Kriston L. Reisnour, RDH, BSDH, CCSH, CSOM is an accomplished speaker, writer and dental hygienist with 29 years of combined experience working in periodontal, cosmetic, general and dental sleep medicine practices across the United States. Licensed as a RDH in five states, credentialed as a clinical sleep health educator, and a certified specialist in orofacial myology, she is expertly trained in oral-systemic health using the evidence-based BaleDoneen Method for the prevention of heart attack, stroke and diabetes, which has been shown in two recent peer-reviewed studies to detect, stabilize and reverse cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading killer of American men and women.
Not only is Kriston a graduate of the BaleDoneen Preceptorship continuing medical education/continuing education course, which she has attended five times, but she also has extensive training in sleep dentistry, ozone, laser and neuromuscular care, and non-invasive periodontal therapy, enabling her to protect and optimize all facets of patient care. Her mission as the Dental Program Manager for the BaleDoneen Method (BDM) is to educate dental providers about their potentially lifesaving role in heart attack and stroke prevention. A recent peer-reviewed BDM paper has been hailed as “landmark” because it was the first to identify periodontal bacteria as a contributing cause of CVD.
“What’s exciting about the BaleDoneen Method is that medical and dental providers work together to prevent heart attacks and strokes with a unique oral-systemic approach to optimizing arterial wellness,” says Kriston, who is highly experienced in coaching dental teams about their role in protecting and enhancing cardiovascular wellness in today’s integrated healthcare environment. “Periodontal disease, which affects about half of adults over 30, is a medical problem with a dental solution,” she adds. “Using the DNA testing for high-risk pathogens recommended by the BaleDoneen Method, and treating patients who harbor these dangerous bacteria, takes dental practice to the next levels of excellence in patient outcomes.”
The BaleDoneen Method currently offers a variety of benefits for dental providers, include its Dental Endorsement Program, its Online Oral and Arterial Wellness Course, the 2-day Preceptorship course, which is approved by the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Academy of General Dentistry for up to 17.5 credits, the Online BaleDoneen 8.5-hour Course and monthly Scientific Updates to keep graduates of the Preceptorship Course on the leading edge of heart attack and stroke prevention. Kriston and the BDM team will also be developing additional educational programs and networking events to foster medical-dental collaboration, with the goal of eradicating CVD as the leading killer by 2020.
Kriston has presented on the BaleDoneen Method and the oral-systemic connection at the Washington Dental Hygienist Association’s annual symposium and other events and serves as a member of the BDM Speakers Bureau. She has also written for RHD Magazine. Her passion for CVD prevention that is fueled by personal experience. When she was 45, an ultrasound test (carotid intima-media thickness, or cIMT) performed at her initial BaleDoneen Preceptorship a medical conference revealed plaque in her neck arteries. “That was very frightening because my dad died at 60 from a massive heart attack and I lost my mom at 58 to heart failure and vascular complications of what may have been a previously undiagnosed abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA),” she says.
Kriston told her doctor about the cIMT results. “He said there was nothing to worry about because he thought I was too young to have cardiovascular disease,” she recalls. “And even though my blood pressure was high at 140/90, he didn’t consider it a big deal.” Actually, high blood pressure is the leading no. 1 risk factor for stroke and a stealthy assassin that wreaks silent havoc on every organ in the body, if untreated. Additionally, she was then obese, with little time to exercise due to a long commute and hectic work schedule.
Empowered by knowledge she’d gained in the preceptorship course, she asked for several tests recommended by the BDM. These confirmed that she had CVD, with 50% to 70% blockage in her carotid arteries, and also had insulin resistance, the root cause of about 70% of heart attacks and almost all cases of type 2 diabetes. Kriston recently underwent a comprehensive BDM evaluation at the Heart Attack & Stroke Prevention Center in Spokane, Washington, and learned that she is a carrier of the 9P21 “heart attack” gene. As discussed in the bestselling BaleDoneen book, Beat the Heart Attack Gene: The Revolutionary Plan to Prevent Heart Disease, Stroke and Diabetes, about 50% of Americans carry this gene, which multiplies risk for heart attacks and strokes, often at a young age, and also boosts risk for AAA.
Ironically, the dental hygienist also had elevated levels of one of the high-risk oral bacteria that the BDM study implicated as a contributing cause of arterial plaque and is currently being treated with the non-invasive periodontal therapy she has performed numerous times on her patients. “Without testing to measure oral pathogens through DNA analysis, there would have been no way to tell that I had dangerously elevated levels because my gums don’t bleed and my entire mouth looks very healthy.”
Now 54, she considers herself to be living proof that the BDM really works. “I’m approaching the age when my father had the fatal heart attack–and carry a high-risk gene for cardiovascular events–but I feel very confident that I won’t have one. All of my risk factors have been identified and are being managed with personalized therapies. For example, the tests Dr. Amy Doneen did showed that I was on the wrong statin for my genotype, so she switched me to one that’s much more effective for people with my genetic makeup. She also prescribed a blood pressure medication that I’d needed from the start.”
Kriston also follows a diet based on her DNA, has stepped up her activity level and has lost 25 pounds. Her blood pressure and insulin resistance are now under control and she’s made a variety of healthy changes in her lifestyle. “Thanks to the optimal oral-systemic care I’m getting from my medical and dental providers, I feel great! After experiencing for myself what the BDM can accomplish, I’m more passionate than ever about educating dental teams about what they can do to save and improve patients’ lives, not just their smiles.”