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Badly cleaned dental instruments could possibly lead to Alzheimer’s

Mon

According to research by University College London, dental patients may be at risk of Alzheimer’s due to contaminated dental instruments. Professor John Collinge, a neurologist at the College, says that a new study has shown that a protein which causes the degenerative brain disease could be transmitted by badly cleaned dental tools used during surgery. The protein builds up to block signals between brain cells, causing deterioration in the brain, a condition known as Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Collinge said that ‘one would have to consider whether certain types of dental treatment are relevant’ in order to try and avert the risks associated with dental care, as it is not yet known if the protein can be killed off using conventional methods of sterilisation. According to the research carried out, more studies need to be done before any conclusions can be drawn about the potential risk to dental patients.

There is the fear that these findings could stop people going to the dentist to treat other conditions, such as gum disease, that could be damaging or even fatal to their health in extreme circumstances. Although it is thought that some forms of surgery have been linked to dementia and other health problems in the past, dentists are still advising that patients visit their dental clinic if they are having problems with their teeth or dental health.

Not brushing your teeth could cause serious health problems

Wed

An experiment has revealed that failing to properly brush your teeth could lead to dangerous health complications; the results were broadcast as part of a two-part series on dental health for the BBC. Dr Christoffer Van Tulleken was told to wear a gum guard on one side of his mouth so that his teeth could not be properly cleaned when he brushed every day; the experiment took place over a two week period and Dr Van Tulleken spoke to Mailonline about the results.

By the time the fortnight experiment was over, the Doctor had developed mild gum disease and was spitting blood after brushing; however, there was more to this than meets the eye and tests conducted by Professor Iain Chapple at the University of Birmingham School of Dentistry showed that his immune system had actually suffered some damage. Test results revealed that Christoffer’s white blood cells were less effective and chronic inflammation could also have damaged other cells in the body. The infection affected all of his body temporarily but long-term gum disease can push the immune system into overdrive, causing damage to other areas of the body on a more permanent basis.

Without treatment, gum disease can not only lead to tooth loss, it can also be a trigger for type 2 diabetes, dementia, and heart disease, with the gum infection causing chronic, irreversible damage to the body’s organs.

Dental patient wins pay-out after thirteen of her teeth fall out

Mon

A dental patient was left ‘looking like Nanny McPhee’ after thirteen of her teeth fell out, following botched dental treatment. Alexandra Walkden, 62, was left almost toothless after treatment for gum disease failed miserably; the grandmother was forced to pay thousands of pounds for implant surgery to replace the teeth.

Mrs Walkden, of Preston, Lancashire, has now won £35,000 in damages in an out-of-court settlement after she took her dentist to court following the disastrous dental work. Mrs Walkden told Mailonline that she resembled someone ‘who had been in a car crash’, describing black eyes and a swollen mouth that stopped her from eating comfortably. She added that this situation had all but ruined her life.

Speaking about her dentist, Dr John Musgrave, 57, she said that over the thirty years she was a patient with him, she trusted his judgement ‘implicitly’ and believed everything he told her. However, she claims she was never told she had gum disease and was never offered an appointment with an oral hygienist. The truth about her dental condition was only revealed when she visited a local dentist whilst on holiday in 2013; a different dentist confirmed the serious diagnosis when Mrs Walkden returned home and she learned that she would lose all over her top teeth because they were basically rotting from the inside out.

Although she won the compensation, Mrs Walkden says that is it not a ‘pay out’ because she feels that ‘no amount of money’ can compensate for the struggle she has gone through for the past few years. Dr Musgrave did not admit liability and has made no comment on the case.

Modern Britons have more gum disease than their ancestors

Fri

Despite the fact there was very little dental care in Roman times, experts claim that modern Britons suffer with gum disease more than their ancestors did during the Roman Occupation, which was 1,800 years ago. This theory comes after 300 ancient skulls, some dating back to 200AD, were examined by researchers at Kings College London and only five per cent of them were found to have signs of periodontitis – gum disease. Experts suggest that smoking is to blame for this increase in modern cases of the infection, along with other modern habits.

Professor Francis Hughes, of King’s College London, said that the team were surprised to find that gum disease was far less prevalent in Roman times than it is today, even though people did not brush their teeth or visit the dentist in those days. Professor Hughes explained ‘One of the main reasons for doing the study was the realisation in recent years that a lot of periodontal disease was associated with smoking and to a lesser extend diabetes, and although oral hygiene is obviously important it wasn’t the only factor that contributed to destructive periodontal disease.’

The research, which has been published in the British Dental Journal, also revealed that many people in Roman times suffered with tooth decay and the ancient population showed extensive tooth wear; thought to be caused by a diet made up mainly of coarse cereals and grains. Professor Hughes added that ‘Some tooth decay was seen in many of the population – the main difference of this to modern populations was that this was typically confided to one or two teeth, whereas it is more widespread in the mouth today.’

Bromley woman wins compensation after suffering tooth loss

Wed

A woman from Bromley has won £30,000 in compensation after her dentist failed to diagnose bone deterioration that led to her losing multiple teeth. Maxine Petty, 54, was a long-time patient of Paul Travers-Spencer and said that she ‘trusted him completely’ to take care of her dental health.

Signs of bone loss were detected when Ms Petty visited the dentist in 1980 but no treatment was prescribed; in 1994 a second x-ray revealed that the bone loss was between twenty and forty per cent. This deterioration continued into 1995 but Mr Travers-Spencer only offered antibiotics. Ms Petty maintains that she was ‘unaware’ of what was going on and had no idea how serious her dental condition had become.

By 2008, the problem started to become more obvious and Ms Petty began to lose her teeth and she said that ‘At this stage I thought that receding gums and continual outbreaks of pain and infection was about ageing and normal wear and tear and although I did not want to lose the teeth I just thought that was quite normal.’ However, after a visit to another dentist for a second opinion, Ms Petty was ‘horrified’ to be told how serious the gum disease was and she was informed that more of her teeth would be lost.

The DLP took up her case and provided evidence to show that the standard of care was ‘seriously below what was expected. Maxine suffered enormously under his care, losing five teeth and having to endure the pain and discomfort of extensive remedial work to replace teeth and to save others.’

Ms Petty added that she was shocked by the treatment she had received and pointed out that ‘if he had acted on my issues sooner I would not be in this mess. The service was abysmal. I am glad the case has been settled and I can try and move on.’

Mr Travers-Spencer did not admit liability.

Leamington dentist invents tool to treat gum disease

Wed

A Leamington dentist claims to have invented a brush that can cure chronic gum disease in under a week; Dr Hani Mostafa, of Dentistry at the Gallery in Leicester Street, coordinated an independent study into his Gumsaver Gumbrush at the International Sharm El Sheikh Hospital in Egypt. The research involved treating patients with periodontal disease using the new tool, and the results were startling.

Dr Mostafa has spent five years developing the product and even he was surprised by how effective the brush was, when combined with antibacterial mouthwash. He told The Warwick Courier ‘I had no idea that in combining my product and Corsodyl Gel, a freely available gum health medicine from chemists, that the disease could be essentially eradicated within 90 hours. It depends on focus by the patient and support from their dentist.’

Gum disease is a very common problem and it is estimated that around 90% of the adult population in the UK will suffer with it at some stage. The Gumsaver is currently helping around 500 patients at Dr Mostafa’s surgery who suffer with gum disease and he is happy for other dentists to benefit from his invention, he said ‘I would also welcome any dental health professional to contact me at Dentistry at the Gallery if they would like to know how it was done.’

Good dental hygiene could help prevent arthritis

Tue

Scientists are claiming that brushing your teeth could help to prevent arthritis in later life. According to researchers at the University of Louisville’s School of Dentistry, in Kentucky, a link has been discovered between the bacterium responsible for gum disease and earlier onset of rheumatoid arthritis, as well as a faster progression and increased severity of the condition.

The bacterium produces an enzyme which reacts with certain proteins in the body, which are then recognised as intruders and the immune system attacks, leading to bone and cartilage deterioration at the joints. Previous studies revealed that gum disease is at least twice as common in patients that suffer with arthritis, indicating a link between the two conditions. The bacterium produces the enzyme peptidylarginine deiminanse (PAD) and researcher Dr Jan Potempa said that ‘our results suggest that bacterial PAD may constitute the mechanistic link between P. gingivalis periodontal infection and rheumatoid arthritis, but this ground-breaking conclusion will need to be verified with further research.’

Dr Potempa added that the results of the study, published in PLOS Pathogens, could help with research aimed at treatment and prevention of rheumatoid arthritis.

Other research has indicated that P. gingivalis infection can often precede rheumatoid arthritis and this particular bacterium can be blamed for the onset of the autoimmune response in the body, which occurs in patients who develop arthritis.

World’s oldest case of gum disease discovered

Mon

A 1000-year-old skeleton has revealed what is believed to be the oldest case of gum disease in human history; the remains were described as a ‘microbial Pompeii’ after it was discovered that hardened plaque had preserved bacteria and microscopic particles of food between the teeth. It was also found that the same basic genetic machinery that causes gum disease in modern man was present in the ancient human oral microbiome (the micro-organisms that live in the body).

Although the bones in a human skeleton quickly lose much of their molecular information after burial, calculus helps to preserve the biomolecules because it is much more stable, even after death has occurred. Researchers at the University of York, along with others from Swiss and Danish institutes, found that the level of preservation was much higher than first expected after the skeleton was discovered. Professor Matthew Collins, of the University of York, said that the micro-organisms had been ‘entombed’ and this preserved the minerals in what he describes as a ‘microbial Pompeii.’

He added ‘As we learn more about the evolution of this microbiome in response to migration and changes in diet, health, and medicine, I can imagine a future in which most archaeologists regard calculus as more interesting than the teeth themselves.’

Professor Christian von Mering, of the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, was in agreement, saying ‘Dental calculus is a window into the past and may well turn out to be one of the best-preserved records of human-associated microbes.’

London 2012 athletes found to have very bad teeth

Tue

Dentists working with the athletes that took part in the London 2012 Olympics have revealed that they found ‘striking’ levels of tooth decay in those competing at the games. A fifth of the athletes surveyed said that poor oral health had some effect on their training and performance.

The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, revealed that cavities, tooth erosion, and gum disease were all common problems, and researchers added that athletes, as a group, were found to have worse dental health than other people in similar age groups. Lead researcher Professor Ian Needleman said ‘Our data and other studies suggest that, for a similar age profile, the oral health of athletes is poor. It’s quite striking.’ He suggested that the large amount of carbohydrates that athletes were consuming, combined with the sugary energy drinks, could be leading to tooth damage. Prof Needleman also added that the stress on the immune system from training could leave athletes at risk of oral disease.

Although the competitors who visited the dental clinic during The Olympics were obviously more likely to have problems with their teeth, the results of the research still made for shocking reading; of the 302 athletes treated, from 25 sports, 55% showed early signs of decay, 45% had enamel erosion, and 76% had gum disease. A third of those assessed said that their oral health affected their quality of life and one in five said it affected their athletic performance.

Seven million Brits don’t clean their teeth regularly

Tue

According to a new survey, seven million British people do not clean their teeth regularly; one in seven even admitted leaving it two days before brushing and 21% of those asked said they forgot to floss. The research, carried out by the British Dental Health Foundation, found that the public’s attitude towards oral hygiene has not improved over the last two years; a previous study in 2011 found that around 28% of Britons admitted they didn’t brush once in a 24 hour period, whereas one in seven people said they went longer than two days without cleaning their teeth.

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, was surprised by the lack of basic oral hygiene, saying ‘It is troubling to learn that people still have a poor attitude when it comes to their oral health.’ Experts recommend that teeth should be brushed for at least two minutes twice a day and patients should visit the dentist once a year for a check-up.

Dr Carter added that anyone who neglects their oral health may find that they suffer with dental problems at a later date, such as tooth decay and gum disease, he said ‘Brushing last thing at night removes the deposits which have built up from eating and drinking during the day, as well as removing plaque. The last brush of the day also coats the teeth with fluoride, which is not washed away through eating and drinking, and continues to protect the tooth’s surface further during sleep. Flossing is also something that really is not a luxury – removing food stuck in between your teeth close to the gum lines is a really important step to preventing gum disease.’

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