SADJ Editorial 2013
22 October 2013
An exiting year is drawing to an end. It felt like a rollercoaster ride out of control where often one wondered whether it would not be better to jump off in an attempt to avoid disaster. Thankfully, I think that most of us were successful in our attempts to stay on… holding on for dear life!
The South African Society for Periodontology hopes that the informative papers published in the SADJ this year, designed to create awareness of the link between Periodontitis and Systemic Health, have stimulated thought and created debate amongst health care providers responsible for the management of patients with Periodontitis. The intricate pathways on how Periodontitis may be associated with Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes and many other systemic afflictions were reviewed in these publications by local authors from the teaching institutions. We are grateful for the efforts of our colleagues at the Universities of The Western Cape and of The Witwatersrand who brought this invaluable material to readers of the SADJ. The topic has also received attention in all the major international Periodontal journals, many of which, however, are not readily available to the majority of South African readers.
Press releases were effected in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. These coincided with the publications appearing in the SADJ and were structured to provide the general public with this very important information. It was most interesting to observe the reaction to the disclosure that sexual performance could be linked to periodontal health. I attended the press conference in Cape Town, when Professor Shangase eloquently provided information on the association between Periodontitis and Cardiovascular disease and the corresponding link to Erectile Dysfunction. That received a lot of attention from the journalists. Friends, family, colleagues and patients were also intrigued, after the topic had been aired in the form of interviews on Radio Sonder Grense as well as on the SABC platform. There was even the odd phone call from long forgotten friends.
It was great to stimulate the public into talking about the importance of their periodontal health and the potential hidden negative effects which Periodontitis could have on their day-to-day lives.
It is of the utmost importance that different health care professionals work together to manage the health of our patients. Periodontal maintenance after treatment of active Periodontitis is important to maintain that quality of health. After all, a pretty smile relies not only on the presence of healthy teeth, but very much also on healthy gingivae. The goal to achieve oral health is a shared responsibility that must to be managed by all in the dental team.
With the help of SADA, The Society for Periodontology is currently working on arranging a star-studded congress in March next year, to be held at The Emperors Palace in Johannesburg. The lecturers identified by SASP will bring to the podium up to date information on Oral Medicine, Periodontology and Implant-related topics. SASP, in collaboration with SADA, will also establish membership opportunities for general dentists in SASP. Watch this space!
Dr Johann Lochner
President of The South African Society for Periodontolog