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Oral Systemic Health is the Future of Healthcare

Updated: Jan 31

"The mouth is the gateway to the body. Plain and simple, many chronic conditions and illnesses first show symptoms in the mouth. The oral-systemic link focuses on detecting, preventing, and treating conditions and illnesses including heart disease, sleep disorders, diabetes, periodontal disease, and more. This can be done by educating dentists and physicians and encouraging them to collaborate to cure." -American Academy for Oral Systemic Health

The oral systemic movement is gaining momentum. The oral systemic approach reduces and eliminates oral inflammation, some of the most significant root causes of chronic disease, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes to name a few. Supplying diagnostics directly to healthcare professionals makes Direct Diagnostics an important first step in the oral systemic health care process for medical and dental professionals.


By providing oral systemic health care to your patients, you have the opportunity to grow your practice and deliver optimal results. How is this possible? The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body. What is happening in your mouth is a precursor for the condition of other systems in your body. Direct Diagnostics provides tests that can be used by both dental and medical practitioners to create an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan for each patient. Early detection, identification, and successful treatment of specific pathogens will lead to improved oral health AND the health of the whole body.


The current standard of care relies on a risk factor approach to determine your level of health. Its goal is to treat the sick and offer surgery and drugs as the solution. This type of health care is quite effective for lifesaving and emergent situations. But when it comes to preventative care, the oral systemic health care approach goes deeper, searching for–and finding!–the root causes of chronic inflammatory diseases. Rather than adopting the wait-and-see approach, oral systemic health starts with diagnostics. Advanced testing provides a solid starting point for creating an effective preventative care plan.


We align our methods with the principles and goals of The American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH) and The BaleDoneen Method. The BaleDoneen Method is a science-based methodology that is scientifically proven and accepted to both prevent and reverse heart attacks, strokes, and many other chronic conditions such as dementia, type 2 diabetes, erectile dysfunction, and kidney disease.

The American Academy for Oral Systemic Health is a non-profit organization of healthcare leaders and health professionals spreading awareness of the oral systemic health connection. We share AAOSH’s passion for the collaboration of medicine and dentistry that enables these two disciplines to achieve exponentially more together for the health of individuals. AAOSH is bridging the gap between medicine and dentistry through educating healthcare professionals on oral systemic protocols.


The power of oral systemic methods

Did you know? 50% of heart attacks and strokes are triggered by oral bacteria that live in your mouth! There are many high-risk oral bacteria that can elevate your risk of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, pregnancy complications, cancer, and more.

Advanced saliva testing can innovate your care. Educating your patients on how oral health is connected to the health of the whole body increases dedication from the patient to the treatment process. By implementing oral systemic care into your practice and learning to identify risk factors, you can better instruct your patients on how to improve their oral and systemic health.


Periodontal disease, which is caused by these pathogenic bacteria, is definitively linked to major health complications throughout the whole body, such as heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and adverse pregnancy outcomes.


Periodontal disease is linked to severe COVID-19-related complications.


Covid-19 patients with periodontal disease have:

  • 8.8 times higher chance of death

  • 3.54 times higher chance of ending up in the ICU

  • 4.57 times higher chance of ending up on a ventilator

Periodontal disease is associated with increased risk and severity of asthma, COPD, and pneumonia.2


People with Aa oral infection are at least 50% more likely overall to develop pancreatic cancer.


Periodontal disease is associated with esophageal cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, oral cancer, stomach cancer, and more. The list goes on and on. The scientific data supporting the extent and importance of the oral systemic connections continues to pile up.


Direct Diagnostics can help you increase the health of your patients. When your entire team understands how the oral microbiome affects oral and whole body health, it will result in improved patient care, better patient outcome, and increased patient acceptance. The implementation of oral systemic protocols not only benefits the health factors, but the associated financial costs as well.


Treating gum disease lowers annual medical costs associated with diabetes:

  • $2,840 per year for diabetes patients

  • 39.4% per year reduction for diabetes hospital admissions

Reducing sources of oral inflammation is a foundation of oral systemic health care. Providing patients with diagnostics, such as saliva testing, is an important component of helping your patients achieve optimal oral health.


Bacterial balance is crucial

The microbiome in our bodies consists of microbes that are both helpful and potentially harmful. Most play a symbiotic role, but some are pathogenic. Balance is very important to the microbiome and pathogenic bacteria upsets this balance, eventually leading to disease, if left unchecked. Most of us live a life that is rife with threats to this balance. Diets lacking adequate nutrition, chronic use of antibiotics, poor sleep, stress are just a few of these threats. Simply being human is cause for these factors to be present.


With over 700 bacteria living in the mouth, it’s no wonder why the mouth is a hotbed of information and potential risk. Most of these oral bacteria are harmless and some are even beneficial, but certain bacteria lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and a host of other diseases affecting the mouth as well as the entire body.


Getting a clear picture of a patient’s microbiome and identifying any imbalance and the presence of any high risk pathogenic bacteria is a vital starting point of the oral systemic healing process. This is when diagnostics direct the path.


The importance of identifying the High Risk Five

through salivary diagnostics


HR5 saliva testing- Direct Diagnostics

We now have scientific data that connects five specific, high risk bacteria to an extensive list of serious health issues. These bacteria can be found and identified in the mouth and travel throughout the body, causing inflammation, which leads to chronic disease. These findings are directly demonstrative of the oral systemic connection.


This scientific data launched the need for our high risk oral pathogen test. The High Risk 5 test is easy to explain and present to patients, which increases its use in the clinic. This saliva test identifies low grade infections long before they display visual symptoms.


Saliva testing is not only the starting point of the identification and treatment process, but also provides valuable data throughout the course of treatment. The repeated saliva test supplies proof as to whether or not your treatment plan is effective.


Oral systemic health methodology considers the whole person, and all of their connected systems when diagnosing and treating ailments. Acknowledging these oral systemic connections allows us to move from reactive care to preventative care. By utilizing simple assessments and protocols, dental professionals can efficiently diagnose, treat, and confidently explain the correlation of mouth health and whole body health to your patients. The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body!


The American Academy for Oral Systemic Health is leading the charge of the oral systemic health movement. The concept for oral systemic health is certainly not a new one, but the current traction it’s gaining in the medical and dental arenas is exciting. Research has eliminated a previous information gap about the mouth-body connection.


Dentistry is Saving Lives

Dentists are more than just “teeth cleaners”! Dental professionals are the first line of defense in the oral systemic process; the keepers of this window to the rest of the body.



Since dentists are medically trained experts in oral care, routine dental care can be lifesaving. Not only can you assess and treat what is happening in the mouth, you can also collaborate with medical teams to assist in whole body preventative care. Oral systemic and prevention focused care is the future of healthcare and medical and dental collaboration is essential.


Let’s discuss a few predicted trends of the future of dentistry and how they tie in with oral systemic health.


Teledentistry

Since the onset of the global pandemic, telemedicine has exploded in popularity and availability. In observing this, the common thought about dentistry has been: well, you can’t examine a mouth if you don’t have access to that mouth. But what if we could? Certainly, teledentistry wouldn’t allow for all the services that dental professionals conduct, but when considering oral systemic practices and the potential empowerment of the patient, we might have more options than originally thought.


At the very least, teledentistry could provide a reduction in in-office appointments. Services offered by teledentistry companies provide easier access to oral care, significant financial savings, and more affordable preventative options. They give patients access to medical professionals in any location, not just locally. The option of teledentistry expands access to proper dental care to the elderly, differently-abled people, and patients in rural areas. So what does this have to do with oral systemic health?


The preventative goal of oral systemic health must start with the patient. Empowering the patient with information about oral systemic methods creates a stronger chain of events from start to finish. Information and observation of the patient, to consultation from a dental professional, to ordering diagnostics direct from a provider such as Diagnostics Direct, to the personalized care plan created by the dentist with the patient.4


Trends such as this clearly position dentists as life savers.


How preventative care can boost the health of the nation

The United States, as well as certain other countries, has revealed the weaknesses in its healthcare system under the strain of the current global pandemic. Oral health care is no small part of the health of the nation and yet the support for our oral health maintenance is greatly lacking. From an oral systemic standpoint, this lack of support is crucial to address. If the ailments in the mouth act as the canary in the coalmine for the rest of the body and these warning signs are not being observed through routine dental care, then our whole-body diagnoses will be made unnecessarily late.


Poor oral health is destructive to our physical, mental, and economic well being. Although the health of Americans is the most important factor here, the financial health of the country is also something to recognize. Without affordable access to oral healthcare, we eventually strain the health care system and economy. 80% of Americans over the age of 35 have some form of gum disease.


Implementing oral systemic protocols in order to improve people’s health would position dentists as a vital component of improving the health of the nation.5


The Role of Inflammation in the Oral Systemic Connection

We now know that inflammation plays a larger role in many diseases and ailments than previously believed. Inflammation is often present in the body as asymptomatic disease, occurring for years without even being recognized, wreaking havoc throughout the body. This chronic inflammation can lead to cancer, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, and a host of other chronic diseases. There are simple, objective tests available to you and your patients that provide the data needed to identify bacteria and create a treatment plan to stabilize and reverse disease.


The current model of care in this country is to treat the sick. But the benefits of evaluating and testing healthy patients for any underlying, early precursors to disease are extensive. And starting early with young people can prevent chronic diseases from ever happening in the future. As early as the adolescent years, people can begin to show signs of disease within the arterial wall.6


Sporadic inflammation in the body does have a beneficial use. Inflammation is our body’s reaction to injury or infection that triggers the healing process. Inflammation can generate pain, swelling, and a release of fluids to help flush out pathogens. However, prolonged, chronic inflammation can lead to several diseases such as chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.


Our lives are full of triggers for inflammation:

  • Poor diet

  • Stress

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Overuse of prescription drugs

  • Toxic environments (including smoke and second-hand smoke)

Why are we waiting for disease to happen when we have the information and diagnostics to prevent it from happening in the first place?


Direct Diagnostics is the starting point for your oral systemic journey

Direct Diagnostics is a clinical laboratory and biotechnology company that is advancing the field of molecular testing and transforming salivary diagnostics. We bring diagnostics directly to the dental professional, identifying pathogenic bacteria, which they can in turn treat in the most targeted, effective way possible.


We continue to evolve with and drive the development of diagnostics and the science of pathogenic bacteria. We are developing the next generation of saliva tests for infectious disease and pathogens found in the mouth and periodontia.


Can diagnostics direct the course of treatment? Yes, it absolutely can!


Identifying specific bacteria in the mouth is crucial for effectively treating disease in the mouth and the whole body. Here are 10 Reasons to use our HR5 test:​

  • Focused

  • Affordable

  • Accurate

  • Quantitative

  • Patient Friendly

  • Provider Friendly

  • Easy to Read

  • Fast Turnaround

  • User-friendly Software

  • Saliva (just saliva)

Our services extend beyond this simple yet powerful test, but this is a great place to start. Click here to discover all the ways we can bolster your oral systemic health care journey.


Sources:

1. Marouf, N., Cai, W., Said, K. N., Daas, H., Diab, H., Chinta, V. R., Hssain, A. A., Nicolau, B., Sanz, M., & Tamimi, F. (2021). Association between periodontitis

and severity of COVID-19 infection: A case-control study. Journal of clinical periodontology, 48(4), 483–491. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpe.13435

2. Gomes-Filho, I. S., Cruz, S., Trindade, S. C., Passos-Soares, J. S., Carvalho-Filho, P. C., Figueiredo, A., Lyrio, A. O., Hintz, A. M., Pereira, M. G., & Scannapieco,

F. (2020). Periodontitis and respiratory diseases: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Oral diseases, 26(2), 439–446. https://doi.org/10.1111/odi.13228

3. Karpiński T. M. (2019). Role of Oral Microbiota in Cancer Development. Microorganisms, 7(1), 20. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7010020

4. https://medicalfuturist.com/the-amazing-future-of-dentistry-and-oral-health/

5. “An Oral Health Equity Agenda For The Biden Administration," Health Affairs Blog, February 23, 2021. DOI: 10.1377/hblog20210217.158306

6. Stanford’s Children Health. Prevention of heart disease starts at childhood. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=prevention-of-heart-

disease-starts-in-childhood-1-2073


©2022 by Direct Diagnostics LLC. Direct Diagnostics is certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA), 42 U.S.C. §263a, and meets the requirements to perform high complexity tests. CLIA Registration 45D2190910. 

Direct Diagnostics is certified under the College of American Pathologists (CAP), CAP Accreditation #9088531

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