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Dental Care Associates of Spokane Valley, P.S.

Family and Cosmetic Dentistry

James G. Hood, D.D.S., M.A

Dental News

ScienceDaily (Aug. 5, 2010)Brushing, flossing, and twice-yearly dental check-ups are standard for oral health care, but there are more health benefits to taking care of your pearly whites than most of us know. In a review article, a faculty member at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) debunks common dental myths and outlines how diet and nutrition affects oral health in children, teenagers, expectant mothers, adults and elders.


 

Myth 1: The consequences of poor oral health are restricted to the mouth

Expectant mothers may not know that what they eat affects the tooth development of the fetus. Poor nutrition during pregnancy may make the unborn child more likely to have tooth decay later in life. “Between the ages of 14 weeks to four months, deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, protein and calories could result in oral defects,” says Carole Palmer, EdD, RD, professor at TUSDM and head of the division of nutrition and oral health promotion in the department of public health and community service. Some data also suggest that lack of adequate vitamin B6 or B12 could be a risk factor for cleft lip and cleft palate formation.

In children, tooth decay is the most prevalent disease, about five times more common than childhood asthma. “If a child’s mouth hurts due to tooth decay, he/she is less likely to be able to concentrate at school and is more likely to be eating foods that are easier to chew but that are less nutritious. Foods such as donuts and pastries are often lower in nutritional quality and higher in sugar content than more nutritious foods that require chewing, like fruits and vegetables,” says Palmer. “Oral complications combined with poor diet can also contribute to cognitive and growth problems and can contribute to obesity.”

Myth 2: More sugar means more tooth decay

It isn’t the amount of sugar you eat; it is the amount of time that the sugar has contact with the teeth. “Foods such as slowly-dissolving candies and soda are in the mouth for longer periods of time. This increases the amount of time teeth are exposed to the acids formed by oral bacteria from the sugars,” says Palmer.

Some research shows that teens obtain about 40 percent of their carbohydrate intake from soft drinks. This constant beverage use increases the risk of tooth decay. Sugar-free carbonated drinks and acidic beverages, such as lemonade, are often considered safer for teeth than sugared beverages but can also contribute to demineralization of tooth enamel if consumed regularly.

Myth 3: Losing baby teeth to tooth decay is okay

It is a common myth that losing baby teeth due to tooth decay is insignificant because baby teeth fall out anyway. Palmer notes that tooth decay in baby teeth can result in damage to the developing crowns of the permanent teeth developing below them. If baby teeth are lost prematurely, the permanent teeth may erupt malpositioned and require orthodontics later on.

Myth 4: Osteoporosis only affects the spine and hips

Osteoporosis may also lead to tooth loss. Teeth are held in the jaw by the face bone, which can also be affected by osteoporosis. “So, the jaw can also suffer the consequences of a diet lacking essential nutrients such as calcium and vitamins D and K,” says Palmer.

“The jawbone, gums, lips, and soft and hard palates are constantly replenishing themselves throughout life. A good diet is required to keep the mouth and supporting structures in optimal shape.”

Myth 5: Dentures improve a person’s diet

If dentures don’t fit well, older adults are apt to eat foods that are easy to chew and low in nutritional quality, such as cakes or pastries. “First, denture wearers should make sure that dentures are fitted properly. In the meantime, if they are having difficulty chewing or have mouth discomfort, they can still eat nutritious foods by having cooked vegetables instead of raw, canned fruits instead of raw, and ground beef instead of steak. Also, they should drink plenty of fluids or chew sugar-free gum to prevent dry mouth,” says Palmer.

Myth 6: Dental decay is only a young person’s problem

In adults and elders, receding gums can result in root decay (decay along the roots of teeth). Commonly used drugs such as antidepressants, diuretics, antihistamines and sedatives increase the risk of tooth decay by reducing saliva production. “Lack of saliva means that the mouth is cleansed more slowly. This increases the risk of oral problems,” says Palmer. “In this case, drinking water frequently can help cleanse the mouth.”

Adults and elders are more likely to have chronic health conditions, like diabetes, which are risk factors for periodontal disease (which begins with an inflammation of the gums and can lead to tooth loss). “Type 2 diabetes patients have twice the risk of developing periodontal disease of people without diabetes. Furthermore, periodontal disease exacerbates diabetes mellitus, so meticulous oral hygiene can help improve diabetes control,” says Palmer.

This article appears in the July/August issue of Nutrition Today

Dental News

University of Michigan School of Dentistry has signed an agreement with Interleukin Genetics Inc. to conduct what may be the largest clinical study to date using genetic testing to assess the risk for gum disease.

William Giannobile, professor at U-M dentistry and director of the Michigan Center for Oral Health Research at the School of Dentistry, will lead the study for U-M.

“It’s an exciting study because it’s a way to use genetic testing to personalize a dental treatment plan and the frequency of dental care visits of patients as it relates to oral care,” said Giannobile. “It’s a way to customize patient care.”

“One of the goals of personalized health care is to detect disease earlier and prevent it more effectively,” said Kenneth Kornman, president and chief scientific officer of Waltham, Mass. based-Interleukin. The study will use Interleukin’s PST test as one part of a periodontitis risk assessment, said Kornman, who is also an alumnus of the U-M Dental School. Research has shown that genetics plays a large role in gum disease, and research also suggests that severe gum disease is a risk factor for other chronic disease complications such as heart disease or low birth weight.

U-M scientists will examine 15 years of patient clinical outcome data provided by a Michigan-based insurance company. Scientists will then recruit at least 4,000 of those patients and get their genetic information using the PST, Giannobile said.

They will combine this genetic information with two other common risk factors, smoking and diabetes, then measure tooth survival rates to see how those results lined up with the treatment plans people received over the 15 years. Some patients may have needed more dental visits, some may have required less, Giannobile said.

The PST genetic test works by identifying genetic variations that are predictive of severe gum disease and tooth loss in some patients. The test may be used on all ethnic populations and must only be given once in a lifetime to identify at-risk patients. Specifically, the test identifies genetic variants that regulate a protein that when overexpressed, is thought to be associated with destruction of soft tissue attachment and bone and increased severity of gum disease in certain patients.

Interleukin’s test can be used in dental offices and is available in all U.S. states including New York, which monitors the accuracy and reliability of results of laboratory tests and sets one of the highest accreditation standards in the country for genetic testing companies. The company hopes the study results establish reimbursement coverage for the test. The insurance company would not have access to any genetic information, Giannobile said. The information would allow the dentist to make a more informed treatment protocol.

An estimated 75 percent of American adults have some form of gum disease, and roughly 20-25 percent have moderate to severe cases which can lead to tooth loss. The year-long study begins in the fall.

Source:
Laura Bailey
University of Michigan

Dental News

A wide variation has been found in the training for and practice of sedation and general anesthesia within the dental profession in the United States. Safe, effective pain and anxiety control techniques are an essential part of dentistry. A survey designed to be a snapshot of common practices provides insight into this limited area of research.

An article in the June issue of the journal Anesthesia Progress reports the results of a survey of 717 providers. The questionnaire-based survey, conducted from April 2008 to December 2008, investigated training, practice characteristics, and anesthesia techniques of dental care providers.

A universal instructional standard for sedation and general anesthesia is lacking in the training requirements of US dental boards, although similarities do exist. Most commonly, training was through oral surgery residencies. Overall, respondents reported that 33% of their postgraduate instruction was hospital-based.

Thirty-five percent of dental anesthesia assistants were without formal training, closely followed by 33.5% who received training through an American Association of Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons program. A much lower 7.3% were trained through an American Dental Society of Anesthesiology program.

Other aspects of the survey included types of patients and procedures for which sedation or general anesthesia were used. The questionnaire also asked which medication agents were most commonly used and how they were administered. Postanesthesia care was most commonly found to be given by the actual provider (51.7% of cases), but a nurse or assistant often provided recovery care as well (45%).

Most survey respondents, nearly 82%, were both dentist and anesthetist for their practice, a long-established tradition. However, the authors note that recent state regulations as well as anesthesia education in US dental schools are now limiting this method of practice.

Source: Allen Press Publishing Services

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Dental Care Associates of Spokane Valley, P.S.
Family and Cosmetic Dentistry Welcomes Patients
from Age 2 to 102!

James G. Hood, D.D.S., M.A.
507 North Sullivan Road, Suite A-1
Spokane Valley, WA 99037-8576  USA
Phone: (509) 928-9100  |  Fax: (509) 928-0414
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