What is it?
We have a pretty simple goal here: better health, for everyone.
Where the Mind Meets the Mouth began as a conference in 2015, hosted by North Richmond Community Health. The conference aimed to explore how issues like family violence, drug use and mental illness related to oral health.
What we got were new connections, new information, dozens of resources, great feedback and a wealth of new ideas.
Those new ideas turned into practical changes for North Richmond Community Health, like the introduction of our mindfulness program for our oral health staff. They also gave rise to 2016’s conference, Putting the Mouth Back into the Body.
This website is a home for all the insights, knowledge and information shared at our events and beyond. Whether you’re a researcher, a clinician, a journalist, a community member, a worker or an advocate, you’ll find information about innovative approaches to health here.
Why does it matter?
Poor oral health can disrupt speech, sleep and productivity, erode self-esteem, psychological and social wellbeing, and impact relationships and general quality of life. Studies have demonstrated that both periodontal disease and total loss of teeth were associated with greater risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. There is a growing body of evidence indicating that the professional boundaries between oral health and general health may not result in the best health outcomes.
It’s time to change the way we do things.
Some quick facts:
Obesity and oral health
- Childhood obesity is associated with reduced salivary flow rate and dental disease (Modéer et al, 2010).
- Overweight children in public and private school in the US are more likely to have dental decay than non-obese children (Tripathi et al, 2010).
Diabetes and oral health
- People with poorly controlled diabetes are twice as likely to develop gum disease than those with well-controlled blood sugar (Lamster et al, 2008).
- Periodontal disease is considered as the ‘sixth complication’ of diabetes (Löe, 1993).
- It is suspected the relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes goes both ways. However, many patients and healthcare providers are unaware of this (Al-Khabbaz et al, 2011).
Mental health and oral health
- People with mental health problems show significantly higher levels of dental disease (Friedlander & Mahler 2001; Friedlander & Marder, 2002).
- Most antidepressants cause a lack of saliva, resulting in dry mouth, with some having a major impact on oral health (Page, 2007).
Disability and oral health
- Gum disease has been noted to be about seven times as frequent in people with developmental disabilities compared to the general population (Scott et al, 1998).
About North Richmond Community Health
North Richmond Community Health, Wulumperi-Kertheba, has been caring for people on Wurundjeri land for more than 40 years. Although we’re proud to be located on the North Richmond housing estate, we work across Australia and internationally.
Our award-winning work has attracted the attention of the public and our colleagues in healthcare. We are dedicated to collaboration and innovation, to ultimately improve the lives of people in our communities.
North Richmond Community Health works on land owned by Wurundjeri people. We pay our respects to elders past and present, and acknowledge the impact of colonialism on all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Our Aboriginal name, Wulempuri-Kertheba, given to us by Wurundjeri elders, means ‘staying healthy together’ in Woiwurrung.