Tooth Decay

Bacteria From Mouth Can Lead to Heart Inflammation: Study

Once in the bloodstream, it can evade the immune system
MONDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) — A type of bacteria from the mouth can cause blood clots and lead to serious heart problems if it enters the bloodstream, a new study indicates.

The bacteria, called Streptococcus gordonii, contributes to plaque that forms on the surface of teeth. If the bacteria enters the bloodstream through bleeding gums, it can cause problems by masquerading as human proteins, the researchers found.

The study authors, from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, discovered that S. gordonii can produce a molecule on its surface that enables it to mimic the human protein fibrinogen, which is a blood-clotting factor.

This activates platelets (cells that are found in blood and involved in clotting) and causes them to clump inside blood vessels. The resulting blood clots encase the bacteria, protecting the invader from the immune system and from antibiotics used to treat infection.

Platelet clumping can result in growths on the heart valves (endocarditis) or blood vessel inflammation that can block blood supply to the heart or brain.

The findings, to be presented at a Society for General Microbiology meeting in Dublin this week, could help lead to new treatments for infective endocarditis, said study author Dr. Helen Petersen.

“In the development of infective endocarditis, a crucial step is the bacteria sticking to the heart valve and then activating platelets to form a clot,” Petersen said in a society news release. “We are now looking at the mechanism behind this sequence of events in the hope that we can develop new drugs which are needed to prevent blood clots and also infective endocarditis.”

The researchers stressed that it’s important to keep the gumshealthy and get regular dental care.

“We are also trying to determine how widespread this phenomenon is by studying other bacteria related to S. gordonii,” Petersen said. “What our work clearly shows is how important it is to keep your mouth healthy through regular brushing and flossing, to keep these bacteria in check.”

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about endocarditis.

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/03/26/bacteria-from-mouth-can-lead-to-heart-inflammation-study

 

Can Bad Teeth Run in the Family?

Poor brushing techniques, poor diet, and lack of tooth cleanings can result in tooth loss.

Patients commonly explain that “bad teeth run in the family.” The implied message is that they themselves are not to blame for the state of their mouths. While genetics obviously plays a role in determining the likelihood of developing all sorts of health problems, so do a person’s habitual patterns of behavior.

My grandmother wore two full dentures by the time she was middle age and both of my parents lost about half their teeth by the time they were senior citizens. I myself, although in my 50’s, have not lost a single tooth. Why?

Although I do not know for sure, I believe the choices they made and their lack of a good dental IQ are the reasons for their extensive tooth loss. All three were chain smokers for most of their adult lives and I do not believe any of them took good care of their teeth until it was too late. Poor brushing techniques, poor diet, lack of frequent tooth cleanings, and nicotine from cigarettes probably were responsible for their tooth loss. All eventually developed adult onset diabetes, which compounded their tooth problems.

Although I am far from perfect, I do not smoke, I brush regularly with an electric tooth brush, floss and get regular cleanings. These habits are most likely responsible for over coming any “genetic predisposition” that might lead to tooth loss.
— by Dr. L . Spindel DDS
More Ask Dr. Spindel at http://lspindelnycdds.blogspot.com

Does Fluoride Prevent Cavities?

By Stephanie Zeller-Iliff, DDS
From: www.yoursantafedentist.com

What Does Fluoride Do?
To quote the American Dental Association: Fluoride benefits both children and adults.
Here’s how: Before teeth break through the gums, the fluoride taken in from foods, beverages and dietary supplements strengthens tooth enamel making it stronger and more resistant to cavities. This provides what is called a “systemic” benefit.

After teeth erupt, fluoride helps rebuild (remineralize) weakened tooth enamel and reverses early signs of tooth decay. When you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, or use other fluoride dental products, the fluoride is applied to the surface of your teeth. This is provides what is called a “topical” benefit.

In addition, the fluoride you take in from foods and beverages continues to provide a topical benefit because it becomes part of your saliva, constantly bathing the teeth and helping to rebuild weakened tooth enamel.

How and Where Do We Get Fluoride?
Fluoride is naturally present in variable concentrations in ground water, i.e. water from a faucet or water generally used to cook with. A certain amount of fluoride does occur naturally in rivers etc. Bottled water, distilled, or deionized water generally does not contain fluoride.

In addition, fluoride is provided in most toothpastes, as well as some mouth rinses. This is a very important part of cavity prevention, so be sure fluoride is in the toothpaste that you use.

What is Community Water Fluoridation?
Water fluoridation is the process of adding additional fluoride supplements to a community’s water source. Years ago, the government decided to add some fluoride to certain communities with naturally occurring low fluoride levels due to the high prevalence of cavities throughout the population. About 72% of the US is served by fluoridated water systems. Once fluoride was added to community’s water source, the cavities rate was significantly decreased. Simply by drinking tap water, people can decrease they risk of decay.

Not Drinking Tap Water?
If you’re an individual who only drinks bottled water, you may be at risk for not receiving an adequate amount of fluoride to decrease your risk of decay. Talk to your dentist about this. They may suggest fluoride supplements, or a change in toothpaste with an increased percent of fluoride concentration.

What Puts You at Risk for Decay?
There are many things that can increase your rate of decay, or number of cavities.
1. Poor oral hygiene. The number one cause for cavities is poor oral hygiene. This means those that don’t take good care of their teeth, i.e. proper brushing twice and day and flossing once a day.
2. Diet. Such as high intake of sugar or certain foods that lend itself to a better environment for bacteria to thrive within the mouth such as fruit, crackers, breads, potato chips. Also, eating many meals throughout the day increases your risk due to a change in the acid level of the mouth, which takes 30 minutes to stabilize after eating.
3. Beverages. Soda, even diet soda, when consumed throughout the day can be very detrimental to teeth. As can any other beverages with high acidity or large quantities sugar. This includes fruit juices.
4. Medications that cause dry-mouth. Bacteria tend to thrive in mouths with very little saliva.
5. Uncontrolled diabetes.

There are many factors that play into one’s risk for decay. For a thorough evaluation to be sure you’re not at high risk, visit your dentist.

Ways to Receive Additional Fluoride.
Again, as noted from above, fluoride supplements are available. In addition, your dentist may want to occasionally treat your teeth with fluoride. This usually done with a fluoride gel, placed in trays that you sit with for under 5 minutes. In addition, there is also a fluoride varnish that can be placed onto your teeth which is meant to be brushed off the next day.

If you are at a higher risk for decay, your dentist may want to change your toothpaste to a higher concentration of fluoride such as Prevident 5000 or have you use additional products like MI Paste.

The ADA provides answers for your fluoride questions:
American Dental Associations Take on Fluoride