This Week in Perio
May 11, 2011

Unique approach to improve dental hygiene in dementia patients found
A pilot study by a team of nurses now has found a tailored approach to improve dental hygiene in dementia patients. "Poor oral health can lead to pneumonia and cardiovascular disease as well as periodontal disease," said Rita A. Jablonski, even though these illnesses are not usually associated with the mouth. According to Jablonski, assistant professor of nursing at Penn State University, persons with dementia resist care when they feel threatened. In general, these patients cannot care for themselves and need help. Jablonski and her team introduced an oral hygiene approach called Managing Oral Hygiene Using Threat Reduction specifically for dementia patients. Many of their strategies focus on making the patient feel more comfortable before and while care is provided.More

The mouth-body connection
The mouth is the window to your body's good health. Excellent oral hygiene — brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist regularly — can greatly improve your health and reduce the risk of broader medical problems over time. The research isn't conclusive, but red, swollen and bleeding gums can point to health problems from heart disease to diabetes. What can happen is that bacteria from your mouth can travel to your bloodstream, setting off an inflammatory reaction elsewhere in your body. Certain diseases and medications also may cause mouth problems. Gum disease has been associated with premature birth, teeth grinding with stress, pale gums with anemia, tooth loss with kidney disease and thrush with HIV.More

6 healthy habits for living longer
Do you eat breakfast every day? Do you always take the stairs? Whatever your daily habits are, there's no denying that they affect your health. Even though the things we do as part of our daily routines might seem small, over time the small things can add up. So, by keeping your daily habits healthy, you can literally add years to your life. The following are six daily habits for living longer.More

Dental implants an alternative to dentures
Wausau Daily Herald
Q: I broke off two teeth in an accident. Is there an alternative to a fixed bridge or removable dentures?
A: For a growing number of patients, dental implants offer several important advantages compared to other treatment options for replacing missing teeth. Dental implants allow you to have a look, feel and function that is most like natural teeth, and they won't affect adjacent healthy teeth. Dental implants have been proven during the past 30 years. They consist of three parts.More

Tooth grinding can promote other dental problems
Do you ever wake up with an achy jaw or a headache, or notice popping or clicking in your jaw when you open and close your mouth? If so, you may be grinding your teeth at night. Teeth grinding need not become a serious dental problem, but in severe cases it can cause misalignment of teeth, which can promote gum disease. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, most often occurs at night. Although it is often linked to stress, bruxism can be caused by sleep disorders or by mechanical problems with the teeth, such as missing or broking teeth or a misaligned bite. It's important to tell your dentist if you think you have been grinding your teeth so he or she can pay special attention to signs of damage to the tooth enamel.More

Pardon me, love? Oregon woman wakes up from surgery with a foreign accent
Well that's one way to acquire an accent. Karen Butler is a 56-year-old tax consultant in Toledo, Ore., who went into surgery for a dental implant with a standard Oregonian accent and emerged with an accent that sounds one part South African, one part Irish and all parts WTF. Apparently, Butler has a rare condition called foreign accent syndrome, thought to be caused by a small stroke which affects a specific area of the brain and alters a person's speech patterns so it sounds as if they have a foreign accent. Although Butler says she hasn't had any other symptoms that would indicate she suffered from a stroke, the accent hasn't faded in two years.More

A little periodontitis mistake that cost a dentist $200,000
The Wealthy Dentist
A dental patient has sued his dentist for malpractice, claiming supervised neglect, which caused him periodontitis. Former patient Harry Berkowitz asked for compensatory damages from his dentist Dr. Dennis Miller for his failure in diagnosing the periodontal disease that was silently progressing for years and ultimately destroying his teeth. reports that Berkowitz, who was a steady patient of Miller, always maintained regular dental checkups. It was at just one of these regular checkups in 2009 where Berkowtiz learned from his physician that he would need extensive root canal therapy. Because this seemed out of the ordinary from his usual dental treatments, Berkowitz decided to obtain a second opinion with another dentist.More

When is the right time to place dental implants in teenagers?
Mouthing Off
This is an important question, and the current wisdom is not to have implants placed until jaw and facial growth are complete. Although it varies from person to person, growth of the jaws in most cases is not complete until late teens. Of course, we are faced with the dilemma of waiting for the optimal time to place dental implants so that they will succeed on the one hand, and respecting the psychological needs of a teenager missing front teeth on the other. Well, you may say, that still doesn't answer the question. The rest of the answer has to do with the difference in the way in which teeth and implants attach to bone in which they are embedded.More

Cigarette use and oral health
The Tribune
It is common knowledge that cigarette smoking is the single major cause of cancer and cardiovascular disease in the United States. It contributes to a large number of premature deaths each year in the U.S., but still about 25 percent of American adults continue to smoke. One of the main components in cigarettes is nicotine, and it is accepted as one of the most addictive drugs in the country. Nicotine is a naturally occurring liquid and is readily absorbed from tobacco smoke in the lungs. In addition to nicotine, cigarette smoke is composed of many gases (mainly carbon monoxide) and tar. It also is filled with known carcinogens (cancer causing agents). The absorption of nicotine through the lungs of cigarette smokers is widely accepted. However, its absorption through the mouth tissues under the alkaline conditions found in cigar, pipe and smokeless tobacco use, is less publicized.More

UW dentistry dean leaving to head national institute
The Seattle Times
University of Washington dental school Dean Martha Somerman has been named director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the oral health branch of the National Institutes of Health. Somerman, who has been dean of the dental school since 2002, will start the new job in Bethesda, Md., on Aug. 29. Dr. Timothy DeRouen, the school's executive associate dean for research and academic affairs, will be interim dean while the UW looks for a successor. During Somerman's tenure, the school consistently ranked among national leaders in student performance on regional and national licensing board exams, as well as NIH research funding.More

Should thyroid shields be mandatory?
A recent episode of the "Dr. Oz Show" raised more questions than it answered regarding whether thyroid collars should be mandatory when having radiation-based procedures such as dental X-rays or mammograms. The episode was intended to set the record straight after an email went viral in March based on advice the show's host, Dr. Mehmet Oz, gave last year. Oz invited experts from dentistry and radiology to comment on the email controversy and the pros and cons of thyroid shielding. But a combative Oz defended his original advice and ultimately turned the show into a lecture for health care professionals on the necessity of listening to their patients. (May require free registration to view article.)More