While dental professionals are well aware that the inflammation from periodontal disease is one with life-threatening global consequences, they are confounded by the question of how to incorporate the research into clinical protocol.
It has been proven that traditional therapies alone are quite ineffective when attempting to resolve periodontal disease in the long term. Doctors are braces with that knowledge that if they want to move their patients to long-term health they must address the patient systemically.
There are several life-saving services that should be offered by dentists. Some of these services include, treating sleep apnoea, nutritional screening and counselling, oral pathogens and implementing protocols for smoking cessation.
In recent research, there has been evidence that the link between periodontal and other inflammatory diseases is being driven by reactive oxygen species (ROS), which is linked to the free radical theory of aging which states that oxygen-free radicals produced cumulative damage to molecules and these same free radicals create oxidative stress induced damage to gingiva, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. There is extensive research showing that antioxidants play a vital role in minimizing oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
The Journal of Clinical Periodontology recently published a piece which concluded that in order to prevent and treat periodontitis, daily nutrition should include sufficient amounts of antioxidants, Vitamin D and Calcium.
With these findings, it has become increasing clear that every dental practitioner should be discussing nutrition with their patients, as a key component of the health evaluation during the an examination. A basic understanding of the role antioxidants play in health would go a great distance in aiding dentists to when discussing nutrition with their patients.
A recommended diet consisting of good macro and micronutrients is key. Dentists should also keep in mind that a diet with plentiful plant based antioxidants is also ideal
Some of the best sources of these antioxidants can be found in beans, berries, nuts, apples, prunes, plums and cherries.
The nutrients from these foods help to neutralize free radicals in our bodies. By preventing cellular and DNA damage from free radicals, dentists can reduce the inflammatory effect on the entire body and enhance the immune function.
Now it becomes the question of how dentists can implement nutrition into their already busy practices
Up until now there have been limited ways to monitor a patients’ nutritional status which has left many practitioners miffed as how to understood the effectiveness of nutritional intervention. Enter a device called the Biophotonic Scanner. This technology, which was introduce on the Dr. Oz show, is less expensive and more accurate than blood serum testing and it can measure an antioxidant status in the body within 90 seconds.
Dentists tend to see patients on a more regular basis than any other health care provider. Having this tool to measure and monitor nutritional status will improve treatment, and as a result, patients live. Dentists have an exciting opportunity to influence patients to live their best and healthiest lives.