This Week in Perio
Aug. 24, 2011

Leaders in dentistry: A conversation with AAP President Dr. Donald Clem talked with Dr. Donald S. Clem III, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, who also maintains a private periodontal practice in Fullerton, Calif. Clem discussed the importance of the oral-systemic link and dentists' role in screening for medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. He also stressed that while the introduction of midlevel providers may alleviate some access-to-care issues, it is crucial that they work under the supervision of a dentist. (May require subscription to view article.)More

Chemists discover most naturally variable protein in dental plaque bacterium
Two University of California-San Diego chemists have discovered the most naturally variable protein known to date in a bacterium that is a key player in the formation of dental plaque. The chemists, who announced their discovery in this week's early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, say they believe the extreme variability of the protein they discovered in the bacterium Treponema denticola evolved to adhere to the hundreds of different kinds of other bacteria that inhabit people's mouths. They call the protein they discovered "Treponema variable protein," or TvpA for short, and estimate that it is a million to a billion times more variable than the proteins that play a primary role in vertebrate immune systems — the only other known natural system for massive protein variation.More

Diabetes linked to tooth decay
Diabetes In Control
Doctors say that diabetics are more prone to periodontal diseases. More than 70 percent of diabetic patients suffer from a periodontal problem. Research has found a link between diabetes and dental problems. Doctors say that diabetics are more prone to periodontal diseases. According to the results of the study, periodontal disease makes it harder for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar. "Research on 113 Indians suffering from diabetes showed that after treating periodontal infections, it became easier to manage their diabetes," said Dr. D. Gopalakrishnan, secretary general of the international clinical dental research organization.More

Dentists, pharmacists raise awareness of medication-induced dry mouth
American Pharmacists Association
Leading dental and pharmacy organizations are teaming up to promote oral health and raise public awareness of dry mouth, a side effect commonly caused by taking prescription and over-the-counter medications. More than 500 medications can contribute to oral dryness, including antihistamines, antihypertensive medications, decongestants, pain medications, diuretics and antidepressants. In its most severe form, dry mouth can lead to extensive tooth decay, mouth sores and oral infections, particularly among the elderly. Nearly half of all Americans regularly take at least one prescription medication daily, including many that produce dry mouth, and more than 90 percent of adults over age 65 do the same. Because older adults frequently use one or more of these medications, they are considered at significantly higher risk of experiencing dry mouth.More

Dentists balk at referring implant patients to endodonists
When it comes to referring patients for dental implants, the majority of general dentists say they would not choose an endodontist, according to a new survey in the Journal of Endodontics. Among 366 general dentists who responded to a survey sent to 1,500 randomly selected practicing general dentists in the U.S., 66 percent said they were opposed to endodontists placing dental implants, and as many as 73 percent indicated that they would not refer patients to an endodontist for implant placement. The survey was part of an ongoing effort to better understand thoughts in the profession on the role of endodontists in implant placement, said co-author Michelle McQuistan, DDS, of the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. (May require free registration to view article.)More

Straumann profit slumps on Japan quake charge
Swiss dental implant maker Straumann's net profit slumped 53 percent in the first half, as the group took a writedown on its Japanese unit following the earthquake there in March. Straumann said it had taken a 40 million Swiss franc ($51 million) impairment charge related to its acquisition of a Japanese distributor in 2007. The group said it had to revalue the intangible assets after the quake and tsunami dented consumer confidence, weakening prospects for dental market growth in coming years. That charge and the strong franc dragged the group's net profit down to 38.5 million Swiss francs ($49.39 million), trailing the average estimate of 62 million ($79.54 million) in a Reuters poll of analysts.More

A healthy smile starts with healthy nutrition
The Austin Daily Herald
Did you know that the first signs of poor nutrition often begin in the mouth? Dental cavities are directly linked to the consumption of specific foods, known as fermentable carbohydrates, and typical examples are crackers, pretzels, soda, energy drinks and candy. However, oral health is more than a simple list of foods. Today's on-the-go lifestyle makes it difficult to find time for the daily oral health routine needed to prevent cavities and gum disease. With many Americans having some form of gum disease, knowing what you can do to prevent irreversible damage is essential to maintain that healthy smile. Step into a routine: Make your oral health routine an everyday habit.More

Aging and insurance disparities: The example of dental health
Aging Well
There is a lot we have to do to take care of ourselves these days. Current recommendations regarding optimal health include eating multiple fruits and vegetables, getting a lot of uninterrupted sleep (in a dark room, no less), plenty of moderate exercise and not smoking or drinking alcohol (though alcohol guidelines vary from moderate use to not at all depending on the study). We also need to manage depression, anxiety and stress, as these contribute toward health risks. Now, added to this list, we need to worry about our mouths. Brushing our teeth, flossing, and managing periodontal (gum) disease is now thought to increasingly protect us and lengthen our lifespans. As if we need something else to worry about.More

The new periodontal disease: Navigate the emerging solutions
In this article, we will continue our discussion of the link between systemic conditions and diseases and periodontal disease. We will explore the link between obesity and smoking on periodontal disease. Obesity, a marker of excessive fermentable carbohydrate intake, is associated with an increased risk of periodontal disease. In the United States, morbid obesity is increasing rapidly. One-third of the children born in 2000 are anticipated to develop diabetes in their lifetime. For the first time in decades, the life expectancy in large segments of the population is decreasing. Dental caries may be on the rise again in children. Obesity is on the rampage worldwide as well. Its prevalence has tripled in many countries in the World Health Organization European Region since the 1980s, and the numbers of those affected continue to rise at an alarming rate, particularly among children.More