Complete health dentistry involves caring for a patient’s overall health by making the connection between oral health and total body health. Complete health dentists use clues from a patient’s mouth to find signs of other illnesses they may have or be at risk of having. We strive to form partnerships between dental and medical professionals to work toward the common goal of improving a patient’s overall health and wellness.
What does this involve? One step is moving from reactive care to preventive care. Ways we do this in our office include Salvary Diagnostics (Oral DNA Saliva Tests), Oral Probiotics, and Oxygen Therapy. As these assessments are being performed, our team notes any risk factors for oral and systemic diseases the patient presents with and thoroughly explains the correlations to them.
We can then organize a profile that includes oral and systemic risk factor findings and discuss how their chronic gingivitis (reversible) or chronic periodontal disease (irreversible) may place them at risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, poor glycemic control, Alzheimer’s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory complications, certain cancers, pre-term delivery and even adverse pregnancy outcomes.
How Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health
Many people think that standard cleanings and regular dental visits at Lepore Comprehensive Dentistry are just doing what most of us were taught as kids: preventing cavities or getting your gums healthier. However, there is recent groundbreaking research and additional information indicating that many other physical health problems can occur due to poor oral health. Some of these are DIRECTLY affected by the bacteria associated with an unhealthy mouth.
Some of these conditions affected include:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Sleep Apnea
- High Blood Pressure
- Colorectal Cancer
- Lung Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Kidney Disease
Your Mouth’s Relationship with the Rest of your Body
Hey everybody, its Dr. Lepore back again with another frequently asked question video. This one is really, really personal for me. It is the entire mantra that our practice was built upon and the question is ‘how is your mouth actually connected to the rest of your body?’ Is this just some kind of holistic belief or do we actually have some literature nowadays that supports this? When I graduated several years ago I practiced one way and then in 2016 everything changed. There were several papers that came out and one in particular—it was written by a doctor named Bradley Bail. He wrote the book, ‘Beat the heart attack gene’, I highly recommend that you read it—that essentially shows the bacteria in your mouth is the same bacteria that cause your gums to bleed that causes you to lose bone and eventually your teeth if left unchecked actually causes heart attack and stroke. I am going to let that sit for a second – causes heart attack and stroke. It is a pretty strong statement, and before that we thought there might be a link but now that there is a causal element our practice had to change. So now moving forward what you will notice in our practice is conversations that you are not used to having for instance my father just had almost an event. What is almost an event? This is a guy who has no medical history like high blood pressure, a history of heart attack and stroke. He prides himself on being as healthy as an ox or as he says strong like a bull and this is a guy who was running one day and got calf pain. he tightened up and thought nothing of it and a couple of days later they go and do an x-ray and they go and find that he has blood clots in his lung and he is this close to potentially having a heart attack that might end his life – shook me up pretty hard. So, when we take things like blood pressure in our office it is not just a reading that we write in our chart, we might be discovering something that is much more important than me doing a filling. But of course, what we are trying to say is that if I actually came in for my cleanings and I did what I was supposed to at home and that it actually may make me less risky to have these events? The answer is one hundred percent yes. I have worked with physicians that they could not get the diagnosis for diabetes for their patients under control. This patient had not been to a dentist for several years, had periodontal disease that was untreated. We treated it in our office and measured the same levels of sugar and A1C and sure enough, they dropped. This does not happen every time but it happens more often than you might think so in our practice we do things a little different.
We use something called salivary testing or salivary diagnostics that takes 30 seconds—a little swiping of spit and we send it to a laboratory where we can find out if you have those bacteria that we mentioned earlier that make you at risk for a higher attack or stroke. That same swab of spit can find if you have genetic factors that might predispose you to some high inflammation something like Alzheimer’s or arthritis, the risk for heart attack or stroke. We also go through a 20-step process when it comes to analyzing you for a sleep disorder or if you might be at risk—some people don’t even know they have been sleeping that way their entire life. We have the ability that through some simple questions we can find out if you might be at risk and help save your life that way and that is why our medical history is a little more thorough than others—we want to find out the real you, we want to find out the real risk factors. Treat those risk factors before you have any issues downstream that might have a bigger impact than a simple cavity. That is what separates us and we thank you for choosing us.
How Lepore Comprehensive Dentistry Monitors Overall Health
There are several steps that the team at Lepore Comprehensive Dentistry take to help you stay healthy. Your visits to our office will be more than just a hygiene cleaning. We go above and beyond to gather a complete picture of your overall health. By doing this, we can choose customized dental treatment plans that will not only leave you with a beautiful smile but more importantly, will help prevent other health issues from presenting themselves or worsening down the road.
Some ways we learn about your complete health include: