Posts Tagged ‘Oral Health’

A Breakdown of Statistics on Oral Health: What You Need to Know

Friday, March 14th, 2014

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A smile is universal. Across all cultures, it means happiness, welcomeness and attraction. But if those teeth get dirty, they might send mixed signals. Although some say a smile is only skin deep, it in fact provides a window into your body’s overall health. So, here are 10 takeaway statistics that you should know to keep both your mouth and body clean and healthy:

1. Thirty-four percent of Americans did not visit a dentist last year. Your dental professional can spot things you may not notice, remove dental plaque, provide proper cavity treatment, and at the end of the day, help to brighten your pearly whites.

2. The average American consumes a whopping 600 cans of soda annually. This sugary beverage is among the leading culprits for tooth decay. As an alternative to soda, drink water, which helps wash down harmful acids and food debris.

3. Nearly 50 percent of people say that a smile is the first thing they notice when meeting someone.

4. In a survey on dating, bad breath was found to be the No. 1 turn-off. Check out the best mouthwash for bad breath. Whether you’re meeting for lunch or at a concert, keep sugar-free gum on hand.

5. According to a 2007 French study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, roughly 6 percent of people have tonsil stones, which are clumps of mucus, dead cells and debris that get caught in the pockets of the tonsils. While many people may not know about this condition, a growing number of Americans have expressed concern in recent years over what they are and what to do with them. Tonsil stones can cause throat irritation and discomfort and can be popped out using Q-tip or oral irrigator.

6. Almost 4 out of 5 Americans have a cavity by age 17. Once secondary (adult) teeth set in, you have to wear that smile for life! So, take care of it.

7. According to a British study from DailyMail, white teeth can make you look 20 percent more attractive. The same study also found that having white teeth makes you up to 16 percent more employable. Tooth whitening options, anyone?

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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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Caregiver’s Guide to Seniors’ Oral Health

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Looking AheadIssues with the teeth and gums are often a sign of a larger problem in the body. Whether it shows a poor diet, diabetes or cardiovascular disease, the condition of the mouth is not something to put on the back burner. Research has shown that gum disease left untreated can exacerbate these and other chronic health conditions, and affect one’s overall wellbeing. While sometimes an individual’s poor oral health may be obvious, other times it may only be recognizable by an expert. The mouth is especially important to take note of in seniors or other individuals with serious health conditions.

Regular check-ups with dentists, including cavity treatments, cleanings and X-rays, can help people avoid serious ailments in the mouth. No matter the age, it is important to visit the dentist twice a year for cleanings so that built up dental plaque, which leads to tartar, is cleared away, and any tooth decay is taken care of before it becomes too serious. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford cavity treatments when they are necessary. While it is still very important to make sure that tooth decay is taken care of appropriately, caregivers can learn preventative measures to ensure that these issues are avoided and the oral cavity is clean and fresh.

Check for training sessions
Groups in specific areas may take action to educate the community on proper senior oral health training techniques. For example, the University of Delaware Center for Disabilities Studies and Delaware Division of Public Health will hold training sessions in June for caregivers who are required to maintain someone else’s oral health. This session teaches individuals about daily mouth care, preventative practices, the importance of maintaining a healthy mouth and main causes of oral health problems. Consider researching your area to find a similar informational meeting where you can learn more.

Maintain communication
If you are the caregiver for another person, it is important to make sure you are aware of any aches and pains they have in the mouth. Senior oral health may be hard to maintain, but overlooking a sharp or chronic pain in a tooth or the gums can lead to further issues. Pain is often the sign of tooth decay, meaning there is a high level of bacteria in the mouth which can travel through the bloodstream. This is especially important if bleeding in the gums is noticed, because this is a sign of gum disease and can lead to heart disease.

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Gingivitis (a Major Cause of Bad Breath) May Be Genetic

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

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More people than you may think have gingivitis–up to half of the U.S. population.  Some people do not even realize that they have it, and they might have common symptoms like bad breath, and/or swollen, red and bleeding gums.  Gingivitis can cause complications like heart disease, pre-term birth, and diabetes if it is not treated.  Most of the time, people think it is caused by a lack of proper oral hygiene or the hormonal changes that occur during a woman’s pregnancy (pregnancy gingivitis). 

A new study, on the other hand, shows that genetics actually can play a major part in the onset and healing of gum disease.  The goal of this study was to pinpoint various changes on a molecular level during the onset and healing processes of the disease.  Research showed that ~30% of the human body’s genes are expressed differently during the formation and healing of gingivitis.  How one reacts to gingivitis depends greatly on how the body’s immune system is activated.  The findings of the study enabled scientists to identify certain biological pathways activated by the onset and remediation of gingivitis, including energy metabolism, immunity response, neural processes, vasculature, chemotaxis, steroid metabolism and wound healing.  The information gathered from this study should certainly help scientists and doctors come up with better cures for gingivitis.

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Forget something? Maybe the reason is in your mouth!

Friday, November 13th, 2009

cognitive function

Did you know that Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, diabetes, and heart disease, can be linked to poor oral health? According to extensive research, various health issues like the ones mentioned can be related to one’s oral hygiene. This is why it is important to brush and floss regularly, as well as visit the dentist for regular checkups.

Researchers have found recently that gum disease can influence brain function in a negative way: gum disease can cause inflammation throughout the body, in turn causing a loss of mental function.

In a study of people ages 60 and older, those with the highest levels of the gum disease-causing pathogen were 3X more likely to have difficulty with verbal memory tests, like recalling a three-word phrase after a period of time. Also, adults with the highest levels of this pathogen were twice as likely to fail three-digit reverse subtraction tests and verbal recall tests.

In the study, the researchers mentioned that there are no epidemiological studies that have shown the relation between periodontitis and cognition, despite the link between periodontitis with stroke and the risk factors of stroke and dementia. However, evidence supports there being a relation between poor oral health and incident dementia. It can be expected that there will be more tests done on this topic in the near future.

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