This Week in Perio
July 13, 2011

Microbiologists discover how cavity-causing microbes invade heart
University of Rochester Medical Center
Scientists have discovered the tool that bacteria normally found in our mouths use to invade heart tissue, causing a dangerous and sometimes lethal infection of the heart known as endocarditis. The work raises the possibility of creating a screening tool — perhaps a swab of the cheek, or a spit test — to gauge a dental patient's vulnerability to the condition. The identification of the protein that allows Streptococcus mutans to gain a foothold in heart tissue is reported in the June issue of Infection and Immunity by microbiologists at the University of Rochester Medical Center.More

Johnson & Johnson sued for $70M by oral cancer test maker
Bloomberg
Johnson & Johnson, the world’s second-largest maker of health care products, was sued for at least $70 million by a company that claims it interfered in a contract over distribution of an oral cancer test. Oral Cancer Prevention International Inc., a private company based in Suffern, N.Y., sued over a contract it signed in February 2010 with OraPharma Inc., then a J&J unit. OraPharma agreed to distribute OCPI’s Oral CDx Brush Test, which identifies precancerous cells in the mouth, according to the complaint filed in federal court in Trenton, N.J.More

Straight teeth talk: Healthy mouth is a gateway to healthy body
The Victoria Advocate
This is the story of a diabetic man who was able to drastically decrease his insulin intake by having infected teeth removed. In addition to having a history of uncontrolled diabetes, this patient had open heart surgery in 1997 and recently was diagnosed with glaucoma. He and his specialist worked for years to get his blood sugar stabilized without good results. What makes this story special is that just 10 days after having dental surgery the patient had a low sugar attack that required the family to call EMS. Two days later his physician determined his current insulin dosage was now too strong.More

Many who skipped dental visits in the recession now face pricey procedures
The Palm Beach Post
When the economy tanked and some people felt they had to choose between their groceries and their gums, many went with the groceries and skipped those dental cleanings and checkups. Now, some dentists locally and nationally are reporting a modest return to the waiting room. But few returnees are smiling. What was once a cavity is now a root canal. What was once a minor inconvenience (with, say, a $150 price tag for the cavity) is now a larger health problem that requires intervention (and can cost $1,000 or more). More than one-third of Americans opted not to see a dentist in 2008, according to a Kaiser tracking survey. It was the second-most popular way people tried to cut their health care costs. The most popular way: refraining from doctor visits by trying home remedies or over-the-counter drugs.More

Make your home more heart-healthy
Mother Nature Network
By now, you know that you can reduce your risk of heart disease by making lifestyle changes, such as staying active, eating healthy and quitting smoking. However, there are small tweaks you can make around the house that will help reduce your risk even more. To find out how, check out the room-by-room guide and discover why home is where the (healthy) heart is. For your bathroom: Brush and floss. The American Academy of Periodontology recognizes a variety of research showing a link between heart disease and periodontal disease. In fact, some studies have found that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from heart disease as those without it. According to Nancy Rosen, D.M.D., a dentist in Manhattan and a former clinical instructor at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, the excess bacteria can attach to artery walls and contribute to obstruction-causing clots.More

Gum disease could affect pregnancy chances
The Huffington Post
Gum disease could increase the amount of time it takes for a woman to get pregnant, experts say. Women with gum disease take, on average, two months longer to get pregnant than women with good oral health, said reproductive medicine professor Roger Hart, of the University of Western Australia. Hart explained his research at the recent annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. The study previously had been published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. Hart and his colleagues looked at the pregnancy planning and outcome information for 3,416 women in Australia. They found that women who had gum disease took a little bit more than seven months to get pregnant, while women without gum disease took only five months to conceive, on average.More

AAP releases statement on comprehensive periodontal therapy
DentistryIQ
The American Academy of Periodontology has published a detailed statement on comprehensive periodontal therapy that is intended to be a clinical road map for dental professionals who supervise, administer, teach or regulate the provision of periodontal therapy. Appearing in the July issue of the Journal of Periodontology, the Comprehensive Periodontal Therapy Statement provides an overview of the elements that constitute efficient and effective periodontal treatment.More

Personal finance: Here's the drill on dental discounts
The Sacramento Bee
Here's something to sink your teeth into: discounted rates for dental work. That's the promise of Brighter.com, a new Santa Monica, Calif.-based online company that offers discounts of up to 60 percent off everything from root canals to teeth whitening. Even your child's braces. Launched in May, it's aimed at giving consumers more educated choices when choosing — and paying for — dental care. Jake Winebaum, the Southern California Web entrepreneur who founded Brighter.com, said the concept was inspired by a family dinner where his father-in-law mentioned he'd been to the dentist and was told he needed three tooth implants — at a cost of $6,800.More