Twin study published in the Journal of Periodontology demonstrates that flossing can decrease the occurrence of gum disease-causing bacteria.
CHICAGO—August 5, 2008—In dental offices all over the world, patients are often told they are not flossing enough or instructed to floss more. As the old saying goes, you only need to floss the teeth you want to keep. After all, not flossing regularly can lead to tooth decay and to periodontal disease, the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
A study published in the Journal of Periodontology (JOP), the official publication of theAmericanAcademy of Periodontology (AAP) demonstrates that including flossing as part of one’s routine oral care can actually help reduce the amount of gum disease-causing bacteria found in the mouth, therefore contributing to healthy teeth and gums.
The study, conducted atNew YorkUniversity, examined 51 sets of twins between the ages of 12 and 21. Each set was randomly assigned a two-week treatment regimen with one twin brushing with a manual toothbrush and toothpaste and the other twin brushing with a manual toothbrush and toothpaste and flossing. At the end of the two-week trial, samples were taken from both pairs of twins and compared for levels of bacteria commonly associated with periodontal disease.
The study findings indicated that those twins who did not floss had significantly more of the bacteria associated with periodontal disease when compared to the matching twin who flossed in addition to tooth-brushing with toothpaste.
“This study illustrates the impact flossing can have on oral health. The twins experimental model is a powerful tool to help sort out genetic and environmental factors that often confound the interpretation of treatment studies. This study demonstrates that flossing can have an important and favorable impact on an individual, as compared to that of a non-flossing individual with similar genetics and possibly similar habits,” explains Dr. Kenneth Kornman, editor or the Journal of Periodontology. “Twins tend to share the same or similar environmental factors such as dietary habits, health and life practices, as well as genetics. In this case, the only difference was flossing, and the outcome was significant. Flossing may significantly reduce the amount of bad bacteria in the mouth.”
The study results support that old saying, and show that including flossing as an integral part of your regular oral care can help reduce the amount of periodontal disease-causing bacteria in the mouth, thereby helping you keep your teeth. Periodontal disease is an infection caused by a build-up of bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. Flossing, or using interdental cleaners, helps clean the bacterial plaque from between your teeth that regular brushing can’t reach.
“As a practicing periodontist, I am constantly telling my patients to clean between their teeth more using dental floss or interdental cleaners,” says Dr. Susan Karabin, President of the AAP. “Patients tend to think that flossing can’t possibly make that much of a difference. But this study demonstrates that the addition of flossing to your dental hygiene routine can significantly reduce the amount of periodontal disease causing bacteria. Even after just two weeks!”
Tooth loss can cause an indentation in the gums and jawbone where the tooth used to be. This happens because the jawbone recedes when it no longer is holding a tooth in place. Not only is this indention unnatural looking, it also causes the replacement tooth to look too long compared to the adjacent teeth.
Ridge augmentation can fill in this defect recapturing the natural contour of the gums and jaw. A new tooth can then be created that is natural looking, easy to clean and beautiful.
Smokeless tobacco is sometimes known as chewing tobacco or spitting tobacco. It is available in two forms, snuff and chewing tobacco. Both types of smokeless tobacco are held in the mouth inside the cheek or between the cheek and gum.
Smokeless tobacco is known to contain at least 28 cancer-causing chemicals, medically known as carcinogens. The main carcinogens in smokeless tobacco are the tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs). Some of the other cancer-causing agents found in smokeless tobacco are formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, arsenic, benzopyrene, nickel, and cadmium.
Nicotine is also found in smokeless tobacco, like all tobacco products. Although nicotine is absorbed more slowly from smokeless tobacco than from cigarettes, 3 to 4 times more nicotine is absorbed from smokeless tobacco than from a cigarette, and the nicotine from smokeless tobacco remains longer in the bloodstream. Nicotine is the substance responsible for tobacco addiction.
- In 2007, about 3% of U.S. adults aged 26 and older were users of smokeless tobacco, while around 5% of people aged 18 to 25 reported using smokeless tobacco. Rates of use among young people (under the age of 18) are higher than those of adults.
- In 2007, more than 13% of male high school students and more than 2% of female high school students reported using smokeless tobacco.
Smokeless tobacco is not the same thing as smokeless cigarettes. Smokeless cigarettes (also termed e-cigarettes) are designed to provide nicotine in vapor to the user without burning tobacco. However, the smokeless cigarettes still provide addictive nicotine to the user and secondhand nicotine to others.
SATURDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) — Not only do regular dental exams help keep your teeth and gums healthy, they can help detect oral cancer, the Academy of General Dentistry says.
As part of Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April, the group recommends that people get a dental exam from a general dentist every six months.
“The next time you visit your dentist, ask about an oral cancer screening,” academy spokesperson Dr. Seung-Hee Rhee advised in an academy news release.
“Your dentist will feel for lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, cheeks, and oral cavity and thoroughly examine the soft tissues in your mouth, specifically looking for any sores or discolored tissues. Although you may have already been receiving this screening from your dentist, it’s a good idea to confirm that this screening is a part, and will remain a part, of your regular exam,” Rhee said.
Each year in the United States, more than 30,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed, and more than 8,000 people die of the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The five-year survival rate for oral cancer is about 50 percent.
“If it is not diagnosed and treated in its early stages, oral cancer can be deadly,” Rhee said. “Treatment for advanced stage oral cancer may lead to chronic pain, loss of function, permanent facial and oral disfigurement following surgery. The earlier the cancer is detected and treated, the better the outcome.”
Possible warning signs of oral cancer may include: bleeding sores; sores that do not heal; lumps or thick, hard spots; soreness or feeling that something is caught in the throat; difficulty chewing or swallowing; ear pain; difficulty moving the jaw or tongue; hoarseness; numbness of the tongue, and changes in the way teeth fit together.
There are many advantages to dental implants, including:
- Improved appearance. Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. And because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent.
- Improved speech. With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that your teeth might slip.
- Improved comfort. Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
- Easier eating. Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.
- Improved self-esteem. Dental implants can give you back your smile, and help you feel better about yourself.
- Improved oral health. Dental implants don’t require reducing other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving your long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.
- Durability. Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.
- Convenience. Removable dentures are just that; removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing your dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep your dentures in place.
It is estimated that periodontal disease affects up to 80 percent of men and women in the United States. Periodontitis is a chronic infection that affects the gums and the bones that support the teeth. Bacteria and the body’s own immune system break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. The teeth may eventually become loose, fall out, or have to be removed.
While tooth loss is a well-documented consequence of periodontitis, the relationship between periodontitis and skeletal bone density is less clear. However, some studies have found a strong and direct relationship between bone loss, periodontitis, and tooth loss. It is possible that the loss of alveolar bone mineral density leaves bone more susceptible to periodontal bacteria, increasing the risk for periodontitis and tooth loss.
Osteoporosis and tooth loss are health concerns that affect many older men and women. Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become less dense and more prone to fracture. This disease can affect any bone in the body, although the bones in the hip, spine, and wrist are most often affected. In the United States today, 10 million individuals already have osteoporosis and 34 million more have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for this disease.
Research suggests that there is a link between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw. The bone in the jaw supports and anchors our teeth. When the jaw bone becomes less dense, tooth loss can occur. Tooth loss affects approximately one-third of adults 65 years and older.
Though often hailed as “the strongest muscle in the body,” the tongue is actually made up of a group of muscles that allow us to taste food, swallow, and talk. A healthy tongue is pink and covered with small nodules called papillae.
Because you use your tongue constantly, it can be frustrating and uncomfortable when you experience tongue problems, including discoloration and soreness. There are a variety of causes for a number of common tongue symptoms. Fortunately, the majority of tongue problems are not serious and most can be resolved quickly.
In some instances, however, a discolored or painful tongue can indicate more serious conditions, including vitamin deficiencies, AIDS, or oral cancer. For this reason, it is important to seek medical advice if you experience any ongoing problems with your tongue.
CHICAGO—December 12, 2011—Routine tooth brushing and flossing and regular check-ups by a dental professional remain the cornerstone of a healthy mouth. However, according to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), pairing a few well-known healthy-lifestyle habits with your daily oral health regimen may also help reduce your risk for periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gum tissue and other structures supporting the teeth. According to Dr. Pamela McClain, President of the American Academy of Periodontology and a practicing periodontist in Aurora, Colorado, “If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and may also interfere with other systems of the body. Several research studies have indicated that one’s periodontal health may be related to overall health. Therefore, it is crucial that you do everything you can to establish good periodontal health.”
According to the AAP, the following tips may help sustain healthy teeth and gums while also helping you live an overall healthy lifestyle:
- Eat and drink up. It is well known that eating a balanced diet leads to proper nutrition and helps keep the body running effectively. Studies published in the Journal of Periodontology (JOP) have also shown that certain foods can promote teeth and gum health. Foods containing omega-3, calcium, vitamin D and even honey have all been shown to reduce the incidence or severity of periodontal disease.
- Hit the gym. Frequent exercise is a recognized way to avoid being overweight, and it may ultimately reduce your risk of periodontal disease. In a study published in the Journal of Periodontology, researchers found that subjects who maintained a healthy weight and had high levels of physical fitness had a lower incidence of severe periodontitis than those that did not exercise.
- Stress less. Stress can lead to a variety of health complications, including periodontal disease. Research published in the JOP showed a relationship between stress and periodontal disease. Increased levels of cortisol, which the body releases when experiencing stress, can intensify the destruction of the gums and bone due to periodontal disease. In addition, another JOP study indicated that people experiencing stress are more likely to neglect their oral hygiene.
- Kick the habit. Smoking is not only a leading cause of respiratory and cardiovascular disease in the United States, it is also a major risk factor for periodontal disease. Several research studies have shown that smoking not only increases the chance of developing periodontal disease, but it can also affect the success of treatments for existing periodontal disease.
- See the doctor. Regular check-ups by a physician can help with early diagnosis of several health issues, including periodontal disease. A large body of research associates gum disease with other chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, by screening for systemic disease early and receiving any needed treatment, you may also benefit your periodontal health.
Dr. McClain stresses that while these tips may contribute to healthy teeth and gums, the benefit of routine oral care cannot be discounted. “Taking good care of your periodontal health starts with daily tooth brushing and flossing. You should also expect to get a comprehensive periodontal evaluation, or CPE, every year,” she advises. A dental professional, such as a periodontist, a specialist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of gum disease, can conduct a comprehensive exam to assess your periodontal health.
For most people, bone loss is often associated with a disease called osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition of decreased bone density which is most common among post-menopausal women, when symptoms finally appear, such as spinal deformity, and hip fractures. Although density changes occur in the jaw bones as we age, osteoporosis is not found to any significant extent in the jaws.
Sometimes, for reasons that are still not entirely known, teeth bone loss will occur when there is no infection. Teeth can also cause dental bone loss. When teeth cause dental bone loss, the bone loss appears not to be connected to any teeth, even though it is. This kind of dental bone loss is usually caused by infections that are associated with previously extracted teeth, or embryonic buds of teeth that never develop.
In contrast, most dental bone loss is not directly associated with teeth. For instance, it can be caused by benign or malignant tumors that either originate in the jaws or spread to the jaws from other sites in the body. In addition to tumors, medical conditions, such as Paget’s disease, may produce dental bone loss. So can medically prescribed drugs. For example, a class of drugs called bisphosphonates, when given intravenously, has been
linked to a serious condition that results in jaw bone infection and bone loss that is difficult to control. People taking bisphosphonate drugs in oral form are also at risk, although the jaw bone infection and bone loss take more time to occur because the oral drugs accumulate more slowly in the body.