Evidence based research between oral health and overall health – A field under exploration

Evidence based research between oral health and overall health – A field under exploration

Awareness about smoking hazards and their links with lung cancer, heart disease and other ailments are much better when compared to oral health and systemic relationship. As the saying goes mouth is the mirror of the body, many of the systemic diseases or conditions are well exhibited in the oral cavity. Not much of attention is given to this link between oral and overall health.

Particular emphasis is being given to cigarette smoking. Its universally accepted fact that smoking is injurious to health. Whatever information that is available, is obtained from the small articles and literature reviews written on the smoking hazards and the body problems that are associated with it. Since we are reading about it universally, this smoking relation with cancer and lung disease has become acceptable. Given below are two statements that reflects the knowledge about smoking and its ill effects.

The scientific evidence is incontrovertible: inhaling tobacco smoke, particularly from cigarettes, is deadly. Since the first Surgeon General’s Report in 1964, evidence has linked smoking to diseases of nearly all organs of the body. (surgeongeneral.gov. June 21, 2018)
✔Smoking is by far the biggest preventable cause of cancer. Thanks to years of research, the links between smoking and cancer are now very clear. Smoking accounts for more than 1 in 4 UK cancer deaths, and 3 in 20 cancer cases. (cancerresearchuk.org)

There are a lot of research supporting the above relationship. Smoking causes cancer. But there is no large scale double blinded interventional study done on this, demonstrating the cause and effect. The link is established because of the number of small articles and reads that are done about it. The reason being it’s going to be a very vast and time consuming procedure. Observing patients for over 20 years is too costly an affair and it’s full of variables, so difficult to control and study.

While there were people who supported the link, there were researchers who were sceptical about the link between smoking and cancer. The stop smoking movement which was established in 1954 supported the link and added more awareness to the people.

It’s the same scenario that exists for the link between oral health and systemic health relationship. The studies are too costly and requires a long span of 20 years to be completed. So it’s the cumulative results of research that will demonstrate the link between oral health and overall health, rather than one definitive piece of research.

At present, we are in the middle of the oral-systemic research, waiting until a sufficient body of research provides incontrovertible evidence one way or the other.

For more information book an appointment with us at Oris Dental Center.

General Dentistry

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