Posts tagged: plaque

Premature Death from Cancer Linked to Dental Plaque In New Study

The results of a recent study published in the British Medical Journal Open seem to indicate the possibility of a link between risk of premature death due to cancer and persistent dental plaque. The study took place in Stockholm, Sweden and was led by Professor Birgitta Söder. It was pretty comprehensive as it looked at the health of nearly 1,400 Swedish adults over a period of 24 years. The objective of the study was to determine whether or not the amount of dental plaque, which generally indicates poor oral hygiene, could be associated with premature death from cancer.

The study started in 1985 when the participants were all in their 30s and 40s, and continued until 2009. At the beginning of the study all participants were given a questionnaire to discover if there were any factors that might increase their risk of developing cancer. The questionnaire assessed variables such as whether or not they smoked, and their socio-economic status. They also received a clinical assessment. This revealed that while gum disease wasn’t prevalent, there were substantial deposits of plaque on the tooth surface.

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Scaling and Root Planing Isn’t Always Enough to Treat Gum Disease

SRP is not always 100% effective. Calculus and bacteria can be left behind.

Dental scaling and root planing, known as SRP, is often used when a straightforward cleaning isn’t enough, and is sometimes called deep cleaning. This nonsurgical procedure aims to remove the plaque and calculus or tartar which has built up around and just under the gum line by scaling or scraping the teeth. The process can help leave nice smooth surfaces enabling the gum tissue to attach more firmly to the surface of the tooth, and is one of the most common therapies used to treat gum disease1.

While SRP is often regarded as being the gold standard in the treatment of gum disease, it isn’t always 100% effective. Part of the problem is due to the fact that the clinician cannot generally see the calculus below the gum line, and must rely on their sense of touch to scrape away the calculus. This lack of visual feedback heightens the chance some small areas of calculus being inadequately removed. When gum disease is left improperly treated, the patient can experience tissue inflammation, gum recession, and even bone loss. Not only can this put the patient’s overall health at risk, but it can also allow the gum disease to worsen to a point where it requires additional treatments. Read more »

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