“THERE IS ABSOLUTELY A CONNECTION BETWEEN YOUR DENTAL HEALTH
AND YOUR OVERALL HEALTH.”
Dr. Hazel Glasper is on a mission to change dentistry. She launched a national campaign, Teach Me Dental, to educate and empower her patients about the connection between oral health and overall health.
“There’s not a lot of conversation about dental health,” says Dr. Glasper, who practices at Revive Dental in Marriottsville. “So many patients are unaware. They don’t know what really happens if they’re not brushing and flossing. They don’t understand oral health.”
Dr. Glasper practices comprehensive dentistry. She compiles a health history for each patient and works with their physicians to create an overall picture of their health. And though she is a dentist, she treats the whole person, not just the mouth.
“The mouth is the gateway to the body,” says Dr. Glasper. “You cannot have total wellness without having good oral health.”
According to Dr. Glasper, problems in the mouth can cause problems elsewhere in the body. The teeth are connected to blood vessels that are connected to other blood vessels connected to the rest of the body. Two of the most common dental diseases – gum disease and tooth decay – are associated with such health conditions as heart disease, stroke, premature birth and low birth weight babies, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Some of these can be prevented through basic oral hygiene. “See your dentist regularly. Brush and floss regularly. Infrequent visits and poor dental hygiene, she points out, means that when they are finally diagnosed, “dental issues are that much more severe.”
“Most people have major dental issues that they are not addressing,” says Dr. Glasper, “because they are not associating those problems with their other health problems. Those problems continue because they aren’t addressing the root cause.”
Addressing those root causes is at the heart of Dr. Glasper’s Teach Me Dental campaign. Patients who know more about dental health know more about their overall health. They are healthier and more confident because they understand the importance of dental health.
Good foods for dental health include water, low-sugar dairy products, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and nuts. Foods that your dentist doesn’t recommend include hard candies, ice, citrus, coffee, sticky foods like dried fruits, potato chips, soda, sports drinks and alcohol.
American Dental Association
- 92% of adults ages 20-64 have tooth decay. 26% of those cases are untreated. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
- Advanced gum disease affects 4%-12% of U.S. adults. Half of the cases of severe gum disease in the United States are the result of cigarette smoking. The prevalence of gum disease is three times higher among smokers than among people who have never smoked. Centers for Disease Control, Oral Health