Periodontal disease has been linked to many severe health conditions including diabetes and heart disease. Researchers in Germany appear to have found a correlation between periodontal disease and a type of oral cancer.

Recently published in the journal Head and Face Medicine, the study found that the monitoring and treatment of chronic periodontitis might help reduce a potential cause of oral squamous cell carcinoma. “Our findings underline the necessity of implementing a periodontal regime in the dental office,” said study author, Dr. Maximillian Moergel.

Chronic gum disease, periodontitis, is one of the most prevalent infections worldwide and Dr. Moergel sees patients that have oral cancers but do not have the usual history of drinking and smoking. He stated, “Thus we were interested in a possible relationship of chronic periodontitis and the development of cancer.”

This study found a link between periodontal disease and oral squamous cell carcinoma. Importantly, the study also found that treating periodontal disease could perhaps reduce the incidence of the oral cancer.

An oral cancer screening is an important part of every oral examination. Patients at higher risk for oral cancer include: older men, people who smoke, people who drink alcohol and people who have an oral HPV infection. Patients with chronic gum disease should also seek regular screenings and should treat their gum disease  to reduce risk.

Please contact Rothfus Family Dental in Medford, OR today at 541-858-7994 to schedule your next visit.

Many people take statin drugs to lower their cholesterol and new research has shown that the drugs also reduce the inflammation associated with gum disease. Gum disease affects about half of the US adult population and causes chronic inflammation.

The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, adds to the links previously found between heart health and gum disease. The study suggests that actions taken to treat gum disease may also reduce inflammation in the arteries and vice versa.

Dr. Ahmed Tawkol, co-author of the study, said “Periodontitis (gum disease) and atherosclerosis are both primarily driven by inflammation. These inflammatory conditions tend to co-exist within individuals and their biologies may be intertwined.”

The study was a randomized trial that had patients with heart disease or a high risk of heart disease take either an 80 mg statin or a 10 mg statin daily for 12 weeks. Patients showed a significant reduction in gum inflammation after as few as four weeks on the higher dose statin. “Statins have beneficial effect beyond their lipid lowering properties,” said Dr. Tawakol. “Physicians should take this into consideration when discussing treatment options with their patients.”

Statin drugs are useful but, like any drug, come with side effects. Talk to your physician about all of your health conditions, including gum disease and take appropriate steps to treat your gum disease. Healthy gums are linked to better overall health.

Please contact Rothfus Family Dental in Medford, OR today at 541-858-7994 today to find out more about your options for preventing or treating gum disease.

Can brushing and flossing regularly help you with the battle for weight loss? Surprisingly, a clean mouth may help shed a few pounds and here’s why:

  1. When you brush and floss regularly, you’ll cut down significantly on the amount of bacteria living in your mouth. Excessive oral bacteria leads to gum disease which causes inflammation. This body wide inflammatory response has been linked to stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and even death. Any of these health complications can make it more difficult for you to work out and lose weight. If you don’t have poor dental hygiene and thus have a decreased risk for these health complications, you’ll have more endurance and be able to work out more often in order to lose weight.
  2. Part of maintaining good oral health is keeping away from sugary snacks and drinks – fewer calories taken in, healthier teeth – and maybe even a few pounds lost.
  3. Brushing after meals helps you feel full. Really, it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full, but usually we just keep eating. Get up after that meal, brush your teeth, and give your brain a chance to catch up with your stomach.

Any weight loss plan involves watching your diet and increasing your activity levels. Brushing and flossing alone won’t win the battle of the bulge but they can be one more tool in your weight loss toolbox.

Contact Rothfus Family Dental in Medford, OR today at 541-858-7994 to schedule your next dental hygiene visit.

Medical researchers have investigated links between oral health and heart health for several years. Now researchers at UC San Francisco are investigating possible links between oral health and kidney disease. According to Dr. Vanessa Grubbs, “This is a very new and emerging area, and there have only been a few studies.” She continued “If we at least start to show that treating periodontal disease can slow the progression of kidney disease, the long-term ramifications for dental policy and how we manage patients with chronic kidney disease are huge.”

Dr. Grubbs is a kidney specialist researching this subject as part of her commitment to preventing the chronic health problems associated with kidney disease. She notes that both kidney disease and gum disease affect lower income individuals more often and hopes that routine dental care could become a priority as a way to prevent kidney disease. She feels that the cost savings could be significant, “It’s certainly cheaper to pay for preventative dental care than dialysis.”

This research is just getting started and it will be some time before the results of this pilot study are known. In the meantime, anyone who suffers from red, puffy or swollen gums is most likely suffering from gum disease and needs to seek treatment. Many patients ignore their gum disease because they cannot see the infection inside their mouths and because the early stages are usually painless. Untreated gum disease eventually leads to tooth loss and the bacteria from gum disease can travel throughout the body.

Treating gum disease today is much easier than in the past. Using topical antibiotics or laser periodontal treatment makes treatment comfortable and effective. Find out more information about treating gum disease today by contacting Medford, OR family dentist Rothfus Family Dental today at 541-858-7994.

Rheumatoid arthritis and oral health do have a link. For patients with arthritis it is especially important you see the dentist regularly to help prevent gum disease. Research shows a strong connection between gum disease and arthritis. A German study published in the Journal of Periodontology showed that people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has more gum disease than people without RA. The researchers found that RA patients were eight times more likely to develop gum disease than people without RA.

The key to the link between these two conditions seems to be inflammation. Inflammation is what happens when our immune system responds to viruses and bacteria. Gum disease is caused by bacteria and triggers this inflammatory process. RA is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly triggers inflammation even though there are no viruses or bacteria to fight. Researcher Dr. Scott Zashin suggests that it may be possible that the immune system is stimulated by the mouth infection and inflammation “setting off a cascade of events where inflammation develops at the site of joints or arthritis.”

The Journal of Periodontology published additional research that showed that when people with severe RA cleared up their gum disease, their pain and other symptoms improved.  This research from Case Western Reserve University showed that patients who received both standard RA treatment AND treatment for their gum disease reported significant improvements in their symptoms compared to the control group who had only received the RA treatment.

Next – some tips for RA patients to make their home oral health care a little easier.

Please contact Rothfus Family Dental in Medford, OR today at 541-858-7994 to schedule your next dental hygiene appointment. We can help keep your gums in tip top shape.