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Posts tagged “Gum disease”

Could a vegan diet put your dental health at risk?

More and more people are embracing a vegan diet, but is making the switch better for your health?

Although vegan diets are often associated with health benefits, it is important to note that any diet can be unhealthy if you choose the wrong foods, or the meals and snacks you consume don’t contain the nutrients needed by the body for optimum health. Many people choose to go vegan as a result of wanting to make healthier choices, but there are concerns that some are assuming that switching to a vegan diet will automatically improve their health. The key to healthy eating lies in finding the right balance and including foods that contain vitamins and minerals and the food groups that are needed to keep the body properly fuelled.

One concern that has been raised by dental professionals is the impact of a vegan diet on oral health. Dentists are worried that cutting out certain foods can increase the risk of problems like tooth decay and gum disease. Many people who have a vegan diet struggle to hit the recommended daily protein and calcium intake, and this could contribute to elevated levels of decay. In fact, some dentists have already reported an increase in the number of patients experiencing decay after changing their diet. 

Calcium is vital for healthy teeth and bones, but there’s also a worry that vegans consume more starchy and sweet foods, such as grains, seeds and fruit, and this increases the risk of acid erosion.

The advice from dentists for those who are considering switching to a vegan diet is to take nutritional advice from health professionals and ensure their diet contains the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are needed by the body. In cases where there are deficiencies, it’s often advisable to take vitamin supplements, but patients should consult their GP for advice.

Did you know that looking after your gums could reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease?

Most of us know that brushing and flossing can help to keep our smiles sparkling, but did you know that caring for your gums could also help to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease?
Previous studies have linked gum disease to an elevated risk of Alzheimer’s, but new research has shed light on the connection between oral health and the progressive neurological condition. Researchers have found traces of bacteria linked to advanced gum disease, known as Porphyromonas gingivalis, in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Tests conducted on mice revealed that it was possible for these strains of bacteria to travel around the body to the brain, and flagged toxic proteins secreted by this specific form of bacteria. This protein, known as gingipain, destroys neurons in the brain tissue. The presence of the bacteria also accelerated the production of amyloid beta, a form of plaque, which is connected to Alzheimer’s.
After discovering the bacteria, scientists analysed the impact of drugs used to inhibit the toxic proteins in mice, and found that they stopped neural degeneration.
The study authors suggested that the research highlighted the connection between specific strains of bacteria and gum disease and provided an insight into new treatment options. In light of the study findings, the team has developed a new drug, which they are hoping to test on humans as part of a clinical trial later in the year.
Prof Tara Spires-Jones, from the UK Dementia Research Institute, which is based at the University of Edinburgh, said that the drug trials involving mice provided positive news. She also added that it would be interesting to see the results of the human drug trials that are due to take place later this year.

Could berries hold the key to healthy smiles?

New research has suggested that berries could hold the key to healthy smiles.
Scientists have discovered that dark berries, including blueberries and cranberries, contain nutrients, which could help to reduce the risk of dental decay. The research, which has been published in the European Journal of Oral Sciences, suggests that these berries contain nutrients that protect the teeth against specific strains of bacteria, which are proven to accelerate decay.
The study builds on previous research, which suggests that polyphenols, which are key nutrients found in berries, play a useful role in promoting good oral health by preventing harmful bacteria from clinging to the tooth surfaces. By preventing bacteria sticking to the teeth, polyphenols could subsequently help to prevent gum disease, decay and bad breath.
During the trial period, researchers used high-quality extracts of three different types of berries, strawberries, cranberries and blueberries and a mixture of all three (known as orophenol) to treat Streptococcus mutans biofilms. These biofilms were 24 hours old and they were assessed and analysed by the research team to evaluate “metabolic activity, acidogenicity, biovolumes, structural organisation and bacterial viability.”
Researchers found that the cranberry and orophenol extracts brought about the most significant reductions in metabolic activity and acid production. The blueberry extract also produced significant reductions when used at the highest concentration.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, said that nutrients found in fruit and vegetables are essential for good oral health, as well as general health, and suggested that polyphenols could potentially have a role to play in the future of manufacturing oral hygiene products. In addition to protecting the teeth, cranberries and blueberries are delicious, they’re a sweet treat, and the best thing is that they contain only natural sugars.

What is your mouth telling you about your health?

They say the eyes are the window of the soul, but a look inside the mouth can also reveal a lot about a person. Dentists and doctors are well aware of the importance of looking for potential warning signs in the mouth, but do you know what your mouth may be saying about your health?

Most of us know that bad breath means we probably need to do a better job with our toothbrush, but did you know that there are a series of potential oral warning signs that could flag up dental and general health issues? If you’ve ever noticed blood when you clean your teeth, for example, this can be a symptom of gum disease, a condition that is known to elevate the risk of an inflammatory response in other parts of the body. Gum disease can cause complications during pregnancy and childbirth and it can also increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Another sign to look out for is chapped, dry lips, which can indicate iron deficiency. Iron is found in many common food items, including meat and leafy green vegetables. A lack of iron can cause anaemia, which is commonly characterised by feeling tired and lethargic.

Mouth ulcers are very common, and in the vast majority of cases, they don’t cause major problems. Sores can be painful, especially when you’re eating, but they usually heal within a week or so without the need for treatment. If you have an ulcer that is hanging around, however, this could be cause for concern. Slow-healing sores can be a symptom of oral cancer. Other signs to watch out for include difficulty swallowing, lumps and swelling, and red or white patches in the mouth or throat.

The mouth can provide a useful insight into general health, and sometimes, it may be possible to spot warning signs of developing conditions. As well as keeping your smile in check, regular routine appointments could also enable dentists to investigate potential issues, so don’t forget to call and make an appointment if it’s been a while since you took a trip to the dentist.

New study suggests that just 1 drink a day elevates gum disease and oral cancer risk

shutterstock_533737267A new study has suggested that drinking just one alcoholic drink per day could elevate your risk of developing gum disease, oral cancer and heart disease.

Research conducted by experts at New York University, revealed that people who had at least one drink a day had more harmful oral bacteria than non-drinkers. In addition, drinkers were found to lack healthy strains, which are capable of battling harmful bacteria.

Numerous studies have highlighted the dangers of excessive drinking in the past, but this new study provides an insight into the impact of drinking on the presence of both harmful and healthy bacteria in the mouth.

It is estimated that around 1 in 10 adults in the US are defined as ‘heavy drinkers.’ This term relates to the consumption of 1 or more drinks per day for women and 2 or more drinks for men.

During the trial, researchers analysed oral bacteria levels in 1,000 patients who were participating in national cancer trials. The team asked each person about their alcohol consumption, and the group was divided into three categories: heavy drinkers, moderate drinkers and non-drinkers.

Analysis of samples showed that drinkers had higher levels of harmful bacteria, including Neisseria species, Bacteroidales and Actinomyces and lower levels of Lactobacillales, healthy bacteria, which are commonly found in probiotic foods.

Study author, Jiyoung Ahn, an epidemiologist at the NYU School of Medicine, explained that the study shows that drinking alcohol has a negative impact on the balance of bacteria in the mouth, which could explain why people who drink frequently are more likely to develop conditions such as gum disease and oral cancer.

The team is now planning to develop the research and will be focusing on how alcohol affects the “biological mechanisms” within the mouth.

New study suggests gum disease could increase dementia risk by up to 70%

shutterstock_344282432A new study suggests that gum disease increases the risk of dementia developing by up to 70 percent.

The findings of a study that involved 28,000 people show that those who take good care of their teeth and gums have a much lower risk of suffering from dementia than those with oral health issues, most notably advanced gum disease.

Researchers have already established a strong link between heart disease and gum disease. Now a Taiwanese study has suggested that periodontal disease could be a significant risk factor for dementia. Researchers analysed data from 9,300 patients who had been diagnosed with advanced gum disease and compared this to information from an additional 18,700 people who had not been diagnosed with gum disease. The team found that those who suffered from gum disease for more than 10 years had a much greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. After 10 years, it was found that 115 people from the group with gum disease had dementia compared to 208 who didn’t have gum disease, but rates were up to 70 percent higher in those who had long-term gum disease.

The research team, from Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung, suggested that the findings of the study indicate that inflammatory factors related to gum disease can trigger “neurodegenerative changes”, which elevate Alzheimer’s risk. The team has now called for further research in this area.

Head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, James Pickett, said that to many, it wouldn’t seem obvious that gum disease could be linked to dementia, but research suggests that immune reactions associated with periodontal disease could affect the brain.

Did you know that bad breath and gum disease could increase your risk of heart disease?

shutterstock_350641196It is well-documented that high blood pressure, inactivity and smoking are linked to an elevated risk of heart disease, but did you know that bad breath and gum disease could also be risk factors for strokes and heart attacks?

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, claims that the scientific link between poor oral health and cardiac problems is well-founded, but insists that many people are unaware of the risks associated with oral disease. Only 1 in 6 people are aware of the connection between gum disease and type 2 diabetes and two-thirds of people don’t know that oral health problems can put you at risk of heart disease.

GP, Dr Paul Stillman, explained that inflammation of the gums could lead to the possibility of bacteria from the mouth accessing the bloodstream and travelling to other parts of the body. He added that it’s “no accident” that bacteria known as Streptococcus sanguinis, which cause gum disease, are also a contributing factor to coronary heart disease.

The advice from dentists and doctors is to keep an eye out for changes in the mouth and to ensure that your schedule regular checks. When you go to the dentist, they may be able to spot early signs and administer treatment, which will prevent the condition from progressing. Symptoms of gum disease include swollen, sore and red gums and bleeding when you brush.

Health experts are also eager for the public to be aware of other risk factors, such as a sedentary lifestyle, a poor diet, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

New study backs link between drug abuse and poor oral health

shutterstock_367937903New research has suggested a link between poor oral health and drug abuse, adding to a growing body of evidence that supports the notion that using illegal drugs harms the teeth and gums.

A new review, which has been published online by the journal, Addiction, claims that people who use illegal drugs are more likely to suffer from gum disease and decay than non-drug users. The report also suggested that drug users were less likely to see a dentist than those who don’t take drugs.

The review claimed that drug use has several implications for oral health, based on links between using drugs and increased frequency of eating and snacking, an elevated risk of dry mouth and grinding the teeth and exposure to acid erosion caused by cocaine and eating foods that are high in sugar.

The situation is compounded by the fact that people who take drugs are less likely to see a dentist than the average person, putting their oral health at risk. Research also shows that avoiding the dentist can have a profound impact on confidence and well-being, as well as life-threatening consequences for general health.

The review included data from 28 studies, which have been carried out in different countries around the world. More than 4,000 patients with a history of substance abuse and 23,000 controls were involved.

Study finds link between gum disease bacteria and rheumatoid arthritis risk

shutterstock_372012958New research has suggested a link between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Scientists have discovered that bacteria associated with gum disease could also increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
Professor Felipe Andrade, from John Hopkins University, explained that the findings may bring us closer to establishing the root causes of rheumatoid arthritis, an immune system disorder, which causes the joints to become stiff and sore.
Lead author of the study, which has been published in Science Translational Medicine journal, Dr Maximilian Konig, suggested that the study may play a significant role in helping to prevent and treat cases of rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that affects more than 700,000 people in the UK.
Natalie Carter, from Arthritis Research UK, said that there have been other studies that suggest an association between poor oral hygiene and an elevated risk of rheumatoid arthritis; however, this study is different because it identifies a specific strain of bacteria, which is thought to trigger symptoms in some individuals.
The team decided to carry out further research building on projects that analysed the role of a group of bacteria known as porphyromonas gingivalis. Researchers couldn’t establish a link with this group, so they searched for alternative strains, which could play a role. Their research led them to discover that a different infection, known as aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, was common in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. It is thought that the presence of bacteria triggers the production of specific types of protein, which affect the function of the immune system. The team analysed 196 samples during the project; they found evidence of the infection in 92 samples.
Professor Andrade is now hoping to conduct further research and trials to see if one day, it could be possible to prevent some cases of rheumatoid arthritis.

Central London Check-Ups Will Save You Money in The Long Run

A lot of you people in central London are very busy. So fitting in the important things such as dental and doctor’s appointments can be difficult to juggle into a hectic day, but juggle you must, because we are talking about your health here.

When it comes to attending a dental check-up, some people consider this one of the lesser appointments of importance and so skip it; this is the wrong attitude to adopt.

Sure you may consider that you are getting the job done admirably by using those perfect products that tell you you’ll be fine if you use them. But teeth and gums are a lot more complex than you think and all it takes is for you to get complacent, and then spiteful things like plaque and tartar slip in the side door and before you know it, caries can form and you will be looking into the abyss of tooth decay and gum disease.

Don’t miss a dental check-up; your dentist can find these problems and rectify them fast. You can also pick up some handy tips at the dentists about how to look after your health both in your mouth and in your body. Remember that treatments cost money and the worse any condition gets, the more money you will have to fork out in the future.

Use your time with your dentist at a check-up wisely and don’t be afraid to ask questions because this time spent could save you an awful lot of money in the long run, as well as maintaining your health.

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