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INTERDISCIPLINARY AND MULTI-INSTITUTIONAL ALLIANCE FOR PERIODONTAL AND GENERAL HEALTH

19th October 2016 0

The Spanish Society of Periodontology (SEPA), with the support of the Spanish Society of Cardiology (SEC) and the Spanish Diabetes Society (SED), has launched an alliance for the promotion of periodontal and general health. The aim is to strengthen ties between the collective of dentists and other oral health professionals with the aim of promoting the prevention and early detection of periodontal disease and its treatment.

If you have diseased gums, the problem is not limited to your mouth: it may cause poor blood glucose control in diabetics, it may bring about pre-term birth, increase the risk of respiratory disease or aggravate it; it may even be associated with cardiovascular risk factors and increase the chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke, or other cardiovascular events. Periodontal health influences oral health considerably, but is also systemic in nature and may, by differing mechanisms, influence overall health.

With the support of the SEC and SED, and thanks to projects completed (or still ongoing) by the Joint Working Groups since 2014, SEPA has launched an alliance for the promotion of periodontal and general health. The initiative, which was presented during the Conference on Oral Health held in Valencia on May 12-14, is open to cooperation among health professionals, scientific institutions and public institutions, with people’s health and wellbeing at the core of its activity.

Attending the official presentation of this health alliance – which took place in Valencia coinciding with the celebration of the European Day of Periodontology (May 12) and within the 50th annual meeting of the SEPA and the 6th SEPA Oral Hygiene Meeting – were representatives of the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP), the Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians (SEMERGEN), the Spanish Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (SEGO), the College of Dentistry and Stomatology of Valencia, the University of Valencia, the Association of Dental Hygienists of the Community of Valencia, and the Ministry of General & Public Health of the Generalitat Valencian Government.

THREE ESSENTIAL PILLARS

The basic intent of this alliance is to strengthen the ties between the dental community and other health professionals with the aim of promoting the prevention and early detection of periodontal disease and its treatment in order to avoid its consequences on general health.

“Being convinced that the scientific evidence available and the benefits of the actions yet to be set before the population are highly relevant, it is clear that it is time to take action, together with other stakeholders,” says Dr. David Herrera, the president of SEPA and a member of the SEPA-SED Working Group.

The aim is to progress in three key areas: information, multidisciplinary integration, and research, emphasizing the importance of the dental clinic as a centre of collaboration in health promotion and disease prevention.

WELFARE AND THE BENEFITS TO PUBLIC HEALTH

Together with the above, specific cross initiatives have been planned with a clear focus on welfare, based on prevention and on active strategies of health promotion which also include the patient’s perspective. The aim is to work on two specific fronts: to spread and promote the role of the dental clinic, while encouraging the contribution of the public health service to periodontal health.

To enhance the role of dental care, activities for training and qualification will be carried out with dentists and dental hygienists, “in order to strengthen their skills and develop the dental clinic as a point of primary prevention of non-communicable diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, working to reduce smoking and to promote healthy lifestyles” said Dr. Adrian Guerrero, SEPA vice president and a member of the SEPA-SEC Working Group, with the support of DENTAID through its VITIS® and Perio·Aid® brands.

The contribution of the public health service is to be achieved by including the promotion of periodontal health in its portfolio, at least among specific population groups: patients with diabetes, patients with high cardiovascular risk or pregnant women.

As stressed by Dr. Adrian Guerrero, “everyone fits into this initiative and we can all add to it”; and although SEPA assumes the scientific and informative leadership of this project, “there is close cooperation with the scientific societies in this paradigm shift for oral health professionals in order for it to be implemented in the coming years with concrete programs of action,” says Dr. David Herrera.

In the development and implementation of this initiative, an intervention strategy has been laid out for the coming years with health goals in six key areas:

  • Promotion of periodontal health: prevention, early detection and proper treatment of periodontal diseases.
  • Promotion of implant health: prevention, early detection and proper treatment of peri-implant diseases.
  • Promotion of cardiovascular health: primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases through the network of “Mimocardio (Cardiocare). Care for your Gums” clinics, with the support of DENTAID.
  • Early detection of diabetes: integration of intervention protocols that allow early detection of undiagnosed diabetes patients at the dental clinic.
  • Prevention and fight against smoking: integration of effective intervention protocols to eradicate tobacco addiction.
  • Promoting healthy habits and lifestyles: placing special emphasis on the prevention of obesity and alcohol abuse, and promoting physical exercise. 

A LONG ROAD

The staging of this alliance and its realisation in a document (the Declaration of Valencia), is the result of both the growing scientific evidence linking gum health with general health, and as a result of the initiatives that have been launched in recent years at an institutional level by SEPA and the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) to which it belongs, and which brings together 29 periodontology societies.

In 2013, the EFP drafted and distributed the “Periodontology and General Health” manifesto with the support of SEPA. This called upon the dental health collective and other health professionals to promote prevention, early detection and treatment of periodontal disease in order to avoid its consequences on general health.

As well as warning that periodontal disease should be recognised as an important public health issue due to its considerable prevalence, it is emphasised that both dentists and other healthcare professionals should have effective screening guidelines and treatment of gum disease, and carry out intervention studies to identify the consequences of its association with general health.

Four key points were highlighted by the manifesto, as a result of scientific evidence reflected in the conclusions of the 9th European Workshop held in Spain: 

  • There is proven scientific evidence linking gum disease, known as periodontitis (sometimes referred to as pyorrhoea) with poorly controlled diabetes, cardiovascular disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
  • Health care for patients requires multidisciplinary approaches between dentists and other health professionals, such as endocrinologists, cardiologists, gynaecologists and primary care physicians.
  • Future periodontology research should address specific objectives in the field of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pregnancy disorders and other systemic conditions, and vice versa.
  • Cooperation between different stakeholders is required, as with the alliance for periodontal and general health included in the Declaration of Valencia.
 
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