Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Women, keep those toothbrushes and dental floss handy. A comprehensive review of women’s health studies by Charlene Krejci, associate clinical professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, has shown a link between women’s health issues and gum disease.
Across the ages, hormonal changes take place during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Krejci found female hormones that fluctuate throughout women’s lives can change conditions in the mouth that allow bacteria to grow, enter the blood, and exacerbate certain health issues like bone loss, fetal death and pre-term births.
Her overview of the literature was reported in the article, “Women’s Health: Periodontitis and its Relation to Hormonal Changes, Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes and Osteoporosis” in the May issue of Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry.
The Case Western Reserve University periodontist reviewed 61 journal articles with nearly 100 studies for a collective answer on whether hormones have a relationship to gum disease and specific women’s health issues like preterm labor, bone loss, and the side effect of hormonal replacement therapy.
“There’s definitely a gender-specific connection between women’s hormones, gum disease, and specific health issues impacting women,” Krejci said.__“Although women tend to take better care of their oral health than men, the main message is women need to be even more vigilant about maintaining healthy teeth and gums to prevent or lessen the severity of some of women-specific health issues,” Krejci said.
In addition to the brushing and flossing daily regimen, Krejci recommends visiting the dentist at least every six months, and more if there are any gum problems found or women suffer from bone loss or are pregnant.
She added that it is widely known that hormones cause some women gum problems during pregnancy. Women already susceptible to gum disease before being pregnant, she advises, need to make sure that these oral problems are treated.
Although women were once discouraged from seeing the dentist while pregnant, she said that scaling and planing of the roots of teeth to eliminate some gum disease is now recommended during pregnancy for women. Severe gum disease requiring surgery is still generally postponed until after the baby’s birth.
Gum disease begins with the build up of bacterial plaque on the teeth and under the gums. Untreated it can cause irritation and inflammation during which harmful and toxic byproducts are released. These toxins erode the bone that anchors teeth and cause breaks and bleeding in the gums.
Collaborating with Krejci on the study was Nabil Bissada, professor and chair of the Department of Periodontology at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Periodontists routinely grow bone in the mouth to guarantee a stable environment for teeth and tooth implants. But whether it's better to build up bone before placing the implant, or to simply place the implant and allow bone to grow around it, has been a subject of considerable medical debate.
Now Prof. Zvi Artzi of Tel Aviv University's Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dentistry at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine has completed a study that concludes the two-step method is the more effective alternative — building bone first, then implanting and allowing further bone growth. Currently, many dental professionals prefer a one-step process to save their patients from an additional surgical procedure.
Published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, Prof. Artzi's study shows that a one-step implant will show more wear and tear over time than one implanted through the more cautious two-step procedure. While both are clinically effective methods, he concludes, implant placement procedures done with the one-step method show greater bone resorption around the implant neck — a process by which the bone is broken down. Bonding of the bone around the implant was also shown to be inferior.
Testing proven procedures
The successful placement of a tooth implant is based on the biocompatibility of titanium, the main component of most dental and orthopedic implants. Both animal and human tissues readily accept the implant and grow around it. But in many cases, the amount of bone is also crucial to the success of the implant. Building bone to stabilize a titanium fixture is a long-standing procedure in dentistry.
Periodontists typically choose either the one-step or two-step procedure based on their preference alone. So Prof. Artzi and his fellow researchers set out to determine which procedure was scientifically superior in the long-term, well past the time when periodontists would typically monitor a patient's progress. In their study, they compared both methods of implantation in lab animals, and followed the progress of the implants over a course of two years.
The one-step procedure is based on the idea that a bone graft will simply attract the surrounding tissue to build up bone around the titanium implant — a process called conduction. The benefit of this procedure is that patients are only subjected to one surgery. But the study shows a difference in long-term efficacy, Prof. Artzi says. Ultimately, the bone recedes less in the more cautious two-step procedure. The quality of the resulting bone itself is similar.
A judgement call
Though the study proves that the two-step method is more advantageous in most cases, each case is different, says Prof. Artzi. For example, dental professionals also take into account the already existing bone – which determines how stable a future implant will be – before deciding which route to take with each individual patient. Clinically, both methods remain sound, and periodontists should still rely on their own judgement as to what is best for the patient.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Energy drinks found twice as likely to destroy enamel than sports drinks
A recent study published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, found that an alarming increase in the consumption of sports and energy drinks, especially among adolescents, is causing irreversible damage to teeth—specifically, the high acidity levels in the drinks erode tooth enamel, the glossy outer layer of the tooth.
“Young adults consume these drinks assuming that they will improve their sports performance and energy levels and that they are ‘better’ for them than soda,” says Poonam Jain, BDS, MS, MPH, lead author of the study. “Most of these patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid.”
Researchers examined the acidity levels in 13 sports drinks and nine energy drinks. They found that the acidity levels can vary between brands of beverages and flavors of the same brand. To test the effect of the acidity levels, the researchers immersed samples of human tooth enamel in each beverage for 15 minutes, followed by immersion in artificial saliva for two hours. This cycle was repeated four times a day for five days, and the samples were stored in fresh artificial saliva at all other times.
“This type of testing simulates the same exposure that a large proportion of American teens and young adults are subjecting their teeth to on a regular basis when they drink one of these beverages every few hours,” says Dr. Jain.
The researchers found that damage to enamel was evident after only five days of exposure to sports or energy drinks, although energy drinks showed a significantly greater potential to damage teeth than sports drinks. In fact, the authors found that energy drinks caused twice as much damage to teeth as sports drinks.
With a reported 30 to 50 percent of U.S. teens consuming energy drinks, and as many as 62 percent consuming at least one sports drink per day, it is important to educate parents and young adults about the downside of these drinks. Damage caused to tooth enamel is irreversible, and without the protection of enamel, teeth become overly sensitive, prone to cavities, and more likely to decay.
“Teens regularly come into my office with these types of symptoms, but they don’t know why,” says AGD spokesperson Jennifer Bone, DDS, MAGD. “We review their diet and snacking habits and then we discuss their consumption of these beverages. They don’t realize that something as seemingly harmless as a sports or energy drink can do a lot of damage to their teeth.”
Dr. Bone recommends that her patients minimize their intake of sports and energy drinks. She also advises them to chew sugar-free gum or rinse the mouth with water following consumption of the drinks. “Both tactics increase saliva flow, which naturally helps to return the acidity levels in the mouth to normal,” she says.
Also, patients should wait at least an hour to brush their teeth after consuming sports and energy drinks. Otherwise, says Dr. Bone, they will be spreading acid onto the tooth surfaces, increasing the erosive action.