Posted by admin on November 26th, 2013
Researchers have long been aware of a link between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis, both chronic inflammatory diseases, but they have not known the biological cause of the connection. A new study by the University of Louisville School of Dentistry and an international team from the European Union’s Gums and Joints project may have found the answer.
In a study involving mice, the researchers found that the bacterium that causes periodontal disease, Porphyromonas gingivalis, also contributes to the earlier onset, faster progression, and greater severity of rheumatoid arthritis, including increased destruction of bone and cartilage.
P. gingivalis produces the enzyme PAD, which enhances collagen-induced arthritis, a form of arthritis similar to RA that is produced in a laboratory. PAD changes the residues of certain proteins into citrulline. The body recognizes citrulline as a foreign invader, and the immune system attacks it. In patients who have or are pre-disposed to rheumatoid arthritis, this causes chronic inflammation, which leads to the loss of bone and cartilage in the joints.
While the researchers believe PAD is the causal link between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis, they caution that further research will be needed to confirm their results.
Previous studies have found that people with periodontal disease are more likely to have rheumatoid arthritis than people without it. Periodontal disease is also at least two times more common in people with rheumatoid arthritis than in people without it. Other studies have shown that periodontal disease often precedes RA.
This is yet another reason to take care of your teeth and gums and visit your dentist regularly.
Posted by admin on November 25th, 2013
Dental implants are generally made of titanium, surgically implanted in the jaw bone, and topped with artificial teeth. While most are successful, a small number fall out or need to be removed because of infection or separation from the bone. Replacing an implant can be difficult and cost thousands of dollars.
Tolou Shokuhfar, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Michigan Technological University, and Cortino Sukotjo, clinical assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, are working on a dental implant with a surface made of titanium dioxide nanotubes. Their research suggests that the nanotubes encourage the growth of bone cells, which accelerates the rate of healing.
The nanotubes can also be used to deliver medication, such as the anti-inflammatory drug sodium naproxen, and release it gradually after surgery. This would lead to a lower risk of side effects than taking the drug orally or intravenously.
Titanium dioxide nanotubes also have an aesthetic advantage. Since they are transparent, they appear the same as conventional titanium implants.
Shokuhfar and Craig Friedrich of Michigan Tech are also experimenting with adding silver nanoparticles to the implants to help fight infection. They are currently conducting research on orthopedic implants, which would have applications to dental implants. They believe they can use silver nanoparticles to kill bacteria and prevent biofilms, bacterial colonies that can cover implants and be difficult to eliminate, leading to infection. Shokuhfar and Friedrich have received a provisional patent and are working with hospitals to continue to improve the new technology and eventually obtain a license.
Posted by admin on November 20th, 2013
Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health have found that proper gum care can slow the rate of atherosclerosis, or plaque build-up in the arteries, a key factor contributing to heart disease and stroke.
The researchers studied 420 New York adults aged 60 to 76 who participated in the Oral Infections and Vascular Disease Epidemiology Study. They studied traces of oral infection and artery thickness at the beginning of the study and at the end of the follow-up period, which was a median of three years.
A total of 5,000 samples of plaque were taken from the participants’ teeth and under their gums. The researchers analyzed the plaque for 11 strains of bacteria associated with periodontal disease and seven control bacteria. They also took samples of fluid from around the gums and measured levels of interleukin-1B, which indicates inflammation.
Using high-resolution ultrasounds, the researchers measured intima-medial thickness, or the thickness of the arteries, in both carotid arteries. They found that improved gum health and a reduction in bacteria related to periodontal disease correlated to a slower development of atherosclerosis. The results were consistent even when other risk factors for heart disease, such as high body mass index, diabetes, smoking, and high cholesterol, were taken into account.
A previous study found that higher levels of bacteria in the mouth were linked to thicker carotid arteries. Other studies have shown that an increase in the thickness of the carotid arteries of 0.1 mm over three years can more than double the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Based on animal studies, researchers theorize that bacteria in the mouth increase inflammatory markers, which can contribute to atherosclerosis.
Be sure to brush and floss at least twice a day and visit your dentist regularly. It could not only prevent cavities, but also help you live longer.
Posted by admin on November 11th, 2013
New tooth sensor
Researchers at National Taiwan University have created a sensor that fits on a real tooth or inside an artificial one and is capable of measuring mouth movements during activities such as eating, drinking, talking, coughing, breathing, and smoking. The researchers shared their invention at the International Symposium on Wearable Computers in Switzerland in September.
The sensor uses an accelerometer to monitor activity, and wires inside the sensor send data to a computer. In the future, it will use Bluetooth to transmit data wirelessly. Researchers plan to develop a wireless sensor that can be worn inside a crown.
By measuring jaw movements, the device can create classifiers related to each wearer and the activity in which he or she is engaging. In a study involving eight participants, the sensor recorded movements and created individual profiles. The researchers collected 480 activity samples from the test subjects. They found that the sensor was 93.8 percent accurate when using a “person-dependent classifier,” or profile created for an individual based on his or her unique habits. It was 59.8 percent accurate when using a “person-independent classifier” because of differences in how individuals chew, talk, etc.
Since the sensor is located inside the mouth, safety was a major concern to the product’s developers. The electronic components of the sensor are sealed. If it is swallowed, it can pass through the body without causing injury.
Doctors and dentists will be able to use the sensor to measure eating and drinking levels, teeth grinding, and stress. The researchers hope that tooth sensors will eventually become a routine tool for doctors to use to monitor patients’ health.
Posted by admin on November 11th, 2013
We all have visions of braces and they are not pretty. We think about kids trying to hide or downplay a mouthful of metal. Nobody wanted braces and if you did wind up with them, you lived with them but wanted them off as soon as possible.
If you’re an adult who wound up avoiding braces, but are still dealing with crooked teeth, you might be thinking, “That’s it. I’ll never get straightened out.”
You’d be wrong.
Dentists nowadays have lots of different ways to get a mouthful of crooked teeth in line. There are several options with adult braces. Stop thinking about what braces were like when you were a kid. Instead, focus on how getting your teeth straightened can improve your overall oral health. Crooked teeth can be at a greater risk for plaque buildup.
Dentists can use traditional metal braces. But before you have middles-school metal-mouth flashbacks, you need to understand that technology in braces has come a long way over the last several years. There are many lightweight and cosmetically-appealing options available. There are also innovative options with glass braces.
You can also ask about the Invisalign option, which works like a clear set of braces. Invisalign uses a series of aligners that are custom-made to fit your mouth and your mouth only. The aligners are made of clear, nearly-invisible plastic that works to gradually shift teeth back into place. You replace the set of aligners with a new set every couple of weeks until treatment is complete and you have a straighter set of teeth.
If this seems like an option, talk to your dentist about the possibility of clear braces. If you have always wanted to set things straight in your mouth, it’s never too late to talk your dentist about finally fixing your smile.
Posted by admin on November 5th, 2013
A new study out this week from Columbia University shows us once again why practicing good oral hygiene is so important to our overhaul health.
Researchers at Columbia found that good oral hygiene is connected with a lower degree of Atherosclerosis, a major risk factor for heart attack and strokes. The study also reminds us of the link between gum health and thickening arteries. Researchers say the goal of the study was to determine if brushing, flossing and regular checkups with a dentist can influence the rate of carotid atherosclerosis. This is the thickening of arteries through the buildup of calcium, cholesterol and other substances found in our bloodstream. The condition has also been linked to serious health issues such as coronary heart disease. The lead researcher of the study says the impact of oral health on the condition may be stronger than first thought.
Researchers looked at plaque samples from more than 400 adults. The samples were analyzed and the researchers tracked the health of the people who supplied the samples. In simple terms, the results show that the people who improved their oral hygiene habits had a slower of thickening of the arteries. People with worse hygiene habits saw an increase in the thickening.
The researchers say they think their study will be helpful in cardiovascular treatment. According to the Center for Disease Control, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death, accounting for about 600,000 deaths per year. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery disease.
The Columbia University study is just one of many studies showing how good oral hygiene can help lessen the chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
As always, if you have questions about oral hygiene, make sure to talk with your dentist.
Posted by admin on October 28th, 2013
Surveys show men are less likely to take care of their overall physical health than women. Studies show this trend apparently also applies to oral health.
We know the importance oral health has on a person’s overall health. Yet men are less likely than women to seek to preventive dental care (things like going for cleanings or checkups). Men often neglect their oral health for years, only going to the dentist when something is wrong. Men also rank higher when it comes to infrequent dental checkups.
Statistics tell us the average man brushes his teeth 1.9 times per day. The average man will also lose 5.4 teeth by the time he is 72. Smoking, as usual, makes things worse. A smoker can plan on losing 12 teeth by the age of 72. Men are also more likely to develop oral and throat cancers and develop gum disease.
Poor oral health care leads to more plaque buildup. Plaque leads to tartar. Acids produced and released by tartar can irritate gums and eventually break down fibers that anchor gums to teeth. This creates periodontal pockets that can fill with bacteria.
Links between gum disease and cardiovascular disease have been established. Poor oral health can put people at greater risk for heart attack and stroke.
Men are more likely to likely to suffer from heart attacks. This means men are more likely to be on certain medications to deal with a heart condition. Some of this medications can cause a decrease in saliva (dry mouth). Less saliva means teeth and gums may be more vulnerable to decay and disease. This underlines the importance of good dental care and frequent checkups.
Some people may have gum disease and not know it. If you have questions about your dental health or think it’s time for a checkup/cleaning, the best thing to do is to reach out to a qualified dentist.
Posted by admin on October 25th, 2013
Earlier this fall, Connecticut’s Department of Public Health (DPH) conducted a survey that showed many vulnerable adults in the state are not receiving adequate and necessary dental health care. The survey determined that tooth decay is a problem among this group of adults.
Last year, the DPH looked at two population groups: Residents of long-term care facilities and adults who went to federally subsidized congregate meal sites. This was done in an effort to check on the oral health of vulnerable adults in the state. The study found that many in these groups are not visiting a dentist on a regular basis. Two out of ten adults surveyed at the meal site said they have problems receiving dental care. More than half say they have no dental insurance. Many of the uninsured say they cannot afford dental insurance.
One state official says she hopes Medicare will eventually cover oral health care and says oral health care should be included in the Affordable Care Act.
As we get older, the aging process can affect our oral health. Many older adults suffer from dry mouth, a condition that occurs when our salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to keep our mouths moist. This can lead tooth decay and gum disease. People living in long-term care facilities are often on prescription medication. Many prescription drugs taken by seniors can lead to dry mouth.
Plaque also grows on teeth faster as we get older. Bacteria found in plaque creates toxins that lead to inflamed gums and cause gum tissue to separate from the teeth.
These are just some of the reasons proper dental care is so crucial for older adults.
The DPH is now working with Oral Health for Older Adults Consortium, a task force made up of state oral health advocates. The goal of the task force is to look at different ideas and strategies to improve oral health among older adults.
Posted by admin on October 18th, 2013
We are creeping closer to Halloween. We’ll be seeing ghosts, goblins and ghouls. Also, candy. Lots of candy. Even if you are too old to trick-or-treat, you’ll likely find Halloween candy around the office. And if you have kids, chances are you will get your hands on some of their Halloween treat loot.
For a lot of people, going to the dentist is a lot scarier than anything on Halloween. Too much candy could mean cavities. That means some frightening time in a dental chair. Fear not. Here are some tips on how you and your family can have a Happy Halloween without winding up with a jack-o-lantern smile:
• Don’t get stuck. Chewy candy with caramel can be frightening for teeth. This also goes for gummies, licorice and taffy. The sticky substances can get stuck on teeth and left there for hours.
• Be careful with the hard stuff. Crunchy candy with nuts or hard candy can cause fillings to break.
• Go soft. Softer sweet options like chocolate, M & Ms and peanut butter cups are a little easier on teeth.
• Moderation. Just because peanut butter cups are easier on the teeth does not mean you and/or your kids should sit down and eat 7 pounds of Reese’s (although 7 pounds of peanut butter cups would be an impressive trick-or-treat haul). Keep the candy to a handful or two from the bowl.
• Set limits. If you’ve got kids who are going to trick-or treat, set the limits on the candy-eating before they go out the door.
• Chase with water. If you are going to eat candy but are not going to able to brush your teeth right after your treats, drink some water to help wash away some of the sugar. This goes for kids as well.
• Fill them up. Your kids are going to have sweets on the brain Halloween night. Plus, they’ll be busy getting into their Halloween costumes. Make sure they have time to eat a meal before heading out to scare the neighbors (and quite possible the family dog, depending on the costume). They will be less likely to want to binge on candy if they have a full stomach.
• Check the loot. Always make sure any candy brought into the home is unopened.
• Go for the gum. Chewing sugar-free gum after candy (or meals for that matter) can help get stimulate productive saliva in the mouth.
• Brush, floss and rinse. At the end of the night, after the kids are out of their costumes and you’re done cleaning up the toilet paper in your yard, make sure everybody brushes teeth, flosses and rinses with a mouth wash. Halloween can be a busy, tiring night but it is not a night to skip the tooth brush.
As always, if you have any questions about your teeth or oral hygiene, make sure to check with your dentist.
Posted by admin on October 8th, 2013
For most of us, weekday mornings are a busy time. We are trying to get ourselves (and our kids) washed, dressed, fed and out the door. Every way to save time helps. So would you be interested in a toothbrush that promises to give your teeth and gums a thorough cleaning…in six seconds?
That’s the promise of a new “3-D” toothbrush called the “Blizzdent.” You can check out the somewhat interesting video that demonstrates how the Blizzdent works. The first thing you’ll notice about the Blizzdent is that it looks nothing like a traditional toothbrush. It looks more like a bizarre mouth guard. It’s designed to fit the shape and measure of an individual person’s mouth. The Blizzdent works to clean all the teeth in a person’s mouth at once. It has more than 600 bristles used to gently clean teeth.
The folks behind the Blizzdent says the goal is for the brush to give people a cleaning as thorough as one delivered at a dentist’s office, in a fraction of the time.
The Blizzdent is not something you grab off the shelf at the drug store (at least not yet). You need to visit the dentist and have the dentist make a mold of your mouth. The mold is then sent to the company, who then design a Blizzdent to fit your individual mouth. The company says it can have a custom-made Blizzdent ready for you in about 12 weeks. Creators say one Blizzdent should last about a year.
The Blizzdent also has slots for dental floss so you can floss while you brush. The handle of the device serves as a dental floss roll.
The initial cost for the Blizzdent is expected to be around $300. This does not include the cost of going to your dentist and having him create a mold of your mouth.
If you have any questions about any teeth-cleaning device, ask your dentist.