Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Achieve optimal oral health in your family

Researchers suggest periodontal disease can pass through saliva. This means that the common contact of saliva in families may put children and couples at risk for contracting the periodontal disease of another family member.

Based on this research, The American Academy of Periodontology
(AAP) recognizes that treatment of gum disease may involve entire families. If one family member has periodontal disease, the AAP recommends that all family members see a dental professional
for a periodontal disease screening.

Parents should also be aware that periodontal disease is not just
an adult health problem. In fact, studies indicate that gingivitis is nearly a universal finding in children and adolescents. Gingivitis is the first level of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a bacterial gum infection that progresses over time and can become more advanced with age.

To ensure healthy teeth as an adult, good oral health habits should be established as a child. Parents can encourage good at home oral health habits in children. For example, parents may want to reward children with visits from the tooth fairy not just when a tooth is lost, but also when a child receives a clean bill of health from the dentist.

 Evidence shows that periodontal disease may increase during adolescence due to lack of motivation to practice oral hygiene. Children who maintain good oral health habits through the teen years are more likely to continue brushing and flossing than children who were not taught proper oral care.

Periodontal disease is a leading cause of tooth loss in adults. In addition, research has linked it to more serious health threats such as diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and pre-term low-birthweight babies.

Periodontists recommend remembering the basics. Replace toothbrushes every few months or
when the bristles begin to look frayed. Floss daily to break up the bacterial colonies between teeth
that can cause periodontal disease. And, seek dental care for professional cleanings, as well as screenings for periodontal disease.

Free brochures entitled
Caring For Your Child’s Teeth and
Gums and Periodontal Diseases:
What You Need To Know are available
by calling 1-800-FLOSS-EM
or by using the AAP’s online
request form at

Simple tips help ensure healthy smiles

Your periodontist and his or her staff can give you tips for improving the oral health of your
family, including demonstrating proper home care techniques.
Here's some additional tips:

  •  Know what medications family members are taking and let your dental professionals know about these. Many medications can dry out the mouth, which can cause bad breath and eventually periodontal disease.
  • If you’re thinking about becoming pregnant, see a periodontist. About a quarter of women of childbearing age have periodontitis, which can put their unborn babies at risk. In fact, they may be as much as seven times more likely to deliver a premature and underweight baby.
  • Monitor your family to see if anyone has the habit of teeth grinding. Grinding can cause cracked or chipped teeth and can increase the risk of developing periodontal disease. Dentists can make custom-fitted night bite guards to prevent teeth grinding at night.
  •  Up to 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to developing severe periodontal disease. Genetic testing could result in the early identification and treatment of at-risk patients. 
  • Be aware that if your family drinks a lot of bottled water, they may be missing out on the fluoridation that has been added to public water systems for several decades. Children who drink adequately fluoridated water have up to 50 percent fewer cavities than children who do not.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

More Tips to Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy

Most people recognize how important it is to keep your teeth and gums healthy, but over time,
different lifestyle factors can negatively impact your periodontal health. To help
maintain healthy teeth and gums, keep these tips in mind

Strive to be stress free
Minimize the stress in your life. Research has shown that people who are having a difficult time
coping with stress can neglect their oral hygiene.1 Additionally, researchers have also associated
the hormone cortisol with periodontal disease.2 Chronic stress has been shown to increase levels of cortisol, and these increased levels can be a factor in developing periodontal disease.

Kick the tobacco habit
Tobacco use is one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of
periodontal disease. Tobacco’s negative effects on oral health are well documented. Most
people that have recurrent periodontal disease are smokers, and smoking is also associated
with complications after oral surgery.

Drink alcohol in moderation
Drinking the occasional glass of red wine has been shown to have positive effects on the body;
however, heavy drinking can negatively impact your oral health. Alcohol can irritate your
gums, tongue, and other oral tissues. It can also contribute to poor healing after surgery and
can halt your oral hygiene routine. In addition, heavy drinkers often suffer from tooth
decay as a result of the increased exposure to sugars and acids that are often found in alcoholic

Stock up on healthy foods
You know that a healthy diet is important for your overall health, but it’s also very important for
your oral health! A good diet will help your immune system be at its best to help fight infections,
including periodontal disease. In addition to eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet, research has shown that both yogurt3 and green tea4 may add an extra boost to your periodontal health.

Genetics can affect oral health, too!
Family history may make a difference in your overall health, including periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is multi-factorial, which means you can be susceptible due to
genetics as well as environmental factors such as diet and smoking. Your genes play a 
major role in the onset and severity of periodontal disease.

1. Peruzzo, DC et al. A systematic review of
stress and psychological factors as possible
risk factors for periodontal disease. J
Periodontol. 2007 Aug;78(8):1491-504.
2. Cury PR et al. Hydrocortisone Affects the
Expression of Matrix Metalloproteinases
(MMP-1, -2, -3, -7, and -11) and Tissue
Inhibitor of Matrix Metalloproteinases
(TIMP-1) in Human Gingival Fibroblasts. J
Periodontol. 2007 Jul;78(7):1309-15.
3. Shimazaki Y et al. Intake of Dairy
Products and Periodontal Disease: The
Hisayama Study. J Periodontol. 2008 Jan;79
4. Kushiyama M et al. Relationship Between
Intake of Green Tea and Periodontal
Disease. J Periodontol. 2009 Mar;80(3):

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Choose Tried-and-True Methods to Treat Gum Disease


Miracle cures, or quick fixes, have been around for centuries; certain foods, ointments, or potions have claimed to cure everything from hair loss to cancer. Marketed as quick, easy, and painless, these
miracle cures often are not backed by science or approved by the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA), which means that they may do more harm than good. Similar quick fixes that claim to treat
periodontal disease are no different. Though elements of these quick and easy periodontal
“cures” may be FDA approved, there may be little or no scientific proof that they are effective in the
prevention and treatment of periodontal diseases. In fact, periodontal “miracle cures” may
actually harm your oral health. Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects
the gums and bone supporting the teeth, and has been associated with the progression of other
diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. If you opt for a treatment for periodontal disease that has not been backed by scientific evidence, it’s possible that the treatment won’t effectively treat (or could even worsen) your condition. Just because a treatment is deemed “new” or
“innovative” doesn’t mean that it works properly or better than more traditional treatments. By choosing the quick fix route first, your oral health may remain in poor condition and you may require additional treatment. Instead, a better idea is to schedule an appointment with a periodontist when you notice signs of periodontal disease (red, swollen or tender gums; bleeding while brushing or flossing; gums that are receding or pulling away from the  teeth; loose or separating teeth). A
periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of
periodontal disease and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists receive extensive
training in these areas, including three additional years of education  beyond dental school. They are
familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease, and their
education and experience allow them to effectively treat periodontal disease using clinically
proven treatments such as scaling and root planing, soft tissue grafts and regenerative procedures. A
periodontist will evaluate your unique condition, and offer the treatment that is best for you; one
that is supported by both science and experience. Your periodontist can also answer any questions that you may have about alternate treatment options. Your oral health is invaluable. While quick fixes for periodontal disease may seem like a good option, it’s a better idea to research treatment options and discuss them with a periodontist first. The discussion has the possibility of saving you time and
money in the long-run!
If you or someone you know is considering periodontal therapy, you may visit us at and Further information is available at

Friday, September 11, 2015

Osteoporosis and Bisphosphonates

Osteoporosis and Tooth Loss
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes low or decreasing bone mass. Untreated osteoporosis can often lead to tooth loss, mainly because the disease diminishes the density of  the bone supporting the teeth. Since both osteoporosis and periodontal disease have shared risk factors such as tobacco use and age, and because both can result in bone loss, an association between the two diseases has been difficult to prove. However, if you are at risk for or being treated for osteoporosis, it is still important to keep your oral health at its best. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice every day, floss at least once every day, and see a dental professional, such as a periodontist, every six months.

What You Need to Know about Bisphosphonates
You may have heard recent reports about bisphosphonate drugs and their potential effect on periodontal health. These reports can be alarming and even misleading, especially for those taking
bisphosphonates. The information below explains what bisphosphonates are, how they are
related to periodontal health, and how bisphosphonates may impact your periodontal treatment. Bisphosphonates, also known as bone-sparing drugs, are used to treat and prevent osteoporosis, and
are also prescribed to patients diagnosed with certain bone cancers. Bisphosphonates can be
administered in two ways: orally and intravenously (IV). Oral, or tablet, bisphosphonates (common names include Fosamax, Boniva, and Actonel) are usually prescribed for osteoporosis, while IV
bisphosphonates (common names include Aredia and Zometa) are typically prescribed for patients with advanced bone cancers to help decrease pain and fractures. In rare instances, some people that
have been treated with bisphosphonates, especially the intravenous form, develop a rare condition called osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), which can cause severe, irreversible, and often debilitating
damage to the jaw. ONJ can be worsened by invasive dental procedures such as tooth extractions
or dental implants. People may not have symptoms in the early stages of ONJ, but pain can gradually
develop as the condition progresses.
Symptoms of ONJ include:
• Loose teeth
• Numbness or a feeling of
heaviness in the jaw
• Pain, swelling, or infection of the
gums or jaw
• Gums that do not heal
• Exposed bone
Currently, there is no treatment that  definitely cures ONJ. However, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs may help relieve some of the pain associated with ONJ. Most people diagnosed with ONJ will also need surgical treatment. If your physician prescribes a bisphosphonate, especially IV bisphosphonates, it is very important to tell your dental professional, because your dental treatment plan may be affected. There have been other risk factors associated with
ONJ including age, gender, and other medical conditions, so it is important to share all health
information with your dental professional. It is also important to maintain your oral health if you are taking bisphosphonates. Even though the risk of developing ONJ while taking a bisphosphonate remains very small, if you need periodontal surgery, your dental professional may recommend
that you interrupt your bisphosphonate therapy prior to, during, and/or after your procedure.
Be assured that both the medical and dental communities are studying ways to ensure the safest outcomes  for patients taking bisphosphonates who require invasive dental procedures.

The American Academy of Periodontology Patient Page is a public service of the AAP and should
not be used as a substitute for the care and advice of your personal periodontist. There may be
variations in treatment that your periodontist will recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
Visit to assess your risk and for more information on periodontal disease.