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HPV and Oral Health

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According to a study published in the journal of American Association for Cancer Research, superb oral health may actually reduce the risk of HPV infections and HPV-related cancers.

The study, conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center revealed that regardless of smoking habits or oral sex behaviours, the overall health of teeth and particularly the gums, play an important factor in the development of HPV infections.

Based on the results conducted among 3,439 participants between the ages of 30 and 69; the survey looked into the participants’ HPV status as well as other health indicators such as the presence of gum disease, mouthwash use, missing teeth, and other dental problems within the past week of the survey.

Thanh Cong Bui, Ph.D., a member of the team and a postdoctoral research fellow at the university's School of Public Health, stated that, “Although more research is needed to confirm the causal relationship between oral health and oral HPV infection, people may want to maintain good oral health for a variety of health benefits.”

What is HPV

HPV or the human papillomavirus is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI). The virus can infect not only the genital area but also the mouth and throat.  It must be stressed that HPV is not similar to the human immune virus (HIV). However they are quite similar since individuals – whether sexually active or not – are susceptible to HPV.

HPV can lead to damaging problems including cancer but in most cases, HPV will disappear even without the person knowing they had it. If the infection persists, HPV can cause genital warts or develop into cancer. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), cervical cancer is the most prevalent HPV related cancer among women and oral cancer for the men.

Oral Health and HPV infection

Based on the study, bad oral health – or precisely – unhealthy and bleeding gums can serve as an entry way for an HPV infection.

The research team further stated that while the results need additional study, it raises the importance of oral health in many aspects of our overall health condition. Dr. Thanh Cong Bui concluded that, "Given that oral hygiene is fundamental for oral health and that it is modifiable, public health interventions may aim to promote oral hygiene and oral health as additional preventive measures for HPV-related oral cancers.”

Sources:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/21/oral-health-hpv-risk-_n_3790205.html
http://www.empr.com/poor-oral-health-tied-to-higher-risk-of-oral-hpv-infection/article/308721/#
http://www.ada.org/news/8952.aspx
http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm

Removing Dental Amalgams: What You Need To Know

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The recent mercury spill at Fabella Hospital in Manila once again brought into focus concerns about the use of mercury, its phase-out, and its proper storage.

As of this writing, the Department of Health (DOH) has already announced the successful cleansing of hospital premises but will need further tests and clearance before opening the affected areas for public use.

This news highlighted not only the need for a proper mercury storage facility but also the need for continuous education on handling and managing mercury and mercury-containing products.

Mercury Toxicity

In recent years, the local media has done its share of reporting on mercury spills and poisonings. Undeniably, this helped raise public awareness on mercury toxicity and of the possible results if individuals are exposed to deadly mercury vapors.

A primer released by the World Health Organization (WHO) states that “(M)ercury is highly toxic to human health, posing a particular threat to the development of the child.”  The primer continues by listing down the number of health effects which includes damage to the nervous, respiratory, and immune system and in some cases, “can be fatal.”

While both public and private hospitals have acknowledged the dangers and appropriately taken steps in removing and managing mercury, the dental health sector is still debating on the safety of dental amalgams aka silver fillings.

Dental Amalgams: What About Them?

Silver fillings are dental restorative materials composed of mercury, silver, tin, copper, and other trace metals. Our previous post, “Dental Amalgams: Why the Fuss?” discusses the risks involved (for dentists and patients) in using dental amalgams.

Research conducted by the International Academy for Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), an organization of academics, scientists, and dentists, have continuously shown that mercury vapors from the amalgams can seep into the body through chewing and drinking. As such, IAOMT has been calling for the removal of dental amalgams and other mercury-containing products in dental health care.

Dr. Lilian Ebuen, head of the Philippine Chapter of IAOMT reiterates that there’s already a government order in place, calling for hospitals and other healthcare facilities to stop using mercury-containing products and it’s about time that the dental sector – including the dentistry schools – to follow suit. 

“There are better options such as resin-based composites and atraumatic restorative treatment (ART).  These have consistently proven to be more practical, more durable and more affordable than dental amalgams. In fact, developed countries have moved away from using mercury in treating caries altogether.” she adds.

Removal of Dental Amalgams

Patients with dental amalgams and are concerned about their health should consult their dentist. Preferably, look for dentists that are accredited by IAOMT since they are most knowledgeabe and have the skills in dealing with the matter.

For a directory of IAOMT accredited dentists, follow this link

If you’ve decided to get the fillings removed, there are a number of precautions and procedures that must be observed.

1.    Ensure that the dentist has the proper equipment in removing amalgams. This is not a simple process and should be approached with caution, the dentist must have “(A)n efficient suction system in the oral cavity with a special tip or its equivalent to contain amalgam particles and mercury vapors.”

2.    The dentists and his/her staff must wear protective gear during the removal.

3.    Patients should likewise be protected. The patient’s face should be covered with a damp paper towel or a surgical drape.

4.    The patient must also be provided with piped-in air so as “to avoid breathing air directly over the mouth during amalgam removal.”

5.    The dentists should be applying generous amounts of water during the removal and

6.    The amalgam should be removed in large chunks to reduce mercury vapour.

For more information, please email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Our staff is trained in handling dental amalgam related questions and will be more than happy to assist you. For further inquiries, you can check out the IAOMT-Philippine website, http://www.iaomtphilippines.org/
 

sources:

http://www.interaksyon.com/article/68488/doh-says-clean-up-of-mercury-spill-at-fabella-hospital-completed
http://www.who.int/phe/news/Mercury-flyer.pdf
https://iaomt.org/safe-removal-amalgam-fillings/
http://iaomt.org/find-a-doctor/faqs-for-patients/

Too Much Sugar

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According to guidelines released by the American Heart Association (AHA), the recommended daily sugar intake should be 5 tsps. for women, 9 tsps. for men, and 3 tsps. for children. Exceeding this amount can lead to diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart-related problems, and even cancer. But as our previous post demonstrated, sugar is everywhere and running away from it is almost close to the impossible. 

Sugar and Teeth

When consuming sweets or sugar, it is broken down by enzymes in the mouth. The end process then provides a breeding ground for bacteria and as they feed, they expel acids that not only weaken and eventually damage teeth enamel but also inflame gums leading to gum disease.

While sugar does play a role in oral diseases, it should be clear that excessive consumption of sweets and sugar coupled with bad oral hygiene are what leads to caries and gum disease. 

However, before we go blaming sugar for all our ills; we should point out that sugar is essential to our health. Sugar provides energy boosts, helps with metabolism, and moderates the production of stress hormones. Total Body Dentistry emphasizes that a balanced diet helps in maintaining good oral health. Learning to distinguish “healthy” sugar from the “harmful” also does a lot of help.

Indeed, it is the copious amounts of sugar that is consumed daily that we should be wary of and not sugar per se. With that said, we can reduce our sugar intake through reading labels (particularly the ingredients of processed food) and knowing what the many different types of sugar used in our food.

Sugar and sweets are pleasurable, there’s no doubt about that but this proves the old adage that too much of anything good can be bad. We’re not telling you to stay away from those M&Ms, what we’re saying is to practice moderation and to always brush after eating sweets (or drink water, at least.)

For more information, send us an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

References:

http://iamdentistry.com/why-is-sugar-bad-for-your-teeth/#.UhWpMeWzpfY
http://lifehacker.com/5809331/what-sugar-actually-does-to-your-brain-and-body
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/importance-sugar-human-body-4424.html

Sugar, Sugar

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It’s one of life’s simple pleasures and one that is almost impossible to put to down. Such is the power of sugar and sweets. They come in different names and packages but essentially and unfortunately, they all have the same properties.


Even before the advent of modern dentistry, ancient Greeks have already deduced that sugar is bad for teeth. As they have noted, eating too many figs can cause tooth decay. Nowadays we know more about sugar than the ancients did but despite the wealth of information and facts, our love affair for sugar has grown probably stronger.

Sugarbabes

A recent study conducted by Washington University revealed that we are born with a penchant for sweets. The scientists believe that this is an evolutionary hangover – as when we were still struggling as a species – we developed ways to desire certain flavours necessary for living. These include the taste for salty, fats, and yes, sugar.

Sugar glucose is essential to health and survival. It provides nourishment to neurons, without which, a person could easily fall into a coma. However, our bodies cannot produce its own glucose and it has to take it from external sources.

Sugar Everywhere

According to NBC news, Americans consume 22 tsps. of sugar daily and this does not take into account the hidden sugars in food and drinks. Put them all together and it is significantly and alarmingly higher than the recommended daily allowance.

If you need to watch your sugar intake, you must learn to read ingredients. With that said, below are the primary types of sugar:

•    Glucose – this is sugar in its simplest form and can be found in plants and fruits.
•    Fructose – deliciously sweet, this type of sugar occurs in fruits, sugar, honey.
•    Sucrose – this is the common table sugar, naturally coming from sugar cane or other sources.
•    Lactose – sugar in milk.

Then there’s the zero-nutrition, industry processed refined sugar. As you can see from the list above, there is no easy way of avoiding sugar altogether.

On our next post, we will delve deeper and see how excessive sugar intake can have a toll on our health.  For concerns regarding your oral health, please email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Dental Braces 101

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There was a time when only kids and young adults wore braces but these days, college kids and even some adults who can afford it are turning to braces for corrective measures.  As experts have pointed out, there is no age limit to wearing braces, as long as the patient has healthy gums and bones to support it, braces can be worn.  Adults wear braces plainly because their parent could not afford it when they were younger.

Yup. Dental braces can be a symbol of social status in some areas but what are braces exactly? Simply put, dental braces are a form of treatment that helps correct underbites or overbites. If you are a little confused, there’s a difference between a dentist and an orthodontist. While both professionals are concerned with the care and maintenance of your dental health, orthodontists have extra units of study and they specialize in treatments and procedures to rectify misaligned teeth.

A part of the orthodontist’s arsenal is the dental brace. Before proceeding however, the orthodontist will conduct a variety of tests to measure the stability/strength of the patient’s jaw. The orthodontist will take X-rays and from there – he or she – will come up with recommendations and the proper course of action.


There are different types or styles of braces available, and fortunately, the ghastly full-metal mouth of old are being left behind now as orthodontists are opting for more aesthetically pleasing treatments for their patients.


Braces work through the continuous application of pressure, forcing the teeth to move and the concerned bones to reshape. The length of the treatment depends on the problem. The more severe it is, the longer it will take to set the teeth and the bones to set.

During this time, the patient should visit the orthodontist regularly. A once a month visit will allow the orthodontist to check on the treatment and adjust the wires and springs of the braces. After treatment, patients will have to wear retainers. These are usually prescribed to be worn daily for six months; afterwards, patients can wear them only at night. This process is a lifetime commitment to ensure that teeth and bones do not revert back to their original crooked alignments. 

A nice, perfect smile takes a lot of maintenance. Together with the retainers, keep teeth healthy and strong by practicing good oral hygiene.

For further questions, please feel free to email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Teaching Kids The Value of Dental Health

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Image: Flickr/7yearslater

As with most things, teaching the value of good oral hygiene and health should start at an early age. By the age of 6 or 7, kids will be able to brush on their own and this is a fantastic opportunity for parents to not only get technical (how to brush) but also why it is important.

We all know that maintaining oral health is vital to our overall health status. Teeth are important for chewing food, for speech, and for maintaining facial structure.  Lack of awareness or minimal health care can lead to tooth loss and in the long run will have effects on a person’s nutrient intake, the strength and structure of the jaw bones, and this can be further complicated by feelings of insecurity.

To prevent such a grim future, Total Body Dentistry believes that prevention is a thousand times more effective than expensive treatments and prevention can come in the form of education. Kids, often, are more prone to developing dental caries and gingivitis. In some cases, the condition would only get worse with age.

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of oral health care though, keep in mind that not all kids are similar. Some kids may find brushing and flossing enjoyable while others will find it ghastly. Knowing a child’s strength and limitations is the key. Also, unless, you already trust your child to be handy with the toothbrush – it is best to take the time and show your child the proper way to brush.

Creative approaches to teaching are particularly helpful. You can buy books on dental or general health care that are geared towards kids. Likewise, you can go online and search for any interactive sites on dental health care.  Take a lesson from shows such as Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer, those programs are successful in reaching out to kids because they use fun and games to raise kids’ interest.

Another tip is to introduce your kids early to dentists. Early visits to the dentists and adding elements of fun to the visit (think of the dental chair as a magical ride) will make it enjoyable.

Finally, ease your kids into the daily habit of brushing and flossing by getting them gum flavoured toothpastes and toothbrushes with soft bristles. Soft bristled toothbrushes are pleasant and they minimize the risks of damaging a child’s soft and sensitive gums.

If you build a  solid foundation, trust that your child will take this to heart and will enjoy the benefits of strong and healthy teeth for years. For further questions regarding your child's dental health, give us a visit or email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


References:

http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/950463/teaching-kids-about-dental-health

http://www.hspd.gr/eng/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=79&Itemid=191

http://voices.yahoo.com/tips-teaching-kids-healthy-oral-care-habits-6770980.html?cat=69

http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/950463/teaching-kids-about-dental-health