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It's important for doctors to recognize that dental health doesn't just stop at the mouth, as it also affects the rest of the body. In an effort to spread awareness of this, the American Dental Association (ADA) recently endorsed Smiles for Life, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine's national online oral health curriculum.
The goal of this project is to encourage doctors and nurses to join the fight against dental disease, and make oral health a part of primary medical care.
"With physicians, nurses, physician assistants and other members of the primary care team joining the fight for oral health, we have a real chance to eradicate the silent epidemic of dental disease," said Kathleen O'Loughlin, D.M.D., executive director of the ADA, quoted by Dentistry IQ.
This is an important step considering that oral health is an integral part of overall well-being. According to the Mayo Clinic, the mouth is teeming with bacteria, and while most of these organisms are harmless, some are not. Brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist regularly can help keep this bad bacteria in check. However, poor dental care habits may cause these organisms to enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, potentially leading to cardiovascular problems.
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