Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Diabetic? You may qualify for additional benefits with your insurance program.

According to some insurance websites if you are considered high risk by any of these conditions, you may qualify for a third cleaning covered per year. 

High-risk patients are defined as patients with compromising systemic diseases or medical conditions such as, but not limited to:
  • Diabetes, AIDS, organ transplant, endocarditis
  • Pregnant women
  • Cancer chemotherapy patients
The need for the third cleaning will depend on the severity of the disease that the patient has. The dentist who is performing the treatment will determine the necessity of the third cleaning and submit proof to your insurance company. 

It is estimated that up to 20 million people have diabetes, but only two-thirds of these individuals are diagnosed. Studies have shown that diabetics are more susceptible to the development of oral infections and periodontal (gum) disease than those who do not have diabetes. Oral infections tend to be more severe in diabetic patients than non-diabetic patients. And, diabetics who do not have good control over their blood sugar levels tend to have more oral health problems. These infections occur more often after puberty and in aging patients.

Because diabetes reduces the body's resistance to infection, the gums are at risk for gingivitis, an inflammation usually caused by the presence of bacteria in plaque. Plaque is the sticky film that accumulates on teeth both above and below the gum line. Without regular dental check-ups, gum disease may result if gingivitis is left untreated. It also can cause inflammation and destruction of tissues surrounding and supporting teeth, gums, bone and fibers that hold the gums to the teeth.

What other types of problems could I experience?

Diabetics may experience burning mouth syndrome and fungal infections, such as thrush and oral candidiasis. Dry mouth (xerostomia) also may develop, causing an increased incidence of decay. To prevent problems with bacterial infections in the mouth, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics, medicated mouth rinses and more frequent cleanings.

How can I stay healthy?

Make sure to take extra good care of your mouth and have dental infections treated immediately. Diabetics who receive good dental care and have good insulin control typically have a better chance at avoiding gum disease.

Diet and exercise may be the most important changes that diabetics can make to improve their quality of life and their oral health. Diabetic patients should be sure both their medical and dental care providers are aware of their medical history and periodontal status. To keep teeth and gums strong, diabetic patients should be aware of their blood sugar levels in addition to having their triglycerides and cholesterol levels checked on a regular basis. These may have a direct correlation on your chances of avoiding gum disease.

What is the best time to receive dental care?

If your blood sugar is not under control, talk with both your dentist and physician about receiving elective dental care. Dental procedures should be as short and as stress free as possible. Also make morning appointments because blood glucose levels tend to be under better control at this time of day. If you have a scheduled appointment, eat and take your medications as directed. See your dentist on a regular basis, keep him or her informed of your health status and keep your mouth in good health.

Want more information? Watch this Podcast about diabetes and oral health

information cited from

Monday, 17 February 2014

13 Awful Things That Happen If You Don't Brush And Floss Your Teeth

Can't ever find the time to take care of your teeth? About half of Americans don't floss daily, and one in five don't brush twice daily - so you're not alone.


But you may want to reconsider.
"Taking care of your teeth and gums isn't just about preventing cavities or bad breath," the American Dental Association warns. "The mouth is a gateway into your body's overall health."
It's almost impossible to prove a cause-effect relationship between dental neglect and various conditions because researchers would have to create a control group that ignored their teeth completely for a long time - something that would likely be harmful enough to be considered unethical. But there's mounting evidence that shows an association between poor dental hygiene and a wide variety of ills.
You should visit the dentist at least once a year, and the ADA recommends that you brush twice a day for two minutes and floss once a day. If you choose to ignore their advice, you'll get cavities, sure - but here are 13 other things you're at risk of, some more common than others.

1. Gum disease

Most people don't realize this, but your gums are not supposed to bleed when you brush and floss. If yours do, you probably have gum disease - or are at least well on your way. Gingivitis, the milder form of gum disease, makes gums red, swollen, and quick-to-bleed - part of a response to the bacteria in the plaque that builds up between your teeth and gums. More than half of Americans have gingivitis.
If plaque spreads, the immune response heightens and can destroy tissues and bones in the mouth, creating pockets between the teeth that can become infected. (Other conditions unrelated to oral hygiene habits can also have these effects.) At this severe stage, gum disease is called periodontitis, and it can become chronic. Google "periodontitis," and you might become more vigilant about oral hygiene.
Source: American Academy of Periodontology; Clinical Calcium, 2012

2. Tooth loss

If you've never worried about losing your teeth, you should start. Adults 20 to 64 have lost an average of seven (permanent) teeth, and 10% of Americans between 50 and 64 have absolutely no teeth left. Both cavities and gum disease can end in tooth loss.
Source: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

3. Bad breath

Bad breath, clinically called halitosis, may affect as much as 65% of the population. A number of conditions can have halitosis as a symptom, but the number one by far is poor oral hygiene. Food particles that linger long after meals can start to stink, and the less you brush and floss, the more potentially malodorous bacteria build up in your mouth. The coating on your tongue is also a key contributor to bad breath, and some research has suggested that cleaning your tongue - along with regular brushing and flossing, of course - may help reign in this problem.
Source: Internal and Emergency Medicine, 2011; International Journal of Oral Science, 2012; Nursing Research, 2013

4. Dementia

A large, long-term study of residents at a Laguna Hills retirement community suggests that there may be a link between poor dental health and dementia, although it's possible that people with better oral hygiene have better health habits in general. Researchers followed 5,468 people for 18 years and found that - among those who still had teeth - those "who reported not brushing their teeth daily had a 22% to 65% greater risk of dementia than those who brushed three times daily." In addition, a small study found that the brains of patients with Alzheimer's had more bacteria associated with gum disease than did those belonging to the cognitively healthy.
Source: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2012; Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 2013

5. Pneumonia


When pathogens lurk in your mouth, you inhale them right into your lungs, where they can wreak all kinds of havoc. One major review pointed to this process as the reason for an association between poor oral hygiene and hospital-acquired pneumonia. Improving oral hygiene - through some methods beyond brushing and flossing in this case - reduced the incidence of such pneomonia by 40%. Another study of 315 patients in a Brazilian hospital found that those with periodontitis were almost three times as likely to have pneomonia.
Source: Annals of Periodontology, 2003; Journal of Periodontology, 2013; Gerondontology, 2013

6. Erectile dysfunction

A connection between dental disease and erectile dysfunction may seem remote, but preliminary research suggests that the conditions could be linked. They both have been tied to Vitamin D deficiency, smoking, and general inflammation, but the exact reason for the association is still a mystery. One study in rats found that periodontitis impaired penis function. While it's unclear whether the same direct effects would be found in humans, in a group of patients between 30 and 40, 53% of those with erectile dysfunction had severe periodontitis, while only 23% of those without ED did. "We think that it will be of benefit to consider periodontal disease as a causative clinical condition of ED in such patients," the authors wrote.
Source: The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2011; The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2012; Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 2012

7. Brain abscess

Often caused by bacterial infection, an abscess is a collection of pus, with swelling and inflammation around it. In the brain, it is fatal if left untreated. "A poor dental condition, notably destructive periodontal disease, can be a risk for life-threatening" disease in other parts of the body, noted a team of scientists who pinpointed a patient's extremely poor dental health as the likely cause of his life-threatening brain abscess. Brain abscesses are rare, and there has been no systematic study linking them to bad dental hygiene. But the authors noted at least 12 other case reports of brain abscess that pointed to poor dental hygiene as the probable cause.
Source: Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 2011

8. Diabetes

Dentists have long known that diabetes is a risk factor for periodontitis, but now research is beginning to indicate that the relationship may be bidirectional. Extremely poor dental health may also be a risk factor for insulin resistance (often called "pre-diabetes") and diabetes, largely because it increases inflammation. Some studies have even indicated that in patients with both conditions, reigning in periodontitis may improve diabetes control.
Source: Annals of Periodontology, 1998; Diabetes Care, 2010; Diabetes & Metabolism Journal, 2012; Journal of Applied Oral Science, 2013

9. Kidney disease


About 3.7% of U.S. adults have chronic kidney disease, but certain people are more at risk. People with periodontal disease were 4.5 times more likely to have chronic kidney disease, making poor dental health a stronger risk factor than high cholesterol. Adults with no remaining teeth were also 11 times more likely to have chronic kidney disease. While dental conditions are not the strongest risk factor - people older than 60 are 27 times more likely to have chronic kidney disease than younger people, for example - another study confirmed that it may be a significant risk for kidney disease, even after controlling for underlying health conditions that may contribute to both.
Source: American Journal of Kidney Disease, 2008; Journal of Periodontology, 2010

10. Heart disease?

Multiple studies have suggested that there may be a connection between gum disease and heart disease, both of which are associated with inflammation. "Adding oral health self-care... is prudent to improve patients' oral health and possibly reduce [coronary heart disease]," concluded one study. "Periodontal disease caused by pathogen bacteria... could represent one of several possible causal factors of heart disease," concluded another.
The authors of a 2008 review for the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommended that periodontal disease be considered a marker of risk for heart disease, independent of traditional risk factors - even though they noted a lack of evidence demonstrating a causal relationship.
But a scientific statement from the American Heart Association in 2012 urged caution: Periodontal disease and heart disease share many underlying risk factors; there's no reason to think that dental problems directly cause heart disease; and treating periodontitis reduces inflammation but does nothing to alter the course of heart disease, the authors concluded.
Source: Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2008; Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension, 2010; General Dentistry, 2012; Circulation, 2012

11. Pregnancy complications

Gingivitis affects 60 to 75% of pregnant women, and it's especially important that expectant mothers tend to their teeth. When pregnant women have serious dental problems, their infants are more likely to develop cavities. Poor maternal oral health is also associated with low birth weight and preterm birth, although there's not enough evidence yet to know whether it's an independent risk factor. Researchers suspect that one of two mechanisms may be at play: Either overall inflammation is heightened, or oral bacteria that enter the bloodstream eventually colonize the placenta, causing an inflammatory response.
Source: Journal of Clinical Nursing, 2010; Ginekologia Polska, 2012; Dental Clinics of North America, 2013

12. Ulcers


In people with periodontitis, the plaque that forms in the pockets beneath the gum line can become a reservoir for Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium that is asymptomatic in most but is responsible for stomach ulcers when it flares up. Helicobacter pylori can be transmitted orally, and large epidemiological studies have found a positive association between periodontitis and a positive test for the bacterium, which is also a risk factor for stomach cancer. Different researchers have come to somewhat different conclusions, but the bacterial pockets that form during periodontitis unquestionably pose a risk for various kinds of bacterial growth.
Source: Gut, 1995; American Journal of Public Health, 2002; Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 2010

13. Cancer

"Recent evidence suggests that the extent and severity of periodontal disease and tooth loss may be associated with an increased risk of malignant disease," concluded one researcher, after reviewing previous studies suggesting an association between poor oral health and cancer. Gum disease and dental problems are also associated with HPV, which causes up to 80 percent of oral cancers. While smoking is a major risk factor for both gum disease and cancer, a study last year of 3,439 people identified poor oral health as an independent risk factor for HPV, even when smoking habits were accounted for. Other preliminary research has suggested that periodontitis may promote the growth of cancerous cells in the mouth.
Source: Dental Update, 2010; South Asian Journal of Cancer, 2012; Cancer Prevention Research, 2013

Information cited from

Monday, 3 February 2014

February is National Children's Dental Health Month

February 7th is this years GKAS Day

More than 10 years ago the ADA began Give Kids A Smile, celebrated annually on the first Friday in February. The program was launched with these four objectives in mind:  
  • To demonstrate dentistry’s commitment to addressing access to care;
  • To raise awareness of the high level of oral disease suffered by children primarily from low income families;
  • To enable volunteer dental teams across the country to provide free dental care, screenings and education to children in need; and
  • To urge policymakers to increase funding for children’s oral health.
In 2006 the ADA decided to look for ways to expand Give Kids A Smile to "More Than Just A Day". A National Advisory Committee was constituted to guide expansion efforts, focusing on three primary areas: program enhancement, fundraising and promising practices to highlight Give Kids A Smile program. The committee’s vision statement is:

Our goal is the elimination of cavities in U.S. five year olds by 2020.

If you know of a child in need, please use the resources below to find the nearest clinic in your area. 

Give Kids a Smile (GKAS) Project 2013

February 1, 2013 @ 1:00 pm – 8:00 pm
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Northern Virginia Community College, Medical Education Campus
6699 Springfield Center Dr
Northern Virginia Community College,Springfield,VA 22150
  • Northern Virginia Community College, Medical Education Campus
  • Springfield, VA
To find out how to donate to the American Dental Association and aid in providing these services to needy children please click on the image