Oral health is consistently linked to overall health and wellness. The mouth serves as a helpful vantage point for determining signs and symptoms of early disease in many parts of the body. The Academy of General Dentistry reports that more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases produce oral signs and symptoms. The American Dental Association links poor oral health to heart disease, diabetes, pregnancy complications and more.
Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems want to ensure that the connection between oral health and overall health is not overlooked. In 2017, MHA received a grant from Delta Dental to study the relationship between oral health and ventilator-associated pneumonia. A committee was formed of nurses, dentists, respiratory therapists, oral surgeons, speech language pathologists and others. Its goals are to provide resources and tools for hospitals to enhance the oral care patients receive in the medical setting.