Talking gum health and systemic health with Prof. Iain Chapple and Dr Graham Lloyd-Jones
Through this video interview, discover how oral health has been linked to other conditions and what can be done to protect the general health and well-being of populations around the world.
Nearly 3.5 billion people around the world are affected by oral disease, severe periodontal (gum) diseases are estimated to affect around 19% of the global adult population, representing more than 1 billion cases worldwide. They can cause pain and discomfort to many throughout their lifetime and can lead to tooth loss. What people may not realise is that gum health is closely linked with their whole body health, and that taking care of their oral health can improve their overall well-being.
In an interview with Periodontics expert, Prof. Iain Chapple, and Consultant Radiologist, Dr Graham Lloyd-Jones, discover the many links between oral health and common noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) from the perspective of an oral health professional and a medical professional. The interview also highlights the importance of interprofessional collaboration amongst healthcare workers to bridge the gap between oral and general health for better patient care.
The mouth is a window to the body – oral health must be integrated into the wider healthcare approach
In many countries, oral health is often isolated within health systems, separating the mouth from the body. However, there is increasing evidence that the mouth is connected to overall health and has a bidirectional relationship with many common NCDs. The mouth is in fact a window to the body that can provide insights on a person’s general health, and poor oral health can cause or worsen other conditions.
“The enamel of your tooth is a non shedding surface, so the bacteria build up. Unless you brush it off on a regular basis, it just builds and causes inflammation in the gums. The gums then ulcerate. That ulcer is between the gum and the tooth. You can't see it, but it's like a revolving door and every time you eat, brush your teeth and speak, those bacteria get pushed into the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body where they can cause problems, infections, and inflammation.” – Prof. Iain Chapple
During the interview, Prof. Chapple gives an overview of the many conditions that gum health is associated with including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory disease and more. He then talks about his work with Dr Lloyd-Jones, which considers how poor oral health could affect the severity of COVID-19. Watch the full interview to discover how Dr Lloyd-Jones and Prof. Chapple found this curious connection and why it is important for the broader healthcare teams to take an interest in oral healthcare.
“I think it's time for doctors to take gum disease seriously. There is a role for all doctors, especially those of us caring for patients with chronic diseases, to make sure that we provide them the best possible oral healthcare.” – Dr Graham Lloyd-Jones
FDI’s Vision 2030 also calls for the integration of oral health into the wider healthcare approach in every country as effective prevention and management of oral diseases can lead to improved health and well-being.