Brushing and Flossing Could Reduce Your Risk of This Cancer

By: Lara DeSanto, HealthCentral

Do you know that improper dental care and hygiene can increase your risk of developing liver cancer?

📊 People with poor oral health, including painful or bleeding gums, loose teeth, or mouth ulcers, maybe a whopping 75% more likely to get liver cancer, according to a study of 469,000 people in the U.K. The findings likely apply to people in the U.S. as well, where liver cancer rates are on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Learn the risks via HealthCentral! The Oral Surgery DC Team

Brushing and flossing your teeth is tied to far more than just impressing your dentist—in fact, showing your gums and teeth some TLC could reduce your risk of several chronic diseases, like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. And recent research shows that it may significantly reduce your risk of liver cancer, too.

People with poor oral health—including painful or bleeding gums, loose teeth, or mouth ulcers—may be a whopping 75% more likely to get liver cancer, according to a study of 469,000 people in the U.K. The findings likely apply to people in the U.S. as well, where liver cancer rates are on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The research, published in the United European Gastroenterology Journal, originally set out to discover whether there was a link between mouth health and digestive cancers like those of the colon and rectum. While no link was found there, a substantial link was found for liver cancer and oral health conditions.

But why does poor mouth health set you up for greater risk of liver cancer? Right now, it’s unclear, according to the study authors—but it may be related to the role of oral and gut bacteria in disease development.

“The liver contributes to the elimination of bacteria from the human body,” says lead study author Haydée WT Jordão, Ph.D., from the Centre of Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast. “When the liver is affected by diseases, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or cancer, its function will decline and bacteria will survive for longer and therefore have the potential to cause more harm.” Another possibility is that people with poor mouth health change their diet to accommodate loose teeth and other issues—for example, eating only softer and possibly less nutritious foods—which could contribute to cancer development.

More studies are needed to better understand the connection, researchers say. Until then? Take steps to reduce your other risk factors for liver cancer, like minimizing alcohol consumption—and tend to those teeth!

4 Steps to a Healthier Mouth

You already know that you’re supposed to brush your teeth twice a day. Here’s what else you can do to take care of your mouth and reduce your risk of liver cancer—not to mention other diseases, according to the Oral Health Foundation:

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day. Experts recommend brushing right before you go to bed and at least one other time during the day. Use a fluoride toothpaste, which helps protect your teeth from decay, and spit after brushing instead of rinsing so that the fluoride can stay on your teeth and work its magic longer. Look for a toothbrush with a small- to a medium-sized brush head and with soft to medium bristles. You can also go for an electric toothbrush, which can often be better at cleaning your teeth with less movement needed on your end.
  2. Floss daily. Floss at least once a day with a gentle rocking motion between the teeth. At the gum line, curve the floss into a C-shape around each tooth and gently scrape up the side of the tooth. Don’t forget the back of the last tooth!
  3. Go to the dentist. When was the last time you went in for a dental cleaning and checkup? Going to the dentist is important because if the plaque on your teeth hardens into tartar, it can no longer be removed by simple brushing—only a dental hygienist can help you remove it during cleaning. If you let tartar continue to build up, it can lead to inflammation, pain and gum disease.
  4. Eat well. Try to avoid consuming sugary foods and drinks frequently throughout the day. These are the foods that cause the bacteria in plaque to produce harmful acids that can eat away at your tooth enamel. And that’s when cavities form. The longer these sugar acids remain on your teeth, the more time they have to do their damage. If you just need an occasional sweet, make sure you brush your teeth (or drink a glass of water) immediately afterward to help cancel out some of the acids right away.

Source: https://www.healthcentral.com/article/mouth-health-liver-cancer-risk


Oral Piercings: What You Should Know

By: WebMD

👅 While piercing the tongue, lip or cheek may be attractive to some, there are a number of health-related risks associated with oral piercing. Find out the dangers of oral piercing via WebMD. The Oral Surgery DC Team

An oral (mouth) piercing is a small hole in your tongue, lip, cheek, or uvula (the tiny tissue at the back of your throat) so you can wear jewelry.

It’s a way to express your style, but it can be dangerous. Your mouth is filled with bacteria that can lead to infection and swelling. A swollen tongue can make it hard for you to breathe. In some people with heart disease, bacteria can lead to a condition that can damage your heart valves.

Tongue piercings also can put you at risk for bleeding and blood loss. You have a lot of blood vessels in the area.

The jewelry can cause issues as well. It can break off in your mouth and make you choke. You can chip your teeth on it while you eat, sleep, talk, or chew on it. If the break goes deep into your tooth, you can lose it or need a root canal to fix it.

Mouth piercings also may:

  • Make it hard to speak, chew, or swallow
  • Damage your tongue, gums, or fillings.
  • Make you drool
  • Make it hard for your dentist to take an X-ray of your teeth
  • Lead to serious health problems, like gum disease, uncontrolled bleeding, long-term infection, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C
  • Lead to an allergic reaction to the metal in the jewelry

Because of these risks, the American Dental Association warns against oral piercings. And you especially shouldn’t get one if you have a job or do things that would make it more likely to cause you trouble.

People with certain conditions that might make it hard for the piercing to heal are particularly at risk for health problems. Those include heart diseasediabeteshemophilia, and autoimmune diseases.

Safety

If you’ve decided to get an oral piercing, make sure you’re up to date on vaccines for hepatitis B and tetanus.

Pick a piercing shop that appears clean and well run. Look for a piercer who has a license, which means he was specially trained. The piercer should wash his handswith germ-killing soap, wear fresh disposable gloves, and use sterilized tools or ones that are thrown away after one use.

You’ll want to make sure that:

  • The piercer is happy to answer your questions
  • The people who work in the shop have been vaccinated against Hepatitis B (It’s fine to ask.)
  • The shop doesn’t use a piercing gun
  • The needle is new and has never been used
  • The needle is placed in a sealed container after it’s used
  • Jewelry is made of surgical steel, solid gold, or platinum

Take Care of Your Piercing

Once you leave the shop, you’ll need to make sure your piercing heals and doesn’t get infected. Healing usually takes 3 to 4 weeks. During that time, you should:

  • Rinse your tongue or lip piercing after every meal or snack and before bed. Use warm salt water or an antibacterial, alcohol-free mouthwash.
  • Not kiss anyone while you heal (avoid contact with someone else’s saliva)
  • Not share cups, plates, forks, knives, or spoons
  • Eat small bites of healthy food
  • Not eat spicy, salty, or acidic foods and drinks
  • Not have hot drinks, like coffeetea, or hot chocolate

While it heals, you should be able to remove the jewelry for short periods of time without the hole closing. If you get a tongue piercing, the piercer will start with a larger “barbell” to give your tongue room to heal as it swells. After the swelling goes down, dentists recommend you replace the large barbell with a smaller one that’s less likely to bother your teeth.

After your tongue has healed, take the jewelry out every night and brush it like you brush your teeth. You might want to take it out before you go to sleep or do anything active.

When to Get Help

You can expect short-term symptoms like pain, swelling, and extra saliva.

Watch out for signs of infection such as:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Lots of Bleeding
  • Discharge
  • A Bad Smell
  • Rash
  • Fever

If you have any of these, see a healthcare provider. Also, get help if you just feel that something isn’t right.

Source: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/oral-piercing


Understanding Pediatric Fluoride Treatment

It’s undeniable that fluoride has played a major role in the decline of dental cavities in the United States. However, what isn’t so clear to many parents is whether or not fluoride treatments are safe and/or beneficial for children.

After all, children receive fluoride on a regular basis from many different types of foods and even water. Through these sources alone, minerals lost due to plaque, bacteria, and sugars are remineralized on teeth.

So, is an additional fluoride treatment at the dentist necessary and if so, at what age are the treatments most beneficial? Read on to find out.

Why You Should Consider Fluoride Treatments for Your Child

While it’s true that fluoride found in foods and water can replace lost minerals, it sometimes isn’t enough to strengthen teeth and protect against cavities. In fact, if you don’t consume enough natural fluoride, demineralization will occur much more quickly than remineralization, leaving enamel at risk and causing tooth decay.

Fluoride treatments speed up the natural remineralization process, providing prolonged protection against demineralization and related tooth decay. They are particularly effective in children because they can reverse early decay while protecting permanent teeth as they develop.

Scheduling Your Child’s Fluoride Treatments

Children should start fluoride treatments at around 6 months of age and continue at least until they turn 16 (and ideally, beyond this age as well). Treatments vary based on age and also on whether they are done at home or at the dentist’s office:

  • Drops, Chewables, Tablets, or Lozenges – These treatments are typically used at home for children 6 months and older who don’t receive enough fluoride in their water.
  • Fluoride Toothpaste – After the age of two, children’s teeth should be brushed using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride.
  • Fluoride Varnish – Once baby teeth have appeared, children should have a fluoride varnish applied to protect against tooth decay. Typically, varnishes are applied by a dentist twice per year for children two and older.
  • Gels and Foams – As children get older, a dentist commonly applies gel or foam fluoride treatments using a mouthguard. This typically takes about five minutes.
  • Mouth Rinses – A fluoride mouth rinse may be prescribed for children over 6 years of age who are at risk for tooth decay due to genetics or other factors. A mouth rinse is typically used in combination with other fluoride treatments.

Protecting Your Child from Too Much Fluoride

The most common concern about fluoride treatments is that large amounts can be toxic to the brain, bones, kidney, and thyroid. However, products intended for home use have extremely low levels of fluoride, meaning that you generally don’t have to worry.

Still, there are precautions you can take to ensure you’re not only keeping potentially dangerous products away from children but also using fluoride properly:

  • Store any fluoride supplements or products out of reach of young children.
  • Use limited amounts of fluoridated toothpaste on a child’s toothbrush.
  • Don’t allow children to use fluoridated toothpaste without supervision until the age of 6.

Fluoride Treatments Play a Vital Part in Your Child’s Smile

Although some parents view fluoride skeptically, professional treatments are integral to your child’s smile starting at 2 years of age.

By doing your part at home and scheduling regular appointments, you can help prevent cavities and give children the strong teeth they need both now and in the future.

Source: http://newsletter.lh360.com/article-content/16fe29e2-7d79-476a-8369-ca2d4d45a738.html

Dental infections in kids tied to heart disease risk in adulthood

By: Lisa Rapaport, Reuters

😷 Children who develop cavities and gum disease may be more likely to develop risk factors for heart attacks and strokes decades later than kids who have good oral health, according to a recent study conducted by JAMA Network Open.

Keep reading as Reuters discussed the complete findings of this study. The Oral Surgery DC Team

(Reuters Health) – Children who develop cavities and gum disease may be more likely to develop risk factors for heart attacks and strokes decades later than kids who have good oral health, a recent study suggests.

Researchers did dental exams for 755 children in 1980, when they were eight years old on average, then followed them through 2007 to see how many of them developed risk factors for heart attacks and strokes like high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, high blood sugar, and hardening of the arteries.

Overall, just 33 kids, or 4.5 percent, had no signs of bleeding, cavities, fillings, or pockets around teeth that can signal gum disease. Almost six percent of the kids had one of these four signs of oral infections, while 17 percent had two signs, 38 percent had three signs, and 34 percent had all four signs.

Kids who had even one sign of oral infection were 87 percent more likely to develop what’s known as subclinical atherosclerosis: structural changes and thickening in the artery walls that aren’t yet serious enough to cause complications.

Children with all four signs of poor oral health were 95 percent more likely to develop this type of artery damage.

Oral infections are among the most common causes of inflammation-induced diseases worldwide, and periodontal disease in adults has long been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers note in JAMA Network Open.

Most people get cavities and gum disease for the first time in childhood, and these conditions can develop into more serious infections and tooth loss if they aren’t properly treated, the study authors note. Treating these oral health problems in childhood can also reduce inflammation and other risk factors for hardening of the arteries.

“This emphasizes how important good oral hygiene and frequent check-ups with a dentist starting early in life are for general health,” said lead study author Pirkko Pussinen of the University of Helsinki in Finland.

“The children with a healthy mouth had a better cardiovascular risk profile (lower blood pressure, body mass index, glucose, and cholesterol) throughout the whole follow-up period,” Pussinen said by email.

More than four in five kids had cavities and fillings, and 68 percent of them also had bleeding during dental exams. Slight pocketing around the gums was observed in 54 percent of the kids, although it was more often found in boys than in girls.

Both cavities and pocketing that can signal gum disease were associated with thickening of walls of the carotid arteries, blood vessels in the neck that carry blood from the heart to the brain. This indicates the progression of atherosclerosis and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how cavities or other oral health problems might directly cause heart attacks or strokes. Not everyone with subclinical atherosclerosis or other risk factors will go on to have a heart attack or stroke.

Poor oral health in childhood was also associated with an increase in blood pressure and body mass index in early adulthood, noted co-author of an accompanying editorial Dr. Salim Virani of Baylor College of Medicine and the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston.

“These could themselves be associated with poor heart health in adulthood,” Virani said by email. Systemic inflammation associated with poor oral health is also linked to heart disease and stroke, Virani added.

“Either the relationship shown in this study is causal or there are yet unmeasured confounders (risk factors) that are associated with both poor oral health as well as future risk of cardiovascular disease,” Virani said. “For example, could poor oral health be a marker of poor nutrition which itself is associated with cardiovascular disease, or could poor oral health be a marker of lower socioeconomic status which itself may be associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease in the future?”

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-kids-mouth/dental-infections-in-kids-tied-to-heart-disease-risk-in-adulthood-idUSKCN1S62L6