One Dentist in Two Fights Gum Disease with Dental Lasers (video)

Dental lasers for gum diseaseHalf of dentists use dental lasers to fight gum disease, while the other 50% do not use lasers on soft tissue.

“Lasers enable early, effective and efficient Interceptive Treatment for periodontal disease!” raved one dentist. “They are priceless when used properly!”

“I am on my fifth laser and been using them for the last 17 years,” said a periodontist.

A dental implant dentist disagreed, saying, “The cost/benefit ratio seems unreasonable with lasers; my choice is the electro-surge.”

Read more: Dentists Use Dental Lasers To Treat Gum Disease

Science Friday: Dental Plaque Bacteria May Trigger Endocarditis

Science Friday: Dental Plaque Bacteria May Trigger EndocarditisIn the future dentists could be the first defence in the prevention of endocarditis.

The UK Society for General Microbiology is reporting that oral bacteria that escape into the bloodstream are able to cause blood clots and trigger life-threatening endocarditis.

Further research could lead to new drugs to tackle infective heart disease, according to the scientists who presented their work at the Society for General Microbiology’s Spring Conference in Dublin this week.

Streptococcus gordonii is a normal inhabitant of the mouth and contributes to plaque that forms on the surface of teeth. If these bacteria enter into the blood stream through bleeding gums they can start to wreak havoc by masquerading as human proteins.

Researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the University of Bristol have discovered that S. gordonii is able to produce a molecule on its surface that lets it mimic the human protein fibrinogen – a blood-clotting factor.

This activates the platelets, causing them to clump inside blood vessels. These unwanted blood clots encase the bacteria, protecting them from the immune system and from antibiotics that might be used to treat infection. Platelet clumping can lead to growths on the heart valves (endocarditis), or inflammation of blood vessels that can block the blood supply to the heart or brain.

Dr Helen Petersen who is presenting the work said that better understanding of the relationship between bacteria and platelets could ultimately lead to new treatments for infective endocarditis. “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. 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,” she said.

Infective endocarditis is treated with surgery or by strong antibiotics – which is becoming more difficult with growing antibiotic resistance.

“About 30% of people with infective endocarditis die and most will require surgery for replacement of the infected heart valve with a metal or animal valve,” said Dr Petersen. “Our team has now identified the critical components of the S. gordonii molecule that mimics fibrinogen, so we are getting closer to being able to design new compounds to inhibit it. This would prevent the stimulation of unwanted blood clots,” said Dr Steve Kerrigan from the RCSI.

The team are also looking more widely at other dental plaque bacteria that may have similar effects to S. gordonii. “We are also trying to determine how widespread this phenomenon is by studying other bacteria related to S. gordonii. What our work clearly shows is how important it is to keep your mouth healthy with regular dental care as in brushing and flossing, to keep these bacteria in check,” stressed Dr Petersen.

For more on this finding see: Dental Plaque Bacteria May Trigger Blood Clots

Science Friday: Can Liquorice Root Replace Visiting the Dentist?

Can Liquorice Root Replace Visiting the Dentist?Dentists, do you think liquorice root can help fight gum disease?

Some scientists think so.

The liquorice plant is a legume that is native to Asia and southern Europe. In Italy they like to chew on liquorice root as a mouth freshener.

Maybe they were on to something …

Scientists are reporting identification of two substances in liquorice — used extensively in Chinese traditional medicine — that kill the major bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease, the leading causes of tooth loss in children and adults. In a study in ACS’ Journal of Natural Products, they say that these substances could have a role in treating and preventing tooth decay and gum disease.

Stefan Gafner and colleagues explain that the dried root of the liquorice plant is a common treatment in Chinese traditional medicine, especially as a way to enhance the activity of other herbal ingredients or as a flavoring.

Despite the popularity of liquorice candy in the U.S., liquorice root has been replaced in domestic candy with anise oil, which has a similar flavor. Traditional medical practitioners use dried liquorice root to treat various ailments, such as respiratory and digestive problems, but few modern scientific studies address whether liquorice really works. (Consumers should check with their health care provider before taking licorice root because it can have undesirable effects and interactions with prescription drugs.)

To test whether the sweet root could combat the bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities, the researchers took a closer look at various substances in licorice.

They found that two of the liquorice compounds, licoricidin and licorisoflavan A, were the most effective antibacterial substances. These substances killed two of the major bacteria responsible for dental cavities and two of the bacteria that promote gum disease. One of the compounds — licoricidin — also killed a third gum disease bacterium. The researchers say that these substances could treat or even prevent oral infections.

Does anyone see liquorice root flavored mouth rinses in our future?

Source: American Chemical Society

Gum Disease May Connect to Prostate Health

Gum disease & prostate healthResearchers examined 35 men with prostate inflammation. They found that the men with the most severe prostatitis also showed signs of periodontal disease.

Periodontitis has been linked to other health problems, including heart disease and diabetes, so researchers suspected a possible connection to prostate disease as well.

This study compared levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) – an indicator of prostate disease – with the clinical attachment level (CAL) of the teeth and gums and teeth – indicating possible gum disease.

The research about prostate health and gingivitis was conducted by periodontists at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and has been published in the Journal of Periodontology.

This finding supports the belief that oral health and whole-body health are deeply connected. Gum health problems – not just full-blown periodontal disease, but the bleeding gums, swollen gums or receding gums that can indicate gum disease – can indicate the presence of other inflammatory issues.

Read more: Study links gum disease with prostate problems

Hygiene Is About the Whole System

Incorporating Systemic Immune Support into Hygiene Treatment
by Valerie Williams, RDH

If you look at the treatment of periodontal disease, a simple visual would be a 3-legged stool: one leg for instrumentation, one for behavior modification and the third for systemic immune support. Over the years, clinical skills have been perfected with specialized instruments and lasers. In addition, dental teams have become very adept at motivating patients. The one area that has been missing is systemic immune support — assisting the body’s natural immune system to fight inflammation and infection. The main reason this has been overlooked is because of a lack of scientific research. That, however, is changing.

Recently a clinical study was conducted at a major West Coast university to determine the effect of the nutritional supplement Periodontal Formula 3 (PF3) on the management of periodontal health in 85 participants. This double-blind placebo-controlled study was specifically designed to determine the effect of a nutritional supplement on gingival index score, probing depth, attachment level, carotenoid antioxidant level, and serum C-reactive protein level. PF3 showed a significant increase in the skin carotenoid score (increase in antioxidant levels). The results of this study also showed that PF3 significantly decreased gingival index score and showed a decrease in indexes of periodontal health parameters.

Collaborating scientists will be submitting the full results for an upcoming dental meeting. However, the following highlights make us feel it is time to incorporate systemic immune support into periodontal therapy treatment plans:


  • Gingival inflammation was reduced significantly in the experimental group
  • Skin carotenoid increased in experimental group
  • Significant decrease in bleeding score for the experimental group
  • Pocket depths showed no significant decrease, which was expected for the short amount of time (8 weeks) the experimental group was followed.



Overall, the scientists involved were very excited about the results. Along with Dr. Mike Milligan, AHC has been involved in conducting an in-office field study utilizing systemic immune support in periodontal treatment. Very promising results are coming in! What we are seeing so far is:


  • 6mm pockets decreased 47%
  • 5mm pockets decreased 67%
  • 4mm pockets decreased 48%
  • Overall, 4-6mm pockets decreased 52%
  • Bleeding points decreased 58%



The time is right to incorporate systemic immune support in hygiene treatment. Based on the studies, PF3 is the neutraceutical to incorporate. If you are interested, please contact Advanced Hygiene Concepts for more information!

Valerie Williams, RDH


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