Archive for the ‘gum disease’ Category

Racing Toward Better Dental Health with Danica Patrick

Monday, January 20th, 2014

1397111_44698680NASCAR speedster Danica Patrick has launched a new campaign to give thousands of in-need Americans better oral health. Teaming up with Aspen Dental and Oral Health, the program is called the Healthy Mouth Movement, a community initiative designed to deliver free dental care to thousands of low-income communities across the country, spreading oral health education to millions more.

“Last year 100 million Americans didn’t visit a dentist, and millions more live in communities with little or no access to dental care,” Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Chevrolet SS in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, told Digital Journal. “This is an issue that affects a lot of hard-working people, including NASCAR fans, who are often living in pain. It’s time to do something about it, and that’s why I’m proud to partner with Aspen Dental and Oral Health America.”

Too many people live with gum disease - a problem that’s 100 percent preventable – and toothaches caused by cavities. These issues are a roadblock to staying focused at school and work, and can affect the body as a whole. After all, periodontal disease, or advanced stage gum disease, has linked diabetes and oral health together. Patrick reminds us that a healthy mouth paves the way for a healthy body.

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Navy Dentist Vying for the Olympics

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

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Lieutenant Amanda Rice, 29, is a general dentist who treats sailors at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Japan. She’s also an elite runner.

As the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro rise into sight, Rice continues training on a rigorous schedule. Before she goes to work at the Atsugi Branch Health Clinic in Yokosuka, Japan, the dentist/marathon runner gets up at 3 a.m. to start her workout. Often she runs 18 to 22 miles a day.

“It’s definitely a lifestyle one has to adapt to,” Rice told DrBicuspid.com. “It takes an amazing amount of self-discipline and perseverance. It can definitely be exhausting, but it’s also definitely rewarding.”

In the 2011 Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Rice broke a personal record with 2:38:57. For the Tokyo Marathon, she ran a 2:42:44 – both under the 2:43 time needed to quality for the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Rice was inspired to go into her chosen field by her uncle, Dr. Keith Stenshol, a central Oregon dentist. Stenshol pointed out that she’d treat patients with a mouthful of problems, including gingivitis and tooth infections.

“When we got together for our annual summer family reunions, I saw his passion for dentistry and the love he had for the profession, and I wanted to have the same in my own professional pursuits,” Rice explained to the source. “Through his guidance, I was encouraged to travel to Guatemala and Samoa to provide dental care to those most in need.”

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National Diabetes Month

Monday, November 25th, 2013

550152_84366311November is National Diabetes Month, which helps raise awareness for people who face the day-to-day struggles of the disease. If you’re a diabetic, you likely keep an eye on your diet and nutrition. Diabetics are more at risk for a variety of different conditions, especially dental health problems, including gum diseasedry mouth, tooth decay and oral infections. In fact, people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop gum disease than those with normal glucose function.

During this month, the American Diabetes Association wants to put the ever-growing disease in the national spotlight. At the beginning of November, they asked people to submit a personal image to the association’s Facebook mosaic demonstrating what “A Day in the Life of Diabetes” means to them. If you or anyone you know has diabetes, you already understand how life-changing the condition can be. According to the association, almost 26 million children and adults in the U.S. have diabetes. Another 79 million Americans have prediabetes, or impaired glucose tolerance, and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Raising awareness of diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease which affects how the body breaks down sugar, or glucose, which is the brain’s main source of fuel. Normally, insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, keeps blood glucose in check. However, those who have diabetes experience insulin resistance, which results in high levels of blood sugar.

There are three main variations of the disease: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Totaling 90 to 95 percent of all new cases worldwide, type 2 is by far the most common form of diabetes.

So, where does the health of your mouth enter the picture? Diabetes can lead to a spectrum of dental issues, with gum disease and dry mouth at the forefront.

Gum disease
Though periodontal disease, or gum disease, is regarded as a complication of diabetes, the connection is a two-way street; diabetics are more prone to gum disease, and in turn, gum disease can influence the development of diabetes.

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Poor Oral Health Slowed Down 2012 Olympians

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

468230_30211180Winning the gold takes everything. Many Olympians spend decades training for their event to earn the chance to stand above the rest on the podium. While staying in top physical peak is a big priority, is oral health important? Based on the 2012 Olympics, having a healthy smile is a bigger factor than most realize.  

According to a new study led by Professor Ian Needleman at University College London Eastman Dental Institute, more than half of Olympians had poor oral health, and many found it inhibited their performance. Researchers recruited 302 athletes to the dental clinic in the London 2012 athletes’ village during the two-week international event. Those surveyed were from the Americas, Africa and Europe, and represented more than 25 different sports, including track, boxing and hockey. The results were pretty shocking.

Fifty-five percent of the athletes involved showed signs of tooth decay. Cavities, rotting and the beginning of caries were all evident. Of that demographic, 41 percent of the damage was irreversible. More than three-fourths of the individuals suffered from gingivitis, which is the early stage of gum disease. The statistic is dramatically higher than people their same age – around 70 percent, based on the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

“Oral health is important for wellbeing and successful elite sporting performance,” explained Professor Needleman. “It is amazing that many professional athletes – people who dedicate a huge amount of time and energy to honing their physical abilities – do not have sufficient support for their oral health needs, even though this negatively impacts their training and performance.”

While almost one in five athletes said their training or performance was negatively impacted by oral health, nearly two-thirds said their poor dental care was affecting their quality of life.

It is clear that oral health and athletic performance are bound together. Gum disease and cavities often trigger pain and inflammation, which may reduce the quality of life and self-confidence of a competitor and therefore lower his or her ability to rise to the occasion. Stunningly, the researchers said that the dental hygiene of the world-class athletes resembled that of people living in disadvantaged populations. Nearly half of the 2012 London competitors said they hadn’t been to the dentist in more than a year.

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Risks of Chewing Tobacco on Oral Health

Friday, November 15th, 2013

452622_30653429Much has been made about the harmful effects of cigarettes on oral health as well as overall health. But what about the stuff you don’t inhale, such as snuff and chew? In fact, these forms of smokeless tobacco are on the rise among Americans. In a study conducted between 2002 and 2008, there was a 47 percent increase in the number of new smokeless tobacco users.

Snuff is a finely ground or shredded tobacco that users “dip” between the gum and cheek. Chewing tobacco comes in a loose leaf, twist or plug form, which the user places inside the cheek. In the U.S., smokeless tobacco has long been associated with baseball. Players keep a wad in their bottom lips to keep their mouth moist, then spit the liquid out onto the field. Many people know the product simply as chew, spit, dip, plug and chaw. But whatever the name, the health risks remain.

Is smokeless tobacco better for you than cigarettes?
No. All tobacco, including snuff and chew, contains nicotine, which is highly addictive. Though nicotine is absorbed more slowly from smokeless tobacco than a cigarette, the amount that enters that bloodstream is three to four times greater than its smoking counterpart, while more nicotine per dose is absorbed stays in the blood longer. According to the National Cancer Institute, at least 28 chemicals in snuff and chew have been found to cause cancer.

Gum disease
One of the most common triggers from smokeless tobacco is gum disease, also known as gingivitis (in the early stage) and periodontal disease (in the advanced stage). When you put a pinch of chew on the inside of your lip, the chemicals in the tobacco irritate and erode the gum line, causing the gums to pull away from the teeth. Many regular chew users experience receding gums and permanent discoloration of their teeth. If you’ve ever seen a picture of someone who has a history of dipping, their bottom and top rows of teeth are a brownish-yellow. As the level of the gums sink, plaque and tartar find the bigger pockets to stick to and destroy the teeth. Extreme forms of gum disease lead to tooth loss.

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