Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Study: Peanut Butter and the effects on Gum Disease

Polyunsaturated fats (like those found in peanut butter, salmon, nuts and margarine) have been shown to help prevent health problems like heart disease; Dr. Ken Versman and Dr. Doug Heller of Periodontal Associates Denver - Aurora, CO want you to know that new evidence shows that  those same foods can help stave off gum disease too!

In fact, a recent study found that people who consumed the most fatty acids had a 30% reduced risk of gum disease.




Here is more information about the study:

Periodontal (gum) Disease, a common inflammatory disease in which gum tissue separates from teeth, leads to accumulation of bacteria and potential bone and tooth loss. Although traditional treatments concentrate on the bacterial infection, more recent strategies target the inflammatory response. In an article in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers from Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health found that dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) like fish oil, known to have anti-inflammatory properties, shows promise for the effective treatment and prevention of periodontitis.
"We found that n-3 fatty acid intake, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are inversely associated with periodontitis in the US population," commented Asghar Z. Naqvi, MPH, MNS, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "To date, the treatment of periodontitis has primarily involved mechanical cleaning and local antibiotic application. Thus, a dietary therapy, if effective, might be a less expensive and safer method for the prevention and treatment of periodontitis. Given the evidence indicating a role for n-3 fatty acids in other chronic inflammatory conditions, it is possible that treating periodontitis with n-3 fatty acids could have the added benefit of preventing other chronic diseases associated with inflammation, including stoke as well."
For more information about the study and findings click here or here.

To learn more about gum disease, please visit our website at www.periodontalhealth.com.
Drs. Versman and Heller of Periodontal Associates in Aurora, CO serving the Denver Metro and surrounding area with a focus on dental implants for the replacement of missing teeth, and the treatment of gingivitis and periodontal (gum) disease to restore patients' oral health. To schedule a free dental implant consultation, please call our office at (303)755-4500.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Smoking and the Periodontal Risk

Tobacco Use vs. Your Oral Health

Understand the Dangers
Surprising as it may sound, many smokers are not aware of the dangers of tobacco use.  This month, in connection with the Great American Smokeout, Dr. Ken Versman and Dr. Doug Heller of Periodontal Associates in the Denver Aurora, CO  area are focusing on getting the facts out about tobacco use and the effect it has on your  teeth, gums and overall oral health. Believe it or not, just 29 percent of smokers say they believe themselves to be at an above-average risk for heart attack compared with their nonsmoking peers, according to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Interestingly, while information about the associated medical problems smokers are at risk for – such as lung disease, heart disease, cancer and even low-birth-weight babies – is widely available, many smokers seem to have tuned it out.
Here is another risk that Drs. Versman and Heller want you to hear loud and clear: Tobacco use is harmful to your oral health.

The Periodontal Connection

In conjunction with the American Academy of Periodontology, Dr. Ken Versman and Dr. Doug Heller of Periodontal Associates in Denver-Aurora, CO, hope to help educate the public about one specific threat to smokers – periodontal disease. According to Dr. Doug Heller:

 "Seventy to seventy-five percent of our adult periodontic patients tend to be smokers or tobacco users. There is a strong correlation between smoking and adult periodontitis."

In fact, recent studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease. It has been found that following periodontal treatment or any type of oral surgery, the chemicals in tobacco cause the healing process to slow down and make the treatment results less predictable.

You may be wondering just how smoking increases the risk for periodontal disease. It's simple. As a smoker, you are more likely to have the following problems:
  • Calculus – plaque that hardens on your teeth and can only be removed during a professional cleaning
  • Deep pockets between your teeth and gums
  • Loss of the bone and tissue that support your teeth
If the calculus is not removed during a professional cleaning, and it remains below your gum line, the bacteria in the calculus can destroy your gum tissue and cause your gums to pull away from your teeth. When this happens, periodontal pockets form and fill with disease-causing bacteria.
If left untreated, periodontal disease will inevitabley progress. The pockets between your teeth and gums can grow deeper, allowing in more bacteria that destroy tissue and supporting bone. As a result, the gums may shrink away from the teeth making them look longer. Without treatment, your teeth may become loose, painful, need to be extracted or even fall out.

You Can Save Your Smile

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 20 percent of people over age 65 who have never smoked are toothless, compared to a whopping 41.3 percent of daily smokers over age 65 are toothless.
In addition, research shows that current smokers don't heal as well after periodontal treatment as former smokers or nonsmokers. The good news: these effects are reversible if the smokers kick the habit before beginning treatment!

Not Just Cigarettes

It's not just cigarettes that are the smoking gun. Other tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco, are also harmful to your oral health. Chewing tobacco also causes gums to recede and increase the chances of bone and fiber loss - the same bones and fiber that hold your teeth in place. Cigar and pipe smokers are at risk too. According to the ADA, cigar and pipe smokers experience tooth loss and alveolar bone loss at rates equivalent to those of cigarette smokers.

Need More Reasons to Quit?

Researches also have found that the following problems occur more often in people who smoke or use tobacco products:
  • Oral cancer
  • Bad breath
  • Stained teeth
  • Tooth loss
  • Bone loss
  • Loss of taste
  • Less success with periodontal treatment
  • Less success with dental implants
  • Gum recession
  • Mouth sores
  • Facial wrinkling
There's No Better Time
November 18th marks the 35th annual Great American Smokeout.  The American Cancer Society encourages all smokers to take a day off, and possibly quit smoking for good. By abstaining from smoking that one day, smokers will be taking an important first step to improving their health. Dr. Ken Versman and Dr. Doug Heller of Periodontal Associates in Denver/Aurora, CO, encourage you to visit www.cancer.org/smokeout or call the American Cancer Society at  1-800-ACS-2345.  For information about periodontal (gum) disease, please visit our website at http://www.periodontalhealth.com where you will find a helpful Visual Guide, Gum Disease Self Evaluation, the Seven Danger Signs of Gum Disease and more. To schedule an appointment to evaluate your oral health and possible treatment options, contact us via the web, email or call (303)755-4500 in the Denver Metro area.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

10 Very Good Reasons for Restorative Dentistry

Dr. Ken Versman and Dr. Doug Heller of Periodontal Associates in Aurora, CO and serving the Denver Metro area,  would like you to know the Top 10 reasons for restorative dentistry:

  1. Enhance your smile. 
  2. Fill in unattractive spaces between teeth.
  3. Improve or correct an improper bite.
  4. Prevent the loss of a tooth.
  5. Relieve dental pain.
  6. Repair damaged and decayed teeth (cavities).
  7. Replace missing teeth.
  8. Replace old, unattractive dental treatments.
  9. Restore normal eating and chewing. Eat whatever you choose to eat!
  10. Restore confidence and self image. 

For a free dental implant consultation,  or to schedule a periodontal checkup, contact us today at 303-755-4500. Periodontal Associates, Colorado's Premier Provider of Dental Implants and Periodontics

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010

    Drs. Versman & Heller discuss dental implants - Now Showing!

    As seen on TV, Dr. Kenneth Versman and Dr. Doug Heller of Periodontal Associates - The Dental Implant Team, discuss the cost, options and benefits of dental implants. Our office has been receiving many calls due to the informative show broadcast on KCDO-TV (Channel 3) in Denver. If you missed it, here's your chance!

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Hygiene Study Club Announced

    Calling All Dental Hygienists, Assistants and colleagues in the Denver Metro Area! 

    Dr. Ken Versman and Dr. Doug Heller of Periodontal Associates in Aurora, CO would like to extend an invitation to attend our upcoming Periodontal Associates' Hygiene Study Club.

    October 19, 2010
    Tuesday evening
    MDDS/CDA Building
    Denver, CO
    A light buffet and beverages will be served.

    Improve your X-Ray Vision.
    See More. Do More. 
     Presented by Dr. Brad J. Potter
    Presented by Dr. Brad J. Potter
    Sponsored by OralB 
    Discovering new techniques, tips and tricks to taking better x-rays and future trends in dental imaging

    Dr. Potter is an Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver School of Dental Medicine. In addition he teaches the Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology curriculum in the Department of Diagnostic and Biologic Sciences. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, and a fellow of the American College of Dentists, International College of Dentists, and the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology.

    For more information or to RSVP, email us at hygienestudyclub@gmail.com


    Periodontal Associates' Hygiene Study Club 
    Periodontal Associates' Hygiene Study Club invites dental hygenists throughout the Denver, CO and surrounding metro area to learn and discuss a variety of topics of interest within the dental community. Each meeting allows attendees to facilitate knowledge, competence and communication skills while networking with other hygienists in the area. If you are interested in joining the Hygiene Study Club or have any questions, please contact us:
     Periodontal Associates - The Dental Implant Team 
    Dr. Kenneth Versman and Dr. Doug Heller
    303-755-4500 or hygienestudyclub@gmail.com 

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    Labor Day wishes from Dr. Versman and Dr. Heller at Periodontal Associates in Aurora, CO

    Labor Day Trivia from Periodontal Associates

    Labor Day. For most of us, this holiday marks the end of summer. It’s a last hurrah, a last chance to have friends and family over to fire up the barbecue, chill at the pool and just enjoy the care-free attitude that comes with the beautiful summer sunshine here in Denver.

    We know that Kathy (here with Dr. Heller), our winner of the Dog Days of Summer contest, will be enjoying her new prize and celebrating her win.

    But what will you be doing this holiday weekend?

    Other than serving as the unofficial end of summer, what else do we know about Labor Day? Periodontal Associates would like to share some facts about the holiday’s history and labor in general. Rattle these bad boys off this weekend and you are sure to impress your fellow grill meisters.
    • Labor Day is the first Monday in September and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. The Department of Labor calls it a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
    • The first Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882.
    • The day of the holiday was changed to the first Monday in September in 1884. Congress passed an act officially making the first Monday in September a legal holiday on June 28, 1894.
    • For many decades, Labor Day was seen as a day for workers to voice their complaints and discuss better working conditions and pay.
    • In 2009, 155.1 million people were in the nation’s labor force.
    • Approximately 7.2 million people identify their occupation as a teacher. Comparatively, 1.7 million are chief executives, 751,000 are farmers and ranchers and 773,000 are hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists.
    • There are 15.7 million labor union members in the United States, which is about 12 percent of wage and salary workers. Alaska, Hawaii and New York have some of the highest rates of the states. North Carolina has one of the lowest.
    • About 3.4 million workers have an at least 90-minute commute to work each day. Aren't we lucky to have such relatively easy commutes in Denver!
    • The origin of the word labor is from the Anglo-French word labur and the Latin word labor. It was first used in the 14th century.
    • Roughly 7.7 million people have two jobs. Of those people, 288,000 work two full-time jobs.
    • There are about 5.7 million people who report they work from home.
    • About 28 percent of workers 16 or older work more than 40 hours a week. Meanwhile, 8 percent of workers work more than 60 hours a week.
    • And in other labor news: For a first-time mom, the average time span for labor is 16 hours. After the first baby, mothers can expect to be in labor for an average of 7 to 8 hours for following pregnancies.

    So spend this Labor Day celebrating the holiday the way it was intended to be—sit back, relax and pat yourself on the back for all the hard work you do. -- Drs. Versman and Heller - Periodontal Associates - The Dental Implant Team

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    Top Causes of Bleeding Gums according to Periodontal Associates in Aurora, CO

    "Why do my gums bleed when I brush?" is a common question that our periodontists, Dr. Versman and Dr. Heller, are asked at Periodontal Associates in Aurora, CO.

    Bleeding gums can be extremely discomforting physically and mentally. It is important that a person understands that gums that bleed signify a problem that needs to be addressed to both stop the gums from bleeding and to heal your gums.
    Let’s take a look at the top possible causes of gum bleeding.

    Gum disease: This is the most common cause for bleeding gums. The initial stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis in which gums become swollen and tender. These bleed upon touch especially during actions such as brushing or eating. Gum disease also known as Periodontal Disease occurs due to accumulation of plaque which irritates the gums. If gum disease is not treated initially, it progresses to Periodontitis and finally tooth loss. For more information and frequently asked questions about gum disease, treatment and more including Seven Danger Signs, an initial self-evaluation and a visual guide, visit our website at www.periodontalhealth.com.

    Vigorous brushing: Brushing with toothpaste is abrasive in nature. Overzealous brushing does more harm than good to the teeth. In rare cases, overzealous brushing can also cause the gums to bleed but getting healthy gums to bleed by vigorous brushing is rare.

    Smoking or chewing tobacco: In addition to the irritating effect of tobacco the gums, smokers tend to have more tartar on their teeth than non-smokers which causes gum disease.

    Hormones: Hormone receptors are embedded in gum tissue. If certain hormone levels rise above their normal level, they can cause an increase of fluid level in the gum tissue. This change results in gum becoming red, tender and swollen. When hormone levels become normal, so do your gums.

    Vitamin K deficiency: Vitamin K is an important factor in the process of blood clotting. A deficiency in Vitamin K can cause gums to bleed.

    Drugs: Some drugs such as oral contraceptives, antidepressants, nasal sprays and anticoagulants may have the tendency to cause bleeding gums.

    Autoimmune disorders: Autoimmune disorders are disorders in which a body’s own immune system damages its own cells. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) are a few autoimmune disorders which can cause bleeding gums.

    Leukemia: Leukemia is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow. One of its characteristic symptoms is bleeding gums.

    It is often found that a patient with gums that bleed suffers from some degree of gum disease. If you are experiencing bleeding gums, call Dr. Versman and Dr. Heller at Periodontal Associates for an appointment to check your overall gum health and to determine the appropriate course of action.

    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    Eat your fruits and veggies...for your gums?

    We've talked about the benefits of including fruits and vegetables into your diet as healthy snacks before.  Eating fresh fruit, such as an apple, stimulates the gums, increases saliva flow and reduces the build-up of cavity-causing bacteria that harms your teeth.

    But did you know that a lack of Vitamin C can promote Gingivitis? 
    Yep, that's right, a diet deficient in Vitamin C can promote bleeding gums which can lead to gingivitis if left untreated. You can read more about it here.

    Most of us think of citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit, as being the best source of vitamin C. A serving of orange juice, 3/4 cup, provides you with 60 mg/day. Although citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin C, other not so obvious and sometimes surprising foods contain vitamin C as well. In addition to that morning glass of OJ, here are some ways to put vitamin C on your table:

    • Eat more broccoli. A 1/2-cup serving provides 45 mg of vitamin C.
    • Add a slice of tomato to your sandwiches. A small tomato provides 25 mg of vitamin C.
    • Slice up a papaya or mango for dessert. Half a medium papaya or mango provides 95 mg of vitamin C.
    • Think peppers! Red, yellow, and orange peppers have about twice the vitamin C of green peppers.
    • More obscure vegetables, like kohlrabi and jicama, provide about 45 mg of vitamin C per half cup. Just grate each into a green salad.
    • Believe it or not, potatoes contain vitamin C, too! A small baked potato has 25 mg.
    • Kiwi fruit, the fuzzy little brown fruit with the deep green interior, has about 55 mg of vitamin C. 
    So remember to eat your fruits and veggies and you'll be doing your body, teeth AND gums a favor.

    Friday, August 6, 2010

    Dog Days of Summer Sonicare Giveaway

    Periodontal Associates is celebrating the dog days of summer with a fabulous giveaway geared to keep you smiling!


    Prize: One (1) Sonicare FlexCare+ Rechargeable sonic toothbrush set with UV Brush Head Sanitizer, 2 ProResults brush heads (Compact + Standard), travel charger, travel case AND a 2 year supply of replacement brush heads (standard size). Price package valued at $250
    Winner: One (1) Winner will be selected randomly from all eligible entries

    Deadline: Giveaway ends 11:59pm MDT August 31, 2010

    How To Enter: 
    Leave a comment below telling us why Summer makes you smile. It's that simple!

    (Be sure to include a valid email address so that we may contact you if you're chosen. We will not collect emails nor use them for any other purpose than to notify the winner)

    Optional Additional Entries:
    • Subscribe to our Blog 
    • Follow Periodontal Associates (@theGumDocs) on Twitter and/or send out a Tweet about this giveaway
    • Become a Fan (or “Like”) Periodontal Associates on our Facebook page
    • Follow us on Google Friend Connect
    • Comment on any of our other posts
    • If you have a blog or website, link back to this giveaway and let us know that you did.

    The Rules:
    This giveaway is open to US residents, 18 years of age or older. Entries can be submitted until 11:59 pm MDT August 31, 2010. The winner will be selected via random draw and will be notified via email (please make certain to include an email with your entry and that your email is legit!). Winner will have 48 hours to respond. Failure to respond within 48 hours will forfeit prize eligibility to the second randomly selected winner.

     Good Luck!

    Thursday, July 22, 2010

    Finding a Periodontist in Denver - A Google Search Story

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    What every mother-to-be needs to know

    Baby Steps to a Healthy Pregnancy and an On-Time Delivery

    The test came back and it's positive – you're pregnant. Congratulations! Your mind is exploding with excitement, and you are creating a mental “to-do” list. While your list of tasks and questions continue to grow, it's important to take the necessary steps to ensure an on-time and safe arrival of your most precious cargo yet.

    You've probably heard a few old wives' tales about pregnancy, including “A tooth lost for every child.” While it seems far-fetched, this wives' tale is actually based loosely in fact. Just as your tissues in your body are affected by pregnancy, so are your teeth and gums. What you probably didn't know is that the health of your gums may also affect your baby-to-be.

    How does pregnancy affect your teeth and gums?

    About half of women experience pregnancy gingivitis. This condition can be uncomfortable and cause swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gum tissue. Conversely, a more advanced oral health condition called periodontal disease (a serious gum infection that destroys attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold teeth in the mouth) may affect the health of your baby.

    Is periodontal disease linked to preterm low birthweight babies?

    Studies have shown a relationship between periodontal disease and preterm, low birthweight babies. In fact, pregnant women with periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that's born too early and too small. But what causes periodontal disease during pregnancy? The likely culprit is a labor-inducing chemical found in oral bacteria called prostaglandin. Very high levels of prostaglandin are found in women with severe cases of periodontal disease.

    “Any infection, including periodontal infection, is cause for concern during pregnancy,” said Gordon Douglass, D.D.S., president of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). “Pre-existing periodontal disease or periodontal disease that increases in severity during pregnancy can also increase a woman's chances of a preterm low birthweight baby. Because periodontal disease is often “silent,” many women don't know they have it, so a periodontal evaluation is definitely a good idea prior to becoming pregnant.”

    Treating periodontal disease and/or removing gingivitis may also prevent other oral complications. “Beginning in the second or third month of pregnancy, expectant mothers often experience increased gingivitis also called pregnancy gingivitis that increases in severity throughout the eighth month,” said Douglass. “Significant progression of pregnancy gingivitis can lead to more severe periodontal infections.” The increase in estrogen and progesterone levels during this time causes the gums to react differently to the bacteria in plaque. This reaction causes swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gum tissue.

    “The good news is women who treat their periodontal health prior to pregnancy decrease their chances of experiencing pregnancy gingivitis.” said Douglass. “Women should always take extra care of their oral health because their hormonal fluctuations can affect many tissues, including gum tissues.”

    What if I'm diagnosed with periodontal disease during pregnancy?

    If you're diagnosed with periodontal disease, our dental hygienists,  Dr. Versman and/or Dr. Heller might recommend a common non-surgical procedure called scaling and root planing. During this procedure, your tooth-root surfaces are cleaned to remove plaque and tartar from deep periodontal pockets and smooth the root to remove bacterial toxins. Research suggests that scaling and root planing may reduce the risk of preterm births in pregnant women with periodontal disease. The added bonus is that the procedure should alleviate many of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with pregnancy gingivitis, such as swelling and tenderness of the gums.
    As you make your way through your “to-do” checklist, remember to check off a visit to your dentist or Periodontal Associates. This baby step benefits you and your unborn baby.

    Premature births: the answers can't come soon enough

    According to the March of Dimes, premature births have soared to become the number one obstetric problem in the United States. Many premature babies come into the world with serious health problems. Those who survive may suffer life-long consequences, from cerebral palsy and mental retardation to blindness.
    The March of Dimes has launched a $75 million, five-year campaign to raise public awareness and reduce rates of preterm birth and increase research to find the cause. Until all of the answers are in, the March of Dimes recommends the following to reduce the risk and/or effects of a premature birth:
    • Consume a multivitamin containing 400 micrograms of the B vitamin folic acid before and in the early months of pregnancy.
    • Stop smoking.
    • Stop drinking and/or using illicit drugs, or prescription or over-the-counter drugs (including herbal preparations) not prescribed by a doctor aware of the pregnancy.
    • Once pregnant, get early regular prenatal care, eat a balanced diet with enough calories (usually about 300 more than a woman normally eats), and gain enough weight (25 to 35 pounds is usually recommended).
    • Talk to your doctor about signs of premature labor, and what to do if you show any of the warning signs.

    Be sure to share this important health information with the Mommies-to-be in your life.
    For an appointment in the Denver area, please contact Periodontal Associates at 303-755-4500.

      Thursday, July 8, 2010

      The Best and Worst Foods for your Teeth

      According to MSNBC.

      The BEST foods for your teeth:
      1. Raw fruits and vegetables - An apple a day keeps the cavities at bay.
      2. Water, water, water!
      3. Low/non-fat dairy products. Yogurt is an especially good choice because it promotes healthy bacteria
      4. Sugarless gum - Helps promote saliva. Sugarless gum with Xylitol fights acid that creates cavities
      The WORST foods for your teeth:
      1. Hard and sticky candies. No surprises here!
      2. Dried fruit - The water has been removed and you're left with a lot of sugar. Don't stop eating these, just remember to drink water or brush afterwards.
      3. Berries - Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries. Anything that will stain a t-shirt, will stain your teeth. Just remember to drink water after enjoying this healthy treat.
      4. High sugar drinks - Juices and smoothies.
      5. Sodas - Both regular and diet.

      Thursday, June 24, 2010

      Have you hugged your Hygienist lately?

      Dental Hygienists: Your Mouth’s Best Friend
      If you’ve been to a dentist recently, you’ve probably noticed something has changed. Your hygiene appointment is no longer just a cleaning. Today’s dental hygienists are as instrumental in early detection of oral problems as a dentist. Recently, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association formally recognized the importance of a hygienist’s role with regard to their patients’ oral health. At Periodontal Associates in Aurora, we are pleased to have Michelle and Carolyn as part of our team fighting the battle against tooth decay and maintaining healthy gums and bones in Denver and the surrounding communities.
      During your appointment, your dental hygienist will:
      • review your medical history
      • remove the plaque and tartar from your teeth
      • do a pocket-depth check of your gums to look for any signs of periodontal disease
      • take x-rays (if indicated)
      • clean, polish and floss your teeth
      • check for signs of oral cancer
      • explain how to treat or prevent any issues that seem troublesome
      • formulate a home care plan to keep your mouth healthy
      At Periodontal Associates, our hygienists will also follow up this treatment with an easy home care plan for you. You may notice your mouth is a little healthier. If so, you have one important member of our Denver dental team to thank, your hygienist.

      Thursday, June 17, 2010

      Dairy Products: Good for Your Teeth and Your Gums

      Got Dairy?
      According to the American Academy of Periodontology, eating dairy products not only fortifies bone and tooth health, but may also help promote gum health. In a recent study, people who consumed the lactic acid in foods like milk, cheese and yogurt reported it significantly improved the depth of pockets and firmness of attachment to gums, both indicators of periodontal disease. And studies show that good periodontal health may contribute to good health overall.

      So hit the dairy aisle. It can go a long way to keeping your body–and your mouth–in tip-top shape.

      Tuesday, June 15, 2010

      Could Good Oral Health Prevent Dementia?

      Connection Between Periodontal Disease and Alzheimer's Disease
      Periodontitis is a lifelong, highly prevalent, chronic inflammatory disease associated with stroke, cardiovascular disease, systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction.

      A new study by Noble et al published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry suggests there may also be a relationship between periodontal disease and dementia.

      Dementia is a major public health problem likely related to a complex interaction between genetics, smoking and diseases associated with systemic inflammation, including  diabetes and stroke. These risk factors have a similar systemic inflammatory profile to periodontitis which suggests that they may also provide a common pathway of atherogenesis related to systemic inflammation.

      In a study of 2,355 people aged 60 years and older, Noble et al reported an association between a common periodontal pathogen, Porphyromonas gingivalis, and cognitive impairment. The researchers found individuals with high levels of P. gingivalis had 200 percent increased incidence of impaired verbal memory and subtraction test performance. This association adds to a growing body of evidence for a relationship between poor oral health and dementia.

      Oral health problems including periodontal disease, caries, edentulism and inadequate preventive care are more prevalent with increasing age resulting in increased exposure to periodontal pathogens.

      One possible reason is a decreased ability to perform plaque control due to arthritis and other physical impairments. Exposure to periodontal pathogens is ubiquitous in older adults who often suffer from arthritis and thus have more difficulty keeping their mouths healthy.

      Furthermore, cognitive function is thought to be associated with nutrition. Loss of teeth in older adults may be associated with poor nutrition. Consequently, there may be a relationship between loss of teeth and artherosclerotic changes.

      Could Good Oral Health Prevent Dementia?

      In an editorial commentary, Dr. Robert Stewart at the Institute of Psychiatry Kings College London, notes the oral health of people with cognitive impairment should, at the very least, receive more clinical attention.  He adds: "If there are good reasons to suspect a link between oral health and cognition, why has this received so little attention to date? The obvious but rather prosaic reason is the historic separation between medicine and dentistry. Clinical specialists have long been a hindrance to effective research (an example being the lack of attention paid to the vascular etiology of dementia) and it is about time that we accepted that disorders do not necessarily follow the way we structure our professions."

      Thursday, June 3, 2010

      Reach for the Floss

      Still Not Flossing? 

      More Reasons Why You Should 

      We know you hate it, but flossing really does preserve the health and aesthetics of your smile. Here's how to do it right.
      By Lisa Zamosky - WebMD the Magazine
      Every six months, you visit the dentist for a cleaning -- and likely a lecture about the importance of flossing. But if you're like many dental patients, the advice travels in one ear and out the other -- much like, well, dental floss gliding between the spaces of your teeth.
      "There is no instant gratification with flossing -- that's the problem," says Alla Wheeler, RDH, MPA, associate professor of the Dental Hygiene Program at the New York University School of Dentistry. "Patients don't think it does anything."
      But flossing does about 40% of the work required to remove sticky bacteria, or plaque, from your teeth. Plaque generates acid, which can cause cavities, irritate the gums, and lead to gum disease. "Each tooth has five surfaces. If you don't floss, you are leaving at least two of the surfaces unclean,"Wheeler explains. "Floss is the only thing that can really get into that space between the teeth and remove bacteria."
      Flossing, Wheeler says, might also be an overlooked fountain of youth. Gum disease can ruin the youthful aesthetics of your smile by eating away at gums and teeth. It also attacks the bones that support your teeth and the lower third of your face. People who preserve the height of that bone by flossing look better as they age.

      Choosing the Right Dental Floss

      Most floss is made of either nylon or Teflon, and both are equally effective. People with larger spaces between their teeth or with gum recession (loss of gum tissue, which exposes the roots of the teeth) tend to get better results with a flat, wide dental tape. If your teeth are close together, try thin floss (sometimes made of Gore-Tex) that bills itself as shred resistant.
      Bridges and braces call for a defter touch to get underneath the restorations or wires and between the teeth. Use a floss threader, which looks like a plastic sewing needle. Or look for a product called Super Floss that has one stiff end to fish the floss through the teeth followed by a spongy segment and regular floss for cleaning. 
      The most important thing, though, is to choose floss you'll use. "I tell my patients, 'I don't care if you use shoe laces as long as you floss,'" Wheeler says. (Just kidding, of course.)

      Flossing Tips

      Keep it clean with these flossing tips from Edmond Hewlett, DDS, associate professor of restorative dentistry at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry:
      Perfect your flossing technique. Use a piece of floss 15 to 18 inches long, slide it between the teeth, wrap it around each tooth in the shape of a "C,"and polish with an up and down motion.
      Don't worry about a little blood. "Bleeding means the gums are inflamed because plaque has built up and needs to be cleaned away. Don't let that deter you," Hewlett advises. Bleeding after a few days, however, could be a sign of periodontal disease. Talk to your dentist.
      Get a floss holder. If you lack the hand dexterity to floss, try soft wooden plaque removers, which look similar to toothpicks, or a two-pronged plastic floss holder. Both allow you to clean between teeth with one hand.

      For more information on flossing and gum disease, visit http://www.periodontalhealth.com or call 303-755-4500 today to schedule a consultation appointment.