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Relationship of Dental and Oral Pathology to Systemic Illness

Harold C. Slavkin, DDS; Bruce J. Baum, DMD, PhD
JAMA. 2000;284(10):1215-1217. doi:10.1001/jama.284.10.1215.
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The classic dental diseases, caries and periodontal disease, are commonly thought to have little effect on systemic health. These diseases result from infections by microbes with highly specific adhesion mechanisms in the mouth.1 Systemic disease resulting from infectious oral microbes is generally recognized to occur in patients with immunological and nutritional deficiencies, such as when individual host defenses are compromised, allowing oral microbes to gain systemic access. Systemic complications from oral microbes are usually thought to be confined to only a few specific clinical scenarios, such as bacterial endocarditis.2 Given this perspective, it is understandable that primary care physicians pay little attention to oral microbial infections and dental diseases.3

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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