Women who consume high volumes of folic acid found in vitamin B from vegetables and some fruits are less likely to suffer from mouth cancer. A sample of 87,000 nurses were followed for 30 years from 1976 by researchers from the Columbia University Medical Centre and Harvard School of Public Health.
Women who drank a high volume of alcohol and had low folic acid intake were three times more likely to develop mouth cancer than those who drank high volumes of alcohol but had high volumes of folic acid in their diet. Alcohol is one of the major risk factors for mouth cancer and those who drink to excess are four times more likely to be diagnosed.
This is the first time that folic acid intake has been shown to affect the risk of the disease. Alcohol leads to a reduction in folic acid metabolism by creating acetaldehyde which leads to a reduction of folic acid in the body.
Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, said: ‘Rates of mouth cancer in women have been increasing for many years as a result of changed social habits with more women smoking and drinking.
‘This new research could offer a method to reduce this by looking at the folic acid intake and increasing fruit and vegetables containing folic acid in the diet.
“In the past studies have tended to focus on males, as they are twice as likely to suffer from the disease. While this study focuses on women we know that men also benefit from the protective value of increased fruit and vegetables.”
Folic acid or vitamin B9 is essential to an individual’s health by helping to make and maintain new cells.
Pregnant women are advised to supplement their intake of folic acid, to ensure a healthy development of the baby. Folic acid is found in vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, beans, peas and lentils and is added to bread. Fruit juices, broccoli and brussel sprouts contain smaller amounts.
An unhealthy diet has been linked with around a third of mouth cancer cases.
Recent research has also shown that an increase in food such as eggs and fish that contain omega 3, and nuts, seeds and brown rice, which are high in fibre, can help decrease the risks.
Mouth cancer survival is poor with only around half of cases surviving for 5 years and this is due to late presentation.
Early warning signs to look out for include a mouth ulcer that has not healed within three weeks, red or white patches in the mouth and any unusual swelling or lumps in the mouth.
These are all signs that you should get your dentist or doctor to check you out as soon as possible.
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., USA: New research conducted on behalf of the Oral Cancer Foundation has found that many Americans are unaware of the fact that the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus, is the fastest-growing risk factor for oral cancer. The data supports the current consensus that awareness of oral cancer and early discovery measures is low, and that most Americans do not recognize that the profile of the oral cancer patient has evolved from heavy smokers and drinkers to anyone who is sexually active.
According to the OCF, approximately 40,000 Americans will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2012. This is the fifth consecutive year in which there has been an increase in the incidence rate of the dangerous disease. Oral cancer is often caught in the late stages, when the five-year survival rate is less than 50 percent. When diagnosed in the early stages of development, oral cancer patients have an 80 to 90 percent survival rate.
The results of the national survey, conducted by market research consultancy Kelton among a representative sample of 1,024 Americans aged 18 and over, indicated that more than four in five Americans know that smoking (83 percent) and chewing tobacco (83 percent) are risk factors. However, the survey also revealed that they remain in the dark about other potential causes of oral cancer, including alcohol consumption and HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection.
The survey showed that women tend to be slightly more aware of the risk factors of oral cancer than men. Forty percent of women and 33 percent of men correctly recognize alcohol consumption as a risk factor for oral cancer, but less than 30 percent of both sexes realize that a sexually transmitted virus is a causative factor for the disease.
“Oral cancer takes the life of one person an hour and for those who do survive, it can be severely disfiguring and debilitating,” said Brian Hill, founder and executive director of the OCF and a stage-four oral cancer survivor. “It’s one of the few types of cancer that hasn’t experienced a significant decline in fatalities over the past several decades. To reverse this trend, we need to create awareness that virtually everyone over the age of 18 is potentially at risk and hence in need of an opportunistic annual oral cancer screening.”
According to Hill, because people are not aware of the risk factors, they do not take a proactive approach to screening and early detection of oral cancer, which has a high survival rate if diagnosed early.
OCF is currently organizing an extensive effort to promote Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April and to encourage dental and medical practices throughout the U.S. and Canada to offer free oral cancer screenings during the month. Several companies and organizations are co-sponsoring OCF’s efforts, including LED Dental, manufacturer of the VELscope Vx oral cancer screening system. The OCF survey was funded in part by the company.
A summary of the recently released survey, “Americans’ appreciation for their mouth overshadowed by their lack of awareness of oral cancer”, is available at www.oralcancer.org/study. The survey document includes detailed information about specific risk factors, as well as a summary of the survey results. The breakout report, which includes the survey questions and detailed answers, is also available on the same webpage.
Various oral contraceptives appear to have differing effects on a woman’s risk of developing gum disease — the leading cause of tooth loss. A number of studies have suggested that sex hormones influence the progression of gum disease. At least one study has found that levels of gum disease-causing bacteria in a woman’s mouth may increase after she begins using oral contraceptives.
Jewelry worn in pierced tongues can lead to painful tooth microfractures, says one dental expert. The repetitive tapping can cause microfractures — tiny hairline fractures in tooth enamel that remain invisible to the naked eye. These microscopic cracks can leave the nerve of the tooth exposed to either temperature changes or small food particles, causing mild to severe pain. The typical tongue-jewelry induced microfracture sufferer complains of pain but looks healthy and has no cavities. Most jewelry-induced microfractures occur in the pre-molar teeth. It is difficult to get tongue pierced patients to stop their ‘tapping’ habit. People develop repetitive habits to relieve stress, and asking a patient to stop tapping their tongue ring can be like taking a security blanket from a child.
A study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that current and past users of the contraceptive depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) had increased markers of poor periodontal health compared to women who have never used it.
CHICAGO—February 6, 2012—Injectable progesterone contraceptives may be associated with poor periodontal health, according to research in the Journal of Periodontology. The study found that women who are currently taking depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) injectable contraceptive, or have taken DMPA in the past, are more likely to have indicators of poor periodontal health, including gingivitis and periodontitis, than women who have never taken the injectable contraceptive. DMPA is a long-lasting progestin-only injectable contraceptive administered intermuscularly every three months.
Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gum tissue and bone that supports the teeth. Gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. Periodontitis is the most severe form of gum disease and can lead to tooth loss. Additionally, research has associated gum disease with other chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The data for this study were obtained from the NHANES 1999-2004 public use datasets. The participants chosen were non-pregnant, premenopausal women aged 15-44 who had provided complete DMPA usage data, indicating current usage of DMPA, past usage of DMPA, or no usage of DMPA at all. All participants received a dental examination that noted clinical attachment (CA) loss, periodontal pocket assessment at two or three sites per tooth, and presence of gingival bleeding.
After adjusting for age, race, education, poverty income level, and smoking status, the study found that current and past DMPA users had significantly increased periodontal pockets, gingival bleeding, and CA loss than women who have never used DMPA. Current DMPA users were more likely to have gingivitis, while past DMPA users were more likely to have periodontitis.
According to Dr. Pamela McClain, President of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and a practicing periodontist in Aurora, Colorado, women currently taking DMPA or that have used DMPA in the past should pay careful attention to their teeth and gums. “Hormones can play a role in woman’s periodontal health. These findings suggest that women that use, or have used, a hormone-based injectable contraception such as DMPA may have increased odds of poor periodontal health. I would encourage women that use or previously used this form of contraception to maintain excellent oral care, and to be sure to see a dental professional for a comprehensive periodontal evaluation on an annual basis.”
November 11, 2011 — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will retain its Division of Oral Health (DOH), according to a story in ADA News.
Earlier this year, the CDC came under fire after announcing a restructuring proposal that would have folded the division into the Division of Adult and Community Health.
The ADA, Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), and a group of former chief dental officers of the U.S. Public Health Service all sent letters to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, voicing their opposition.
In each case, the authors emphasized that if the consolidation occurred, oral health would inevitably become less of a priority.
“Dissolving one of the separate dental divisions from the department would only seem to decrease and take away from highlighting the importance of preventing and treating oral disease,” the ADA letter stated.
“Such organizational changes would diminish the visibility of oral health at CDC during a time of critical need for public health leadership less than a year after the Department of Health and Human Services announced and began to implement a department-wide oral health initiative,” the letter from former chief dental officers of the U.S. Public Health Service stated.
Children today take longer to mature than Neanderthal children did, which may have given modern humans an evolutionary advantage, researchers suggest.
In the study, a multinational team of scientists used synchrotron X-ray imaging to study the fossil teeth of young Neanderthals and Homo sapiens.
“Teeth are remarkable time recorders, capturing each day of growth much like rings in trees reveal yearly progress. Even more impressive is the fact that our first molars contain a tiny ‘birth certificate’ and finding this birth line allows us to calculate exactly how old a juvenile was when it died,” Tanya Smith, a researcher at Harvard University and the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, said in a news release from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility.
The fossil teeth were analyzed at the facility, located in France. The scientists found that Neanderthal teeth grew much faster than the teeth of modern humans.
The longer maturation process in modern human children may lead to additional learning and complex cognition, giving humans a competitive advantage over Neanderthals, the study authors noted.
The shift from a primitive “live fast and die young” strategy to a “live slow and grow old” strategy has helped make modern humans one of the most successful organisms on the planet, according to the scientists.
Recent studies emerging from Japan, England, and the U.S. support the fact that chocolate is effective at fighting cavities, plaque, and tooth decay in the mouth. In fact, it’s better than fluoride according to some.
Dark chocolate (I can’t speak for sugary milk chocolate) doesn’t deserve its bad rap as a cavity-causing treat. It may actually help prevent cavities! And here’s where the gauntlet gets thrown down. Compounds in chocolate may be more effective at fighting decay than fluoride. Researchers are predicting that one day, the compound found in chocolate called CBH will be used in mouthwashes and toothpaste.
Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth turn sugar into acids, which eat away at the tooth’s surface and cause cavities. Compounds in the cocoa bean husk have an anti-bacterial effect and also fight against plaque. This makes chocolate less harmful than many other sweet foods your dentist might warn you against because the antibacterial agents in cocoa beans offset its high sugar levels.
This research has even revealed that the cocoa extract is more effective than fluoride in fighting cavities. To many, this is shocking news, but for me that’s not saying much. I’m not a big fan of ingesting fluoride, and I think it has long been over-hyped (more on that in future posts).
The compound CBH, a white crystalline powder whose chemical makeup is similar to caffeine, helps harden tooth enamel, making users less susceptible to tooth decay. This specific compound has been proven effective in the animal model, but it will it will take another two to four years before the product is approved for human use and available for sale (in the form of mouthwashes and toothpastes).
In the mean time, however, one can “administer” this compound via the ingestion of chocolate. Eating 3-4 oz of chocolate a day is a great way to take advantage of this wonder compound and lower your chance of getting cavities. What an easy and fun recommendation a doctor can make; it’s been called the food of the gods, a supposed aphrodisiac, and the drink that Casanova favored.
Now, this isn’t an excuse to binge on bonbons, nor ditch your floss and toothbrush.
•For the best therapeutic effect (yes, I’m still talking about chocolate), it’s best to chew on cacao nibs. Most will find this option unpalatable.
•The second best choice, is dark chocolate with less than 6-8 grams of sugar per serving – organic if possible. Be aware that chocolate is a calorie-rich food, so modify your calorie intake accordingly.
•Raw chocolate is even a better choice, as it it less processed, and more of the antioxidants are left intact.
Do all of this for your teeth, but enjoy the other benefits of mood elevation and better blood flow as well!
With the recent findings, it’s now more true than ever, that chocolate is a superfood . Chocolate has over 300 chemical compounds in it, making it one of the most complex foods we know of, and I predict that many new compounds in chocolate beneficial to us will surface over time and cement its nutritional star rating.
When bacteria that grows on teeth and gums is mixed with sugar that is left in our mouths from the food we eat, acid is produced that destroys teeth and gums. The combination of bacteria and acid eats away at your teeth, producing teeth cavities. Leaving bacteria in your mouth can also result in gum disease such as gingivitis, which is inflammation of your gums.
If gingivitis and teeth cavities are left untreated, your gums and teeth erode, forming spaces in your mouth that bacteria can fill, further eroding important tissues that are needed to support your teeth, which can result in tooth loss.
Good oral hygiene is having:
- teeth that are clean and free of debris
- pink-coloured gums that do not hurt or bleed when you brush or floss
- breath that does not smell unpleasant
How to assure good oral hygiene
Daily dental care
Daily preventative care will help stop dental problems before they develop into more severe, sometimes-irreversible and expensive damage.
Brush your teeth twice a day
Floss your teeth twice a day as brushing your teeth only accounts for 2/3 of the cleaning process.
Use dental products such as toothpaste that contains fluoride, as fluoride encourages strong teeth and helps to resist cavities.
Rinse with a fluoride mouthrinse if your dentist advises you to.
Make sure that your children drink water with fluoride in it or take fluoride supplements if you live in a non-fluoridated area.
How to brush your teeth
Brushing your teeth may sound too basic to have a technique, but research has shown that there are more effective ways of brushing your teeth than others.
Step 1: Tilt your brush at a 45 degree angle against your gumline and sweep or roll the brush away from the gumline.
Step 2: Brush the outside, inside and chewing surface of your teeth using both circular motion and short back-and-forth techniques.
Step 3: Don’t forget to brush your tongue to remove bacteria and help freshen your breath.
Step 4: Eat a healthy diet with plenty of vitamins and other nutrients.
Visit your dentist
It is also important to regularly visit the dentist so that if you have any dental health problems they can be diagnosed and treated.
With so many potential dental diseases and problems, regularly maintaining your oral hygiene may not be not that much effort in comparison. By following these simple steps you can prevent much pain and anguish, keeping yourself healthy and looking good.