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healingways YOUR MOUTH


TELLS A STORY Functional Dentistry Connects Oral Health to Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease


by Linda Sechrist T


he focus of functional medi- cine—whole person health care—easily expands to include


dentists trained in oral systemic health. Currently embraced by a small per- centage of today’s farsighted dentists and doctors, this relatively new field of prevention and wellness views the mouth as a key portal when consid- ering the status of the whole body. Similar to the way doctors of Oriental medicine assess the heart’s pulse to help diagnose health issues throughout the body, these systemic health den- tists consider the gums, tongue, teeth and throat to be key signals of overall health.


American Academy for Oral Sys- temic Health (AAOSH) Executive Direc- tor Bobbie Delsasso was a periodontal hygienist for more than 30 years before becoming a consultant and public speaker on the larger perspective. “I taught patients about the importance of good nutrition and alerted them to


consult their physician regarding what their mouth health might indicate about their body’s health,” she says. While the academy educates dental professionals to understand the inter- nal workings of nutrition and what the mouth reveals about overall well-be- ing, “Less than 6 percent of physicians even learn adequate basics of nutrition in medical schools,” she notes.


Cardiovascular Health Links Beyond nutrition, academy curricula for dentists now include such titles as Arteriology and Vascular Inflamma- tion – The Oral/Systemic Connection, based on a course designed for medi- cal professionals by physician Bradley Bale and Amy Doneen, an advanced registered nurse practitioner, co-found- ers of the Bale/Doneen Method for the prevention of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. Mike Milligan, a doctor of dental medicine, founder of Eastland Dental Center, in Bloomington, Illinois,


and AAOSH president, explains that heart attack and stroke are triggered by an inflammatory process which can be initiated or exacerbated by periodontal disease and abscessed teeth. Thomas Nabors, a doctor of dental surgery and an authority in molecular analysis and genetic risk assessment for periodontal diseases, provides clinical proof that supports the growing associa- tion between medicine and dentistry. “Since our inaugural AAOSH confer- ence [in 2010], Bradley, Amy and Tom have continued to provide the current science and clinical backdrop to the oral/systemic connection to cardiovas- cular wellness,” says Milligan.


(Continued on page 42.)


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