Danine Fresch Gray, DDS
How do you incorporate your “Mouth, Mind and Body” philosophy into your practice?
Most people see their dentist more often than their primary care physician, so we really are the first line of defense for our patients. A comprehensive oral exam reveals so much about a patient’s overall physical and emotional well-being, including signs of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and vitamin deficiencies. What’s going on in your mouth is an excellent indicator of what’s going on in the rest of your body. For example, systemic inflammation is the number one factor in atherosclerosis and chronic disease. Research has also shown that chronic periodontitis increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 70%. By elucidating this connection and showing them that a healthy mouth is part of a healthy body, we help our patients take control of their own health.
What are your goals for the future?
A new patient recently emailed to thank me for giving her a thorough explanation of what is contributing to her problems—and for explaining how those issues might impact her later on. She said our discussion gave her a lot to think about. My goal has always been to educate and guide my patients. I want to help them live longer and truly enjoy life. I want grandkids to be able to spend more quality time with their grandparents because they are all healthier for longer.
Our team has long said, “On a good day, we create beautiful smiles. On a great day, we save lives.” That phrase guides us every day. My job is not only to help my patients understand how their oral health affects their overall health, but also to motivate them to make wise choices that will benefit them now and for years to come.