It seems that the root of all evil stems from the mouth; more specifically, the gums.
Over the years, periodontal disease has been linked to every thing from impotence, to heart disease, to cancer.
And now, far fetched as it may sound, gum disease may be linked to failed orthopedic implants. Yes, you read right – the implants used to rebuild your granny’s hip.
While you may be thinking: “Who on God’s green Earth decided to examine whether or not a person’s infected artificial knee was caused by their teeth?” – and you’d have a point – there’s actually a serious case to be made.
According to a study conducted by scientists at the University of Arkansas and the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2007, bacteria that enter the bloodstream via the bleeding gums caused by periodontal disease can cause infections in artificial joints. These infections, as the study states “can be potentially devastating.”
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A recent study conducted by the CDC, estimates that nearly half of Americans 30-years-of-age or older show some form of periodontal disease— whether this ranges from mild illness, with shallow pocket formation around teeth, to severe illness involving bone loss and systemic inflammation. For seniors, the numbers are even higher— skyrocketing to an astounding two-thirds of the population sampled. As with most complex illnesses, early intervention is often key to a better outcome; in this case, intervention may prevent tooth and bone loss, or even later manifestations of cardiovascular disease.
Unsurprisingly, oral bacteria and plaque are the main drivers behind periodontal disease. As a bacterial biofilm, with a complex, communal structure, plaque is much more resilient than single-celled bacteria and has greater resistance to bodily defenses and antimicrobial agents. Even in the short term, plaque biofilms have been shown to promote the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and enzymes from immune cells; these substances, in turn, contribute to the breakdown of the periodontal ligament— the connective tissue that holds teeth in place. Read more »
It is hard to imagine that any patient would prefer to have their gums flapped open, bone recontoured, tissue grafted from their upper palette and gums stitched back up again. In fact, if faced with this option, I would pay a hefty premium to avoid this ordeal. A 1994 NHANES study discovered that almost 3/4 of patients who were diagnosed with gum disease did not seek treatment due to fear of pain, cost and embarrassment. Fortunately, Photodisinfection is a completely pain-free procedure that is significantly cheaper than gum surgery and with better outcomes for the patient. Finally, there is a minimally invasive and non-antibiotic way to arrest gum disease. With the indisputable links to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, pre-term births etc., there is no longer a good reason to put off getting back to healthy gums. To find a dentist offering Periowave nearest you, please click here: Find A Dental Professional
Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is an unpleasant condition where insufficient saliva is produced to keep the mouth moist and comfortable. It can be due to several different reasons, as it can be a side-effect of existing health conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease,or Alzheimer’s, or it can be due to tobacco use, and some cancer treatments can permanently damage the salivary glands, reducing saliva production.
Sometimes it can be down to medication, as certain drugs, especially those used to treat depression and anxiety, or to treat Parkinson’s disease or medication for high blood pressure, can create dry mouth as a side-effect. Xerostomia can also be as a result of nerve damage to the head and neck area. Older people are also more likely to suffer from dry mouth, not because aging is a risk factor for this condition, but because they are more likely to suffer from health conditions which may cause dry mouth, and are more likely to be on medication that can exacerbate the condition.
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Did you know that gum disease affects more than half of all people over the age of 30? As prevalent as this disease is, many people still remain undiagnosed. Typical symptoms of patients with gum disease include red, swollen, and puffy gums that feel tender to the touch. If left untreated, the disease can progress and result in loss of connective tissue, gum recession, and even tooth loss. Pus can also develop in the pockets between the teeth and gums as the body attempts to fight the infection. Not surprisingly, this creates a permanent bad taste in the mouth, and sufferers will also have bad breath. Not only does gum disease wreak havoc in your mouth, studies have also shown that is linked to serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and even impotence.
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By: Veronique Benhamou, DDS, BSc, Cert. Perio, FPFA, FADI, FACD
It has been known since the beginning of the last century that microorganisms can be killed by various combinations of dyes and light. Ancient Egyptian, Indian and Chinese civilizations used light to treat various diseases, including psoriasis, rickets, vitiligo and skin cancer. In 1901, Niels Finsen used light to treat smallpox and cutaneous tuberculosis and in 1903, he won the Nobel Prize for his work on phototherapy (Nature 2003, Dennis et al) However, the interest in antimicrobial Photodynamic Therapy (aPDT) was diminished concurrently with the introduction of antibiotics; it is only in recent years, with the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis that a search for alternative treatments has stimulated a revival of interest on aPDT. It is an effective antibacterial therapy that involves the use of specific-wave light energy to activate a photosensitive compound (photosensitizer), which interacts with locally present molecular oxygen. APDT has the potential to be a powerful alternative to antibiotic therapy, particularly for the treatment of localized infections of the skin and the oral cavity. Microorganisms that are killed by this technique include bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa. Read more »
An in-depth review of over 50 women’s health journal articles has shown there is a link between female hormone production and gum disease. The review was led by Charlene Krejci, associate clinical professsor at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. It is called “Women’s Health: Periodontitis and its Relation to Hormonal Changes, Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes and Osteoporosis” and has been published in the journal Oral Health and Preventative Dentistry. It shows that the level of female hormones, which can fluctuate considerably over the course of a lifetime, can be responsible for changing conditions in the oral cavity which can lead to gum disease.
Krejci reviewed 61 journal articles as well as nearly 100 studies, all of which dealt with the question as to whether there was a link between gum disease and an increased level of female hormones, as well as other major health concerns such as preterm births and osteporosis. “There’s definitely a gender-specific connection between women’s hormones, gum disease, and specific health issues impacting women” said Dr. Krejci. In addition she noted that although women tend to pay much more care to their oral hygiene routine, they need to be more attentive than men in order to avoid health issues that are unique to women.
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If ever a man needed more incentive to take care of his oral health then this has to be it. A new study has shown there may be a link between men suffering from severe periodontal disease and erectile dysfunction.
The population based study looked at 33,000 men suffering from erectile dysfunction, and a comparison group of 162,000 men who didn’t have this condition. They tracked both groups for five years to try to ascertain if there was a link between erectile dysfunction and periodontal disease. Even though the study took into account lifestyle factors such as pre-existing medical conditions and income, it still found erectile dysfunction was linked to gum disease, particularly in men aged over 70 or younger than 30 . In spite of these findings, the study doesn’t show that periodontal disease causes erectile dysfunction, only that the two may somehow be associated in some way.
There is already speculation as to what this link, if any exists, might be. One idea put forward by Dr Aaron Katz, chairman of the Department of Urology at Winthrop University Hospital in New York, is that erectile dysfunction may be due to inflammation in the body, and that this could have caused damage to the blood vessels in the penis. This idea does make sense as periodontitis is known to cause inflammation.
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A new research study, carried out by the University of London in collaboration with American research groups, has gone a little way towards explaining why gum disease is more likely to be found in older people. The study was recently published in Nature, and found that as we age, the production of a chemical called Del-1 gradually falls. It is hoped that gaining a better understanding about this chemical could lead to the development of alternative and hopefully more effective methods of treating and preventing gum disease.
The latest research is showing a link between low levels of the chemical Del-1 and an increased likelihood of developing gum disease.
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From my observations, many people tend to be passive participants, leaving their oral health in the hands of their dental practitioners. Most people go to their dental clinic expecting that the dentist alone can prevent the onslaught of gum disease, abdicating their home care diligence in favour of bi-annual dental checkups. One dentist I know likes to use this phrase to coax patients into improving their oral hygiene practice at home: “Only brush & floss the teeth you want to keep!” While this phrase is always guaranteed to get a smile out of the patients, unfortunately, it makes light of a very serious issue. Tooth loss, after all, is not the most significant potential outcome of gum disease. In fact, gum disease has long been linked and associated with serious conditions like heart disease, stroke, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, pre-term births and others.
Given the list of unpleasant symptoms of gum disease that are both socially undesirable and physically painful:
1) Red, swollen, and puffy gums
2) Horribly bad breath
3) Bleeding gum tissue
4) Tooth and bone loss
…it is truly a wonder to me, that in this day and age, gum disease is still the most common human disease in the world, affecting ~75% of the adult population even in North America.
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