Multiple Chronic Health Conditions Improve with Integrated Dental Medical Care
People with chronic medical conditions are at greater risk for death and lower quality of life. Managing care for patients with chronic conditions currently represents one of the greatest challenges to health care systems because the traditional model of medicine treats the body as individual systems and organs. A physician or medical specialist often overlooks the mouth when considering the disease origins and medical management of patients with diabetes, heart disease, and chronic lung disease.
Let’s step back for a moment to understand why integrated dental medicine is a better model of care.
Research studies have demonstrated that oral health deteriorates when people are chronically ill, have inflammation throughout their body, and are taking medications that disrupt the body’s ability to produce saliva. And it’s like the chicken and the egg, because once inflammation is chronic, it no longer matters which came first. Oral inflammation contributes to inflammation throughout all organs of the body, and inflammation throughout the body also contributes to inflammation in the mouth. The systems…the organs of our body are all connected, and our bloodstream circulates pathogens.
Now, one would think, “Let’s stop oral inflammation first, to prevent systemic diseases!” That’s all well and good but there are multiple factors contributing to systemic diseases. A healthy mouth doesn’t totally stop diseases from occurring. It does lower the risk significantly and will improve the body’s immune response to fight disease. A healthy mouth is one primary barrier to stop the onset of inflammatory disease.
An integrated approach combining dental care with medical care is needed throughout life. That’s why you should see a primary medical doctor and a dentist regularly. Ideally, they are both concerned about the total health history of their patients, including both oral health and systemic health. Ideally, they are communicating with each other and spending the time and attention needed to optimally eliminate inflammation and keep inflammation at bay.
“When someone has a chronic disease like diabetes, it doesn’t matter whether oral inflammation came first, or the disease came first. The body is now on fire,” says Dr. Isaac Comfortes at Total Health Dentistry in Encino, California. “I refer to and collaborate with physicians of my patients who suffer from heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other systemic diseases.
“It’s becoming clear that by reducing inflammation of the gums, we can stabilize glycemic control in Type 2 diabetics, slow the decline of lung capacity in COPD patients, and reduce the pain and stiffness experienced with rheumatoid arthritis. We know that people with gum disease are up to three times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, and recent studies confirm that treating gum disease can lead to significant improvements in many aspects of cardiovascular health.”
Many doctors and hospitals have instituted oral health assessments prior to treatment to make sure patients are receiving urgently needed oral care for gum inflammation. They know this will lower the risk of complications and improve outcomes.
“So, if a medical doctor recommends you see a dentist, there is good reason to do so,” says Dr. Isaac Comfortes. “Many of my Encino dental patients have come to me because they are concerned about their own chronic conditions or the health histories of their parents and grandparents, which put them at higher risk for systemic inflammatory diseases. Currently, I provide oral health care for many patients who are suffering from multiple chronic diseases at the same time, including chronic gum inflammation.”
If you have been diagnosed with one or more inflammatory diseases of the mouth and body, this is a special dental practice in Encino, CA that will pay close attention to your special needs and concerns. If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Isaac Comfortes to learn what is possible for you, we invite you to give us a call today.