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

Gum Disease Risk Analyzed Via Genetic Test

Genetic test for gum disease risk: research studyWhat if a person’s genes could be used to predict their risk for gum disease? A new study at the University of Michigan will examine just that issue.

Genetic testing will be done on some 4,000 patients, and the data will be correlated with levels of tooth loss and periodontal disease.

Genetics has been shown to play a role in gingivitis. It is thought that certain gene variants can cause proteins to be overexpressed, leading soft tissue to detach from bone, and correlating with periodontal problems like bleeding gums, periodontitis, and eventual loss of teeth.

Read more: Genetic test to help predict gum disease

Gum Disease Rates Far Higher Than Previously Estimated

Periodontal disease in the USAGum disease in the US may be as much as 50% more common than previously thought, according to new research from the CDC and American Academy of Periodontology (AAP).

A pilot study of 450 American adults found significantly higher levels of periodontal disease than expected.

Previous estimates of periodontitis in the US relied on partial-mouth examinations. When full-mouth periodontal exams were conducted instead, researchers discovered significantly more perio disease, leading them to suspect that previous estimates may have underestimated the population’s level of gum disease by up to 50%.

Read more: Gum Disease Found to be Significant Public Health Concern

Science Friday: Dentists Could Screen Periodontal Disease Patients for Diabetes

Science Friday: Dentists Could Screen Periodontal Disease Patients for DiabetesPeriodontal disease blood samples could be used by dentists to screen dental patients for diabetes in the near future.

In the November 2011 Journal of Periodontology the NYU College of Dentistry research team reported that oral blood samples drawn from deep pockets of periodontal inflammation can be used to measure hemoglobin A1c.

Hemoglobin A1c blood glucose is used to measure diabetes status. A reading of 6.5 or higher is an indication that the patient has a value within the diabetes range.

According to Science Codex, the NYU researchers compared hemoglobin A1c levels in paired samples of oral and finger-stick blood taken from 75 patients with periodontal disease at the NYU College of Dentistry. A reading of 6.3 or greater in the oral sample corresponded to a finger stick reading of 6.5 in identifying the diabetes range, with minimal false positive and false negative results.

The study’s principal investigator, Dr. Shiela Strauss, associate professor of nursing and co-director of the Statistics and Data Management Core for NYU’s Colleges of Nursing and Dentistry, noted that some dental patients may find the oral blood sampling in a dentist’s office to be less invasive than finger stick sampling.

The one-year study utilized a version of a hemoglobin A1c testing kit that was initially developed specifically to enable dentists and dental hygienists to collect finger-stick blood samples and send them to a laboratory for analysis. The testing kit was adapted to enable analysis of both oral blood and finger-stick samples. Dr. Strauss points out that the hemoglobin A1c testing method requires only a single drop of blood to be collected, applied to a special blood collection card, and mailed to the laboratory when dry.

Additional research on oral blood hemoglobin A1c testing is planned for a wider collection of periodontal disease subjects.

For more on this story see: NYU Study: Blood From Periodontal Disease Can Be Used to Screen for Diabetes

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

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