This Week in Perio
Mar. 28, 2012

CDC study links oral infections with serious diseases
Killeen Daily Herald
Bad breath isn't the only side effect of poor dental hygiene. Recent studies are linking oral infections with diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and premature and low-weight births, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While further research is under way to examine some of these connections, much already is known about the link between gum infections and heart problems, said Dr. John Erwin III, a cardiologist with Scott & White Healthcare. "We've had suspicions for a number of years, but studies over the last 10 years have found that out to be true," he said. "Some studies indicate people with poor dental hygiene double their risk for heart disease."More

More US states consider expanding hygienists' duties
What hygienists are allowed to do and where they are allowed to do it would change in a number of ways under proposed bills being considered by states across the U.S. The debate heated up recently in Connecticut during a hearing before the state Public Health Committee. In a public hearing March 21 at the Connecticut State Capitol, for example, members of the Public Health Committee heard testimony from some 80 people regarding HB 5541, which would recognize the practice of expanded function dental auxiliaries (EFDAs) and establish a new certification program for advanced dental hygiene practitioners (ADHPs). (May require free registration to view article.)More

A mouthful of good advice: 4 nutrition tips for oral health
Healthy mouths are a great indicator of healthy bodies. Besides maintaining good oral hygiene, you can give back to your dental duo by consuming foods that improve gum and tooth integrity. The following are some tips for eating your way to a healthier and happier mouth.More

Ask the Doc: Gum disease
The People via DentistryIQ
Q: I'm 29 and I've noticed my gums have started to bleed when I brush my teeth. I look after my teeth and brush them regularly. If I go to my dentist, what might he recommend?
A: It sounds as though you have gum disease, which can be down to a number of causes. There's some evidence that it can even be hereditary.More

Small molecule plays key role in preventing periodontitis
Scientists are discovering that a small protein named developmental endothelial locus 1 (Del-1) can arrest the processes that lead to runaway oral inflammation and periodontitis, particularly in older individuals. In a study published March 25 in Nature Immunology, Dr. George Hajishengallis, and his team — in collaboration with a group led by Dr. Triantafyllos Chavakis — showed that administration of Del-1 in the oral cavity reduces the production of interleukin 17 (IL-17) and also inhibits periodontal bone loss. IL-17 is an important element of the inflammatory cascade. (May require free registration to view article.)More

Digestive problems often seen during dental checkups
The next time you are in the dentist's office for a cleaning, you might want to thank your dental professional for poking around in your mouth and giving it the once-over. As awkward as the probing is, you ought to know that she can detect a number of things — not just gum disease, gingivitis and cavities, but also possible digestive problems. Diabetes, for instance, often is associated with periodontal disease, because both conditions signal more inflammation than usual in your body. Diabetes puts you at risk for gum disease and, in turn, gum disease makes it hard to control blood sugar. Those with diabetes have to take extra care in cleaning their teeth.More

Study: New 'massage method' for brushing teeth quadruples protection against tooth decay
Do you really want to avoid cavities in your teeth? Try massaging them with a high-fluoride toothpaste after lunch. "Rubbing toothpaste onto your teeth increases the fluoride protection by 400 percent," says Dr. Anna Nordström, researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Eight years ago a new brand of toothpaste was launched in Sweden with more than three times as much fluoride as standard toothpaste. Available without prescription, it is aimed primarily at those with high caries risk.More

Study: Bacteria from mouth can lead to heart inflammation
HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report
A type of bacteria from the mouth can cause blood clots and lead to serious heart problems if it enters the bloodstream, a new study indicates. The bacteria, called Streptococcus gordonii, contributes to plaque that forms on the surface of teeth. If the bacteria enters the bloodstream through bleeding gums, it can cause problems by masquerading as human proteins, the researchers found. The study authors, from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, discovered that S. gordonii can produce a molecule on its surface that enables it to mimic the human protein fibrinogen, which is a blood-clotting factor.More

Gum disease linked to diabetes
Even the most beautiful smile can be unhealthy on the inside. If you're gums aren't pink or you're seeing any bleeding during brushing or flossing, that's a health warning you need to take seriously. "It's not going to be a good thing," Dr. Darren Riopelle said. "It's usually some sign of infection or inflammation and there is always going to be a cause for it." Riopelle, of Smile Grand Haven dentistry, has several patients who learned they were pre-diabetic through a dental visit. Amanda Bancuk is one of them, "I noticed that my gums were a little bit more red and sore and it was kind of painful to brush."More

Mom: Son's teeth extracted at school without consent
A San Diego mother is outraged after her 9-year-old son came home from school with four fewer teeth. "I was livid," said Tina Richardson, mother of 9-year-old Alexander Henry. "I jumped out of my car. I ran back to the school. They were all, 'What's wrong? What's wrong?' I was shaking." Alexander, a student at Freese Elementary School in Lomita, currently takes part in the Big Smiles Program, an organization that is contracted by the San Diego Unified School District to provide dental care at no cost to hundreds of local children. Richardson said she signed a form in September, which she believed authorized Big Smiles to examine her son's mouth. Two months later, she received a separate "Exatraction Authorization Form" that indicated Alexander had several teeth with cavities. Richardson said she never signed or returned the form.More

How to treat periodontal disease at home
Dental Health Magazine
The treatment of periodontal disease largely depends on how advanced the condition already is (i.e., the level of infection of your gums). If the mere act of brushing or flossing your teeth causes your gums to bleed, then you may want to see a dentist as soon as possible. There are essentially four different stages of periodontal disease; the first stage is curable, whereas the last three are not. Let your dental hygienist identify your periodontal disease stage.More

Implants rebuilding more smiles
Detroit Free Press via The Kansas City Star
She wasn't even wearing heels. But on the sidewalk near the Southfield, Mich., law firm where she works, Arlene Bordman's loafer got stuck in a crack and "I went right over and landed on my mouth." A few weeks later, she felt something rattling and loose in her upper jaw. Her dentist ended up pulling out her upper four front teeth, just six weeks before her son's May 30 wedding. Bordman, 68, of West Bloomfield, Mich., got through the wedding wearing a flipper: fake front teeth attached to a smooth acrylic denture molded to conform — with a little dental adhesive — to the contours of the palate. While it looked good, she felt like she had to relearn how to talk. It didn't give her the strength to bite into chewy bread.More

What's going to happen during 3 days of arguments on healthcare?
The Washington Post
Starting Monday, the Supreme Court scheduled six hours of oral arguments over three days to consider the constitutionality of healthcare reform, the most time given to a case in more than 45 years. We're certainly in for a historic event — but it might be an entertaining one, too.More