Book Review: The Oral-Systemic Health Connection: A Guide to Patient Care, Second Edition

By Mark Szarejko, DDS, FAGD

This text, which features several authors’ expertise and is authored by Michael Glick, is an expansive view of the oral-systemic connection. The correlations between periodontal disease, cardiovascular disease and Type II diabetes have garnered much attention in the medical and dental professions. While this text reviews these correlations in great detail, many topics are reviewed as they relate to the oral-systemic link. The correlations between renal, pulmonary and malignant disease and oral health are among topics that are discussed and are not topics that received much publicity but are essential to the ongoing discussion of the oral-systemic link.

The holistic approach and continuum between oral and systemic health is also discussed in various topics. The oral manifestations of systemic disease, the correlations between periodontal infections and adverse pregnancy outcomes and the use of salivary biomarkers to detect systemic diseases provide more information about the bidirectional relationship between oral and systemic health and the state of optimal health and well-being.

This text would benefit new and established general dentists, dental specialists and dental hygienists. Patients are well-informed about health issues and dental professionals must be the source of information about the multiple aspects of correlations of the oral-systemic connection. The information contained in this text provides an update and practical information which the clinician can use to answer questions that patients will have about the potential links between oral and systemic health. It also provides a means to establish a foundation that will be necessary to understand the future research which will involve this issue.

This text’s opening and closing chapters provide an excellent glimpse of the diverse topics contained within. Still, they also provide information about issues that are usually not considered in the discussion about the potential links between oral health and systemic health. Chapter One written by Michael Glick, is entitled “Causation: Frameworks, Analyses, and Questions.” This chapter reminds us that it is essential to approach this topic with scientifically valid research that is corroborated among experts before causation can be assigned to a relationship between oral health, especially periodontal disease, and adverse outcomes which involve systemic health. The final chapter, authored by Michael C. Alfano, is entitled “The Economic Impact of Periodontal Inflammation.” This chapter reminds us that the cost of periodontal disease transcends the cost of treating periodontal disease and the cost involved in the prosthetic replacement of teeth lost due to periodontal disease.

The text “The Oral Systemic Health Connection Second Edition. A Guide to Patient Care” is a well-researched text that answers many questions about the potential correlation between oral and systemic health and raises others. This book is not a “fast read” due to the detail in each chapter.

It is an excellent resource for the clinician who has an interest in this discipline and for those who relay relevant and scientifically-based information about this topic to their patients.

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