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prevention International magazine for oral health No. 1, 2018

| science of prophylaxis The holistic connection between oral and general health By DTI To discuss about the future in holistic healthcare ed- ucation, prevention met up with Dr Marzia Massignani, Global Scientific Affairs Manager for Sunstar, at the company’s new Étoy headquarters in Switzerland— just a stone’s throw from the beautiful Lake Geneva. “The holistic connection between oral and general health really is our main focus,” she explained. “By tak- ing care of your oral health, you are taking care of your general health. Interestingly, there is still so much that can and needs to be studied in this field. The biggest challenge, however, is gaining people’s attention. Peo- ple are being bombarded with information in the form of blogs, journals, social media, and so on. Obviously, oral and general health information easily get lost along the way.” Where did Sunstar’s holistic approach to well-being originate? Dr Marzia Massignani: Prior to his death of compli- cations from diabetes, Kunio Kaneda, Sunstar founder, made it very clear in his last few hours of conversations with his son, Hiroo, that he wanted him to search for the best professionals working around diabetes. As a repre- sentative of Sunstar at the Sunstar Portside Symposium in Kobe in Japan in 1987, Hiroo addressed the link between diabetes and oral health. There had been a number of studies done before, but by bringing this link to the atten- tion of the scientific community and promoting research on the subject, he really opened up the way for a new field of study that is now widely accepted and researched. Of course, this vision has now been taken up and driven by the third generation, led by CEO Yoshihiro Kaneda. Is there a difference in how oral health and other medical specialists regard this interconnection? We have been doing research on how diabetes asso- ciations communicate with patients and found that this link sometimes is not stressed enough. We gained the impression that this idea is still not widely accepted in the medical community and that there is more input provided by periodontists than diabetes researchers at present. However, in World Health Organization reports and the International Diabetes Federation guidelines, diabetes is already described as being linked to periodontal disease and vice versa. Moreover, as part of a project Sunstar funded, the European Federation of Periodontology and the International Diabetes Federation released a number of new guidelines for dental professionals, medical pro- fessionals and patients. So, although more organisations are starting to address this link, Sunstar still has an im- portant role in educating the wider public and supporting health professionals. In the process, we have developed a virtual reality tool showcasing the connection between oral and general health. It is a purely scientific and non-commercial proj- ect that is to be launched at the upcoming EuroPerio9 congress in June. In fact, we already showed it at the last International Diabetes Federation congress because we wanted to gain the attention of diabetes specialists too. If we connect a new medium that people have not experienced yet to our holistic health message, there is Dr Marzia Massignani 10 prevention 1 2018

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