Posts Tagged ‘periodontal disease’

Can Mouth Bacteria Increase Risk For Pancreatic Cancer

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

All cancers are scary, but pancreatic cancer is especially so. A new study suggests that certain mouth bacteria may increase the risk for pancreatic cancer.

Previous research has linked a history of gum disease and oral health problems with and increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Some studies have also suggested that certain types of oral bacteria may be involved. Groundbreaking research from the NYU School of Medicine is the first to directly evaluate the oral microbiome.

in 2014 over 46,000 Americans were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and almost 40,000 died. The researchers are hoping that their findings may lead to earlier, and improved treatments for pancreatic cancer. Said Dr. Jiyoung Ahn, “Our study offers the first direct evidence that specific changes in the microbial mix in the mouth – the oral microbiome – represent a likely risk factor for pancreatic cancer along with older age, male gender, smoking, African-American race, and a family history of the disease.” Cigarette smoking is the most important risk factor for the disease and it is the 12th most common cancer in the United States.

The study involved comparing mouth bacteria sampled from men and women before they developed pancreatic cancer with those sampled from similar individuals who did not have the disease. The study participants had been taking part in a larger study of cancer risk and had been followed for nearly 10 years. When the results were analyzed, the researchers discovered that patients who had Porphyromonas gingivalis bacteria present had a 59% overall higher risk of developing this cancer. Another bacteria, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans was linked to a 50% higher risk. Both types of bacteria are known to cause gum disease.

Another recently published study showed that smoking is tied to changes in mouth bacteria. The good news is that once smoking is stopped, the bacterial changes can be reversed. Professor Ahn stated, “These bacterial changes in the mouth could potentially show us who is at most risk of developing pancreatic cancer.”

Gum disease, and the oral bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay, have been linked to many serious health problems ranging from heart disease, premature birth and even cancers. Protect your overall health by keeping your smile as healthy as possible.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your next visit.

Oral Bacteria Linked To Stroke

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

Oral bacteria has been linked to stroke and heart disease, and other health conditions. New research from Japan has increased scientists understanding of the link between certain types of strokes and oral bacteria.

Researchers at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center in Osaka, Japan looked at stroke patients and the oral bacteria in their saliva. The researchers specifically looked at patients with hemorrhagic stroke, in which blood vessels in the brain rupture. Of the patients who experienced this type of stroke, 26% were found to have a specific bacteria in their saliva — cnm positive Streptococcus mutans. In patients experiencing other types of strokes, researchers found only 6% tested positive for the bacteria which causes tooth decay.

The research team also reviewed MRI’s of the stroke patients looking for small brain bleeds (cerebral microbleeds or CMB) which may cause dementia. The data showed that the number of these bleeds was higher in patients with the cnm-positive S. mutans than in those without the bacteria.

What does this all mean? The researcher think that it is possible that the bacteria may attach to blood vessels that have already been weakened by hypertension or age, leading to brain bleeds.

Dr. Robert Friedland, co-author of the study said, “This study shows that oral health is important for brain health. People need to take care of their teeth because it is good for their brain their heart as well as their teeth. The study and related work in our labs have shown that oral bacteria are involved in several kinds of stroke, including brain hemorrhages and strokes that lead to dementia.”

Many scientific studies have shown a link between gum disease and heart disease. The oral bacteria responsible for gum disease have even been proven to make rheumatoid arthritis worse.

Maintaining a health mouth is simple. Brush two times per day with a soft bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste. Floss your teeth every day and visit your dentist for professional cleanings every six months — more often if you have active gum disease.

To schedule your next cleaning please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777.


Happy National Gum Disease Month!

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

February is National Gum Disease Awareness Month. Of course it is also National Canned Food Month and National Snack Food Month, but those don’t really affect a dental office.

Gum disease awareness sounds like a joke, but it is serious business. Gum disease is completely preventable in the majority of cases and it can have serious health consequences ranging from the obvious – tooth loss, to the not-so-obvious like heart disease, poor blood sugar control and even pre-term birth. The bacteria that cause gum disease can travel throughout the body. Prevention is as simple as brushing (twice each day with fluoride toothpaste), flossing every day, and visiting the dental hygienist regularly for professional cleanings.

It is estimated that about 50 million Americans have moderate to severe gum disease and 40 million of those don’t even know it! The warning signs of gum disease include:

  • Puffy, red gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath
  • Painful or sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums or teeth that appear longer

Some people avoid the dentist because they are afraid of gum disease treatment. Treatment for gum disease today is much simpler and less uncomfortable than it was years ago. Treatment will, of course, depend upon the severity of of the gum disease.

For those patients who are afraid of dental treatments and suffer from dental anxiety or dental phobia, there is a solution. You can receive treatment for your gum disease while remaining relaxed and anxiety-free using sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry offers various levels of relaxation and sedation for those who feel anxious. Not only can gum disease be treated, but often years of dental neglect can be corrected in just a few visits.

Find out more about dental sedation options and gum disease treatment by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777.


Is Bad Breath Making You Avoid Socializing?

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

You don’t need to avoid socializing with friends and family because of bad breath. Halitosis has many causes and discovering why your breath doesn’t smell fresh is the first step to solving the problem.

All of us experience bad breath from time to time, especially after ingesting certain foods or drinks. If you suspect that your bad breath occurs on a regular basis it is time to investigate. Here are the usual suspects in cases of bad breath:

  1. Oral bacteria. Lots of bacteria live in our bodies and when the ones that live in the mouth aren’t cleaned out on a regular basis they begin to give off odors. The solutions is simple – keep your oral bacteria count low by brushing the teeth and tongue for at least two minutes twice each day. FLOSS! Flossing is necessary to remove the bacteria and food debris stuck between teeth. Visit your dentist for regular professional cleanings to ensure that bacterial colonies below the gum line are removed.
  2. Tonsil Stones. The tonsils are full of nooks and crannies that collect bacteria and mucus. This goop eventually hardens into a “stone” which is really stinky and can cause a nasty taste in the mouth. Gargling with warm salt water or using a water flosser can help remove debris before stones form and you can gently remove stones with a cotton swab or toothbrush. If you form stones often and experience frequent throat infections you may want to discuss removing the tonsils with your doctor.
  3. GERD. People who experience gastric reflux may also experience bad breath. Talk to your physician about keeping your GERD under control with medication and lifestyle changes.
  4. Food. We think of smelly foods like onions and garlic causing bad breath but your morning coffee can pack a malodorous punch! Some of these foods cause a stink in the mouth and again, when they have been digested. The chemicals in the food travel through the bloodstream to the lungs where you breath them out. The cure – in the short term you can brush and floss but until that garlic has worked its way through your system you will possess garlic breath. Avoid these foods unless they are cooked.
  5. Dry Mouth. Dry mouth is common as we age and is a side effect of many medications. Our saliva cleans debris from the mouth and without it, bacteria can breed and cause odors and oral disease. Drink lots of water, try chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production and check out the saliva substitutes now available.
  6. Oral Disease. If you have active gum disease, tooth decay or infection in your mouth it will smell bad. Visit the dentist to see what is going on and get your mouth healthy again!
  7. Smoking. Smokers breath is always bad. The only cure is quitting the habit. Chewing tobacco or other forms of tobacco also leave a bad smell and taste in the mouth. Smokers are also more likely to develop gum disease which is another cause of bad breath.

If you suspect bad breath but can’t pinpoint the cause, contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777  to schedule a visit. We can get to the bottom of your bad breath and make you more comfortable going out and socializing!

Smokers Risk Losing Teeth

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Dentists have known for a long time that smoking is bad for your oral health, as well as your overall health.

New research confirms that regular smokers have a significantly higher risk of losing teeth than non smokers. How much higher? Try over three times higher for men and 2 1/2 times higher for women. The study, published in the Journal of Dental Research, was completed by researchers at the University of Birmingham (UK) and the German Institute of Human Nutrition. Worldwide about 30% of people aged 65-74 have lost all of their natural teeth.

Lead researcher, Dr. Thomas Dietrich explained, “Most teeth are lost as a result of either caries (tooth decay) or chronic periodontitis (gum disease). We know that smoking is a strong risk factor for periodontitis, so that may go a long way towards explaining the higher rate of tooth loss in smokers.” Smoking can actually hide the effects of gum disease like bleeding gums — people think their gums are healthier than they actually are. “The goog news is that quitting smoking can reduce the risk fairly quickly. Eventually, an ex-smoker would have the same risk for tooth loss as someone who had never smoked, although this can take more than ten years.”

Because gum disease and tooth loss might be the first noticeable effect on the health of someone who smokes, hopefully people will use this as a wakeup call and quit smoking before life threatening conditions such as COPD or lung cancer occur. Smokeless forms of tobacco have also been linked to gum disease and tooth loss, but with the added increase in oral cancer rates.

If you use tobacco products talk to your doctor about quitting. If you haven’t quit yet, remember to schedule more frequent dental hygiene visits at 3 month intervals to monitor and maintain gum health.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your next visit.

Can Blueberries Save Your Teeth?

Monday, September 7th, 2015

When teeth and blueberries are in the same sentence we usually think about removing the stains they have left behind. Good news out of Canada, researchers are developing a treatment for gum disease based on extracts from wild blueberries.

Gum disease is very common. Most people experience some degree of gingivitis or gum inflammation as a result of bacteria filled dental plaque. When the plaque isn’t cleaned away on a regular basis the resulting tartar and inflammation eventually leads to gum disease. Dental plaque is a biofilm containing bacteria and is a soft, sticky substance that can be brushed away. If not removed in a timely manner, the plaque hardens into dental tartar, a substance that cannot be removed by brushing and flossing but requires a professional cleaning. Nearly 50% of adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease.

Researchers at the Canadian Universite’ Laval had been looking at natural antibacterial substances to fight gum disease. Recently they focused on blueberry polyphenols from the wild lowbush blueberry. Laboratory testing showed that the polyphenol compounds stopped bacteria from growing and forming biofilms. Tests on the immune system cells linked to inflammation were also positive – the extract blocked a molecular pathway required for the inflammation response.

The research team is now working on a device that can slowly release the natural extract after a deep dental cleaning to help treat gum disease instead of using antibiotics.

Healthy gums are important for more than just a pretty smile. Research has shown that poor gum health is linked to heart disease, pre-term birth and even raises the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Find out more about keeping your gums healthy and schedule your next cleaning by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777.

Gum Disease and Prostate Problems

Friday, May 8th, 2015

Everything in our body is linked. A new report from Caste Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine found that treating gum disease reduced symptoms of prostate inflammation. Previous studies had found links between gum disease and prostatitis which is a disease that inflames the prostate gland.

Study author Nabil Bissada said “This study shows that if we treat the gum disease, it can improve the symptoms of prostatitis and the quality of life for those who have the disease.” Bissada explained that gum disease is a system-wide condition that causes inflammation, not only in the mouth, but throughout other parts of the body.

Study participants had a needle biopsy that confirmed inflammation of the prostate and a blood test that showed elevated PSA levels, an indicator of inflammation and possible cancer. The men also had moderate to severe gum disease which was treated. After 1 to 2 months the men were tested again and showed improvement. During the treatment for the gum disease the men received no treatment for their prostate problems, but even without treatment, 21 of 27 men showed decreased PSA levels. The researchers are continuing their study and hope to make periodontal treatment a standard part of treating prostate disease.

Men are not the only ones to benefit from healthy gums. The inflammation from gum disease has been shown to affect rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and even fetal health.

Keep your gums (and your body) free from inflammation by brushing, flossing and visiting your dental hygienist regularly. If you have been told you have gum disease it needs to be treated. We used to think that gum disease led to tooth loss and that was pretty much it – now we know that untreated gum disease can have terrible consequences for overall health.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your next visit.

Gum Disease FAQs

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a widespread condition that affects many adults. To learn more about this disease and how to prevent and treat it, here are the answers to some common questions asked by patients.

  • What is gum disease? Periodontal  disease is an infection of the tissue that surrounds and supports the teeth. Plaque is the sticky film of bacteria that is brushed and flossed away with proper oral care. When left on the teeth, plaque produces bacteria that attack below the gum line. This causes the bond between teeth and gums to break down. If left untreated, periodontal disease may also cause tooth loss.
  • Are there different kinds of gum disease? Yes. In the early stage of gum disease, also known as gingivitis, gums may become red and swollen, and bleed easily. In the more advanced stage, referred to as periodontal disease or periodontitis, teeth can loosen and even fall out. Proper oral hygiene and regular dental examinations are essential in prevention and early detection of gum disease.
  • What are the signs of gum disease? Signs of periodontal disease include: red, swollen and/or bleeding gums, persistent bad breathe or bad taste and loose teeth. However, sometimes there are no warning signs, making proper dental hygiene and regular visits to the dentist very important.
  • What increases the risk for periodontal disease? The risk of developing periodontal disease may be related to the following habits and conditions: Tobacco smoking or chewing, systemic diseases such as diabetes, certain medications such as steroids, cancer therapy drugs and calcium channel blockers, pregnancy or use of oral contraceptives, crooked teeth, worn bridges or fillings, or ill-fitting dentures.
  • What is the treatment? A patient is normally referred to a periodontist, who treats periodontal disease. Periodontitis is treated based on its severity and progression. Treatments may include: Scaling and Root Planing, a deep-cleaning method that removes bacteria from below the gum line and the tooth root, medication, or in severe cases, surgery. If other methods of treatment are ineffective, flap surgery may be performed to lift away gum tissue so that it can be cleaned underneath. Gum or bone grafts may also be performed to help regenerate any bone or gum tissue that has been damaged or lost due to periodontitis.
  • Is gum disease preventable? Yes, in most cases. Plaque is the most common cause of periodontal disease that can be prevented with proper dental hygiene. Patients should also follow a healthy diet, refrain from smoking, and visit a dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.

Dentistry in Toccoa

If you’re ready to learn more about preventing and treating gum disease, contact Wilbanks Smile Center today and schedule a consultation.  Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be reached at 706-886-9439.  We look forward to serving you.

Save Healthcare Dollars - Keep Gums Healthy!

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Healthcare is expensive. If you could do something that would save healthcare dollars and didn’t include joining a gym would you be interested? It is easy to save healthcare dollars, just keep your gums healthy!

A recent study has given us new evidence proving the importance of preventing and treating periodontal disease in patients with chronic systemic diseases and in pregnant women.

This research included almost 340,000 people and established that  treating gum disease reduced hospital stays and cut medical costs up to $5600 in patients with conditions like diabetes and cerebrovascular disease. This large group of study participants all were diagnosed with periodontal disease and had one or more of the following: diabetes, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy. The researchers then looked at the insurance data of the patients who had received treatment for their gum disease and those who had not.

Annual medical went down. Average annual medical costs were decreased by 40% in diabetic patients, almost 41% in cerebrovascular disease patients and heart patients saw an almost 11% savings. Pregnant women saw their medical expenses reduced by a whopping 73.7%! Plus we know that moms with healthy gums are less likely to have babies with low birth weight or to deliver early.

This is not the first study to show the savings in medical expenses associated with keeping gums healthy. Since about 47% of US adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease and men have higher rates that women, it is time we all got serious about preventing and treating gum disease.

Signs of periodontal disease include bleeding, puffy gums. Gum tissue that looks red and inflamed and chronic bad breath are also symptoms. Your gums should never bleed when brushing or flossing!

If it has been a while since your last cleaning or you think you may have gum disease please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next visit.


Ancient Bacteria Still Causing Oral Health Problems

Friday, March 7th, 2014

The same bacteria that gave our ancient ancestors oral health problems are still wreaking havoc on modern smiles.

An international team, led by Dr. Christina Warinner from the department of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma, is attempting to built a detailed picture of people from the German Medieval population. In the quest to find more information about the health and diets of this population they took samples of dental calculus from 1,000 year old teeth. Although the samples were small, dental calculus harbors a lot of DNA. “What makes dental calculus so unique is that it acts both as a long-term reservoir of the oral microbiome and as a trap for dietary and environmental debris,” said Dr. Warriner.

The DNA and protein analysis found that the same inflammatory disease-causing bacteria found in Medieval Germans is about the same as the bacteria that cause periodontal disease today!

Preventing Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is completely preventable thanks to modern dentistry. There were no dental hygieniests 1,000 years ago. Now we know that good home care – brushing and flossing every day – along with regular dental hygiene visits can keep most smiles healthy.

Dental calculus is a very hard substance that cannot be removed with regular brushing and flossing. Because dental calculus serves as “reservoir” for bacteria and traps food particles it is important that it be removed regularly by a dental hygienist in order to maintain healthy gums.

Find out more about preventing periodontal disease by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next visit.

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