Good oral health means more than just having a nice smile. In fact, the health of your teeth and gums can reveal a lot about the health of your entire body. Research has found that poor oral health contributes to health concerns like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, decreased immunity, and pneumonia. In addition, factors such as age, gender, family history, and tobacco use can also affect the connection between oral and overall health and increase the chance for health-related problems. The strong link between the health of your mouth and the health of your body gives you even more reason to take the best possible care of your teeth and gums. The importance of daily practice of good oral care—and regular monitoring of that dental care—is being recognized more than ever before.
For Dr. Curatola, dentistry was a calling since childhood, but unlike most dentists, he really wanted to be “a physician of the mouth.” So, after graduating from dental school in 1983, he enrolled in the country's first master's program in holistic health.
“My desire and my focus have always been to look at the mouth as the gateway to total body wellness,” he says.
“Beyond that, I became very disturbed that I was a member of a professionits organized component, the American Dental Associationthat is still saying it's okay to put mercury in teeth.
In addition to that, all of the research that was emerging about fluoridation made it very clear that this wasn't the panacea for all dental problems. As a matter of fact, it's responsible for a lot of other problems that we're dealing with today.”
How Your Oral Health Impacts Your Systemic Health
Thousands of studies have linked oral disease …
Periodontal disease has been associated with a number of systemic conditions. Though the biological interactions between oral conditions such as periodontal disease and other medical conditions are still not fully understood, it is clear that major chronic diseases – namely cancer and heart disease – share common risk factors with oral disease. Recognition that oral health and general health are interlinked is essential for determining appropriate oral health care programmes and strategies at both individual and community care levels. That the mouth and body are integral to each other underscores the importance of the integration of oral health into holistic general health policies and of the adoption of a collaborative “Common Risk Factor Approach” for oral health promotion.
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