The oral cavity plays a major role in physiology. Three critical functions are performed by the oral cavity: the intake of foods and beverages, communication, and the protection of the host from noxious substances. Multiple head, neck, and oral tissues have evolved to carry out these vital functions, including the muscles of facial expression, mastication, and deglutition(including the tongue); oral mucosal, dental, and periodontal tissues; salivary glands; and taste and smell receptors. These tissues continually work together to keep the body hydrated and nutritionally healthy, to protect the upper aerodigestive tract, and to provide chemosensory information about foods, beverages, and potentially dangerous substances. Many of these processes and tissues can remain remarkably intact throughout the course of a person’s life, yet numerous systemic diseases and their treatments (e.g., medications, surgery, head and neck irradiation, chemotherapy) can cause significant impairment to oral health. These problems can subsequently lead to pain, malnutrition, infection, compromised communication, and a decrease in quality of life. Several systemic diseases manifest initially through oral appearances, which can be readily examined via noninvasive techniques. Saliva and crevicular fluid (exudate from the periodontal ligament) may replace certain serologic tests in the future, and buccal epithelial cells may provide diagnoses for systemic diseases. Recognition of normal and unusual oral conditions can help improve the prevention, diagnosis, dissemination, and possible management of many systemic diseases.
The general objective of this special edition is to provide an overview of the Oral manifestations of the most prevalent systemic diseases that affect the oral cavity. The scope will be mainly to the professionals of dentistry, oral medicine and maxillofacial surgery as well as all professionals who in one way or another are interested in the subject.