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Updated: Feb 1

In recent years, oral health has moved more into the spotlight of preventative, long-term healthcare. More and more studies are discovering the oral-system connection between the mouth and the body.

oral health and long-term health

Studies suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with a severe form of periodontitis may play a role in some diseases. Certain diseases, such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, can lower the body's resistance to infection, making oral health problems more severe.

Guiding and supporting your patient's oral health is critical. Oral health can be a contributing factor when it comes to developing diseases and conditions such as:

  • Endocarditis

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Pneumonia

  • Diabetes

  • Osteoporosis

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Certain Cancers

  • Sjogren's Syndrome

  • Autoimmune Disorders

  • Alzheimer's


While some patients still see cleanings and regular dental visits as unnecessary, many are starting to understand the importance of regular care and the connection to their overall health. According to a recent survey by Delta Dental:

  • 94% of adults are planning to visit the dentist in 2022

  • 92% of adults and 96% of parents agree that maintaining oral health is essential to protecting their overall health

  • 90% (9 out of 10) adults are interested in learning about oral health's critical connection to overall health

One critical reason for people to learn more about these connections is that adults and children have plenty of personal experience dealing with dental issues. In fact, 1 in 5 (20%) adults believe that an oral health issue they experienced directly affected their overall health.


According to the survey, about 3 in 5 (59%) adults made a preventive visit in 2021 to reduce their chances of experiencing serious dental issues. As preventative care is on the rise, it's time for the dental community to rise to the opportunity, providing support and education to patients in order to help foster healthier healthspans for patients.

We are in a unique position to take life-saving initiatives and be LifeGuards for our pool of patients. ~ Cris Duval

Dental hygienists are the front line of defense when it comes to oral patient care. Their job is to understand their patient's health from a comprehensive standpoint --- which will require asking probing questions, taking extra time to perform lifesaving exams, and educating patients on the connection between oral health and creating a long, happy healthspan.

To find out more, click the image below to take the first step toward becoming a LifeGuard for your patients!

Become a LifeGuard for your dental patients

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