Oral Health Bible - Long Overdue!
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
February 12, 2007

Child of the fifties and sixties that I am, I must confess that I grew up regularly eating Big Hunks, lots of chocolates, sucking on hard candy, chewing gum both sugarless and sugarful and drinking multiple soda waters daily. Much to my surprise at first, I began spending an inordinate amount of time in the dental office.

I viewed the dental office as a pain-filled experience first because of slow drills and not so sensitive dentistry. I returned many times. I did not "get it". And let me get this out too: I have never been able to open a soda water bottle with my teeth.

So when I went to a really special dentist and he revealed to me "The Oral Health Bible" and spoke to me about the oral-systemic connection, I was all ears. This connection is bolstered by years of research establishing a connection of incredible gravity and importance to each of us. And, it comes to us at a time when people are increasingly taking responsibility for their own health.

Part of my problem was that I believed I was well-raised and well-educated. And though I was, that wasn't enough. I had little or no appreciation of the oral-systemic connection and the invaluable techniques and products that dramatically improve oral health care!

Dr. Michael P. Bonner, D.D.S. and Dr. Earl L. Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D. tell us that the oral-systemic connection is about integrative medicine, recasting our view of the body and healthcare into "one about connections and wholeness rather than a minefield of artificially and dangerously disconnected parts." Their book comes to us at a time when people more than ever before are taking responsibility for their own health, taking charge of their own bodies.

If you are like me, you got a great deal of your health education when you were in grade or high school and health seemed to be a birthright. The thought of health challenges for most of us comes much later in life. The great thing about learning about health now is that we really appreciate it.

The authors herald a health and wellness revolution in dentistry. They tell us that periodontal (gum) disease is "so prevalent that more people have it than don't". Of critical importance, they state that "clear evidence has implicated it as a major health risk and a cause of heart attacks and strokes…"!

Dr. Bonner and Dr. Mindell state that "we have a glaring dilemma in dentistry because, on the one hand, almost every adult walking around today has some form of periodontal disease, and on the other hand, we have a dental industry with a wide array of American Dental Association-approved products containing ingredients that dozens of studies indicate can do more harm than good. A big example would be mouthwashes that government statistics indicate cause 36,000 cases of oral cancer a year…"

I am dedicated to seeing our University Health System and Metro Health District take the lead in dental education. Here's to our dental health improvement!

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