By Lauren Kent, CNN
Thu July 8, 2021
Maintaining good oral health habits, such as brushing and flossing, may help prevent cognitive impairment and dementia.
(CNN)Flossing your teeth isn't just important for keeping your dentist happy -- it may also protect against cognitive decline.
Good oral health habits like brushing and flossing may prevent cognitive impairment and dementia, according to a new analysis led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing.
"Given the staggering number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and dementia each year, and the opportunity to improve oral health across the life span, it's important to gain a deeper understanding of the connection between poor oral health and cognitive decline," said Bei Wu, a professor in global health at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and the senior study author, in a statement.Researchers analyzed 14 studies on tooth loss and cognitive impairment conducted over an extended period of time, which involved a total of 34,074 adults and 4,689 cases of people with diminished cognitive function.The results showed that adults with more tooth loss had a 1.48 times higher risk of cognitive impairment and 1.28 times higher risk of dementia, even when other factors were controlled.And with each additional missing tooth, the risk of cognitive impairment grows, according to the analysis published in JAMDA: The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.
Lisa, one of Dr. Nordland's staff members, shows how to use yarn for flossing.
Adults who experienced tooth loss were more likely to have cognitive decline if they did not have dentures, the new research also revealed.
"We need to think about increasing awareness of the importance of oral health, and we also need to think about preventive treatment and dentures," Wu told CNN.
Dentures are important because they allow patients to maintain a healthy diet, as well as provide "the confidence to smile naturally," according to Dr. James Wilson, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, who was not affiliated with the study.
"Being able to eat a normal diet is extremely important to a person's physical health," Wilson said via email. "The positive self-image that dentures provide a patient works to improve their mental health as well."
Article by Bite Magazine Editor, July 5, 2021
US dental researchers have found the combined use of a high-volume evacuator (HVE) with an intraoral suction device significantly reduces the amount of microbial aerosols generated during a dental cleaning procedure.
The study, conducted by a team from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, reported that the combination of the two devices improves patients’ and dental professionals’ safety from potentially harmful airborne microbes.
Researchers found a three-fold reduction in microbial aerosols with the simultaneous use of an HVE plus an additional suction device placed in a patient’s mouth when compared to using the HVE only—and published their findings in The Journal of the American Dental Association
“Once organisations like the WHO and CDC released reports describing the virus’s modes of transmission, we quickly understood how dentistry would be affected because a number of dental procedures generate aerosols,” principal investigator Associate Professor Montry Suprono said.
“So, we wanted to figure out ways to minimise the risks by decreasing the amount of aerosols that are generated during dental procedures.”
The team commenced with a clinical trial involving over 90 dental student participants who would enact roles like operator or patient at the LLU dental clinic. Researchers collected aerosol samples by placing blood agar plates in various zones throughout the clinic, like shelves or patients’ chests, for intervals of time before, during and after the dental cleaning procedures.
The procedures themselves were conducted using a split-mouth design whereby operators used both the HVE instrument and intraoral suction device on one side of the patient’s mouth during one round of the cleaning procedure and used only the HVE on the other side of the patient’s mouth for the other round of the procedure.
Having collected the aerosols in the various agar plates that were incubated for two days, the team then measured the microbial levels of each sample.
Compared to using the HVE alone, the combination of HVE and an intraoral suction device significantly reduced the amount of microbial aerosols generated.
In addition, microbial levels before procedures were similar to the microbial levels after the procedures, indicating a 30-minute time interval for air change and for the aerosols to settle down on surfaces post-procedure appears to be adequate.
by Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Article from Medical Xpress
June 29, 2021
Patients who had their wisdom teeth extracted had improved tasting abilities decades after having the surgery, a new Penn Medicine study published in the journal Chemical Senses found. The findings challenge the notion that removal of wisdom teeth, known as third molars, only has the potential for negative effects on taste, and represent one of the first studies to analyze the long-term effects of extraction on taste.
"Prior studies have only pointed to adverse effects on taste after extraction and it has been generally believed that those effects dissipate over time," said senior author Richard L. Doty, Ph.D., director of the Smell and Taste Center at the University of Pennsylvania. "This new study shows us that taste function can actually slightly improve between the time patients have surgery and up to 20 years later. It's a surprising but fascinating finding that deserves further investigation to better understand why it's enhanced and what it may mean clinically."
Doty and co-author Dane Kim, a third-year student in the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, evaluated data from 1,255 patients who had undergone a chemosensory evaluation at Penn's Smell and Taste Center over the course of 20 years. Among that group, 891 patients had received third molar extractions and 364 had not.
The "whole-mouth identification" test incorporates five different concentrations of sucrose, sodium chloride, citric acid, and caffeine. Each solution is sipped, swished in the mouth, and then spit out. Subjects then indicate whether the solution tastes sweet, salty, sour, or bitter.
The extraction group outperformed the control group for each of the four tastes, and in all cases, women outperformed men. The study suggests, for the first time, that people who have received extractions in the distant past experience, on average, an enhancement (typically a three to 10 percent improvement) in their ability to taste.
"The study strongly suggests that extraction of the third molar has a positive long-term, albeit subtle, effect on the function of the lingual taste pathways of some people," Kim said.
Two possibilities, the authors said, could explain the enhancement. First, extraction damage to the nerves that innervate the taste buds on the front of the mouth can release inhibition on nerves that supply the taste buds at the rear of the mouth, increasing whole-mouth sensitivity. Second, hypersensitivity after peripheral nerve injury from a surgery like an extraction has been well documented in other contexts. There is evidence, for example, from animal studies that repetitive light touch, which might occur during chewing, gradually accentuates neural responses from irritated tissue that can lead to progressive long-term tactile hypersensitivity. Whether this occurs for taste, however, is not known.
"Further studies are needed to determine the mechanism or mechanisms behind the extraction-related improvement in taste function," Doty said. "The effects are subtle but may provide insight into how long-term improvement in neural function can result from altering the environment in which nerves propagate."
Article from Dentistry Today
June 3, 2021
Poor oral hygiene has a negative impact on athletic training and performance, according to Sunstar, which notes that maintaining a healthy mouth should be an essential part of athletes’ training programs and has partnered with the FDI World Dental Federation to launch Sports Dentistry Guidelines.
In a study of 302 athletes, 40% said they were bothered by their oral health, while 28% reported an impact on their quality of life, and 18% reported an effect on their training and performance. Also, 55% of the athletes had cavities, 45% had dental erosion, and 76% had periodontal disease.
Athletes are at high risk of developing oral diseases for several reasons, Sunstar said. For example, they require a lot of calories, which often are consumed via sugary protein sports bars. Also, athletes consumer a lot of sports drinks, which are mostly acidic and have high sugar content. Training leads to increased mouth breathing and reduced saliva flow, causing dry mouth and creating ideal conditions for bacteria to grow as well.
Sports-related stress is another risk factor that can cause gum disease, tooth erosion, cavities, and teeth grinding. In aquatic sports, low pH in swimming pool water can cause tooth erosion.
Just as athletics can impact oral health, oral health can impact athletic performance, Sunstar said. Poor oral health overall affects quality of life and well-being, which are key for optimal athletic performance, the company said.
Periodontal experts stress the importance of gum health in older adults and other at-risk groups
Press Release from the American Academy of Periodontology
CHICAGO – JANUARY 28, 2019 – A recent study has periodontists, experts in the treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of periodontal disease, encouraging patients to maintain gum health in an effort to reduce their Alzheimer’s disease risk.
The study, published in the journal Science Advances, uncovered a potential link between P. gingivalis, the bacteria associated with periodontal disease (commonly known as gum disease) and Alzheimer’s. Researchers analyzed brain tissue, spinal fluid, and saliva from Alzheimer’s patients—both living and deceased—and found evidence of P. gingivalis. Gingipains, the toxic enzyme secreted by P. gingivalis, were found in 96 percent of the 53 brain tissue samples examined, with higher levels detected in those with the pathology and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Additionally, researchers including co-author Mark I. Ryder DMD, Professor of Periodontology at the University of California, San Francisco, noted that the presence of P. gingivalis increased the production of amyloid beta, a component of the amyloid plaques whose accumulation contributes to Alzheimer’s. The study confirmed via animal testing that P. gingivalis can travel from the mouth to the brain and that the related gingipains can destroy brain neurons. These findings are noteworthy in that they suggest a biological mechanism for how periodontal disease bacteria may play a role in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s.
According to Richard Kao, DDS, PhD, president of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), the professional society representing more than 8,000 periodontists, this study underscores the important role of gum health on overall wellness. “Periodontists have long known that a healthy mouth contributes to a healthy body, and research has suggested an association between periodontal disease and dementia conditions, such as Alzheimer’s,” Dr. Kao said. “These recent findings present strong evidence on how periodontal disease can impact the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease and should highlight how crucial it is to manage periodontal disease, especially in older adults or individuals who have increased risk for dementia.”
Although the study results add to the evidence supporting a link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s, additional research is needed to better understand the etiology of Alzheimer’s and how periodontal disease bacteria can exacerbate progression. An upcoming FDA Phase II clinical trial will assess the benefits of using a novel small molecule inhibitor of these P. gingivalis gingipains in hindering the development and progression of Alzheimer’s. This clinical trial may add further insight to the link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Kao encourages older adults and other at-risk individuals to maintain diligent oral care and promptly treat periodontal disease to help mitigate Alzheimer’s risk. “More than half of the U.S. population age 30 and older has some form of periodontal disease. Prevalence increases to 68 percent for those age 65 and older. Routine brushing, flossing once a day, and visiting a periodontist can help identify any disease and treat as needed, potentially diminishing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.”
To learn more about periodontal disease, visit perio.org.
About the American Academy of Periodontology
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) represents over 8,000 periodontists—specialists in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of inflammatory diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth, and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.