The Forgotten Danger of Periodontitis

We’re all too familiar with the frightening statistics that show how diseases and conditions such as heart disease and obesity are major health crises, at least in America. And when we think of the world’s health, diseases such as malaria or any number of disorders arising from nutritional deficiencies may enter the picture, too.

But did you know one of the most prevalent health conditions in the world has to do with oral health and hygiene? Yes, you read that right– severe periodontitis is ranked sixth, overall. In case you didn’t know, periodontitis is an inflammation of the periodontium. Bacteria infect not only the roots of the teeth, but surrounding gums as well, and cause symptoms such as severe bleeding and pus production. Eventually, this leads to a breakdown of the bone and tissue structures supporting the teeth.

A set of fine looking teeth

Practice good oral hygiene in order to prevent diseases like periodontitis.

The research, first published by the International and American Associations for Dental Research in a paper titled “Global Burden of Periodontitis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Regression”, reveals that about 743 million people suffer from this disease. In the populations that were surveyed, the incidence of the disease had a gradual increase with age, but between age 30 and 40, there was a sharp increase. By publishing this paper, the researchers hope to bring attention to severe periodontitis and the public health issue it causes. [Read more…]

High-Acidity Drinks Part of Triple Threat

It has long been an accepted fact that acidic beverages, such as soft drinks, fruit juices and sports drinks, have the power to do damage to the health of the consumer’s teeth.  This has always been particularly accepted in the case of children, who have actively developing dental health.  But there lies a huge misconception has arisen: if the child brushes their teeth immediately after drinking the acidity beverage, the damage can be reduced.  However, according to the work of dental researchers at the University of Adelaide published in the Journal of Dentistry and summarized in Science Daily, this theory has been proven to be incorrect.

Cola in a glass

The acidity in drinks such as these can cause damage as soon as they are consumed/

In their studies, the researchers were able to demonstrate lifelong damage done by acidity to the teeth within the first thirty seconds of consumption. This research, by the way, is groundbreaking in it’s own right; this has not been able to be modeled and studied previously.  The University’s Craniofacial Biology Research Group conducted the study, an organization that is part of the Centre for Orofacial Research and Learning.  Chelsea Mann, an Honors student with the University’s School of Dentistry, headed the research, with the help of Dr Sarbin Ranjitkar, who served as the corresponding author on the paper.  They found that the erosion caused by the consumption of drinks high in acid does lead to compromised dental health, to the point that complex and extensive rehabilitation may be required.

However, the acid found in drinks is not the only issue; it serves as one part of what the researchers termed as the triple threat to dental health for children.  The acid from drinks combined with many undiagnosed issues with reflux and a habit of grinding one’s teeth at night can create serious dental problems.  Fortunately, these concerns can be prevented to some extent.  If parents monitor the number of acidity drinks their child consumes, it can cut back on reflux issues that spur on further deterioration of enamel.