The most important thing dentists can do for their patients is explain the “oral systematic connection,” i.e. how dental health indelibly impacts their overall health. With that in mind, dentists should emphasize a “total wellness” program with patients so that they can not only diagnose, treat and hopefully prevent periodontal disease—which is linked to a variety of serious ailments, including cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes and stroke—but also detect other previously undiagnosed problems. For instance, by asking a patient about his or her sleep patterns, a dentist can figure out whether or not he or she is suffering from a sleep disorder. Up to 70 million Americans are suffering from some kind of chronic sleep disorder, yet between 80 and 90 percent of those cases have never been diagnosed Knowing their patients’ medical history and conditions can allow a dentist to have an impact well beyond their dental care!