7. November 2011 12:05
As you probably are aware there is growing body of evidence now scientifically proven that there is an "Oral/Systemic Connection" between oral health and overall body health. There appears to be a link between chronic inflammatory periodontal disease and systemic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and some forms of cancer. The National Institute of Health (NIH) and other research facilities are aggressively investigating this link as well.
Because of this, there is more urgency than ever in the need to properly diagnosis and treat gum disease to minimize its systemic implications. It's not just about your teeth anymore!
There is now a cutting edge test than can be very beneficial not only in the treatment of periodontal disease, but also in screening your genetic susceptibility to gum disease. OralDNA Labs has developed a simple saliva test that is accomplished by swishing a small amount sterile saline for 30 seconds. This sample is sent to their lab and your dentist will receive a report in usually 2 weeks.
The bacterial DNA test information received will recommend not only if antibiotic therapy is needed in addition to dental procedures to treat the existing gum disease, but also what specific antibiotics are needed given the types and quantity of bacteria in your system. The use of antibiotic therapy in treating gum disease is relatively new regimen.
The genetic susceptibility test will tell us if your genetic makeup puts you at greater risk for developing gum disease.
Now your dentist has scientific data that will help guide them not only in your gum disease treatment, but also in the critical periodic recare visits that we all need to maintain not just our oral health, but also now our overall systemic health.
My feeling is that this linkage between oral and systemic health will eventually be expanded to many other chronic diseases and will be a critical factor in disease prevention in the future.
This genetic testing represents a major step in our ability to treat this disease and positively impact the health of our patients. Your dentist should be offering this test in their practice.