This Week in Perio
Feb. 1, 2012

Link found between pneumonia and oral hygiene
Yale Daily News
Those who don't brush their teeth regularly may be putting themselves at greater risk of contracting pneumonia. Samit Joshi, a postdoctoral fellow in infectious diseases at the Yale University School of Medicine, presented a study at the Infectious Diseases Society of America's annual meeting in Boston, claiming that changes in the types of oral bacteria can have a significant impact on the risk of developing pneumonia. Joshi cited poor oral hygiene as one of the most common risk factors for pneumonia, with the risk doubling if a person has severe gum problems.More

Report outlines challenges for oral health
The Hill
A new report on dental care calls for improving quality through better use of electronic health data, quality measures, payment incentives and expanded use of non-dental professionals to deliver care. The report, funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and the DentaQuest Institute, tracks closely with similar studies in other medical specialties that have outlined ways to get the U.S. healthcare system to pay for quality rather than quantity. Unlike other types of medical care, however, oral health can't rely on Medicare to drive change.More

Cost puts dental care out of reach
United Press International
Dental expenses were among the highest out-of-pocket health expenditures for U.S. consumers in 2008, researchers say. Study author Paul Glassman, a dentist and director of the Pacific Center for Special Care at University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, said the Bureau of Labor Statistics found out-of-pocket dental expenses cost consumers $30.7 billion — 22.2 percent of total out-of-pocket health expenditures. The study found 37 percent of African-American children, 41 percent of Hispanic children and 25 percent of white children have untreated tooth decay.More

Dental health linked to overall health
Public News Service
If a person has good teeth, chances are he or she also has good overall health, and Virginia healthcare providers want to make sure legislators understand that connection. More primary care doctors and dentists are coordinating their services for the benefit of their patients. Peggy Whitehead, executive director of Blue Ridge Medical Center, a community health center that serves thousands of patients, many without health insurance, says her center partners with The Free Clinic of Central Virginia to provide dental treatment and plans to combine dental and medical care under one roof.More

Dental implants: The latest solution for improved aesthetics, patient comfort and oral health after tooth loss
Pomerado News
Over the course of the last several decades, dental technology has improved significantly in terms of solutions for patients dealing with tooth loss. Whether due to trauma, injury, disease or advanced age, tooth loss can contribute to a number of oral health concerns — not to mention individual comfort, aesthetics, and lifestyle changes. But with the advent of modern dental implants, qualified dentists can now offer patients an ideal alternative to dental bridges — one that looks and feels like a natural tooth, and that can be customized to suit each individual patient's needs.More

Dentist who used paper clips instead of stainless steel rods in root canals gets year in jail
The Washington Post
A former Massachusetts dentist was sentenced Monday to one year in jail for using paper clips instead of stainless steel posts in root canals. Dr. Michael Clair pleaded guilty earlier this month to a list of charges, including assault and battery, defrauding Medicaid of $130,000, illegally prescribing medications and witness intimidation. Prosecutors said Clair sometimes used sections of paper clips when performing root canals in an effort to save money. Some of his patients reported infections and other problems. Brenda Almeida said her teenage son's tooth turned black and had to be removed after Clair performed a root canal on him in 2005. She said Clair also performed shoddy dental work on her other two children.More

Ornidazole enhances chronic periodontitis treatment
Using ornidazole in conjunction with scaling and root planing achieves significantly better clinical results in treating moderate to advanced chronic periodontitis than periodontal treatment alone, according to a new study in the Journal of Periodontology. Antibiotics such as lincosamides (clindamycin), macrolides (spiramycin, clarithromycin), penicillins (amoxicillin with clavulanic acid), and tetracyclines (doxycycline) have been used in the past as effective adjuncts for treating various forms of periodontitis, according to the researchers, from the Government Dental College and Research Institute in Bangalore, India. (May require free registration to view article.)More

Genetic variation revealed that raises a risk linked to bisphosphonates
Medical News Today
Researchers at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine have identified a genetic variation that raises the risk of developing serious necrotic jaw bone lesions in patients who take bisphosphonates, a common class of osteoclastic inhibitors. The discovery paves the way for a genetic screening test to determine who can safely take these drugs. The study appears in the online version of the journal The Oncologist. Oral bisphosphonates are currently taken by some 3 million women in the United States for the prevention or treatment of osteoporosis. In addition, intravenous bisphosphonates are given to thousands of cancer patients each year to control the spread of bone cancer and prevent excess calcium (hypercalcemia) from accumulating in the blood.More

Teeth and gums reveal the inside story of your overall health
NewsCore via Times Herald-Record
While an old saying advises that "the eyes are the window to the soul," modern dental research says the mouth provides an even better view of the body as a whole. Some of the earliest signs of diabetes, cancer, immune disorders, hormone imbalances and drug issues show up in the gums, teeth and tongue long before a patient knows anything is wrong. And there's growing evidence that oral health problems, particularly gum disease, raise the risk of some illnesses.More

Is a new type of provider the answer to our dental crisis?
Even though most of us know we should go to the dentist, too many don't. Nearly 50 million Americans live in areas without enough dentists, and that means a lot of people are skipping their annual cleaning. A recent study from the Washington state Health Association showed that severe toothaches are the number one reason people without insurance end up in the emergency room. Some state legislators say the answer is a new kind of dental provider. But a professional organization that represents dentists in Washington state is against it. KUOW's Lesley McClurg reports.More

5 best reasons to drink tea
MSN Health
Tea is hot: Americans downed more than 3 billion gallons of it in 2010. Worldwide, tea is the most widely consumed beverage after water. And a daily cup or two confers surprising health benefits, research shows. "There's been a lot of research about tea's beneficial compounds," says integrative nutritionist Beth Reardon of Duke University. "For example, it's one of the richest sources of antioxidants you can consume." The following are five tea benefits worth lifting your teacup to, which include providing tea and gum protection.More

Dental do's & don'ts: How to keep your teeth healthy without going broke
Consumer Reports via DentistryIQ
Going to the dentist is no one's idea of a good time, but the 51,768 Consumer Reports subscribers who discussed their oral health nevertheless overwhelmingly were satisfied with their dental care. In fact, they rated it higher than most other services and on a par with the care they got from their doctors. What's more, few readers reported experiencing anything beyond mild pain — even for the infamous root canal. That doesn't mean all is well. The survey revealed the following problems.More