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Inside Dentistry
December 2014
Volume 10, Issue 12

Oral Health and the Connected Body

Philips’ educational symposium presented the most contemporary research findings on the oral-systemic health connection

“Philips Oral Healthcare is committed to sharing the most advanced research with dental and medical professionals to improve the oral and overall well-being of their patients,” said Boon Lai, vice president, marketing, Philips Consumer Lifestyle. “We strive to develop practical tools and innovative technology—eg, Philips Sonicare and Philips Zoom products—to help professionals in both clinical practice and academia improve personal health and well-being for their patients.”  

On Friday October 31, 2014, Philips Oral Health Care (POHC) hosted a continuing education symposium entitled “Oral Health and the Connected Body” in Anaheim, California. The day-long event featured presentations by national and international experts (see sidebar), who presented the latest research on the links between oral and systemic health.

These leading scientists and educators discussed both the overall direction of research and findings with the objective of promoting a better understanding of the associations between gingival/periodontal diseases (PDs) diabetes, premature birth, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stroke, caries, pneumonia, oral cancers, and cardiovascular disease—including how high-fructose corn syrup relates to caries and heart disease. They also sought to help participants recognize gender-based medicine and systemic inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 leading to atherosclerosis

Among the highlights of the program, which will be presented fully in the January issue of Inside Dentistry, was “Periodontal Infection and Pregnancy Outcomes Links,” in which Steve Offenbacher, DDS, PhD, MMSc, described how organisms—some of which are fetal toxic—can gain access to the fetal unit from the mother’s mouth, leading to fetal systemic inflammation to worsen pregnancy and neonatal outcomes. Dr. Offenbacher is chair of the department of periodontology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center for Oral and Systemic Diseases, which includes a general and oral health clinic specializing in research linking maternal periodontal diseases (PDs) to adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Focusing on the association between PDs and recurrent vascular events in stroke/transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients was neurologist Souvik Sen, MD, MPH. His presentation, “Periodontal Disease and Stroke,” also noted the association between PDs and the inflammatory markers IL-6 and s-ICAM. Whether treatment for high levels of PDs can result in lower levels of inflammatory markers and a lower rate of recurrent vascular events in stroke/TIA patients, he suggested, should be studied in the future. Dr. Sen is professor and chair of neurology at South Carolina School of Medicine and specializes in stroke, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, memory, and neuromuscular disorders.

Expert Presenters


Steven Offenbacher, DDS, PhD, MMsc
Chair, department of periodontology, UNC School of Dentistry; director, Center Oral and Systemic Diseases; past president, AARD, specializing in linking maternal periodontal disease to adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Souvik Sen, MD, MPH
Professor and chair of neurology at South Carolina School of Medicine, specializing in acute stroke treatment, stroke and TIA pathophysiology, stroke prevention, and epidemiology.

Evanthia (Evie) Lalla, DDS, MS
Professor of dental medicine, division of periodontics, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine and IADR president of the Periodontal Research Group, specializing in the implications for management of dental patients with diabetes.

Frank Scannapieco, PhD, DMD
Chairman of the department of oral biology, University at Buffalo, New York, specializing in oral and systemic disease with emphasis on salivary biomarkers of periodontal disease and aspiration pneumonia, nosocomial-acquired pneumonia, and COPD.

Bruno Loos, DDS, MS, PhD
Associate professor in periodontology, Academic Centre for Dentistry in Amsterdam, specializing in genetic and immunological aspects of periodontal diseases and relationships between general health and oral health corroboration.

Betsy Reynolds, RDH, MS
Researcher, author, and presenter, specializing in the biologic basis for oral and systemic disease prevention and microbiologic and immunologic aspects of oral disease.

Brian B. Nový, DDS, FADI
Director of practice improvement, Denta-Quest Institute, ADA Committee on Caries Classification and Council of Scientific Affairs Caries Management, specializing in caries and the cascade of events beginning in the mouth and ending in the heart.

Maria Goldie, RDH, MS
Researcher, author, and presenter, specializing in women’s health, immunology, and sex-based medicine.

Marko de Jager, PhD
Principal scientist, POHC, specializing in biomedical engineering and clinical research in biofilm management.

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