Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bacteria in your Mouth

How Much Bacteria is in Your Mouth?

Bacteria can be found everywhere: on your hands, when you touch a doorknob, at a restaurant, in the bathroom, etc.  We sometimes get so caught up worrying about not touching things that carry bacteria that we forget that more than a large cup of bacteria can be found inside you!

More specifically, at any one time there can be up to 6 million bacteria found in your mouth; your mouth is a huge carries for bacteria.  GROSS!  The presence of bacteria in your mouth can cause bad breath and, more importantly, can eat away at your teeth causing cavities, dental infections, and gingivitis.  Even worse, some mouth bacteria can cause heart disease and kidney disease.

Here at Periodontal Associates, we stress the importance of controlling how much bacteria is in you mouth and not letting it get out of hand.  While we understand that bacteria can always be found in your mouth, and some bacteria is even good for you, it is important to maintain a strict hygiene regimen so that you don't have painful and potentially costly dental issues.   Dr. Ken Versman, Dr. Douglas Heller, and Dr. Eric Beckman  can teach you the proper techniques so that you are knowledgeable.  In addition, it is important to schedule routine dental check-ups with your dentist so that any serious damage can be noticed and prevented. 

Dr. Ken Versman, Dr. Douglas Heller, and Dr. Eric Beckman can help you keep your mouth healthy before bacteria does any serious harm.  To schedule your appointment, do not hesitate to call us at (303) 755-4500, click here for an appointment, or visit our website at

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Evolving Diet

Evolution and Infection
The human race has evolved greatly from living in nature, hunting and gathering, to the modern day person stopping at McDonald's on the way home from work.  This change in lifestyle and diet has impacted the human health, both bodily and orally, in a negative way.  This new diet has increased the need for periodontists like Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman as many Americans are now living in a permanent diseased state. The soft and sugar based foods we are eating are changing the way bacteria lives and the physical components of the jaw resulting in discomfort and infection.
Gum Disease
Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman know that periodontal disease (gum disease) is a silent and unnoticeable disease that can be caused by many factors such as: home care, genetics, smoking, missing teeth, and the list goes on.  However, it is now seen that the evolution of our diet has been added to the list of causing gum disease.
These changes occurred when diet transferred from hunting and gathering to farming and then again to manufacturing food.  Scientists extracted DNA from calcified tartar from 34 prehistoric skeletons, and oral bacteria found in these aged teeth were more greatly diverse than those found in our teeth today. Professor Keith Dobney stated, "I had shown tartar deposits, commonly found on ancient teeth, were dense masses of solid calcified bacteria and food, but couldn't identify the species of bacteria.  Ancient DNA was the obvious answer." The correlation is between the decreasing types of bacteria and increases periodontitis in the American population. As some of the scientists have said, this has "shed some light on the health consequences of the evolving diet and behavior from the Stone Age to modern day." 
In fact, gum disease is now affecting over 75% of Americans.  Patients may not be brushing as much as Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman would like, but there also must be another change sparking this growth in the disease.  Diet has a huge effect on teeth as the oral cavity is the first point of contact, and it is scary to think about what chemicals and compounds are now in our food.  Most diets are composed of food coming from a conveyor belt, not fresh from the land.  For example, sugar can now be found in almost every food and drink item.  Sugar not only causes cavities, especially in combination with highly acidic drinks, but sugar feeds infection causing bacteria.

Wisdom Teeth
There are approximately 10,000,000 wisdom teeth removed each year.  Why is that?
During times of hunting and gathering, jaw bones were long and narrow. In the present day, our jaws have transformed to be both shorter and wider.  It is believed that the jaws found in our ancestors were better suited to grind and decompose hard food items.  In today's world, we heavily rely on agriculture and farming which creates a softer diet.  Over time, the jaw has conformed to the physical needs of a new diet.
This theory was researched when von Cramon-Taubadel studied skull specimens from 11 populations around the world.  Five of the groups lived off hunting and gathering while the remaining six groups relied on a farming lifestyle.  It is through this quest of understanding evolution that supported the interactions between culture, farming, and the effects on our evolving anatomy.
Our modern day noggins are now crowded, leading to the misalignment of our teeth, and often the need to remove wisdom teeth. Since jaws of modern societies are now shorter, they "are not big enough to accommodate the size of our teeth," von Cramon-Taubadel said.  Periodontal Associates is not surprise that there are an estimated 5 million Americans with braces trying to straighten, align teeth, and fight against the natural progression of crowding. 
Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman have to, at times, extract teeth due to this crowding, but a more prominent problem treated at Periodontal Associates caused by orthodontics is gum recession.  When teeth are moved too quickly, the gums can retract and gum grafts are needed to prevent sensitivity and tooth loss.
If you are fighting gum disease or an un-even, painful smile, Dr. Ken Versman, Dr. Doug Heller, and Dr. Eric Beckman can help you.  You can't fight evolution, so click here to schedule an exam or call (303) 755-4500 to answer all your questions. Remember, gum disease is a sneaky disease as often people do not realize they have it until it reaches a severe state.  At that point, it can result in tooth loss, bone loss, and the need for dental implants.  Don't let gum disease sneak up on you.  Visit Periodontal Associates in Aurora today. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic Cancer and Poor Hygiene
When visiting the dentist, it is easy to ignore the warnings from doctors and hygienists about the importance of brushing, flossing, and bi-annual visits.  Often patients disregard these concerns, but Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman want you to know that home oral care is more than just keeping a clean mouth. Oral health is closely connected with the entire body as it is a gateway to the blood stream and to new diseases.  Periodontal Associates is constantly educating patients about the secondary effects on health and the progression of dangerous bacteria in the mouth.  In fact, gum disease resulting from poor oral hygiene and gum disease has been linked to the development of pancreatic cancer in men.
A study conducted out of Boston correlated the unnoticeable disease of periodontitis and pancreatic cancer after reviewing health related data from 51,000 men starting from 1986.  The study found men with history of gum disease have a 64% increased risk for developing pancreatic cancer versus men with great oral health.  (Maybe this is why there are so many male doctors like Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman in the Periodontal field.)  Furthermore, the more severe the gum disease is the higher the risk.  For example, gum disease can progress to the extent of recession, pocketing, and tooth loss.  These patients not only need to visit our Aurora, CO office for dental implants, but they now have higher chances of forming cancer in the pancreas.
This study has not been the only link between these two seemingly different diseases.  Former studies have also found links between tooth loss and risk of cancers like pancreatic.  Those suffering from gum disease have a higher level of C reactive protein (CPR) in their blood.  These are inflammatory markers responsible for the first response to inflammation in the gums caused by infection and have been specifically noticed in persons with pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer, versus other cancers, has the highest fatality rate among American men and women where less than 5% of patients survive longer than 5 years after diagnosis.  These numbers can be scary, and although it is not confirmed that gum disease is a cause or a direct link to pancreatic cancer, it is important to preserve your health as best as possible to fight off any chance of this and other diseases. 

At Periodontal Associates, Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman are experts and professionally trained to diagnose and treat gum disease. Many of our Denver metro patients are sent by their general dentist as only Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman are specialists in curing the infections of the mouth.  Don't hesitate to visit our Aurora office for your next exam.  This visit could save your life and your smile.  Call us at (303) 755-4500 to schedule your comprehensive oral exam today.