Periodontitis, a common inflammatory disease in which gum tissue separates from teeth, leads to accumulation of bacteria and potential bone and tooth loss. Although traditional treatments concentrate on the bacterial infection, more recent strategies target the inflammatory response.
Sex hormones may be the biological reason why men are at greater risk than women for destructive periodontitis, an infection of the gums, according to researchers at the University of Maryland Dental School.
Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder that causes gum tissues to pull away from the teeth, allowing bacteria to accumulate and trigger an inflammatory reaction that leads to the loss of bone tissues and teeth.
There is a close relationship between infection outbreaks on teeth and the presence of alopecia areata or localized alopecia, a type of hair loss which has an unknown origin. Alopecia areata starts with bald patches on the scalp, and sometimes elsewhere on the body. The disease occurs in males and females of all ages, and experts believe that it affects 1 out 1000 people.
Dr. Emil Kozarov and a team of researchers at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine have identified specific bacteria that may have a key role in vascular pathogenesis, specifically atherosclerosis, or what is commonly referred to as "hardening of the arteries" -- the number one cause of death in the United States.
Nurses who care for patients with dementia now have a tailored approach to dental hygiene for their charges, thanks to a pilot study by a team of nurses. "Poor oral health can lead to pneumonia and cardiovascular disease as well as periodontal disease," said Rita A. Jablonski, even though these illnesses are not usually associated with the mouth.
Scientists have discovered the tool that bacteria normally found in our mouths use to invade heart tissue, causing a dangerous and sometimes lethal infection of the heart known as endocarditis. The work raises the possibility of creating a screening tool -- perhaps a swab of the cheek, or a spit test -- to gauge a dental patient's vulnerability to the condition.
Periodontal disease may be an independent predictor of incident Type 2 diabetes, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. While diabetes has long been believed to be a risk factor for periodontal infections, this is the first study exploring whether the reverse might also be true, that is, if periodontal infections can contribute to the development of diabetes.
Diabetes affects 18.2 million people in the United States and is expected to double by the year 2010. Additionally, diabetics who do not have good control over their blood sugar levels are more susceptible to oral health problems than non-diabetics, according to a study that appears in the November/December 2004 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal.
Scientists are reporting identification of two substances in licorice -- 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.