The Oral Systemic Health Connection, a book review by Lynn Carlisle DDS


This book on the oral-systemic connection  “The Oral-Systemic Health Connection: a guide to patient care” – edited by Michael Glick, DMD. is a collection of 13 chapters on different topics ranging from “Causation, Association, and Oral Health-Systemic Disease Connections” to “Oral Manifestations of Systemic Diseases” and “The Traveling Oral Microbiome”. These chapters were written (some co-authored) by 19 different university professors in fields ranging from Periodontics to Oral Medicine.

I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the book was to read. While it had copious references and detailed scientific descriptions, it is written in a way that wet gloved dental professionals can easily understand. This is because of the many conclusions, summary boxes, color pictures, Figures, and other pages like “Clinical Considerations- What you can take back to your practice” interspersed throughout the book.

Upon completion of the book, I felt like I had been updated on the different facets of the science behind the O-S connection.

Here are a few outtakes from the book:

  • “The notion that infections in the oral cavity may influence oral health is not a novel idea. More than 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates was credited with curing arthritis by extracting presumably infected teeth.” (Glick, preface)
  • “Moving forward, oral health care providers should have a role in preventing and treating non communicable and communicable disease in an effort to reduce their associated morbidity and mortality,” (Greenberg, Chapter 1)
  • “This concept is supported by the fact that currently there is no scientific evidence that identifies any particular bacteria as a cause of periodontitis.” (Borgnakke, Chapter 4)
  • Oral conditions can significantly influence or be influenced by events locally and systemically.”(Freire and Van Dyke, Chapter 5)
  • The target of periodontal therapy, whether it be control of the biofilm, and/or control of the local inflammation, should be to control systemic inflammation associated with chronic systemic diseases.”(Freire and Van Dyke, Chapter 5)

As you can see by my above quotes, I found the first 5 chapters to be the most interesting. The remaining chapters were on the O-S connection in diabetes, the cardiovascular system, obesity, pneumonia, pregnancy, immunocompromised patients, osteoporosis, and the oral manifestations of systemic diseases. The last 8 chapters addressed the clinical considerations of these maladies and how you can address them in your dental practice.

The negatives of the book for me were the price ($118.00) and no mention of how important it is to understand the dynamics of how people change their health behaviors and how dental professionals can learn how to facilitate this.

This book review was first published in and is reprinted here with Lynn Carlisle’s permission.

To read more about the book visit Amazon Books The Oral-Systemic Health Connection: a Guide to Patient Care

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