Archive for the ‘periodontitis’ Category

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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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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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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New Oral Care Appliance Helps Fight Gum Disease

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

ACCS-MSC-128On the whole, people care about their teeth – what they look like, how they feel and how white they can get. However, our pearlies are only half the equation of a healthy smile, as our gums play a larger role than we might think.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 50 percent of American adults have gum disease. This consists of both gingivitis – the inflammation of the gums (early stage), and periodontal disease (advanced stage).

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that keep your teeth in place. More often than not, it is triggered by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque and anaerobic bacteria to stick onto the teeth. The main area of infection is where the teeth meet the gums, or the gum pockets. The bigger the pockets, the larger amount of space bacteria has to take shelter. If left untreated, the gingivitis can turn into advanced-stage gum disease. Gradually, a patient’s gums erode; the teeth loosen, and may even fall out.  Today, more people lose their teeth due to gum disease than tooth decay.

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Periodontal Disease may Influence Respiratory Health

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

262068_7849Your entire body works on its own to maintain function and a healthy system, so it should come as no surprise that what goes on in your mouth will have a lasting effect on the rest of the body. For example, did you know that periodontal disease can lead to respiratory problems? According to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology, researchers found a strong link between the two, which could possibly be a result of the increased amount of anaerobic bacteria in the mouth.

Researchers studied a pool of 14,000 patients from the Third National Health and Nutrition Survey, all of whom were at least 20 years old and still had at least six natural teeth. Each person was examined for their lung, dental and periodontal health, and they were questioned regarding their respiratory health. When comparing data, the researchers found a direct link between people who had poor oral health as well as lowered respiratory health. An individual with poor oral health was characterized as someone who had bleeding gums, gingival recession and periodontal attachment level. Appropriate adjustments were made based on age, income, race and frequency of dental visits.

“It’s possible that people with periodontal disease and chronic lung disease might find their lung disease perhaps worse than if they did not have periodontal disease,” study author Frank Scannapieco, an associate professor of oral biology at the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, said. “It could be that bacteria in the mouth somehow travel into the lower airway and contribute to the inflammatory process that is involved into the progression of chronic lung disease. It’s also possible that inflammatory mediators in the saliva may somehow play a role in the process.”

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