This Week in Perio
March 9, 2011

Debating what to make of link between gum disease, heart health
St. Petersburg Times via The Seattle Times
If you've been putting off that visit to the dentist, figuring if you don't have a toothache there's nothing to worry about, think again. In addition to watching out for your teeth and gums, dentists also look for oral cancers and other health conditions that may announce themselves in your mouth. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests there is a link between dental health and heart disease. That's one reason why your dentist may prescribe aggressive treatment for gum disease, or even send you to the cardiologist. St. Petersburg, Fla., dentist John Ferullo is among those who think the link is strong enough to warrant screening some patients with gum disease for a blood protein called CRP. High levels of C-reactive protein are associated with increased heart attack and stroke risk, although exactly how they're linked isn't fully understood.More

Healthy gums may lower risk of heart disease, stroke
Dentists frequently tell their patients that poor oral health may result in periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, but individuals who do not heed their dentists' warnings also may be increasing their risk of developing serious cardiovascular conditions. Periodontal disease typically is caused by plaque buildup that has been left untreated for a long period of time. Other dental problems such as crooked teeth, rough edges of fillings, and ill-fitting or unclean braces, dentures, bridges, or crowns can also irritate the gums and result in periodontal disease. The American Academy of Periodontology explains that the bacteria, which is produced at the sites of gum disease, can enter the blood stream and aid in the formation of blood clots.More

Dr. Robert Pearson: The advantage of implants
Savannah Morning News
The American Dental Association recognizes the dental implant to be the most successful replacement of the single missing tooth. As such, the dental implant and restoration have come to the forefront of dentistry. The wonderful advantage of dental implants is the ability to function as real teeth. A dental implant is actually a two-part procedure. The first consists of a titanium screw placed underneath the gum tissue into bone. Some patients have missing bone because of periodontal disease. We have the ability to place cadaver bone, which fills in the missing bone and allows the bone to fill in around the implant. The implant is followed by a custom crown attached to the titanium screw.More

Fight against artery-clogging bacteria begins in the mouth
Tulsa World
Q: Heart disease runs in my family so naturally, I'm worried. A friend told me that brushing your teeth can prevent heart disease. Can this be true?
A: In 2005 researchers at Columbia University Medical Center found that the bacteria that grow in your mouth (promoting the formation of plaque on your pearly whites and causing gum disease) are the exact same germs that contribute to plaque forming in your arteries to cause heart disease. Sounds to me like a darned good reason to brush and floss each day. Earlier this year, researchers in London published a study that lends major support to the recommendation to keep the mouth clear of plaque. The researchers looked at results from the Scottish Health Survey, which collected health data from more than 11,000 men and women, a representative sampling of the general population of Scotland.More

9 ways to add years to your life
The following are nine quick and easy ways to reclaim your youthful side. No. 6 on the list is brush and floss. Gum disease can lead to problems such as stroke, diabetes and respiratory disease. Flossing is your best defense because about 40 percent of your teeth surfaces are unreachable by toothbrush. "What's more, as gum disease eats away at jaw bone, it creates a sunken look that exaggerates wrinkles and makes you look undeniably old," says Dr. Donald Clem, a dentist in private practice in Fullerton, Calif.More

NASA studies body's ability to fight infection
Why do some people get sick while others stay healthy? Since space shuttle Discovery launched into orbit Feb. 24, it has brought NASA scientists one step closer to helping astronauts and the public discover ways to battle and prevent serious illness and infection. Discovery carried a six-member astronaut crew, critical spare parts, and 16 mice that are playing an important role in immune system research during its final flight and mission to the International Space Station. "The goal of our experiment is to discover what triggers and leads to an increased susceptibility to an infection," said Roberto Garofalo, principal investigator of the Mouse Immunology-2 experiment and a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.More

So many toothpastes: Manufacturers, stores limit new introductions
The Wall Street Journal
It should be so easy: Buy toothpaste. But few shopping trips are more bewildering. An explosion of specialized pastes and gels brag about their powers to whiten teeth, reduce plaque, curb sensitivity and fight gingivitis — sometimes all at the same time. Add in all the flavors and sizes, plus ever-rising prices, and the simple errand turns into sensory overload. Manufacturers acknowledge the problem and are putting the brakes on new-product introductions. Last year, 69 new toothpastes hit store shelves, down from 102 in 2007, according to market-research firm Mintel International Group. Procter & Gamble Co., maker of Crest, says it has "significantly" reduced the number of oral-care products it makes worldwide in the past two years.More

Study: Most US patients seek online access to physicians
As a growing number of Americans use the Internet to perform a variety of health-related tasks, a new study shows that nearly three-quarters of those polled say they want the convenience of having an online connection to their doctor's office. These findings come from Intuit Health's second-annual Health Care Check-Up Survey, which found that 73 percent of Americans surveyed would use a secure online communication solution to make it easier to get lab results, request appointments, pay medical bills and communicate with their doctor's office. Doctors should take note of these trends, particularly because a connected office may determine the number of patients they attend to. The survey also found that almost half of respondents would consider switching doctors to a practice that offered the ability to communicate and complete important health care tasks online.More

Dentists get a piece of the Botox pie
Star Tribune
They say regular brushing, flossing and professional tooth cleaning can take years off your true age. So can Botox. Now, the two go hand-in-hand at some Twin Cities dental offices, where at least a few general dentists are tapping into the two fastest-growing cosmetic treatments of the past decade by offering Botox and dermal filler treatments. "As a dentist, I'm very well trained in the musculature and anatomy of the face, and I feel no other doctor can give an injection better than a qualified and experienced dentist," said Dr. Michael Skadron, who began offering Botox and Juvederm treatments in January at his West River Dental Care in south Minneapolis. "It's a marvelous fit."More

Hygienist publishes book to help children learn oral care
The San Diego Union-Tribune
The picture book is simple and bright, but it carries an important message: Brush your teeth after you eat. Longtime dental hygienist Linda Valderrama's new book, "Brush Barry Brush," has arrived to help get the word out on the importance of good dental health habits. After more than 25 years of dispensing her advice on brushing to patients in dental offices, Valderrama decided it was time to write it down and gear it specifically to children. "I had this idea in my head for many years," she said of the story in which children brush every time they eat, except for Barry, whose teeth turn blue after eating blueberries.More