Archive for the ‘gum disease’ Category

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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Brightening Athletes’ Smiles at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

1121970_38284485Competitions in the Olympics have moved into the dental chair. 

Throughout the games, the Procter & Gamble Company has sponsored dentists to help athletes achieve top oral health in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Athletes will receive oral care products and educational materials at the dental clinics situated in each of the Olympic Winter Games facilities, where dentists will also offer routine dental care, dental screenings and emergency services.

No one wants a repeat of the 2012 Olympics, when poor dental health was shown to hinder athletic’ performances.

You might presume that for these world-class athletes to remain in top shape, they must have equally “fit,” or healthy, mouths. Yet, dental reports from the London Games indicated that more than half of athletes had shockingly poor oral health – worse than that of the average person their same age. Nearly 55 percent of athletes had signs of cavities, with most having irreversible decay – talk about flexing your bad breath! Even more troubling, 3 out of 4 athletes suffered from gingivitis, or early stage gum disease. The biggest kicker? Many found it worsened their training and performance, whether on the track, the field or in the gymnasium.

“It happened in the past that a dental emergency or poor oral health has seriously influenced the performance of an athlete at one of their most important events,” Dr. Paul Piccininni, a coordinator of dental services for the International Olympic Committee at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, noted in a Procter & Gamble Company press release.

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Gum Disease Almost 100 Percent Preventable

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

gingivitisDo you wear sunscreen on blistering hot days? Do you buckle your seat belt when going on a road trip? Like these measures, taking care of your gums and teeth marks the benefits of preventative care. Think ahead of time. Not only will staying on top of your gum health ward off unwanted accidents, it might also keep money in the bank later on.

The early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, is the inflammation of your gums. Red tissue, receding gum lines and bleeding gums after brushing are all telltale signs of gingivitis. This occurs when plaque is allowed to accumulate in the pockets between where your teeth meet the gums. Plaque contains bacteria, which produce toxins that slowly eat away at the tissue. Although gums may be irritated at this point, teeth remain firmly planted in their sockets, and no irreversible bone damage has occurred yet.

If left untreated, however, gingivitis may progress to periodontal disease, or advanced-stage gum disease. At this point, the inner layer of the gum and bone begin to pull away from teeth, creating small pockets. The deeper the pockets, the more space bacteria have to grow.

At its nastiest, gum disease can result in the loss of teeth as well as the bones that support the teeth.

Biggest causes of gum diseases:
• Tobacco products: Smoking, chewing and any other use of tobacco has been shown as one of the leading causes of gum disease. The chemicals in tobacco leave harmful bacteria in the mouth, which erodes the gum tissue. When this happens, smoker’s breath might be the least of one’s concerns. Cigarettes, cigars and pipes contribute to gingivitis and periodontitis.

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The Differences Between Regular, Soy and Almond Milk

Monday, January 27th, 2014

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Many people have chosen sides for which type of milk they prefer. Cow, soy and almond varieties all provide nutritious sources of vitamins and minerals, but let’s look at which are the healthiest for your body and teeth.

For a healthy mouth, calcium and vitamin D rank as two of the best nutrients. As your mom told you, calcium helps promote strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, thereby increasing bone density and reducing the risk for softening. This will help lower the risk of cavities and other oral health problems, including gum disease. Besides soaking up the sun, you can get a healthy dose of vitamin D from fortified cow’s milk.

Cow’s milk
What we normally call “regular” milk is cow’s milk, a product of the cow’s mammary gland. In the store, you’ll typically find four various types of milk made from cows: whole (which is 3.5 percent milk fat), 2 percent, 1 percent and fat-free. Consumers who want to cut calories typically opt for fat-free milk. As far as nutrients go, milk is a great a source of calcium, vitamin D and protein.

Lactose, the primary carbohydrate in cow’s milk, creates a digestive problem for some people who are lactose intolerant. They are often deficient in the enzyme lactase​, which is required to break down milk sugar. Too much milk (or milk products) with not enough lactase can trigger bloating, gas and diarrhea.

Soy milk
Soy milk, on the other hand, is not technically milk, but rather a beverage made from soybeans. It is made from soaking, grinding and boiling soy beans with water. This milk contains twice as much vitamin B-6 and a lot more iron than cow’s milk.

Almond milk
Almond milk is a beverage ground from almonds. Many people prefer its sweeter flavor to other milk alternatives. Since almonds are naturally very nutritious, almond milk does not need to be fortified with other ingredients like regular and soy milk. It is often the healthiest of these three milk options.

While 1 percent milk has around 30 percent of your recommended daily intake of calcium, soy milk contains roughly 6 percent of calcium. Unsweetened almond milk surpasses both of those, with 45 percent of your daily intake. There is around 25 percent of vitamin D in regular milk, none found in soy and 25 percent in almond milk. Cow’s milk has half of the total fat of soy, still less fat than almond, with almost the same amount of sugar. All nutritional facts are based on a one cup, 2,000 calorie diet.

The bottom line: Almond milk is healthier than cow’s and soy milk. It is a great alternative for those who are lactose intolerant, as well as people looking to strengthen their smile and ward off cavities.

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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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