This Week in Perio
Sept. 22, 2010

Gum disease found to be significant public health concern
PR Newswire
The prevalence of periodontal disease in the United States may be significantly higher than originally estimated. Research published in the Journal of Dental Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Periodontology suggests that the prevalence of periodontal disease may have been underestimated by as much as 50 percent. The implication is that more American adults may suffer from moderate to severe gum disease than previously thought. In a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey pilot study, funded by the CDC's Division of Oral Health, a full-mouth, comprehensive periodontal examination was conducted on more than 450 adults above age 35.More

Study links gum disease with Alzheimer's
Poughkeepsie Journal
We wiggle the baby tooth that's about to fall out. When it does, the "tooth fairy" slips some cash under our pillow. That permanent tooth arrives, only to be forgotten and virtually ignored. Dr. Henry Chiang, a Newport Beach, Calif., dentist who has launched a 2010 Oral Health Campaign for Seniors, wants to reverse that attitude. His efforts to make seniors more aware of gum disease and denture care comes at the same time that New York University dental researchers have found the first long-term evidence that periodontal disease could increase the risk of cognitive dysfunction associated with Alzheimer's disease in healthy individuals as well as those already impaired.More

Association between COPD and gum disease
Today, brushing and flossing those pearly whites never has been more important. Why? Although more data is needed to support these findings, research suggests that there is an association between gum disease and COPD. Scientists at the University of New York in Buffalo analyzed both the oral and lung health of nearly 14,000 participants from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They discovered that patients who had a history of COPD had more periodontal attachment loss than did patients who did not have COPD. More specifically, they found that patients who had a mean attachment loss of 3 millimeters or greater were at a higher risk of developing COPD than were patients whose mean attachment loss was less than 3 millimeters.More

Study: Large companies more likely to offer dental insurance
HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report
Larger companies and those in more populated areas of the United States are more likely to offer dental insurance to workers, finds the first comprehensive study on the issue. The analysis of state-by-state and nationwide dental insurance coverage offered by 6.4 million employers was conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland Dental School in Baltimore and the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. They found that 56 percent of U.S. companies offered health insurance, 35 percent offered dental insurance, and 63 percent of those that offered health insurance also offered dental insurance.More

Gum bacteria can cause clots, heart attack
Dental Health Magazine
Researchers in the U.K. have determined that there is another reason for people to continue flossing and brushing their teeth. It turns out that the same bacteria of the gums that causes dental plaque may get in the bloodstream and cause clots that will increase risk of heart disease and heart attack. This study was conducted by researchers for two different universities in Ireland and was presented at a meeting of the Society for General Microbiology at the University of Nottingham.More

Study: Gum disease linked to premature births
U.S. scientists have found a link between the success of gum disease treatment for pregnant women and the chances of them giving birth prematurely. The University of Pennsylvania study looked at 322 pregnant women with gum disease. The group was split in half. One group was given scaling and root planing as well as training on better oral hygiene. The other group received only oral hygiene training. The number of preterm births was high in both the treatment group and the untreated group. Within the treatment group of 160 women, the treatment was a success for 49 women. Only four had a preterm baby. The treatment was unsuccessful for 111 women, however, and 69 of these had preterm babies.More

New survey proves it's difficult to pay for good dental health care
Sixty percent of adults older than age 45 who have incomes of less than $25,000 each year are finding it more difficult to pay for living and health expenses after they retire, according to the AARP Closer Look June 2010 survey. Because of the recent recession, many of these adults have been forced to cut back on things like oral health. The survey reports that almost 40 percent of these individuals have canceled or rescheduled dental treatments within the last six months. The number of appointments that were postponed by individuals of the same age who made more than $25,000 annually was nearly 20 percent.More

New chemical surface improves compatibility of dental implants
Medical News Today
Dental implants have offered a successful way to restore teeth for more than 20 years. New challenges for improving the process include shortening the time to restore functionality and meeting aesthetic demands. Altering implant surfaces to help promote bone integration is one solution. SLActive, a new chemically modified surface for titanium, has shown positive results in this area.More

Christine Stevens Mills: What about thumb sucking?
Earlier this year, I had the privilege to speak to a group of dental hygiene students. They were very enthusiastic to expand their knowledge in the area of orofacial myofunctional disorders. After being asked a volume of interesting questions regarding "thumb-sucking habits," the students inspired me to write this article. Typically, a dental hygienist does not receive in-depth diagnostic information regarding thumb-sucking habits and the contributing complications. Two questions have been repeatedly asked and still frequently are asked today: "Does thumb sucking interfere with dental development and create malocclusions?" and "Does this child need to stop thumb/finger sucking?"More

Dr. Stuart Rich: Exposing more dental myths
Auburn Reporter
In my last article, we debunked several myths about baby teeth. This month we are going to tackle a few more misconceptions about your dental health.More

Smokers are at high risk of contracting periodontal disease
If you are a regular smoker, here is a good reason to kick the butt. Studies have proved that smoking is one of most significant factors in the development of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, which affects people in the age group of 30 to 60, go hand-in-hand, say dentists. "For a regular smoker, even good oral hygiene may not be good enough to save his or her gums," says Dr. Arjun Das, root canal specialist at Sagar Apollo Hospital.More

The connection between oral health, systemic diseases
Medical News Today
It's not news that there is a significant link between one's oral health and overall health. Although studies are ongoing, researchers have known for quite some time that the mouth is connected to the rest of the body. "Your mouth is the entry point of many bacteria," said Dr. Steven Grater, Pennsylvania Dental Association member and general dentist from Harrisburg. "To keep this bacteria from going into your body, cleaning your mouth is necessary."More

The sale: Some tips for promoting needed restorative treatment
As dental hygienists today we are educated and trained to focus patient needs on preventive dentistry, treating all stages of periodontal disease and discussing whole body health as it relates to oral health. But in today's saturated market for our profession, we must find ways to strengthen our role in the dental practice and make ourselves more valuable as team members. One way to achieve this is to learn how to sell the restorative dental treatment your patients need. Many of us have no sales experience, and although most of the practice management companies that dental offices hire focus on increasing production, they usually do not train the staff on how to sell the product — the restorative needs.More