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Dentistry in the News

Ohio State Study Finds Oral Health, Diet May Improve Psoriasis

A new study by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is giving insight into certain lifestyle choices that may prevent or improve psoriasis, helping experts better understand what triggers the disease.

Dental health and diet may have an impact on the development and severity of psoriasis, according to a study by dermatologists at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes thick, itchy patches of red skin with silvery scales and affects more than 8 million Americans.

The study found psoriasis patients who rated their gum health as poor or very poor exhibited significantly more severe psoriasis symptoms than those with healthy gums. Conversely, patients who reported consuming fresh fruit at least once a day experienced milder psoriasis symptoms. The study was published in the Dermatology Online Journal.

“Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease so although it often presents as red, scaly patches on the skin, we know that the causes and consequences are more than skin deep,” said Dr. Benjamin Kaffenberger, a dermatologist at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center who led the study.

Psoriasis, which can last a lifetime, is caused by a problem with the immune system. In a process called cell turnover, skin cells that grow deep in the skin rise to the surface. Normally this takes a month but with psoriasis, it happens in just a few days because the cells rise too quickly. Treatments include creams, medicines and ultraviolet light therapy.

“We’re looking for some sort of trigger that sets off the immune system. Because strep throat is one of the known triggers and the microbiome of bacteria in the mouth is much more complex, that became our starting point,” said Kaffenberger, who is also an associate professor in Ohio State’s College of Medicine. “We wondered if poor dental health could be a risk factor for psoriasis.”

Researchers created a specially designed lifestyle and diet questionnaire that was administered to 265 patients at Ohio State’s dermatology clinics. The study surveyed 100 patients with psoriasis and 165 without the disease. The study showed poor dental and oral health, in particular gum pain, was associated with those who had psoriasis.

“Patients who had more severe psoriasis were more likely to report that their gums were in worse condition than patients who didn’t have mild to moderate psoriasis in the first place,” Kaffenberger said. “And patients who had higher fruit consumption reported less significant psoriasis, indicating fruit and potentially fresh foods may be an associated protective factor.”

The study also reinforced data from previous studies that found family history of psoriasis, smoking and obesity were significant predictors of psoriasis.

Kaffenberger hopes to expand the study outside Ohio State’s dermatology clinics and survey thousands of psoriasis patients with varying degrees of the disease. While Kaffenberger noted that the study’s results were very preliminary, he believes having dermatologists screen for dental health and counsel psoriasis patients for improved dietary health may help them.

“Psoriasis is a chronic disease and can be so severe that it covers the entire body. Patients ask us ‘If I change my diet, will I get rid of this disease?’ That’s what really drove the onset of this study – to see what health and lifestyle changes patients could make,” Kaffenberger said. “The key is to protect your gums and your mouth by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing. Lifestyle changes include quitting smoking, avoiding high alcohol consumption and properly managing diabetes.”

Study Finds Sugary Drinks Associated With Dental Erosion, Obesity

UPI (10/28, Dunleavy) reports a new study published in the journal Clinical Oral Investigations suggests that dental erosion and obesity may have “at least one common link – sugar-sweetened beverages.” After analyzing “data from 3,541 American adults,” with about two thirds “either overweight or obese, based on body mass index,” researchers from King’s College London found that “overall, more than 12 percent of the adults studied had moderate to severe tooth wear, with an average of 3.4 tooth surfaces affected.” In adults “who regularly drank soda and other soft drinks, the number of teeth affected by wear was 1.4 times higher per sugary beverage consumed per day.”

International Business Times (10/29, Mathew) reports, “The research team concluded the study by stating that consumption of sugar-sweetened acidic drinks is a common cause of both obesity and tooth decay.”

In a release picked up by News Medical (10/28), lead author Dr. Saoirse O’Toole from King’s College London said, “This is an important message for obese patients who are consuming calories through acidic sugar sweetened drinks. These drinks may be doing damage to their body and their teeth.”

Dr Bicuspid (10/28, Busch) also reports.The Oral Health Topics on ADA.org provide additional information on erosive tooth wear and nutrition and oral health for dental professionals.

Former Nationals Outfielder Turned Dental Student Analyzes World Series

The ADA News (10/24, Garvin) reports that fans of the Washington Nationals tuning into Fox-5 DC (WTTG-TV) for the World Series “might see a familiar face smiling back at them: Former Nationals outfielder Justin Maxwell, who is a part of the station’s broadcast team.” The article explains that Mr. Maxwell is now “a second-year dental student at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry,” but he “has always enjoyed the idea of broadcasting.” When WTTG-5 began “putting together its own World Series team, they reached out to him to see if he’d be interested. He was.” The article notes that Mr. Maxwell played “professional baseball for more than 10 years,” before deciding in 2016 to focus on becoming a dentist. When asked if he would consider leaving dental school to pursue broadcasting full time, Mr. Maxwell said, “Absolutely not. No way!”

Editor’s note: The World Series resumes Friday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m., nationally, on Fox. Readers living in the Washington viewing area can catch Maxwell during Fox-5’s 5:30 p.m. newscasts and 6:30 p.m. pregame shows Oct. 25-27.

 

No Scientific Evidence Brushing With Table Salt Whitens Teeth, ADA Spokesperson Says

CNN (10/3, Drayer) states that people should avoid using table salt to whiten teeth. “I see no clinical reason why someone would brush their teeth with salt,” said Dr. Matt Messina, an American Dental Association spokesperson. “There is no scientific evidence that brushing with salt has any sort of whitening effect on teeth.” In addition, since salt is abrasive, using it on teeth could damage enamel. Instead, regularly brushing teeth with a toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance and cleaning between teeth can help whiten teeth. For those considering teeth whitening, Dr. Messina encourages consulting with a dentist. “There are safe and effective whitening techniques, but they will be different for each individual person,” he said.

Dental professionals can find additional information on whitening on an ADA Science Institute-developed Oral Health Topics page. The ADA also offers the brochure Tooth Whitening for a Better Smile.

Dental professionals can direct their patients to MouthHealthy.org, ADA’s consumer website, for evidence-based information about teeth whitening. The ADA also provides a complete list of bleaching products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Gum Disease May Increase Hypertension Risk, Review Suggests

The New York Times (9/25, Bakalar) reports that “people with gum disease may be at increased risk for high blood pressure,” researchers concluded after analyzing “the results of 81 studies including more than 200,000 people.” The findings were published in Cardiovascular Research, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (9/24, Parker) reports that the researchers from University College London found “moderate-to-severe periodontitis was linked with a 22% higher hypertension risk, while severe periodontitis was linked with 49% higher risk.”

In a release on Science Daily (9/24), senior author Dr. Francesco D’Aiuto said, “We observed a linear association – the more severe periodontitis is, the higher the probability of hypertension.”

Dental professionals can point their patients to the ADA’s consumer website, MouthHealthy.org, for additional information on periodontitis. The ADA Catalog also offers the brochure Periodontal Disease: Your Complete Guide.

 

Children Under Age Five Should Drink Mostly Milk And Water, New Guidelines Say

The New York Times (9/18, Rabin) reports that on Sept. 18, “a panel of scientists issued new nutritional guidelines for children…describing in detail what they should be allowed to drink in the first years of life.” The guidelines recommend that “for the first five years, children should drink mostly milk and water.”

CNN (9/18, Christensen) reports, “Most children under the age of five should avoid plant-based milk, according to new health guidelines about what young children should drink” and issued by “a panel of experts with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association.” With the exception of soy milk that has been fortified, “plant-based milk made from rice, coconut, oats or other blends…lack key nutrition for early development, according to [the] guidelines.” In addition, “they should also avoid diet drinks, flavored milks and sugary beverages and limit how much juice they drink, the guidelines said.”

Information about the ADA’s nutrition-related activities is available at ADA.org/nutrition.

Dentists can refer patients to MouthHealthy.org, ADA’s consumer website, for up-to-date and evidenced-based information about nutrition. The ADA Catalog also features the brochure Sip and Snack All Day? Risk Decay!

Vitamin D Intake During Pregnancy Linked to Child’s Enamel Defects

Children born to women who received high doses of vitamin D during pregnancy had a 50% lower risk of enamel defects in permanent dentition than those whose mothers received a standard dose, according to a report in JAMA Pediatrics. Findings from the study, “Association of High-Dose Vitamin D Supplementation During Pregnancy With the Risk of Enamel Defects in Offspring,” imply prenatal vitamin D supplementation may serve as a preventive intervention for enamel defects

Many Americans Unaware Of Cancers Associated With HPV, Survey Suggests

NBC News (9/16, Edwards) reports a study of over 6,000 men and women indicates “the majority of American adults are unaware” that “HPV, or human papillomavirus, can lead to a variety of cancers,” including oropharyngeal cancer. The survey found that while “two-thirds of women 18 to 26 understood that HPV can cause cervical cancer,” only one-third of men in that age bracket knew about the connection between HPV and cervical cancer. Moreover, “overall, 70 percent of adults of any age were unaware of the link between HPV and other cancers.” The findings were published in JAMA Pediatrics.

HealthDay (9/16, Reinberg) reports, “The researchers found that among people eligible for the vaccine, only 19% of men and 31.5% of women had been advised” by their health provider to get vaccinated against HPV. “The message from providers can be as simple as: ‘I strongly believe in the importance of this cancer-preventing vaccine for [your child],’” said Dr. David Fagan, vice chair of pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York. “I find it effective to emphasize the parents’ role in preventing their child from getting HPV-related cancers.”

An ADA Science Institute-developed Oral Health Topics page on cancer (head and neck) offers information on HPV, detection, ADA policies, and resources for dentists. The National HPV Vaccination Roundtable guide for dental healthcare providers also offers information on how dental professionals “play a critical role in combating growing rates of HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancers.”

ADA CE Online offers the course HPV Infection, Risk Factors, and HPV-Related Oropharyngeal Cancer. In addition, the ADA Catalog offers the Oral Health and the HPV Vaccine brochure.

On Sept. 25, from noon to 1 PM Central time, the ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention will present the webinar, “Say What? Science and Skills for Taking About the HPV Vaccine.” Register online or read more about it at ADA News.

Dentists can refer patients to MouthHealthy.org for information on oral cancer and HPV and oropharyngeal cancer, and JADA For the Patient also includes the article Vaccines for your child.

Consumption Of Soft Drinks May Raise Risk Of Premature Death, Research Suggests

Newsweek (9/3, Gander) reports a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests “both sugary and diet soft drinks” are associated with “an increased risk of death.” The research, which involved over 450,000 people from 10 European countries, found “participants who drank a lot of soft drinks were at a greater risk of death by any cause compared with those who drank the lowest amounts.”

CNN (9/3, Lamotte) reports the study “found those who drank two or more glasses of any type of soda a day had a higher risk of dying from any cause of death than people who drank less than a glass each month.” Furthermore, the investigators “found men and women who drank two or more glasses a day of sugar-sweetened soft drinks had a higher risk of dying from digestive disorders, while those who drank the same amount of diet drinks had higher risks of dying from cardiovascular disease.”

HealthDay (9/3, Gordon) says while the study found an association, it “does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between soda and a higher risk of early death.”

Information about the ADA’s nutrition-related activities is available at ADA.org/nutrition.

Dentists can refer patients to MouthHealthy.org, ADA’s consumer website, for up-to-date and evidenced-based information about nutrition. The ADA Catalog also features the brochure Sip and Snack All Day? Risk Decay!

Vaping Can Have Similar Effect On Teeth As Cigarette Smoking, ADA Spokesperson Says

Health (8/27, O’Neill) discusses the effects vaping may have on the teeth, featuring information from American Dental Association spokesperson Dr. Matthew Messina. Vaping adds “heat in the mouth,” Dr. Messina says, which “changes the bacterial presence in the mouth. It dries the mouth out.” Dr. Messina adds, “[The] rate of tooth decay increases, sometimes dramatically, if we dry the mouth out.” In addition, vaping can lead to tooth discoloration because of the presence of nicotine, inflamed gum tissue, and bone loss, he says. “It’s important to stress the fact that while vaping is new and is being actively studied, we have to consider vaping and cigarette smoking relatively the same, as far as the effects on the teeth and gum tissues,” says Dr. Messina.

Last week, the New York Times (8/23, Richtel, Kaplan) reported that public health officials announced the first vaping-related death. In a media statement, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the “death in Illinois reinforces the serious risks associated with e-cigarette products.”

Follow the ADA’s advocacy efforts on tobacco at ADA.org/tobacco.

 

Prenatal Vitamin D Intake May Reduce Risk Of Enamel Defects In Children, Study Suggests

The New York Times (8/13, Bakalar) reports, “Women who take large doses of vitamin D during pregnancy may be giving their children a lower risk of dental problems,” a “double-blinded clinical trial” suggests. Researchers randomly assigned 623 women into two groups and beginning on the “24th week of pregnancy, one group took two pills daily, one containing 400 units and the other 2,400 units of vitamin D,” while the other “took a 400 unit pill plus an identical-looking placebo.” Researchers “found that children of women who took the vitamin D regimen had a 47 percent lower rate of enamel defects in both permanent and baby teeth than those in the control group.” The study was published in JAMA Pediatrics.

The course Mouthful of Lesions in Peewees: Maximizing Infant Oral Health will be offered at the ADA FDI World Dental Congress, held in San Francisco Sept. 4-8.

Information about the ADA’s nutrition-related activities is available at ADA.org/nutrition.

Dentists can refer patients to MouthHealthy.org, ADA’s consumer website, for up-to-date and evidenced-based information about nutrition.

Zip Code May Be Key Factor In Predicting Lifespan, Evidence Suggests

TIME (6/17, Ducharme, Wolfson) reports that a “growing body of evidence suggests it may be a person’s zip code that holds the most information about how long they’ll live.” Researchers from the New York University School of Medicine examined data from “NYU Langone Health’s City Health Dashboard,” finding that “56 of the U.S.’ 500 largest cities are home to people who can expect to live at least 20 fewer years than those in other neighborhoods.” The article says that “a zip code’s influence on the health of those living there is multifold,” explaining that where a person lives directly affects their health “in a number of ways, from exposure to air pollution and toxins to accessibility of healthy food, green space and medical care,” and it is also “a more subtle indicator of socioeconomic factors that are inherent to health and longevity, including race and income.”

Kombucha May Harm Enamel

Vice (7/29, Castrodale) discusses how kombucha may harm teeth, sharing comments from several dentists who explain that the fermented tea drink’s acidity could contribute to dental erosion. The article notes that the American Dental Association shared an article on kombucha on its Facebook page. For those who consume kombucha, the article reports that some dentists suggest “limiting yourself to versions that are lower in sugar, downing it all in one sitting (to minimize the amount of time that your mouth pH is altered), drinking it through a straw, and rinsing your mouth out with water after you finish the bottle.” The article adds that people could also choose to “stick with water.”The Oral Health Topics on ADA.org provides additional information on dental erosion for dental professionals.

The ADA Catalog features the brochures, Tooth Erosion: The Harmful Effects of Acid and Snack And Sip All Day? Risk Decay!

In addition, Crest Pro-Health Advanced Deep Clean Mint Toothpaste is the first ADA Seal product in the enamel erosion control category.

Future Retirees Often Overlook Dental Care Costs

Business Insider (5/2, Loudenback) reported that although data indicate “over a third of US adults are more concerned about covering health costs in retirement than paying off debt and affording lifestyle expenses right now,” only “about half have a financial plan in place for the future.” In addition, Business Insider stated that dental care costs are among some of “the most overlooked health costs in retirement.”

The Motley Fool (5/3, Backman) added, “That said, 75% of people with a health savings account, or HSA, do have a plan for covering future medical costs.” The article discussed HSAs, noting they can be used to pay for “common medical expenses,” including dental care.

The Oral Health Topics on ADA.org and MouthHealthy.org provide information on aging and dental health for dental professionals and patients.

Dentists can refer patients to MouthHealthy.org, ADA’s consumer website, for a guide to finding and paying for dental care.

Many US Adults Unfamiliar With Key Dental Terms, Survey Finds

In a release on PRNewswire (5/15), Delta Dental Plans Association states its “new Adult’s Oral Health & Well-Being Survey indicates that a significant portion of the American population is not familiar with certain key dental terms.” The survey of 1,100 adults in the US found “that the majority of adults are not versed in bruxism (81%), caries (75%) and prophylaxis (64%).” In addition, the survey found that 33% are unfamiliar with what periodontal disease is, and 40% are unsure what the term sealant means.

Excessive Consumption Of Sugary Beverages May Shorten Life, Research Suggests

CNN (5/17, Scutti) reported that “a study links drinking too many sugary beverages – and even 100% natural fruit juices – to an increased risk of early death.” CNN said the study, which was published in JAMA Network Open, found that “people who consumed 10% or more of their daily calories as sugary beverages had a 44% greater risk of dying due to coronary heart disease and a 14% greater risk of an early death from any cause compared with people who consumed less than 5% of their daily calories as sugary beverages.” While the study had several limitations, including that sugary drink consumption was based on self-reporting, co-author Dr. Jean A. Welsh, an assistant professor at Emory University in Atlanta, said, “Sugary beverages, whether soft drinks or fruit juices, should be limited.”

Information about the ADA’s nutrition-related activities is available at ADA.org/nutrition. Dentists can refer patients to MouthHealthy.org, ADA’s consumer website, for up-to-date and evidenced-based information about nutrition.

Studies Find Association Between Oral Health, Systemic Health

The New York Post (6/4, Sparks) reports on recent studies that have found an association between poor oral health and Alzheimer’s disease, ischemic stroke, and high blood pressure, among other health issues. For instance, the article reports a study by researchers in Norway found Porphyromonas gingivalis may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. In another study, researchers were “able to pinpoint common oral pathogens in 79% of cerebral blood clots samples of 75 stroke patients.” A related 2018 study also found an association between high blood pressure and poor oral health, and Dr. Davide Pietropaoli, the study’s lead investigator, said, “Oral health is indispensable to overall physiological health.”

 

Poor Oral Health Associated With Increased Liver Cancer Risk, Study Suggests

Medical Xpress (6/17) states that researchers at Queen’s University Belfast “investigated the association between oral health conditions and the risk of a number of gastrointestinal cancers, including liver, colon, rectum and pancreatic cancer.” The release states that although “no significant associations were observed on the risk of the majority gastrointestinal cancers and poor oral health, a substantial link was found for hepatobiliary cancer.” The findings were published in the United European Gastroenterology Journal.