The significance of oral infections in the treatment of systemic disease

Dr Tim O’Brien is a dental surgeon and an accredited Specialist in Prosthodontics. He is also a Specialist Clinical teacher at Guy's and St Thomas' and an Honorary Research associate at University College London.

Your mouth, to a large extent is a ‘bellwether’ for the health of the rest of your body. As Dr O’Brien says; “Dental health may complicate or adversely affect your medical treatment”. This important article gives excellent insight into potentially critical factors that could sway whether treatment is successful or not. Although there are general guidelines, this is of increased relevance for those of you in the following situations:



  1. Due to have cardiac or joint replacement surgery.

  3. Patients who are or are about to become immunocompromised.

  5. Patients about to receive radiotherapy to the head / neck.

  7. Patients with poorly controlled diabetes or requiring dialysis.

  9. Patients taking or who are about to take bisphosphonates or drugs capable of reducing saliva production (dry mouth).






It is often thought that there are more important things to think about. For example, it is highly understandable to think that getting the hip operation done first is the number one priority. However, Dr O’Brien explains the necessity for having a top down approach and the reason why dental health has such big implications on the subsequent treatment plan, and what can be done to help ensure a successful operation.



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