THE CASE FOR HOLISTIC THINKING IN PATIENT CARE

Maintaining a healthy life is just as important to our patients as having a long life and dental health providers have a role to play here too.

image of THE CASE FOR HOLISTIC THINKING IN PATIENT CARE
Blog spacer
In his article entitled ‘Lifespan v. Healthspan’ Dr Richard Nagelberg DDS argues that dentists should think beyond the oral cavity (that’s the mouth to you and me), when looking after their patients.

He raises two definitions ‘lifespan’ which is the length of life an individual lives and ‘healthspan’ the amount of the lifespan in which the individual enjoys good health. This includes factors such as mobility, independence and good brain function.

Ideally, lifespan and healthspan should be the same, given that deterioration is going to occur due to the aging process we factor in reasonable ‘wear and tear’ but all the same quality of life it to be worked towards as much as longevity.

As dental service providers we too should keep in mind that oral health has an impact on other systemic diseases such as those affecting the heart and pancreas, there is some slight evidence that even brain function may be susceptible to the bacterial populations found in the mouth.

Ensuring good oral health is about education and changing behaviour and the beginning of effecting that change is providing the full consequences of neglect. This is where research and the latest findings come in.

Gum & bone recession leading to loss of teeth can also directly affect quality of life if you cannot chew or eat certain foods. But for many patients they are simply unaware of the further impact upon health that poor oral hygiene can bring.

Dental care providers can and must change how we think about the care we provide to patients, inasmuch as we think beyond the oral cavity informing our patients about the knock-on effects of poor oral health. In particular we can take into account those patients who are identified as most at risk from heart disease and other systemic diseases whose risk is increased by the bacteria found in the mouth.

The article 'Lifespan v. Healthspan' by Dr Richard Nagelberg can be found here.
 
Claim your FREE Electric Toothbrush

++ Dental Health Guide & Video series