Bacteria, yeast, and viruses inhabit our mouths, but the role they play in the overall health of our bodies is just beginning to be explored. Currently, factors contributing to sick mouths are being cross-referenced and studied with up to 57 systemic diseases—diseases that would otherwise seem unrelated to oral health, such as colorectal cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pancreatic cancer, chronic high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and even dementia.
Dr. Doug Thompson runs his own practice that’s based around the mouth-body connection and aptly named Integrative Oral Medicine. “You can’t separate the mouth from the body; it’s absolutely integrated, and as dentists become more and more aware, they’re helping patients become a lot healthier,” he says. He joins the podcast to discuss the specifics of how poor oral health contributes to and indicates the presence of other diseases, and how medical doctors and dentists can collaborate to identify these connections and improve—and sometimes even save—the lives of their patients.
Dr. Thompson is also the founder of the Wellness Dentistry Network, which he uses as a platform to teach dentists how to provide better care to their patients by embracing a more holistic view of oral health and to provide resources on best practices and new methodologies in the field.