By United States Public Health Service
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Additional info for Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General
Chapters 5 and 6 address key issues in the report‘s charge-the relationship of oral health to general health and well-being. Chapter 5 explores the theme of the mouth as reflecting general health or disease status. Examples are given of how oral tissues may signal the presence of disease, disease progression, or exposure to risk factors, and how oral cells and fluids are increasingly being used as diagnostic tools. This is followed by a discussion of the mouth as a portal of entry for infections that can affect local tissues and may spread to other parts of the body The final sections review the literature regarding emerging associations between oral diseases and diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
L New knowledge and the development of molecular and genetically based tests will facilitate risk assessment and management and improve the ability of health care providers to customize treatment. l Health care providers can successfully deliver tobacco cessation and other health promotion programs in their offices, contributing to both overall health and oral health. l Biocompatible rehabilitative materials and biologically engineered tissues are being developed and will greatly enhance the treatment options available to providers and their patients.
Although progress has been made in measuring oral-health-related quality of life, more needs to be done, and measures of oral health per se do not exist. The mouth reflects general health and wellbeing. The mouth is a readily accessible and visible part of the body and provides health care providers and individuals with a window on their general health status. As the gateway of the body, the mouth senses and responds to the external world and at the same time reflects what is happening deep inside the body The mouth may show signs of nutritional deficiencies and serve as an early warning system for diseases such as HIV infection and other immune system problems.