This Week in Perio
Oct. 10, 2012

Study: Chewing ability linked with cognitive impairment risk in the elderly
The Huffington Post
How well can you chew? For the elderly, it may say something about risk of cognitive impairment, a new study suggests. Researchers from the Karolinska Institute and Karlstad University found an association between problems chewing hard foods, like apples, and increased risk of cognitive impairment. The study included 557 people in Sweden ages 77 and older. The researchers measured their brain functioning with the Mini-Mental State Examination, and also assessed each person's chewing ability and tooth loss. Researchers initially found associations between both tooth loss and problems chewing hard foods with cognitive impairment, but after taking into account other factors like age, education status, mental illness and sex, only the association between problems chewing and cognitive impairment remained significant. More

A new tooth, made to order in less than an hour
The New York Times
Gina Kolata writes, "I was chewing a piece of steak on a Saturday night last month when an old filling shattered. Suddenly, along with steak I had chunks of gray amalgam and shards of tooth in my mouth. I felt the hole with my tongue — it seemed as large as a crater. My dentist later confirmed that I now had a big hole in a molar, too big for a filling. But, the dentist said, if I could spare an hour he could make a crown and put it in, right then and there. An hour? Aren't crowns supposed to require at least two visits?"More

Teeth-whitening booth shut down at Oklahoma state fair
A nondentist vendor that was selling teeth-whitening services at the Tulsa State Fair in Oklahoma has been slapped with a restraining order. The temporary restraining order, filed by the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry against Euroshine USA, Ingo Van Styn, and Henry Johnson, was granted by the state. According to court documents, the defendants' actions constitute the practice of dentistry by unlicensed individuals. Tulsa County District Judge Kurt Glassco granted the restraining order following an emergency injunction filed by the dental board. (May require free registration to view article.)More

If the eyes are a window to the soul, is your mouth a window to your body?
The Garden Island
It appears so. The American Dental Association has produced countless articles, as have other health professional bodies, linking the health of your mouth to the overall health of your body. The state of your mouth can signal nutritional deficiencies, infections or systemic diseases. Periodontal disease can cause tooth loss due to gum inflammation and jaw bone loss but is also associated with cardiovascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer's disease and pneumonia. Other diseases such as diabetes or HIV infection can lower the body's resistance to the bacteria in your mouth which cause periodontal inflammation.More

Periodontitis increases risk of oral leukoplakia
Periodontitis increases the risk of developing oral leukoplakia and mucosal lesions that are predisposed to become oral cancer, according to a study in Oral Oncology. The findings provide clues into the complex relationship between systemic and local disease, noted the study authors from the University of Greifswald in Germany. The development of oral cancer proceeds through discrete molecular changes that are acquired from loss of genomic integrity after continued exposure to environmental risk factors. It is preceded in the majority of cases by clinically evident, potentially malignant oral disorders, the most common of which is leukoplakia, the researchers noted. (May require free subscription to view article.)More

Dentist will serve at least 15 years for sexually abusing young patient
A former Lansing, Mich., dentist convicted of sexually assaulting a child patient more than a decade ago will go to prison for at least 15 years. Dr. Wendell Racette was sentenced in Igham County Court. He'll be 80 years old before he's eligible for parole. Racette was found guilty in late August of five counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree and 10 counts of CSC in the second degree. It was the second time he was tried on the charges. The first trial ended in a hung jury. During sentencing, Racette's now 22-year-old victim expressed his pain through poetry.More

Which would you rather have: A perfect body or a flawless smile?
Shape Magazine
There's no doubt you work hard for your body, regularly sweating it out and making sure your diet is (fairly) balanced. And as rewarding as those efforts are, some days it'd be nice to have a magic wand that would fix our flat butts, muffin tops, cellulite, and [insert your biggest self-perceived flaw]. But it turns out that most of us would prefer a wand for our smile. Eighty percent of Americans would spend money to hide or correct aging flaws, according to a recent survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Of those, 62 percent would pay to fix the quality of their teeth, while less than half would pony up to lose weight.More

Sintering your way to dental implants and hip replacements
Additive manufacturing touches or will touch many aspects of our lives. From 3-D printers that can quickly print prototypes to advanced metal laser sintering processes, everything from hip implants to that dental bridge or crown, are being "printed" from 3-D modeling tools and software. The medical "parts" industry is a subset of AM industry that will hit $2.1 billion this year and forecast to be $3.7 billion by 2015.More

Ask the dentist: How can I avoid gum disease?
A Healthier Michigan
Dr. Gary Vance writes, "I'm going to discuss a problem affecting our mouths as we get older: gum disease or in dental terms periodontal disease. To avoid gum disease, we must first understand what it is and what causes the problem. According to the American Dental Association, gum disease is an inflammation of the gums and in severe cases, can lead to the loss of the supporting bone holding your teeth in place."More

Study: Candidates' teeth can predict election outcomes
Does the brightness of political candidates' teeth influence their election success? Yes, according to a study sponsored by Luster Premium White, an oral care whitening brand from Dentovations. An analysis of photos taken of presidential candidates on the campaign trail showed the correlation between teeth whiteness and electability, the company noted in a press release. By adjusting the color of photos taken over the years to control for changes in ambient lighting and environmental conditions, the study was able to compare the relative whiteness of each candidate's teeth. (May require free registration to view article.)More

Dental hygienists do zumba for health
Several dozen people worked out a sweat recently to show the benefits of a clean mouth. What does oral hygiene have to do with exercising? Dental hygienists say there is a correlation.More

Why doesn't health insurance include dentistry?
Tampa Bay Times
Every year around this time, millions of us confront a bunch of confusing documents, charts, websites, emails — and perhaps fight back the urge to set fire to them all. Yes, it's the fall health insurance open enrollment season. In a way, the chaos is reassuring, since it means that one has access to insurance, which far too many of us still do not.More