Studying the diseases and disorders affecting craniofacial tissues can provide scientists with models of systemic pathology.
Because some craniofacial tissues such as bones, mucosa, muscles, joints, and nerve endings have counterparts in other parts of the body and these tissues are often more accessible to research analysis than deeper-lying tissues.
Researchers studying craniofacial tissues can gain valuable insights into how cancer develops, the role of inflammation in infection and pain, effects of diet and smoking, consequences of depressed immunity, and the changes arising from mutated genes.
Other craniofacial tissues—teeth, gingiva, tongue, salivary glands, and the organs of taste and smell—are unique to the craniofacial complex.
Study of the diseases affecting these tissues has revealed a wealth of information about their special nature as well as the molecules and mechanisms normally operating for the protection, maintenance, and repair of all the oral, dental, and craniofacial tissues.
When factors disturb these nurturing elements, the oral health scale can tip toward disease.
When those factors stem from systemic diseases or disorders, the mouth can sometimes mirror the body’s ill health.
Similarly underscoring the connection between oral and general health are studies suggesting that poor dental health may heighten the risk for both cardiovascular disease and stroke independently of factors such as social class and established cardiovascular risk factors.
The interplay between craniofacial and systemic health and disease has become a lively focus of interest and research. This will be discussed in later articles
- Microbial infections, including those caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi, are the primary cause of the most prevalent oral diseases. Examples include dental caries, periodontal diseases, herpes labialis, and candidiasis.
- The aetiology and pathogenesis of disorders affecting the craniofacial structures are multifactorial and complex, involving interplay among genetic, environmental, and behavioural factors.
- Many inherited and congenital conditions affect the craniofacial complex, often resulting in disfigurement and impairments involving many body organs and systems.
- Tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, and inappropriate dietary practices cause many diseases and disorders. In particular, tobacco use is a risk factor for oral cavity and pharyngeal cancers, periodontal diseases, candidiasis, and dental caries, among other diseases.
- Some chronic diseases, such as Sjögren’s syndrome, present with primary oral symptoms.
- Oral-facial pain conditions are common and often have complex aetiologist.
I hope you find this article to be enlightening, as it’s my hope to expand the horizons of oral health discussion.
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