Posted by: kaelam | June 8, 2010

Pancreatic Cancer

Less than 5 % of patients with cancer of the pancreas survive more than five years!  That is devastating numbers.  Pancreatic cancer and periodontal disease have been linked.  Those that have periodontal disease ( tooth loss) raise their risk for pancreatic cancer by 64 %  more than men who had no history of periodontal disease.

The reason the two are linked is because of an increase in inflammatory marker C reactive protein.  Another possible link they are looking at is carcinogens ( cancer causing agents) created by bacteria in the mouth react in digestion that make conditions prime for pancreatic cancer. This particular type of cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States and is also hard to detect early.  There is still not a lot known about pancreatic cancer and its causes, there is not a lot of medicine out yet to treat it so that makes it deadly.

Posted by: kaelam | June 8, 2010

Herpes? No Thank You!

There are many lesions that can occur in the mouth and one of these is herpes.  There are two types of herpes. Herpes simplex 1 and herpes simplex 2. Simplex 1 is usually located on the lips or in the mouth while simplex 2 is located in the genital area and both types can be located anywhere on the skin.  The herpes virus is dormant in the nerves until it is irritated and surfaces as a lesion. Some irritants can be the sun, stress, menstruation, surgery and sickness  It is most contagious when it first forms.  Once it has scarred over it is not as contagious.  It can be spread by saliva or direct contact. 

Treatments: Some ways to help relieve herpes is acyclovir.  A drug that can be taken regularly to prevent outbreaks. Lip balm can help ease the pain as well as some topical anesthetics.

There are a few conditions that can look like herpes but are not. One  is angular stomatitis this develops in the corners of the mouth and can be caused by vitamin deficiency, anemia or by those of us who drool at night leaving an overgrowth of yeast and irritation.

Canker sores ( apthous ulcers) are often mistaken as herpes as well.  These are not contagious and are caused by stress or trauma.  They are red bordered with a whitish yellow center.  They can also be located at any area within the mouth.

Posted by: kaelam | June 7, 2010

Going Smokeless

Many people are misled and feel that smokeless tobacco is a better alternative to smoking tobacco the truth is that smokeless or chew tobacco has some heavy consequences in the mouth as well…

Tooth abrasion: Ever wonder why people love chew? Well chew has tiny particles that cut the gums to feed nicotine right into the blood system.  A side effect of this is tooth abrasion the best way to explain this is with a picture.

Recession: This can have many causes but chew irritates the gums and causes excessive recession.

Leukoplakia:  A lesion called a leukoplakia is formed after some time of using chew.  It develops in the areas where the chew is placed the most.  It often can change and create abnormal cells that can lead to oral cancer.  If a leukoplakia is present it will need to be biopsied.

Oral cancer:  The worst condition coming from chew in the mouth.  It has a low survival rate because of how vascular the oral cavity is.


leukoplakia, sores that won’t heal, a sore throat that won’t go away,  stiff jaw or hard time chewing.

*pain isn’t an early symptom if you’re a tobacco user see your dentist today!

Posted by: kaelam | June 7, 2010


This isn’t necessarily a systemic disease related to periodontal disease but it is a big discussion issue and major risk factor for developing periodontal disease along with many other chronic diseases. That is smoking! Smoking increases the risk of periodontal disease because those who smoke build more calculus or more commonly known as tarter.  This can only be removed by professional cleanings and the bacteria in the tarter can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth.

Smoking can also lead to decreased effectiveness of treatment. Those who are smoking will have a hard time recovering from periodontal disease and may not heal as well as those who don’t smoke. Smoking is one of the leading causes of tooth loss.  It also contributes to stain and discoloration of the teeth which at first can be removed but with continued use can be hard to get rid of. So quit smoking and keep your teeth.  

Posted by: kaelam | June 6, 2010

Can oral bacteria help treat Alzheimer?

So I was reading an article that just came out this past Friday in World Dental News about a mutant bacteria P. Gingivialis in patients with Alzheimer.  What is so interesting about this is that Alzheimer is caused because of a build up of plaque in the nerve cells mostly made up of polypeptides.  P. Gingivialis is autophagic meaning it digests the its own damaged parts. Although in Alzheimer’s patients with these mutant P. Gingivalis they do not posses this attribute.

The reason this is important is because it may help us understand why there is a plaque build up in the nerve cells.  If we can find out if there is a link to a mutant bacteria they may be able to halt Alzheimer in patients because it may be a matter of bacteria that doesn’t digest itself and they can learn how to get the organism to perform autophagia. What an amazing break through this would be and wonderful hope to all those who may have loved ones struggling with this disease.   It also may be hard to help those with Alzheimer and dementia especially in their dental health.  There is an article that can help inform those on how to help their loved ones in this aspect.

Posted by: kaelam | June 4, 2010

Fact or Myth…

There are lots of different tales out there about what pregnancy can do to our bodies and there are plenty of things that happen to effect our oral health.  Here are a few common topics I often get asked about from pregnant women or what I’ve seen in their mouth.

1. Pregnancy gingivitis: This is extremely common.  Is it sensitive when you brush and floss?  then you probably have it.  There is nothing to worry about your gums may look red or even be swollen. This is because of the amount of progesterone in the body during pregnancy and will start to reduce after the baby is born.

2. Pregnancy granuloma:  Is a growth on the gums.  We are not exactly sure why it happens but it can bleed easily and cause discomfort.  It usually develops in the second trimester and may need to be removed if it doesn’t go away by itself.

Tooth erosion:  This mostly occurs because of morning sickness.  I talked about it a little bit on the last post.  Just be sure to not brush right after vomiting.  Wait 20-30 minutes and swish with baking soda and water this will neutralized the acid in the mouth.

X-Rays: It is safe to get x-rays while  pregnant especially with new digital radiographs you receive less radiation than what you get from the environment. X-rays are an important part of dental diagnosis and can help spot cavities and periodontal disease early on. 

Cavities: Nutrition is extremely important during pregnancy.  Since those expecting tend to snack more often it exposes the teeth to more foods that can cause cavities.  This is another reason its important to get dental x-rays and visit the dentist during pregnancy.

Posted by: kaelam | June 4, 2010


Another wonderful doctor visit to add to your list while pregnant…THE DENTIST! This is important because through several studies it is found that women with periodontal disease are more likely to have preterm and low birth weight babies.  It is essential the a woman who is pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant visits the dentist to get a full periodontal exam.  In the  American Academy of Periodontology a study was published about the importance of getting whats called a scaling and root planing during pregnancy if the mother is diagnosed with periodontal disease.  Scaling and root planing is when all the plaque and tarter are removed from the deeper pockets that develop in periodontal disease.  They also suggest that the scaling is done during the second trimester. There is actually an article that has linked the mothers gum disease to the cause of a stillborn baby.

Another tip during pregnancy to protect the enamel is to swish with baking soda and water after vomiting. this will reduce the erosion of the enamel and don’t brush after an episode like this either… More pregnancy tips will follow tomorrow!

Posted by: kaelam | June 1, 2010

Heart and Mouth?

Okay so this one is for all of you who need another reason to motivate you to floss!! Periodontal disease and heart disease have been linked.  Those who have had heart attacks or plaque build up in the arteries have also been known to find traces of oral bacteria in those areas as well.  This is because periodontal disease is chronic inflammation in the gums and when someone with periodontal disease brushes or flosses it releases bacteria in the blood stream which affects the health of the heart and circulation.  An article from the Harvard Health Publications touches on this subject as well. It even mentions that the build up of this plaque could lead to heart attacks.

So the best thing is to keep your oral health a priority to avoid the excess bacteria in the mouth and keep from developing periodontal disease.  This way there is a significantly less amount of bacteria being released into the blood stream. There is still continuing research to solidify the link and the American Heart Association is researching the link between the two as well.

Posted by: kaelam | May 30, 2010

Posted by: kaelam | May 30, 2010

The Diabetic Connection

Over the years oral health has been linked to many chronic diseases one of which is diabetes.  With diabetes growing so quickly in our community it is important that we are well-informed about the connection of diabetes to other diseases.  We know uncontrolled diabetes can lead to severe periodontal disease.  Although on the other side poor oral health in those with diabetes can make it harder to control their diabetes. There should be a close relationship between you, your physician and dentist to help give you the optimal care for diabetes.

If you are diabetic or at risk for diabetes excellent home care is needed in the prevention of periodontal disease.  This includes correct brushing and flossing technique ( there are examples of this under the video tabs).  Also dental cleaning, x-rays and exams should be done every six months or as otherwise advised by your dentist or dental hygienist so they can keep a close watch on your gums and bone that is around the teeth. Just remember that periodontal disease and diabetes control is a two-way street.

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