Posts for: June, 2012
Recent scientific studies have finally confirmed what we have suspected for many years; oral health directly impacts your overall well-being. When you are brushing and flossing your teeth, you are not only preventing tooth decay and gum disease, but you are also minimizing your risks in developing many of the degenerative diseases of the 21st century. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cerebrovascular incidents (stroke), pre-term births, and bacteremias (bacterial infection in the blood) have all been linked to the bacteria that lurks in the plaque found above and below the gum line in our mouths.
The presence of bacteria near the gum line causes inflammation which leaves the gum tissue swollen and prone to bleeding. The open wounds of the gum tissue are the entry points for the bacteria that reside in the area. These bacteria can now enter the bloodstream and settle in any of the tissues and organs of the body. The chronic inflammation of the gum tissue and the body’s response to that inflammation weakens the body’s immune system and increases one’s susceptibility to degenerative disease.
The British Medical Journal published a study in 2010 which concluded that “poor oral hygiene is associated with higher levels of risk of cardiovascular disease and low grade inflammation. The bacteria found in the plaque build up on blocked coronary arteries is the same bacteria found in subgingival and supragingival calculus.”
In 2010, The Journal of Dentistry published a review of the literature relating periodontal disease to cancer. Oral and esophageal cancers were the most consistent cancers in the studies that were related to periodontal disease. Gastric and pancreatic cancers had an association in most but not all of the studies.
The Journal of Clinical Periodontolgy in 2010 released a study proving that maternal periodontitis is associated with an increased risk of induced preterm birth due to pre-eclampsia.
What does all this mean? In very simple terms, we must understand that the mouth is the ideal environment in which bacteria can thrive. It is moist, dark, full of little nooks and crannies in which these bugs can multiply and grow, and is constantly being fed with the sugars necessary for their survival. It is this bacteria that manages to enter into our bloodstream through the walls of the gum tissue that they have weakened. Once in our bloodsteam, the bacteria and the inflammation that it causes, are the contributing factors to degenerative disease.
It is with this in mind that now, more than ever, dentists and hygienists in partnership with their patients, must do everything possible to maintain a plaque-free mouth to help minimize the risks in developing the above-mentioned life threatening diseases. Patient specific oral hygiene programs must be formulated and adhered to. This will often include the need for scaling every three months for at risk patients as well as the need for oral rinses, daily flossing, and irrigating devices.
Brushing and flossing will not only save your teeth; it may save your life!
Dr. Brian Kaplansky
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease of the small intestine. The structure and function of the small intestine is altered and this leads to the inability to properly absorb minerals, nutrients, and vitamins. When it strikes young children, it results in 'failure to thrive' and stunted growth. When adults are afflicted with this disease, it can cause diarrhea, anemia,osteoporosis,and fatigue. It is caused by a reaction to wheat proteins. Early diagnosis is critical because as soon as the wheat is eliminated from the diet, signs and symptoms disappear and the damage to the intestines and the bones will subside.
In April 2011, The Canadian Dental Association published the findings of a study done which confirmed the connection between Celiac Disease and dental health. 87% of children with celiac disease have dental enamel defects compared to only 33% of non-celiac kids. 42% of adults and kids with the disease have frequent bouts of canker sores in their mouths versus 22% of the non-celiac patients. A smooth, painful, red, and swollen tongue is also commonly found in celiac patients. Cracks and scaling around the lips and corners of the mouth are frequently found as well. A study published in the medical journal 'Gut' , found that celiac patients who did not follow a strict gluten-free diet, were at a greater risk of developing oral cancer than those patients who completely avoided gluten products.
The defects in the enamel of the teeth are probably caused by the body's inability to absorb the calcium and vitamin D that are so necessary for proper enamel formation. If the diagnosis is made at an early age and a gluten-free diet is implemented right away, damage to the adult teeth can be avoided.
Most dentists and physicians are unaware of the celiac - oral health connection according to Alexandra Anca, the scientific advisor for the Canadian Celiac Association's professional advisory board. If you or your child have 2 or more of the following oral signs, please bring it to the attention of your dentist and physician.
1. Dental enamel defects - grooved,pitted,misshapen,discoloured, and coloured patches on multiple teeth
2. Canker Sores - frequent and painful open sores on your gums, tongue, cheek, and floor of the mouth
3. Atrophic Glossitis - red, smooth, painful and swollen tongue
4. Cheilosis - cracks and scaling around the lips and corners of the mouth
5. Oral Lichen planus - white or red patches on the mucous membranes of the mouth
Dr. Brian Kaplansky