For years dental professionals believed bacteria was the cause of most dental problems, particularly gum disease. Dentists and hygienists would clean out the gums (scaling and root planing), use antibiotics, but we never addressed possible medical causes with a simple blood test, or incorporated proper nutrition at home. And then we wondered why, without fail or exception, our patients would relapse back to their original condition. Today, scaling and root planing is no longer the only option to combat gum disease. It is simply archaic and irresponsible to disagree. Dentistry must now address three factors– bacterial load, contributing medical issues, and nutritional adequacy. Modern dentists utilize available research to formulate a plan for better short-term and long-term outcomes.
It’s no secret that, while we may be one of the most affluent countries in the world, poor nutrition among Americans is endemic. Our obesity rate is at all-time high. Nutraceuticals, pharmaceutical grade dietary supplements designed to improve and boost the immune system and improve gum health, are the next stage in dentistry. Addressing the impact of nutrition on oral health is the next logical step for better patient care.
The dentist of the future will be a concierge service; concerned with more than just “making teeth look good.” He or she will make the patient look better, feel better, and be healthier. The progressive dentist of today must incorporate preventive medicine and dentistry into an overall plan for patient care.
Dentists are doctors of the mouth, and the mouth is connected to the rest of the body. If a patient is not physically healthy, eventually that patient’s mouth won’t be healthy either.