This Week in Perio
Feb. 2, 2011

Beyond brushing: Easy ways to protect your teeth — and your health
USA Weekend
You know the drill: Brush at least twice a day with soft bristles, don't forget to floss, and visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and exams. Good oral hygiene not only keeps your smile pearly white and gums in good shape, but it could help the rest of you stay healthy, too: Research shows cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis, among other conditions, may be linked to oral health. The following are more tips to protect your teeth, based on the latest research.More

Study: Dentists floundering with Facebook
PR Newswire
A new nationwide study by Verasoni Ah Ha of how dentists use Facebook to promote their practice reveals that dentists are at a loss on Facebook. Data from the study reveal that dentists do not yet understand how to leverage social media channels such as Facebook to engage patients, despite the patient's and consumer's growing engagement with this medium. The study concludes that dentists have not strategically positioned their practices on Facebook, nor have they focused on developing and growing their network. "There is a clear disconnect between the potential of the medium and its utility by dentists. Very few dentists truly understand how to leverage Facebook and other social media properties," said Abe Kasbo, CEO of Verasoni Worldwide.More

Paul Ruffin: Dental implants — the procedure
The Huntsville Item
As is the case with the perfection of any surgical procedure, the process of dental implantation evolved through several stages. For several decades dentists experimented with a number of different materials and configurations — including titanium blades, which were inserted into a groove in the jawbone, and subperiosteal frames, which were attached to the jawbone with screws. Both had abutments to which artificial teeth (individually or bridges or full dentures) were attached after the healing process was complete. The success rates for these early methods of implantation were not terribly impressive, ranging anywhere from 50 percent to 90 percent, and the long-term success rate — 10 years or longer — was not very good at all.More

Health tip: Why do I have gingivitis?
HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report
Gingivitis is a mild type of gum disease. Left untreated, however, it can progress to a more serious form called periodontitis. The American Academy of Periodontology says the following are risk factors for developing gingivitis.More

Need for low-cost dental care in Cook County far exceeds services
Chicago Sun-Times
After losing her job and her health insurance two years ago, Jamila Lawrence was relieved to receive her Medicaid card. That is, until the Bronzeville (Chicago) mother of two tried to use it last year to find a dentist willing to perform a root canal on one of her teeth. "A lot of people do not accept that insurance, especially for anything on the level of a root canal. And everyone I called told me I had to pay up front, in full," she said. "It was frustrating. ... I was in excruciating pain." Lawrence eventually got the root canal last summer after she found a dentist who agreed to put her on a payment plan. But she still struggles to pay out of pocket for her children's check-ups because their dentist doesn't accept Medicaid, either.More

More dentists taking pains to win back fearful patients
The Wall Street Journal
Nearly one-quarter of all Americans avoid dentists because they're afraid, according to American Dental Association surveys. And the fear comes in many forms. There's fear of pain, fear of needles, fear of drills, fear of blood, fear of gagging, fear of feeling helpless or having personal space violated, fear of being lectured for not brushing or flossing adequately and fear of being admonished for staying away so long. "I even hate that sucky thing that vacuums up your saliva," says Carolyn Moody, a Bridgewater, N.J., mother of three who avoided dentists for 10 years. Now she makes sure to bring her iPod. "As soon as I hear that drill, even from another room, my fists clench, my body stiffens and my heart starts pounding," she adds.More

Increased stress levels can result in poor dental health
DentalPlans.com
Decreasing stress may prove an ideal new year's resolution for many. According to a recent Stress in America Survey, nearly 40 percent of adults experience wakefulness at night because of stress. Stress can affect the quality of one's personal and professional life, and can also negatively affect one's dental health by causing canker sore outbreaks and teeth grinding, note the National Institutes of Health. Moreover, according to the American Psychological Association, extreme stress levels can contribute to depression, which has a direct relationship with poor dental health.More

CDC: 26 million Americans have diabetes
WebMD
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 26 million adult Americans have diabetes and that 79 million more have prediabetes, a condition that raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not so high as to result in a diagnosis of diabetes. "These distressing numbers show how important it is to prevent type 2 diabetes and to help those who have diabetes manage the disease to prevent serious complications such as kidney failure and blindness," Ann Albright, Ph.D., R.D., director of the CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation, says in a news release. In addition to well-known health problems caused by diabetes, periodontal disease also is more common in people with diabetes. About one-third of people with diabetes have severe periodontal disease, according to the CDC fact sheet.More

Bacteria possible cause of preterm births
ScienceDaily
The type of bacteria that colonize the placenta during pregnancy could be associated with preterm birth and other developmental problems in newborns according to research published in the current issue of the online journal mBio®. "The fetal inflammatory response appears to contribute to the onset of preterm labor, fetal injury and complications, underlying lifetime health challenges facing these children," say the researchers from Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Children's Hospital of Boston. "Our data suggest that placental colonization by specific groups of organisms can increase or decrease the risk of a systemic inflammatory condition."More

Metal tongue piercings linked to raised infection risks
HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report
If you're considering tongue piercing as a form of self-expression, know that new research suggests that whether the stud used is metal or plastic makes a difference when it comes to chances of infection. Stainless steel studs may collect more bacteria than plastic studs, potentially increasing the risk of infection and other complications, a team of European researchers reports. "Consumers should avoid stainless steel and titanium studs in favor of [plastic], not only because of bacteria and a potentially higher risk of local infection of the piercing channel, but also because of the risk of tooth chipping and gum recession," study author Dr. Ines Kapferer, of Innsbruck Medical University in Austria, said in a statement. Tooth chipping and receding gums, as well as gum disease, are some of the long-term complications associated with tongue piercing, prior research shows.More

Mouth is gateway to body's health
Tampa Bay Newspapers
Your dentist is often the first health practitioner to notice signs of disease in your body. From heart disease to diabetes or arthritis to cancer, the dentist can spot indicators in your mouth that send up a red flag about your overall health. There is a direct correlation between the effects of periodontal disease and the health of the entire body. Periodontal disease is caused by a bacterial infection, which damages the gums and bones around the teeth. The bacteria in the gums can travel to many areas of the body where it can have detrimental effects. Plaque is the main cause of gum disease, but the dentist can easily treat it.More

Tricks to tame dental bills, insured or not
The Associated Press via ABC News
Nearly half of Americans lack dental insurance, and every visit carries the threat of a bill for thousands of dollars. Even those with insurance can face steep costs for major work. Patients often have to pay about 50 percent of the bill after meeting their plan's deductible. On top of that, many plans also have limits of about $1,500 for how much they will pay in a year, and some insurers won't cover pricey procedures like a dental implant. The following are a few tricks for saving money and trying to manage dental work costs.More

Dennis Kucinich sues House cafeteria over olive pit
The Washington Post
Courthouse News Service reports that Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, is suing several companies affiliated with a House office building cafeteria for $150,000 for negligence over an "unfit and unwholesome" sandwich wrap he bought in April 2008 that contained an olive pit. Kucinich says he purchased the wrap at the Longworth Office Building cafeteria nearly three years ago and after biting the pit "sustained serious and permanent dental and oral injuries requiring multiple surgical and dental procedures, and has sustained other damages as well, including significant pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment."More