arises, sometimes the necessary dental health and overall health information so important to both patients and dentists alike can be sketchy, skewed, crafted, segmented, parsed, pilfered, or even plundered.
And maybe even sometimes in certainly only the most remote of circumstances, there is a rush to pick sides and draw unrelated conclusions without accurate discussion of the facts; the endless cycle of which violates the very principles of science and only serves to waste everyone’s time – except those behind the meaningless debate.
We all allow this misdirected dental health argument to persist.
The end result is a misinformed disinterested inactive dental patient public, which is bad for dentists and bad for patients.
Instead of talking about what is right with dental health research, oral systemic studies, public access TV shows, DSO business models, and addressing public oral health inadequacies, the focus seems to just go back and forth on what each side considers what is wrong.
Through a misinterpretation of important health info presented from this problem-oriented perspective, we actually participate – however unwittingly – in the advancement of this type of terminally downward pointing dental health knowledge spiral.
Kind of like how we do with voting and politicians – an over-generalization and weak correlation I know…just couldn’t resist.
How can we as dental patients combat this over indulgence of negative information?
Enter our trusty neighborhood super dentists!
We can skip all the blown up conjured and cajoled dental health vs. overall health mumbo jumbo and go right to the source. Or better yet, make the digital dental connection and have the source directly disseminate the downloadable dental health skinny right to us so it’s accessible on demand!
Disseminating the Oral Systemic Dental Health & Overall Health Dialog
You hear the one about dental x-rays causing brain tumors?
In order for us as patients to hack through this dental partisan chaff, we need to educate ourselves on the impact, correlations, causes, and effects our oral health has on our overall health.
We are all walking talking scientific experiments, complete with downloadable real-time responsiveness.
If we are better served doing our dental ditty at a DSO, or attending a free community dental clinic, or even reserving a whitening appointment months in advance for the newest state of the art Buck Rogers oral systemic omnisphere dental spa, that is our choice.
The point is we’re going to the dentist on the regular and we’re more informed as patients so this ultimately keeps us healthier and makes cents by saving us money.
No matter which way we go with the dental health argument, it’s still up to us to make that dental health decision for ourselves and our families.
We need to talk to our dentists, ask questions, read their newsletters, participate in social media surveys, respond to emails, and most importantly – keep dental appointments!
If our dentists are doing the right thing in communicating the necessary dental and overall health information, we need to take responsibility for ourselves and join the digital dental health conversation.
If your dentist is still stuck in the kick pedal drill carrier pigeon appointment reminder days, you are SOL – find another dentist, and don’t complain about costs or access.
How much does it cost you each month to have the internet at your fingertips so you can check Facebook thirty-one times a day – both at home and on the go?
The connections between gum disease and psoriasis could mean a deeper understanding of how periodontitis risk factors affect our physiological system, and ultimately another milestone in the fight for optimal oral health.
With continued research, we could also come to find that any causal link between periodontitis and psoriasis is strictly reserved to one infinitesimal sector of an even smaller sample group on which the studies were conducted.
Or as is the case with this most recent gum disease psoriasis research, we learn that a serious risk factor was left out of the equation – cigarette smoking.
Either way we take the data, the important point to remember is that the scientific medical & dental communities are looking at the problems and identifying solutions.
We can all hope there will be more to come; this is the progression toward optimal oral health and overall wellness.
No matter what the dental pundits pontificate, publish, promulgate, or presuppose….Do you think oral health is directly connected to overall health?