Today's Dental News

People With Diabetes at Higher Risk for Developing Gum Disease

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes affects nearly 24 million people in the United States. In observance of National Diabetes Month, the AGD encourages those with diabetes to pay extra attention to their oral health. Studies have shown that those with diabetes are more susceptible to the development of oral infections and periodontal (gum) disease than those who do not have diabetes. In addition, oral infections tend to be more severe in people with diabetes than in those who do not have the condition.

“We urge individuals with diabetes to take care of their mouths and have dental infections treated immediately,” said AGD spokesperson E. Mac Edington, DDS. “People who receive good dental care and have good insulin control typically have a better chance at avoiding gum disease.”

Read more: People With Diabetes at Higher Risk for Developing Gum Disease


Oral Health Still a Major Concern in Africa

Experts attending the Kenya Dental Association Scientific Conference have insisted that oral health remains a major problem in many parts of Africa.

At the conference in Nairobi, experts praised recent programs and projects, which have helped to raise awareness of oral health and improve access to dental care; however, they also stressed that there was a still long way to go, as standards of oral health are very poor in countries across Africa.

One of the most serious problems is the lack of dentists and dental specialists; this makes seeing a dentist difficult and also means that professionals are under constant pressure. At the moment, demand for care far outweighs supply. There are only 700 registered dentists in Kenya and these professionals are responsible for the care of 40 million people—a ratio of around 1:57,000.

Read more: Oral Health Still a Major Concern in Africa


Patients Can’t Hide Eating Disorders From Dentists

While the connection between oral health and systemic health has been well established, what most people don’t know is that dentists often are in a position to detect systemic conditions. According to an article published in the October 2010 issue of AGD Impact, the monthly newsmagazine of the AGD, dentists may be the first healthcare providers to notice evidence of an eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and pica.

That’s because the first signs of an eating disorder can manifest in the mouth. Sensitivity, tooth erosion, dry mouth, a high number of cavities, and enlarged salivary glands that cause swollen cheeks are signs that a patient may be suffering from an eating disorder.

Read more: Patients Can’t Hide Eating Disorders From Dentists


Genetic Link for Tooth Decay

A study in the Journal of Dental Research examined families’ biological samples and demographic data and clinically assessed the health of their mouth, including the amount of dental decay.

There are numerous known factors that cause tooth decay, including the bacteria in the mouth, dental care routines, diet, the structure of the teeth, fluoride, salivary flow and the makeup of saliva. But now it seems that we should consider our taste genes, too.

Previous studies have considered the influence of genetics on taste preference and dietary habits. Taste Genes Associated with Dental Caries (published in the Journal of Dental Research) takes that discussion one step further, suggesting that genetic variation in taste pathway genes could be connected with an individual’s risk of suffering from tooth decay.

Read more: Genetic Link for Tooth Decay


Trick to Choosing the Best Halloween Treats

When it comes to Halloween candy, even if it’s costumed as a healthier choice (think chocolate-covered granola bars), nutrition experts say: Boooooo.

“The bottom line is that no candy is good for you,” says registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, author of The Flexitarian Diet. “I don’t care if it has one extra gram of fiber or protein. What we’re talking about is indulgence, enjoyment, and empty calories. Enjoy the gluttony of the season, but maybe not for too long—just for a couple days or a week.”

Still, not all candies are equally bad. A snack-size Reese’s Caramel Cup will cost you 100 calories, compared to 25 for a pack of Smarties. Sugar-free gum (no, it won’t make you popular) protects against tooth decay, while hard and sticky candies increase that risk. And Skittles and Caramel Twix have more sugar than Milky Way and Baby Ruth bars.

Read more: Trick to Choosing the Best Halloween Treats


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