Interesting Dental News


The 2-Minute Habit That May Prevent Alzheimer's

posted Aug 17, 2013, 9:46 AM by Young H. No   [ updated Aug 17, 2013, 9:54 AM ]

  

 

Healthline
The 2-Minute Habit That May Prevent Alzheimer's

By Lisa Collier Cool
Aug 16, 2013
 

Taking great care of your teeth—with daily brushing and flossing—may dramatically cut risk for Alzheimer’s disease, according to surprising new research.

British scientists report finding signs of gum-disease bacteria in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. The new study adds to a rapidly growing body of evidence strongly linking periodontal (gum) disease to greatly increased risk for the memory-robbing disorder.

Byproducts of this bacterium, known as Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis), were found in brain samples of four out of ten Alzheimer’s patients, but not in samples from ten people of similar age without dementia, according to the study published in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Gum Inflammation Multiplies Alzheimer’s Risk

P. gingivalis is commonly found in people with chronic periodontal (gum) disease, and can enter the bloodstream through such everyday activities as eating, brushing, and invasive dental treatments, and from there, potentially travel to the brain.

That’s scary considering that periodontal disease—a chronic inflammatory disease of the gums and bones supporting the teeth—affects nearly 50 percent of American adults over age 30, and 70 percent of those age 65 or older, the American Academy of Periodontology reports.

In a 2010 study involving 152 people, NYU dental researchers linked inflamed gums to greatly increased risk for cognitive impairment associated with Alzheimer’s.  The study compared mental function at ages 50 and 70 and found that people with gum inflammation were nine times more likely to score in the lowest category of mental function than those with little or no inflammation.

The link held true even when such risk factors as smoking, obesity, and tooth loss unrelated to gum disease were taken into account. The association was also seen in people who already had impaired cognitive function at age 50: gum disease made things get even worse.

Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

How do oral bacteria harm the brain?

The new British study discussed above adds to a 2012 study in which 158 cognitively normal people were checked for antibodies to gum-disease bacteria in their blood (indicating exposure to these bugs).

People with the antibodies were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or cognitive impairment in later years than were people without the antibodies, suggesting that “periodontal disease could potentially contribute to AD onset/progression,” the researchers concluded.

What’s the link between oral bacteria and memory loss? “One theory is that these pathogens may generate inflammation in brain cells involved in Alzheimer’s, such as the glial cells,” says Bradley Bale, MD, medical director of the Heart Health Program at Grace Clinic in Lubbock, Texas.

“One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease is activated glial cells, with high levels of inflammatory molecules that lead to nerve cell damage and destruction,” adds Dr. Bale.

10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Smile

Keeping Your Mouth Healthy Reduces Dementia Risk

A toothbrush can be a powerful weapon against Alzheimer’s, a 2012 study suggests. California researchers tracked 5,468 seniors over an 18-year period and found that those who didn’t brush daily were up to 65 percent more likely to develop dementia than those who brushed three times a day.

To keep your teeth—and possibly your brain—in excellent health, follow these tips from Dr. Bale:

  • Brush at least twice a day, in the morning and at bedtime. Dr. Bale recommends using an electronic toothbrush for two minutes and fluoride toothpaste. 
  • Be sure to brush both the back and front of each tooth, along with your gums and tongue.
  • Floss at least once a day, being sure to wrap the floss around each tooth to remove debris and bacteria. An oral irrigator, such as Waterpik, can also be helpful for cleaning between the teeth.
  • Know the symptoms of gum disease and alert your dentist if you have any of them. The leading warning sign is bleeding when you brush or floss. Others include red, puffy or tender gums, loose teeth, pus between your gums and teeth, and a change in your bite (how your teeth fit together), any of which should warrant a prompt dental checkup.
  • Visit your dentist at least twice a year for a checkup and professional cleaning.  Even if you don’t have any symptoms of gum disease, the checkup should include measuring the pockets between your teeth, which is done painlessly with a dental probe. In the early stages, gum disease may not cause any obvious symptoms.
  • Avoid smoking, which greatly increases risk for gum disease.

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Botox may help prevent teeth grinding at night

posted May 9, 2012, 9:07 AM by Young H. No

NEW ORLEANS — Botox may help prevent teeth grinding at night, results from a small study suggest.

In the study, patients with nighttime teeth grinding, or nocturnal bruxism, who were given Botox injections reported greater improvement in their condition compared to those given a placebo.

The findings suggest Botox could be used to treat nighttime teeth grinding, a common condition for which there is no established treatment, said study researcher Dr. William Ondo, a professor of neurology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Although dental guards are used to prevent damage to teeth, they do not prevent the grinding itself, Ondo said.

However, larger studies are needed to confirm the results, Ondo said. The new study was presented here Wednesday (April 25) at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting.

Nighttime teeth grinding

Up to 15 percent of people experience nocturnal bruxism, though many are unaware they have the condition and find out only when they're told by their partner or a dentist. Nocturnal bruxism can damage teeth, and has been associated with headaches and pain in the jaw area, Ondo said.

In the study, 23 patients with nocturnal bruxism were randomly assigned to receive a Botox injection or a placebo injection. To be included in the study, patients were tested in an overnight sleep study to confirm they had nocturnal bruxism.

Thirteen people received the Botox injection in the temple and jaw, and 10 received the placebo. Four weeks later, participants rated the severity of their condition – whether they felt better, worse or about the same as before the study. Oftentimes, patients had input from their partners.

Participants who received Botox did not experience significant changes in their sleep patterns, or in the severity of headaches. Two patients experienced a cosmetic change in their smile.

Botox contains botulinum toxin, a protein produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. The drug is thought to work by blocking nerve signals to the muscles, thus relaxing them.

FDA approval?

Botox is not officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for nocturnal bruxism, but because the drug is approved for other uses, it can be used "off label" as a treatment for nighttime teeth grinding. In fact, Ondo said he has been using it in his patients with nocturnal bruxism for 20 years.

If the companies that manufacture botulinum toxin want the drug officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of nocturnal bruxism, they would need to conduct their own, large trials to submit to the agency, Ondo said.

The current study was funded with a grant from Allergan, which makes Botox.

Grand Opening Sale

posted Jan 5, 2012, 1:24 PM by Young H. No   [ updated Jan 5, 2012, 1:24 PM ]

Please visit for special on Whitening and Short Term Orthodontics

5 Major Health Threats That Your Dentist Can Predict

posted Oct 14, 2009, 11:16 PM by Young H. No   [ updated Nov 13, 2011, 9:05 AM ]

When you look in your mouth you may see teeth that need whitening, but a dentist may see signs of heart disease. A study published in the Journal of Dental Research found that many dental problems can be signs of serious health complications. University of Washington School of Dentistry professor Philippe P. Hujoel, DDS, PhD, says the sugar and carbohydrates in food, known as "fermentable carbohydrates," are to blame. Found in sugary drinks, snack foods like potato chips, and simple grains like white bread and corn, these carbs are fermented by bacteria in your mouth, which produces the acids that cause tooth decay. "Those dental diseases are a marker for an unhealthy diet, and an unhealthy diet may predict future health complications," Dr. Hujoel notes.

#1: Obesity
"If a kid has tooth decay and cavities, he probably has high exposure to fermentable carbs," Dr. Hujoel says. "He's really having too many snacks and candy, and this may very well be the kid that ends up obese." For adults, too, an increase in cavities could mean you're eating too many unhealthy foods, which also puts you at risk for obesity. A dentist who knows your medical history may ask about your eating habits, but you should feel free to ask if what's happening to your teeth might be a sign of other problems.

Are You At Risk Of Diabetes?


#2: Cardiovascular disease
The same carbs in snack foods and sugary drinks that get dentists drilling are often found in the company of unhealthy ingredients like trans fatty acids. While trans fats themselves don't cause cavities, they're often used in foods with high amounts of cavity-causing fermentable carbs, and they have been associated with an increase in cardiovascular disease. Whenever you can, replace processed, packaged food with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. For those sweet treats you can't give up, check the labels to make sure they're trans fat free.

It's also possible for cavities themselves to threaten your heart, if the bacteria that produce them find their way into your cardiovascular system. Bacteria associated with tooth and gum disease may also be involved in stroke, diabetes, and respiratory problems—so brush and floss every day.

5 Excuses That Kill Your Heart


#3: Diabetes
The fermentable carbohydrates in sugary drinks and snacks loaded with carbs increase your blood sugar level drastically, raising the risk of type 2 diabetes, Dr. Hujoel says. Which is one more reason to switch to a diet that produces fewer cavities. "Lifelong usage of high fermentable carbohydrates first leads to dental disease, and then, long-term, leads to other health outcomes," Dr. Hujoel adds.


#4: Cancer
Not only does a tooth-unhealthy diet put you at risk for obesity, which is a risk factor for certain cancers, harmful lifestyle habits like smoking can produce tooth discoloration and periodontal destruction. Abnormalities in your mouth, including bleeding gums and cavities, should be a natural alarm bell, Dr. Hujoel says. So always ask your dentist if your tooth problems could point toward a wider problem.

Four Eating Strategies that Prevent Cancer


#5: Alzheimer's disease
In a study just published in The Journal of the American Dental Association, people who lost most of their teeth were more likely to develop dementia problems, such as Alzheimer's disease, later on. It will take more research to clarify what the connection between tooth loss and brain health may be. But is seems that keeping your teeth as healthy possible has benefits that go far beyond your mouth.

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Why Redheads and Dentists Don't Get Along

posted Oct 14, 2009, 11:11 PM by Young H. No   [ updated Nov 13, 2011, 8:51 AM ]

 Redheads may be stereotyped as having fiery tempers, but those tempers may turn to fear and loathing when they walk through the door of a dentist’s office, according to research published in the Journal of the American Dental Association. The study shows that people with a specific gene that often occurs in redheads tend to experience heightened anxiety when they pop in for a regular teeth cleaning.

The details: The study’s authors recruited 144 people for the study, 67 of whom were natural redheads, and 77 who were dark-haired. The participants answered survey questions about any fears or anxieties related to dental visits, and the researchers took blood samples that they later tested for specific gene variants common in people with red hair. People with one specific gene, MC1R, were more than twice as likely to report that they avoided dental appointments because of fear and anxiety than people without that gene. Of the 85 people in the study with MC1R, 65 were redheads.

5 Major Health Threats That Your Dentist Can Predict

What it means: It’s possible, say the researchers, that redheads with the gene in question tend to be resistant to certain pain medications. This could mean redheads are more prone than most to experience a difficult dental visit, affecting their expectations about future appointments. Redheaded or not, most of us have probably had reservations about going to the dentist at some point in our lives. But don’t let fear prevent you from getting your twice-yearly checkups. Recent studies have linked periodontal disease to a wide variety of chronic diseases, including heart disease, strokes, and type 2 diabetes. If it’s been a while since you’ve visited the dentist, you might be pleasantly surprised at the experience. “Things don’t hurt anymore,” says Kimberly A. Harms, DDS, consumer advisor for the American Dental Association. Anesthesia has become much more effective, she says, and patients don’t have to experience the pain that used to be common in dental procedures.

Study: Sour-flavored candies do more damage to tooth enamel than sweet varieties

Here are some ways to ease angst about the dentist’s office:

• Know if you’re an early bird or a late riser. Schedule your appointments during the time of day that’s best for you, recommends Dr. Harms. “Come in the morning if you’re a morning person, or late in the afternoon if you’re an evening person,” she says. You’ll be in a better mood and better frame of mind.

• Prepare the night before. “Get a good night’s sleep,” Dr. Harms adds. If you have trouble sleeping the night before a visit, she suggests calling your dentist’s office and asking if they can provide you with a sleep aid.

• Talk, lots. Make a list of what it is that bothers you about going to the dentist, whether it’s fear of painful procedures or lack of control over what’s going on, and talk about it with your dentist. “The most important thing you can do is communicate with everyone, right from the beginning,” says Dr. Harms. “A lot of people come in with anxiety and fears, and they’re embarrassed,” she says, “but we do this all the time and we understand.” Dr. Harms also suggests developing signals, such as raising your hand, between you and your dentist, in the event that you do start to feel pain or discomfort.

DIY dentistry: How to fix six common dental problems yourself...

• Distract yourself. Dentists offices are getting decidedly high-tech these days, providing patients with headphones, MP3 players, and even virtual-reality goggles that distract patients while they’re in a chair. Dr. Harms says her office provides goggles that play movies for patients, which are especially helpful for lengthy procedures like root canals. If your dentist prefers a low-tech atmosphere, bring your own headphones and music. It will help drown out unpleasant sounds like drills, suction tubes, and anything else that can raise your blood pressure.

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