When dentists and physicians work together, we all smile!
The Dental Medical Convergence is a non-profit organization that works directly with physicians. Its goal is to teach physicians how to incorporate oral health when evaluating their patients’ overall health. Both patients and physicians often incorrectly assume that if they aren’t experiencing any oral discomfort, they must have good oral health. This just isn’t the case! In fact, our bodies could be suffering the effects of numerous different health issues that stem from poor oral health or incorrect oral anatomy.
By spreading awareness about the importance of effective oral care, the Dental Medical Convergence is making leaps and bounds to close the gap between dental and medical care. By doing so, it is making oral care a priority and helping improve the lives of patients worldwide.
A healthy mouth = A healthy body
When you visit your physician, they will likely never ask you about the status of your mouth. Most doctors don’t perform any type of oral exam, and even fewer ask questions about oral hygiene. There is a distinct divide between dentists and doctors that outlines where their scope of practice begins and ends — dentists deal with the mouth; doctors deal with the body.
Having specialties in the medical field is essential. It allows doctors to train on specific body functions to provide more specialized patient care. Unfortunately, the medical-dental divide seems to forget one crucial fact — the mouth is a part of the body, and everything that happens in this area can affect all other areas of the body, as well.
Did you know bacteria from the mouth can travel through your bloodstream? This bacteria can lead to numerous other issues such as heart disease, diabetes, strokes, Alzheimer’s, low birth weight, and premature births, to name just a few. Plus, ongoing studies find that periodontal disease may impact certain types of cancer, along with many other conditions.
The mouth can affect the rest of the body in even more ways. Sleep apnea, headaches, and jaw and neck pain can all be directly related to the physical shape of the mouth and how well it functions.
The future of oral care
The Dental Medical Convergence is working diligently to spread the word about the importance of oral care and enlist doctors’ help all across the country. While doctors should never be expected to perform complete oral exams on their patients, asking their patients about the health of their mouth is a step in the right direction. Physicians can also request copies of dental records from their patients’ dentists and hygienists. Reviewing these documents will give them vital insight into a person’s health and may prove crucial in diagnosing their conditions.
When family care physicians start considering the health of the mouth, it will go a long way toward stressing the importance of oral care to their patients. Doctors can help ensure their patients practice thorough oral hygiene to prevent serious illnesses before they begin.
By gathering a group of like-minded dental professionals, the Dental Medical Convergence is changing how both patients and physicians view oral health. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that the source of so many diseases is right under your nose — literally!
Founded by Dr. Chuck Reinertsen, this non-profit organization began in 2021. Its mission is to raise awareness about the dental-medical divide in America. Dr. Chuck also uses his 40 years of experience and his unending quest for new information to give people the tools and education they need to make healthy choices when it comes to their oral health.
How can you help?
Good dental care should be a top priority for patients and health care practitioners alike. If you want to help minimize the dental-medical divide in this country, start spreading the word! Talk to all of your friends and family about the importance of taking proper care of your mouth. Share the information you learn about how the health of your mouth impacts the health of your body. Visit our site to see the volumes of evidence showing the links between oral health and overall health. Next time you visit your physician, bring a copy of your dental records and share your oral health status with them. And most importantly, practice effective oral hygiene every day.