Teaching Oral Systemic Health

Improving oral health has become a leading health goal due to the oral-systemic connection. Extensive research has linked the condition of our oral cavity to the condition of our overall health; meaning that you need to take good care of your mouth in order to have a healthy body. The lack of proper oral hygiene can lead to periodontal disease which has been linked to many other serious health conditions. New York University College of Nursing has, therefore, incorporated a Teaching Oral-Systemic Health Program (TOSH). The TOSH Program is an effort to encourage the general medical profession of the importance of a healthy mouth to the overall health your body.

What is the Oral-Systemic Connection?

Numerous and extensive research studies have indicated a connection between oral health and general health. The same oral pathogenic bacterium that is associated with periodontal disease has been implicated in other diseases as well. The bacteria has been scraped from the arteries of heart patients, has been linked to pancreatic cancer, impotence in men, high blood pressure, and lung infections. Therefore, it is becoming firmly held by scientists and dental researchers that there should be a comprehensive focus on health that includes the oral cavity. As of right now, only dentists have been concerned with oral health, but it is believed that general practitioners need to be brought into the sway.


The TOSH Program is all about encouraging the medical profession to add an oral health assessment to the traditional HEENT (head, ears, eyes, nose, and throat) exam. The HEENT exam would become the HEENOT (head, ears, eyes, nose, oral cavity, and throat) exam. Analysis of the oral cavity would consist of examining the teeth, gums, oral mucosa, and hard and soft palate. Students presently enrolled in the TOSH Program are already being educated in the HEENOT approach. They are developing the knowledge and skills needed to identify oral health issues and to educate their patients regarding the oral-systemic connection.

About Your Lake Forest Dentist:

Aside from providing dependable family, general, and restorative dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve patients from Chicago and all surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.

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