This Week in Perio
Nov. 2, 2011

US sets new goals for healthier nation
Federal officials have released a list of critical health priorities for the coming decade designed to serve as a blueprint to help make the nation healthier by 2020. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the first time listed improving oral health and high school graduation rates as important goals for achieving better health among Americans. The priority goals have been identified by federal officials to help reach the Healthy People 2020 objective of improving the health of all Americans.More

Healthy mouth bacteria provide ideal conditions for gum disease
Normal bacteria which live in our mouths provide the catalyst for the development of gum disease, a debilitating condition that leads to painful gums and the loosening of teeth, new research from Queen Mary, University of London has found. The unexpected finding could pave the way for the development of preventative measures in tackling gum, or periodontal disease, by manipulating the normal bacteria in the same way that probiotic yogurt works to protect the intestine. Researchers at Queen Mary's Blizard Institute, including Medical Research Council Clinical Research Training Fellow Mark Payne, worked with scientists in the U.S. and published their findings in the journal Cell Host and Microbe.More

Australian dental therapists may expand scope of practice
Efforts are under way to allow the more than 1,500 dental therapists in Australia to provide dental care within their existing scope of clinical practice to adults ages 26 and older without the prescription or supervision of a dentist. Dental therapists in Australia have been providing basic dental treatment to children in the public sector under the supervision of dentists since the 1960s. In 1999, Australian authorities allowed these therapists to work in the private sector as well, and in 2002 their role was further expanded, enabling them to provide dental services — including irreversible procedures — to anyone up to the age of 25. (May require free registration to view article.)More

IADR/AADR publish study on obesity link to periodontitis
In a study titled "MicroRNA Modulation in Obesity and Periodontitis," lead author Romina Perri, University of North Carolina School of Dentistry, Oral Health Institute, conducted a pilot investigation to determine whether obesity or periodontal disease modified microRNA expression and whether there was any potential interaction between obesity and periodontitis that could involve microRNA modulation. This study was published in the Journal of Dental Research, the official publication of the International and American Associations for Dental Research. In this investigation, total RNA was extracted from gingival biopsy samples collected from 20 patients in four groups: non-obese participants with a healthy periodontium, non-obese participants with periodontitis, obese participants with a healthy periodontium, and 5 obese participants with periodontitis.More

Infection an important post-stroke problem
e Science News
After a stroke the brain tries to protect itself by blocking all inflammation. However, this also makes the patient highly susceptible to infection, which can lead to death. Researchers have now discovered the mechanism behind this response and how to possibly treat it. The research was published in October in the journal Science. Using a mouse model, scientists at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine have discovered Natural Killer T-cells are the immune cells that get activated in the patient after a stroke. The cells suppress the immune system as the body tries to prevent inflammation to protect the brain. The researchers also have found a new drug that can stop the NKT cells from suppressing the immune system, stopping the infections.More

Managing diabetes: The oral-vision connection
ARA via Osceola Sentinel-Tribune
Many are aware of serious diabetes-related complications such as heart disease, nerve damage and limb amputation. However, people may not be aware of how diabetes can affect oral and visual health. November is National Diabetes Month, and primary care physicians, dentists and eye care specialists are urging people to schedule regular checkups. For people with diabetes, these visits can help regulate the disease's impact on dental, visual and overall health. For people who are not aware that they might have diabetes, certain signs and symptoms can help diagnose the disease. One-quarter of the 26 million Americans with diabetes, and 90 percent of the 79 million adults with pre-diabetes, are unaware of their condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.More

Cigna study in Medscape supports association between treated gum disease, reduced medical costs in individuals with diabetes
Business Wire via MarketWatch
The medical costs observed in this study were 23 percent lower for individuals with diabetes who had proper gum disease treatment, an average reduction of approximately $2,500 per year per patient. Cigna announced that Medscape published results from Cigna's internationally published three-year claims study supporting a potential association between treated periodontal disease and reduced medical costs for individuals with diabetes. Patients who were treated for gum disease in the first year of the study and then received regular maintenance care thereafter had lower medical costs than those who previously had been treated for gum disease but did not receive regular maintenance care.More

Water fluoridation to end in Pinellas County, Fla.
Pinellas Beaches Patch
The Pinellas County Commission voted to stop adding fluoride to the water, effective Dec. 31. Pinellas County has been adding fluoride to the water supplies since 2004. Across the U.S., flouride has been added to municipal water systems for more than 60 years. The argument for adding flouride, which naturally occurs in water at lower levels, is that it helps to prevent tooth decay.More