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 or call 303-755-4500 today to schedule a consultation appointment.