General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, and American Family Physician, the American Academy of Family Physicians’ clinical review journal, have teamed up to publish a special issue of General Dentistry. The November/December 2017 issue features a special section that examines the oral systemic health connection and provides evidence that an interdisciplinary approach to patient care can lead to early detection of various health issues.
In his guest editorial, Jay Siwek, MD, editor-in-chief of American Family Physician, highlights interdisciplinary approaches to treatment and encourages his dental colleagues to “expand their care of patients beyond oral health.”
The following articles are included in the special section:
Nutrition for oral health and oral manifestations of poor nutrition and unhealthy habits
Nutritional deficiencies affect both dental and general health. Matthew Pflipsen, MD, and Yevgeniy Zenchenko, MD, emphasize that proper nutrition is essential to maintaining a healthy oral cavity. The lack of a healthy diet or the absence of adequate supplements can cause the oral cavity to become compromised, allowing harmful bacteria to thrive and trigger the onset of oral diseases.
The effects of oral health on systemic health
Shawn F. Kane, MD, FAAFP, FACSM, reports that “more than 100 systemic diseases and upward of 500 medications have oral manifestations.” When oral health issues go undetected, they may contribute to the development or worsening of systemic health conditions. Dr. Kane’s article examines the cause-and-effect relationships and associations of both oral manifestations and systemic diseases.
Oral manifestations of systemic disease
This article, by Heidi L. Gaddey, MD, examines general health conditions — including autoimmune, hematologic, endocrine, and neoplastic processes — that contribute to the development of oral health issues. The article highlights several other health concerns and identifies their oral manifestations.
Overall, the collection of articles calls for both dentists and physicians to take an integrated approach to the detection and treatment of oral diseases and systemic health issues. Increasing evidence of the relationships between oral health and overall health suggests that it is imperative for dentists and primary care physicians to work together to coordinate care that ensures patients are receiving both the oral and medical care they need. Dentists are becoming more efficient at identifying potential health concerns beyond the oral threshold and making the appropriate recommendations and referrals for follow-up care. In the same regard, primary care physicians are becoming more acquainted with the extended systemic effects of oral health disorders.
This collaboration between General Dentistry and American Family Physician exemplifies an ideal type of dialogue and coordination of care between general dentists and primary care physicians.
About the Academy of General Dentistry
The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is a professional association of more than 40,000 general dentists, dedicated to providing quality dental care and oral health education to the public. Founded in 1952, AGD is the second largest dental association in the United States and serves the needs and represents the interests of general dentists. For more information about the AGD, visit, agd.org.