This Week in Perio
Feb. 29, 2012

Study links high fiber to healthy gums in older vets
U.S. researchers who followed healthy male veterans for up to 24 years found that older men who ate more high-fiber fruits were less likely to show signs of gum disease. For more than 600 men participating in a long-running Veterans Affairs dental study, each serving of high-fiber food was linked to an almost 30 percent lower likelihood of lost teeth and a 24 percent lower risk of bone loss associated with receding gums. The apparent benefit wasn't seen in men younger than 65, and when the researchers looked more closely at the types of foods that made a difference, high-fiber fruits like bananas, apples or prunes were the only ones that seemed to offer protection, they report in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.More

Research: Brushing teeth could prevent meningitis
The Telegraph
Brushing one's teeth and flossing regularly could help prevent meningitis, a study that identifies a link between a common type of mouth bacteria and the disease suggests.More

Shedding light on the link between periodontitis, diabetes, CVD, and more
After more than three decades spent exploring the connections between periodontal disease and other diseases and health conditions, Dr. Robert Genco believes he has the big picture. He sees periodontal disease as synergistically bound together with a set of other afflictions, including diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease — disorders that burden and kill millions of Americans. "There's a term for that," he said. "It's a syndemic." The tie that binds them? "Systemic inflammation is a reasonable hypothesis," said Genco, a distinguished professor of oral biology and microbiology at the University at Buffalo. (May require free registration to view article.)More

An apple a day keeps the dentist away
Journal Sentinel
More than two-thirds of children will have at least one cavity before their 19th birthday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. While tooth decay remains one of the most common health problems in children, it is also the most preventable, experts say. "With proper education and regular dentist appointments, children can go their whole life without dental health problems," says LaVerne Johnson, dental assistant instructor at Everest College - Fort Worth South. Johnson, along with the other dental assistant instructors at the Everest campuses across Texas, understands the importance of maintaining good dental health. Johnson has a few tips on what children and parents can do to protect and strengthen their smiles for years to come.More

More Americans turning to costly hospital care for preventable dental problems
Already stressed state budgets are shouldering an extra burden to cover expensive emergency room treatment for toothaches and other avoidable dental ailments, according to a new report by the Pew Center on the States. A Costly Dental Destination estimates that preventable dental conditions were the primary reason for 830,590 ER visits by Americans in 2009 — a 16 percent increase from 2006. Pew concludes that states can reduce hospital visits, strengthen oral health and reduce their costs by making modest investments to improve access to preventive care.More

What your mouth can tell you about your health
White teeth and fresh breath are a dental care bonus, but the real payoff of proper daily cleaning and dental checkups is healthy gums. Healthy gums equal healthy teeth and a whole lot more. "Up to 80 percent of the population unknowingly has some form of gum disease," says Dr. Pankaj Singh, founder of NYC's Arch Dental Associates. "Gum disease causes little discomfort and produces few obvious symptoms in the early stages. But we consider gum disease a problem that can affect the whole body." Indeed, gum disease — also known as gingivitis — is linked to increased risk for stroke, heart attack, preterm births, diabetes complications, Alzheimer's and dementia. "We must address gum disease as a serious, whole health concern," Singh said.More

Are your teeth aging too soon?
The Sun
One in four Brits now considers dental care a luxury rather than a necessity, according to new research. A study carried out among 10,000 adults found that 1 in 4 has dodged the dentist's chair for 18 months, while 1 in 9 has not been for more than five years. Rising treatment costs have also led to four out of ten people claiming they simply cannot afford to have their teeth checked regularly. The study also found that 1 in 2 parents admits they have taken their child to the dentist too late, with more than 1 in ten kids needing a filling before they were 5.More

Dental health should be a priority for pregnant women
Cosmetic Dentistry Guide
Hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy increase the risk of dental health problems and dentists and public health experts are eager to encourage pregnant women to visit their dentist on a regular basis. Several studies have found a link between gum disease and complications during pregnancy. A study carried out by Dr Steven Offenbacher, from the Dental School at the University of North Carolina, confirmed a direct link between gum disease and premature birth in pregnant women. The study involved two groups of pregnant women, one group that rinsed their mouths with water and another that rinsed with mouthwash. Of the group that washed with mouthwash only 1 in 20 had a premature baby, in contrast to 1 in 4 for the group that rinsed with water.More

Ask the implant and restorative dentist: Implants are great for ill-fitting dentures
The Palm Beach Post
Q: My dentures no longer fit, and I've been embarrassed with them slipping off while eating and talking. Should I consider implants?
A: Yes! Implants are a great way to support your denture. They will hold your upper and or lower denture secure without coming loose. You will no longer have to rely on denture adhesives and the mess they bring. In addition to holding your dentures in place, implants will also prevent the continued loss of bone from your maxilla and mandible that begins when your teeth are removed. It is this bone loss that is the culprit for your loose and ill-fitting denture.More

Doctors: Mouth bacterium can enter through bleeding gums
Catholic Online
A mouth bacterium with potentially deadly consequences can potentially enter the bloodstream through bleeding gums, researchers say. Scientists from the University of Zurich in Switzerland isolated the lethal bug, streptococcus tigurinus, in the bloodstream of patients with meningitis, spondylodiscitis, which is inflammation of the spine and endocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart.More

Implants and the dental landscape
Dental implants have changed the landscape of dentistry for many patients. Patients previously would suffer with edentulous areas that could not be restored and endure the consequences of lack of function, aesthetics, speech, and health that these edentulous areas caused. Over the past few decades, implant dentistry has grown to be a $1.5 million business in the United States alone. Implants have enhanced the lives of so many patients. Hygienists play an important role in the education of patients regarding implants, initially proposing treatments, discussing surgical and prosthetic options, and providing professional maintenance care while instructing patients on home care options. Are you maintaining your education regarding the rapidly evolving implant landscape?More

Infection, snoring, even diet soda may play havoc with your heart
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Most people know that coronary heart disease is firmly linked to five basic risk factors: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and smoking. But heart disease is a threat to practically everyone, not just hefty couch potatoes who smoke. As scientists delve deeper into what causes and contributes to unhealthy hearts, they are finding an increasingly complex disease process. Inflammation, infection, and immune dysfunction are key players in the clogging, narrowing and "hardening" of arteries that can lead to a complete cutoff of blood flow — a heart attack.More

UCLA Pipeline program opens doors for future dentists
The University of California-Los Angeles School of Dentistry is doing its part to ensure the dental profession remains within reach for students from underprivileged backgrounds. The school offers three programs designed to help high school students, college students, and graduates obtain skills and experience in dental research, understand the issues facing the profession, and guide them down the path to becoming practicing dentists. (May require free registration to view article.)More