Today's Dental News

Male Sex Hormones Blamed for Higher Risk of Gum Infection

Researchers at the University of Maryland Dental School propose that sex hormones could possibly indicate the biological basis for men to be more susceptible to gum infection than women.

The researchers Harlan Shiau and Mark Reynolds at the Dental School have worked on probably the first-ever inclusive assessment of the progress and sequence of gum disease from a gender perspective.

The authors scrutinized evidence to establish a natural base to account for the differences in vulnerability to periodontal disease between the sexes. The observations revealed that the sex steroids affect the immune system in the regulation of inflammation. Additionally, the origin of the dissimilarity could be genetic.

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Study Shows Fluoride from Tea & Toothpaste Weakens Bones

Fluoride consumption from tea and toothpaste damaged a woman’s bones, report researchers in Osteoporosis International published October 9.

Fluoride, added to water intending to reduce tooth decay, accumulates in and can weaken bones. To prevent bone damage or skeletal fluorosis, in 1986 EPA set 4 mg/L as water fluoride’s maximum-contaminant level. In 2006, the National Research Council reported that 4 mg/L is too high to protect health. Some brewed teas contain almost twice that concentration.

This case describes a 53-year-old British woman with a broken bone in her foot and abnormally dense bones and badly decayed teeth.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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