Archive for the ‘gum disease’ Category

Study: 1 in 10 Americans have Diabetes

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

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The percentage of Americans with diabetes has almost doubled since 1988, new research shows. Now a staggering 21 million adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the blood glucose disease, which has a potent ability to affect their oral health.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the rate of diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes was 5.5 percent. By 2010, that number jumped to 9.3 percent, according to the new report.

For the study, which was published in the April 15 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This included more than 43,000 adults followed from the first survey period (1988 to 1994) to the most recent (1999 to 2010). From 1988 to 1994, the rate of diagnosed diabetes was 5.5 percent. By the next survey in 1999 to 2004, that number had leapt to 7.6 percent. In the most recent survey, which looked at data from 2005 to 2010, the prevalence of diabetes rose to 9.3 percent.

“Diabetes has increased dramatically,” Dr. Elizabeth Selvin, associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the study’s lead author, told HealthDay. “The rates have almost doubled since the late ’80s and early ’90s.”

Understanding diabetes Diabetes is a disorder that causes blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than average. When you consume food and drinks, the body normally breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is an essential fuel source for cells. However, for the 21 million Americans with the disease, the body has trouble regulating insulin, the hormone responsible for transferring the sugar from the blood to the cells as nourishment.

There are two main forms of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and usually develops during adulthood, while Type 1 typically occurs in children and young adults, affecting roughly 5 percent of people who have the disease.

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National Smile Month

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

national smile month

Our neighbors across the pond are celebrating National Smile Month from May 19 to June 19. As the largest and longest-running oral health campaign in the U.K., National Smile Month seeks to heighten awareness about vital oral health issues such as cavities and gum disease, and while they might be some 3,000 miles away, the power of a smile can go a long way.

For the majority of Americans and Brits, one’s teeth is the first thing they notice when meeting someone. According to a British study, white teeth can make you look 20 percent more attractive and up to 16 percent employable. They can also chip five years off of how old you look. First impressions are everything, and your smile has an instant impact on those around you.

The mouth-body connection
Beyond the sheer appearance of your pearly whites, the mouth is considered the gateway to the body. What foods you eat, beverages you drink and chemicals you smoke enter the mouth to affect the system as a whole. Research has shown that rotten oral health is connected to an increased risk for cardiovascular problems, Type 2 diabetes and complications during pregnancy. In one study published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with serious gum disease were 40 percent more likely to have a chronic condition.

So, what comes to mind when you think of poor oral health? Yellow teeth, gap smile and rancid bad breath. While that’s certainly the epitome of things, there are many more common problems that we tend to overlook – and many more people suffer from them than you may think.

You wouldn’t ignore a bleeding foot, so why ignore bleeding gums? Puffy, red and bleeding gums can be a sign of gum disease. On a basic level, the condition is attributed to plaque building up along the gum line, which irritates the tissues and erodes dental enamel. As it progresses, the gums become inflamed, a condition known as gingivitis.

If plaque is not removed with regular brushing and dental appointments, it will harden into what is called tartar – and only a dentist can get rid of it. In the most severe cases, tartar buildup may lead to gum recession, or periodontitis, that wears away at the jawbone and usually results in tooth loss.

Tips to maintain proper oral health
To avoid these concerns, here are the three key ingredients for a clean smile and healthy gums:

  1. Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. (more…)
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Slimmest and Fattest Cities in US

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

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A new Gallup poll has revealed the cities in the U.S. with the most obese populations. For the third year in a row, the city with the lowest obesity rate in the U.S. continues to be in Boulder, Colo., at 12.4 percent. As for large communities with a population of more than 1 million, Memphis had the highest rate at 31.9 percent. 

As health officials have pointed out, diet affects not only your waistline, but your mouth as well. After consuming food and beverages, your body processes their nutrition and supplies the body with energy, but some of the food particles linger on teeth and gums, causing problems like cavities, gingivitis and bad breath.

Nationwide, the obesity rate jumped to 27.1 percent in 2013, the highest Gallup and Healthways have recorded since tracking started in 2008. Obesity is measured by calculating a person’s body mass index (BMI) score, which takes into account height and weight. BMI scores of 30 or more are considered obese.

The fittest major U.S. communities were Denver-Aurora, Colo., San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, Calif., and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., whereas the fattest communities were Memphis, Tenn., San Antonio, Texas, and Richmond, Va.

The data reflects the state level results for 2013, which discovered that West Virginia and Mississippi were the most obese states, while Montana and Colorado were the least obese. Three areas in Colorado – Boulder, Fort Collins-Loveland and Denver-Aurora – ranked among the communities with the 10 lowest obesity rates. Colorado is famous for its outdoor recreation and natural landscape, so these results may not be that surprising.

According to the Journal of American Medicine (JAME), more than one-third of U.S. adults (34.9 percent) are obese. No state has met the goal of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2010 initiative to lower obesity prevalence to 15 percent. Only one U.S. metropolitan area has hit the target.

Connection between obesity and oral health problems
Obesity can affect a person’s oral health in two main ways. First, it impacts your diet with what you consume and how often you consume it, which can result in a higher risk of tooth decay. Chowing down on foods with a lot of sugar builds plaque on your teeth – the starting point of most oral health problems for kids and adults.

Secondly, obesity can lead to an increased risk of gum disease. Studies have indicated that the more obese a person is, the higher their chances are of developing gum disease.

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World Health Organization Cuts Recommended Sugar Intake

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

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It’s been long known that sugar is bad for the mouth. The tasty treat can cause tooth decay and cavities, and can even lead to pungent, bad breath. That’s why the World Health Organization is putting its foot down on the sweet substance. The United Nations agency has altered its sugar intake recommendation, cutting the amount in half.

On March 5, the organization published new draft guidelines that addressed concerns surrounding the negative effects that sugar has on one’s health. It reduced the recommended amount of sugar from 10 percent of your daily caloric intake to 5 percent. For an average-sized adult, that comes to around six teaspoons of the sweet stuff each day. However, that doesn’t mean a person can eat six spoonfuls of granulated sugar on a daily basis.

People often don’t realize that sugar is present in many foods they commonly eat – especially processed options. A 12-ounce can of soda, for instance, might have as many as 10 teaspoons of the substance, while a slice of bread may have around 5. While this amount includes sugars in processed foods as well as honey, juices and syrups, it does not include those that occur naturally, such as sugars in fruits.

Sugar, which is a known culprit of bad breath, was targeted for its role in dental diseases. As the most common noncommunicable diseases on earth, the World Health Organization hopes to decrease their prevalence and help people prevent the pain, tooth loss and gum disease other symptoms that come with dental issues. The guidelines also note the soaring expense of treating oral conditions – it can cost 5 to 10 percent of a person’s health budget. Not such a sweet way to spend your salary.

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The Relationship Between Oral Health and Osteoporosis

Friday, February 28th, 2014

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Bone density affects all parts of our bodies, not just our spines and hips. In this way, osteoporosis, or the thinning of bones, has an immediate connection to tooth loss. According to the National Institutes of Health, women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to experience tooth loss than those without the bone disease.

In the U.S., roughly 40 million people already have osteoporosis or are at-risk due to bone  density. The word osteoporosis literally means “porous bones” in Greek, and the condition occurs when our bones lose calcium and minerals, causing them to become weak and brittle. Bone is a living tissue that constantly regenerates, yet when the creation of the new bone doesn’t keep pace with the removal of old bone, osteoporosis kicks in. As a result, people are more prone to a painful fracture, even while doing everyday tasks, such as bending over or taking out the trash.

In 2009, a study conducted by Dr. Nicopoulou-Karayianni at the University of Athens Dental School evaluated 665 females aged 45 to 70. The number of teeth and bone density in the hips, femoral neck and lumbar spine were counted. The results showed that participants with osteoporosis had an average of three fewer teeth than subjects without the bone disease, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Skeletal bone density and toothless grins
Though the correlation between skeletal bone density and tooth loss is evident, researchers have tried to probe the causes more deeply. According to the Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center, studies indicate a link between the bone disease and bone loss in the jaw. The portion of the jaw bone that anchors teeth is called the alveolar process, and when that bone structure becomes less dense, tooth loss can occur.

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