When I say that the dental profession has a role in keeping patients healthy, I don’t just mean dentally healthy, I refer to overall health and well-being. The fact that we are all more aware that a clean mouth means that we are protecting ourselves against diseases such as heart conditions, is thanks to periodontists â€“ gum specialists. They have played an important part in advancing our understanding of the link between gum and heart health.
Leading the way is the periodontist Professor Iain Chapple who this month was interviewed in the second of a 2 part BBC series called The Truth about Teeth. You can read about the impact he had on one of the presenters of the programme in this interesting article here.
There is more on Professor Chapple’s work in an edition of the British Dental Health Foundation’s publication Word of Mouth .
Professor Chapple believes that all dentists can educate patients to understand the links between oral health and physical health. A fellow periodontist of Professor Chappleâ€™s and a colleague of mine in Harley Street, Dr Leticia Casanova, created an information campaign in time for Diabetes week this June. She created a website, www.diabetesdentalcare.co.uk and a YouTube video. I think the work she has done in alerting our patients to the connection between gum disease and diabetes is inspired.
Monitoring and managing dental health
I am reminded of the work of dental consultant Sheila Scott, who has written a book for the profession called Putting Health at the Heart of Your Practice. She highlights in her book how important it is for certain categories of patients to have their dental health assessed, monitored and managed.
Needless to say, the emphasis I place on good hygiene for all patients who have braces at the London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic is not just about teeth which look and feel good. It’s about keeping my patients healthy while they are in treatment here and hopefully into the future too. If you are a patient and you are not seeing a hygienist, I would encourage you to make an appointment to see our resident hygienist, Sarah Urquhart. And if you have friends or family who have diabetes or who might be at risk of it, encourage them to view Leticia’s YouTube video.