This Week in Perio
April 14, 2010

IOM committee asked to back dental professionals
Leaders of four dental professional groups on March 31 asked an Institute of Medicine committee to give their members a higher profile in government health care programs. It was the second time in a month that these groups traveled to Washington, D.C., in an effort to make oral health care a higher priority for the agency. The committee is one of two that IOM has asked to investigate the nation's oral health care system. (May require free registration to view article.)More

Gum disease linked to head, neck cancer
The health hazards associated with chronic periodontitis extend way beyond the mouth. For years people have been warned that persistent periodontitis can cause heart disease. Now a new study suggests that gum disease also may be a risk factor for cancers of the head and neck. As reported in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, the study included 266 patients with cancers of the head or neck treated between 1999 and 2005, and 207 control subjects.More

A quick fix to access to care
Dentistry IQ
In many areas of the country the shortage of dentists has become a crisis; therefore, many communities are looking for solutions to this shortage. Subsequently, the advent of simple preventive scaling (supragingival scaling)/gross debridement, which basically is providing a partial oral prophylaxis, has been advanced as a solution to this issue. This is a very different solution to increasing access to care than has been proposed the past several years.More

Consumer Reports tests electric toothbrushes
Electric toothbrushes cost significantly more than the manual ones -- some are priced at more than $100. Tests from Consumer Reports show you don't have to spend a load to get good value. If you dread going to the dentist because your teeth are in bad shape, you may have been told you should use an electric toothbrush. "Particularly we recommend electric toothbrushes when people have a history of periodontal disease or gum disease," said dentist Steven Abel.More

Dentures vs. implants: Which are best for seniors?
Dental Health Magazine
Seniors have two methods for replacing lost teeth: dentures or implants. Deciding which is better may seem cumbersome, but it really all comes down to assessing the benefits and disadvantages associated with a denture appliance or having an dental implant procedure performed. After assessing the pros and cons of both options, the senior can make a prudent decision on what treatment method is best.More

Researcher presents regeneration of tissue
The Brown and White
In a seminar titled "Engineering Living Tissue from Scratch," which took place March 31 in Whitaker Laboratory, a professor discussed current research efforts related to the development of novel techniques for the regeneration of bone tissue. The seminar was given by Dr. Mona K. Marei, founder and head of tissue engineering science and technology laboratories at Alexandra University in Egypt. As a former dentist and current professor of prosthetic dentistry, Marei's original motivation for promoting tissue engineering and research was to develop better dental implants.More

Study: Gum disease feared to trigger full-blown AIDS
AFP via Edmonton Journal
An acid produced in the mouth as a result of gum disease invigorates the virus that can lead to full-blown AIDS, a Japanese researcher said, billing the finding as a world first. A group of bacteria causes periodontal disease, posing a threat to the teeth and the entire body, the researcher said. "They produce a large amount of butyric acid, which smells like socks you wore for a long time," said Kuniyasu Ochiai, professor who chairs the Microbiology Department at Tokyo-based Nihon University. The acid, which also can exist in rancid butter, hinders a kind of enzyme called HDAC that blocks HIV from proliferating, Ochiai told AFP.More

Heart disease and oral health: Role of oral bacteria in heart plaque
Harvard Health Publications
The billions of bacteria and other microscopic critters that live in the mouth unquestionably influence the health of teeth and gums. But do they also cause problems for the heart and blood vessels? And can improving oral health prevent cardiovascular problems? The notion that problems in the mouth cause diseases elsewhere in the body makes sense but has been difficult to prove, explains the Harvard Heart Letter.More

Mouth health: Tobacco use, alcohol, oral cancer
The Huffington Post
More than 35,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. Most of them will be tobacco users of some kind: smokers, former smokers and smokeless tobacco users. There is no nice way to paint the picture, so I'll just start swinging away with my brush -- of people 50 years of age or older and diagnosed with oral cancer, more than 75 percent of them are/were tobacco users. And some studies I've seen that include throat and larynx cancers put the number closer to 90 percent.More

Research links oral health, overall well-being
Canwest News Service via The Vancouver Sun
Oral health is about more than shining white teeth and sweet breath. It is closely linked to the health of all parts of the body. "The research that has been done over the last few years is showing more and more that there is a considerable link between what's happening in the mouth and the overall health of the body," says British Columbia Dental Hygienists' Association executive director Cindy Fletcher. "Previously, we thought that the most devastating effects of periodontal disease was that people might lose their teeth. Now we know it is much more than that."More