From Medical News Today –
It is a myth that snus (Swedish snuff) users today have fewer dental caries. On the contrary, some types of nicotine-free snus contain both carbohydrates and starch that increase the risk of cavities. Those are the findings of a thesis from Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
A common notion is that people who use nicotine-containing snus have fewer cavities. But that notion is a myth. A fact proven by Lena Hellqvist, a doctoral student at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg and a member of staff at Karlstad University, who studied oral health among snus users for her thesis.
“Normal Swedish snus containing nicotine is alkaline and therefore raises oral pH levels, which could have a beneficial effect against acid attacks. However, there was no clinical confirmation during our studies that snus users have fewer caries today,” says Lena Hellqvist.
“On the other hand, neither do snus users have more caries, which may be partially explained by the general improvement in oral health in Sweden and daily use of fluoride toothpastes. It is clear though that tobacco users visit the dentist and clean their teeth less often than non-users.”
People who use nicotine-free snus products also have reason to be watchful. Lena Hellqvist’s thesis reveals that while nicotine-containing snus only contains traces of carbohydrates and starch, nicotine-free snus can contain up to 26 per cent starch and 6.5 per cent carbohydrates.
“Our figures showed that some nicotine-free snus products considerably reduced users’ plaque pH. Together with the high carbohydrate content, this means that use of nicotine-free snus can increase the risk of caries,” says Lena Hellqvist, who emphasises that the results only concern the products included in the study in question, and not necessarily all products available on the market.
The thesis also shows that tobacco use generally has fallen over the past 20 years, but that the number of snus users has increased in the same period – data supported by several other national studies.
Medical News Today reports:
Insight Into Periodontal Health, Disease
The finding, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, profiles the SR1 bacteria, a group of microbes present in many environments, ranging from the mouth to deep within the Earth, that have never been cultivated in the laboratory. Human oral SR1 bacteria are elevated in periodontitis, a disease marked by inflammation and infection of the ligaments and bones that support the teeth.
Scientists also found that the SR1 bacteria employ a unique genetic code in which the codon UGA – a sequence of nucleotides guiding protein synthesis — appears not to serve its normal role as a stop code. In fact, scientists found that UGA serves to introduce a glycine amino acid instead.
“This is like discovering that in a language you know well there is a dialect in which the word stop means go,” said co-author Mircea Podar of the Department of Energy lab’s Biosciences Division. Podar and Dieter Söll of Yale University led the team that also included scientists from DOE’s Joint Genome Institute who contributed to the analysis of the single-cell sequencing data.
The researchers believe the altered genetic code limits the exchange of genes between SR1 and other bacteria because they use a different genetic alphabet.
“In the big pool of bacteria, genes can be exchanged between species and can contribute to increased antibiotic resistance or better adaptation to living in humans,” Podar said. “Because SR1 has a change in its genetic alphabet, its genes will not function in other microbes.”
Podar and colleagues envision this work providing a path toward a better understanding of microbiological factors of periodontitis as well as to the establishment of a framework to help scientists interpret genomic data from this bacterium and others that have the same altered genetic code.
“So far, no one has been able to isolate and cultivate this type of bacterium,” said Podar, who noted that there are bugs in our mouth that we have no clue about and, until now, this was one of them. “The genetic information obtained by sequencing one single cell may offer researchers a key to ‘domesticating’ these organisms and studying them in the laboratory.”
Medical News Today reports:
Impacting approximately one-third of the U.S. population, obesity is a significant health concern for Americans. It’s a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain forms of cancer, and now, according to an article published in the January/February 2013 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), it also may be a risk factor for gum disease.
“We know that being overweight can affect many aspects of a person’s health,” says Charlene Krejci, DDS, MSD, lead author of the article. “Now researchers suspect a link exists between obesity and gum disease. Obese individuals’ bodies relentlessly produce cytokines, proteins with inflammatory properties. These cytokines may directly injure the gum tissues or reduce blood flow to the gum tissues, thus promoting the development of gum disease.”
Half of the U.S. population age 30 and older is affected by gum disease – a chronic inflammatory infection that impacts the surrounding and supporting structures of the teeth. Gum disease itself produces its own set of cytokines, which further increases the level of these inflammatory proteins in the body’s bloodstream, helping to set off a chain reaction of other inflammatory diseases throughout the body.
Research on the relationship between obesity and gum disease is still ongoing.
“Whether one condition is a risk factor for another or whether one disease directly causes another has yet to be discovered,” says AGD Spokesperson Samer G. Shamoon, DDS, MAGD. “What we do know is that it’s important to visit a dentist at least twice a year so he or she can evaluate your risks for developing gum disease and offer preventive strategies.”
The best way to minimize the risk of developing gum disease is to remove plaque through daily brushing, flossing, rinsing, and professional cleanings.
“A dentist can design a personalized program of home oral care to meet each patient’s specific needs,” says Dr. Shamoon.
Adults Who Consume Fluoride In Drinking Water At Decreased Risk For Tooth Decay
A new study conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Adelaide, Australia, has produced the strongest evidence yet that fluoride in drinking water provides dental health benefits to adults, even those who had not received fluoridated drinking water as children.
In the first population-level study of its kind, the study shows that fluoridated drinking water prevents tooth decay for all adults regardless of age, and whether or not they consumed fluoridated water during childhood.
Led by UNC School of Dentistry faculty member Gary Slade, the study adds a new dimension to evidence regarding dental health benefits of fluoridation.
“It was once thought that fluoridated drinking water only benefited children who consumed it from birth,” explained Slade, who is John W. Stamm Distinguished Professor and director of the oral epidemiology Ph.D. program at UNC. “Now we show that fluoridated water reduces tooth decay in adults, even if they start drinking it after childhood. In public health terms, it means that more people benefit from water fluoridation than previously thought.”
The researchers analyzed national survey data from 3,779 adults aged 15 and older selected at random from the Australian population between 2004 and 2006. Survey examiners measured levels of decay and study participants reported where they lived since 1964. The residential histories of study participants were matched to information about fluoride levels in community water supplies. The researchers then determined the percentage of each participant’s lifetime in which the public water supply was fluoridated.
The results, published online in the Journal of Dental Research, show that adults who spent more than 75 percent of their lifetime living in fluoridated communities had significantly less tooth decay (up to 30 percent less) when compared to adults who had lived less that 25 percent of their lifetime in such communities.
“At this time, when several Australian cities are considering fluoridation, we should point out that the evidence is stacked in favor of long-term exposure to fluoride in drinking water,” said Kaye Roberts-Thomson, a co-author of the study. “It really does have a significant dental health benefit.”
Delta Dental survey finds more oral health gaps
By DrBicuspid Staff
February 6, 2013 — In conjunction with National Children’s Dental Health Month, Delta Dental has released the findings of a new survey of nearly 1,000 caregivers.
The 2013 Delta Dental Children’s Oral Health Survey shows that Americans are unaware that they can pass cavity-causing bacteria to children, and that they also need to improve on some critical children’s dental health habits, including basics such as brushing and flossing.
One in four caregivers said that their children received a filling for caries, and that among those who had restorative treatment in the past year, 53% had two or more restorations.
Some of the oral health habits reported that fall short of what’s recommended by dental professionals include the following:
75% of caregivers say they share utensils such as a spoon, fork, or glass with a child.
49% of Americans with a child 4 years or younger report that the child sometimes takes a nap or goes to bed with a bottle or sippy cup containing milk or juice.
For children who have visited the dentist, the average age at the first visit was 3 years old.
Only 58% of children had their teeth brushed twice a day, and 34% of children brush for less than two minutes.
43% of parents or caregivers report that their children’s teeth are never flossed, and of children whose teeth are flossed, only 23% are flossed daily.
How Your Dentist Knows You Are Not Flossing
What about the other half?
My guess is that they’re the ones who floss twice a year — right before their dental checkups. They think they can pull a fast one on us, but here’s a little secret: dentists can tell when you’ve been flossing and when you haven’t.
How Dentists Can Tell When You’re Not Flossing
The way we can tell if you’re not flossing is if your gums are bleeding. Although there are other, less common conditions that can make your gums bleed, gingivitis is the main cause. Gingivitis is when the gums are inflamed due to all of the bacteria in your mouth collecting right between the gums and the teeth.
The problem is that it takes about a week of daily flossing for gingivitis to go away and make it so your gums don’t bleed when they are cleaned.
The most authoritative book on the gums — that’s 1,328 pages dedicated to your gums! — states the following:
The presence of plaque for only 2 days can initiate gingival bleeding on probing, whereas once established, it may take 7 days or more after continued plaque control and treatment to eliminate gingival bleeding.
So, if you end up brushing and flossing really well right before your dental cleaning and exam, your teeth will be clean, but your gums will still show the main sign of inflammation: bleeding.
If you really want to trick your dentist into thinking you’re brushing and flossing regularly, you’ll have to do it for at least seven days before your visit. And if you’re gonna do that, why not simply brush and floss every day?