Thursday, October 19, 2006

About time they publish something like this

The Age, 9th October 2006

A rotting tooth can infect your life

Peter Weekes

MELBOURNE researchers have developed a world-first test that reveals which teeth are at threat of imminent decay. They say the test will help reduce the risk of heart attack and premature birth, and control some forms of diabetes.

Researchers at Melbourne University are about to publish the results of a successful clinical trial of the test that allows dentists to accurately predict if a tooth is at risk of developing gum disease, which if left untreated could be fatal.

"People can die of dental infection if you have a spreading infection going down into the throat or chest cavity, or occasionally into the brain," said associate professor at the University of Sydney and chairman of the Association for the Promotion of Oral Health, Dr Hans Zoellner.

"In New Zealand, the unofficial estimate is that one or two people die of it every year. I suspect in Australia the number is similar, but no one is counting."

Fortunately, in most cases the disease can be treated before it becomes deadly, but it involves a hospital stay and a heavy course of antibiotics.

The new test for potential gum disease will allow dentists to resolve the problem long before hospital admission is required and also prevent other problems.

"Periodontal (gum) disease is a very good predictor of people getting cardiovascular disease," said Melbourne University associate professor Stuart Dashper. "People with untreated chronic periodontal disease have a much higher risk of getting cardiovascular diseases than people with healthy mouths."

In the past 10 years or so, scientists have discovered that many illnesses can be traced to a person's oral health, and gum disease in particular.

Periodontal disease is unlike other diseases where a person gets an infection from a bacterium outside the body. The bug that causes gum disease is among the 700-odd bacteria that are always in a person's mouth, but once one or two proliferate, they can cause widespread inflammation, bleeding and pain. A mouth with gum disease affecting all teeth has an area of infection about the same size as a human hand.

Bacteria in plaque eat away at the ligament holding the tooth in place and can then get into the jawbone and blood supply.

Melbourne University senior lecturer and head of periodontics, Ivan Darby, who also worked on the study, said once oral bacteria entered the blood supply, the whole body was affected.

"One of the things it affects is the build-up of fatty plaque in your arteries that leads to heart disease. We have found the DNA of the bugs that cause gum disease . . . in the fatty plaque in the arteries around the heart."

A Danish study last month also found an increased risk of coronary heart disease among those aged under 60 who had more than four millimetres of jawbone loss from gum disease.

Oral bacteria may also trigger a build-up of the hormones that induce women into labour prematurely. Professor John Newnham, of the University of Western Australia, said an "association" between the two was known, and he was in the midst of a $1 million study designed to find if a link existed.

What researchers do know is that an oral infection releases three bacteria into the body's circulation: cytokines, which cause inflammation and are involved in the initiation of labour; prostaglandins, used by hospitals to induce labour; and a unique mouth bacterium that can "translocate" and has been found in the amniotic fluid that surrounds the embryo.

Professor Newnham's study follows a similar one in Chile last year, which found periodontal therapy reduced pre-term birth and low birth-weight infant rates by 68 per cent in women with pregnancy-associated gingivitis.

Dr Darby said international research had also revealed that periodontal therapy limited the wild swings in diabetics' sugar levels. "What has been shown recently is that if you treat the gum problems of people with diabetes, you can improve their glycaemia control so you don't get these wide fluctuations," he said.

The bite stuff

· Brush and floss twice daily, and get regular check-ups.

· Quit smoking. Gum disease can be added to the long list of reasons why it's healthier not to smoke.

· Drink water. Helps reduce mouth inflammation by producing more saliva. Saliva dilutes toxins in the mouth created by plaque.

· Eat healthier. A balanced diet enhances your overall health.

SOURCE: Medical Network

Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the damage caused under a tooth.

Periodontal therapy has been shown to reduce the wild fluctuations in a diabetic's blood-sugar count.

Bacteria can eat away at the jaw bone that holds the teeth in place.

Oral bacteria can spur the production of the hormone that tells the female body it is time to give birth.

Oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and reach the brain, causing damage.

The DNA of oral bacteria has been found in plaque that clogs the arteries, which leads to heart attacks.

SOURCE: University of Melbourne, Association for the Promotion of Oral Health, University of Copenhagen, Unversity of Western Australia and University of Chile.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Dentist vs Stupid People

I was surfing the web when I came across this website called Toothache at Holy Shmoly!

I had a good laugh. It's amazing how ignorant some people are. If you are getting pain obviously your body is trying to tell you something is very wrong, but instead of seeking professional help guess what these people do? Go on the net and ask about home remedies. Yes, go on, drink those alcohol. Just wait till the infection spread and you end up in the hospital emergency department dying from caries.

Why are there so many stupid ppl? -_-"

Here's one of the comment on the website by someone called Ban Fillings and my replies.

Ban Fillings Aug 25th, 2006 at 10:02 am

The problem with amalgam fillings, apart from the fact that the mercury in them is toxic and could very well be creating a host of long-term illnesses in your body, is that in order for fillings to hold, dentists have to drill the cavity out quite deeply, thereby reducing the strength of the tooth by 75%. Fillings later expand and cause the tooth to crack and this harbours more decay and the filling eventually falls out leaving the tooth in worse shape than had the initial cavity been left alone. I can’t wait for all my amalgam fillings to fall out. But will I get them drilled out or replaced by new generation fillings? No way. I have found that the pain related to a cavity or a broken tooth, while intense, is usually short-lived - lasting generally no longer than a week max and the pain is mostly controllable during that time anyway. The body obviously has a way of counteracting the pain. I mean, you have to ask yourself “how did people cope in the days before dentistry?” I find that most of the pain of a toothache is related to food particles and tooth/filling fragments that irritate the cavity. Therefore my first line of defence is to use strong (rounded) wooden toothpicks to dislodge these particles and clean out the cavity and thoroughly work the toothpick between the adjoining teeth. Then using my thumb and forefinger I wiggle the affected tooth as much as possible from side to side and then bite down on a tissue that’s been folded over and over. I do this routine after every meal and whenever I feel pain. All this manipulation can intensify the pain momentarily, but in my experience the body remedies the situation itself within a few days. If I’m feeling excrutiating pain I find that swilling brandy or similar over the affected area in conjunction with a dose of headache tablets before going to bed works wonders. Would I get another filling? No way. Would I get a tooth extracted? Yes, but only if the pain of the toothache was so bad that I wasn’t prepared to wait for it to fall out on its own. But if you can stand a little discomfort, be patient and your body will generally rectify itself.

dentistdownunder Sep 5th, 2006 at 2:49 pm

Ban Fillings,

Maybe you should advocate prevention instead of spewing rubbish. Prevention is the best cure. Leaving infection untreated is just asking for trouble. You are lucky nothing has happen to you yet, but others are not as fortunate as you. I’ve seen several cases at the hospital emergency department where ppl almost died from complications developed from a simple decay that was being ignored. Infection, if left untreated, can spread. Maybe you should try pulling them out with pliers yourself instead of leaving them in your mouth. Try leaving an open wound on your arm and bath it constantly in fluid loaded with bacteria and tell me what happen.

Ban Fillings Sep 9th, 2006 at 7:18 pm

Dentist Down Under,

Prevention of decay is all very good, but the dentists’ philosophy of saving a tooth at any cost rather than extracting it is a profit motivated practise. Drilling and filling teeth is an expensive, destructive, cosmetic and very temporary solution to the problem akin to grinding the rust out of a car body and filling it with bog before respraying - it looks okay for a while, but the damage is already done and the underlying decay will keep resurfacing.

I am not advocating that people ignore infection. The pain they experience is the body’s way of telling them there is something the matter. If they clean out the food particles and bits of toxic filling and remove the sections of bad tooth, the pain usually disappears within a couple of days without any other intervention.

The money-generating dental “profession” has only been around a century or so, yet people seemed to manage before then somehow, even if they didn’t have perfectly straight, Hollywood bleached teeth. The human race managed to survive before dentists came along by using common sense and allowing the body to heal itself.

Generations of people now have been conditioned to book an appointment with the dentist at the first sign of a toothache, or trained by the dentist to go regularly for checkups. Either way, the dentist gets plenty of repeat business and most people are totally unaware of their ability to deal with their teeth themselves.

dentistdownunder Sep 10th, 2006 at 1:47 pm

Ban Fillings,

You obviously live in the last century. Nowadays we prefer preventive dentistry to restorative. If I don’t have to drill I wouldn’t. Like I kept saying, early decay is REVERSIBLE, provided it’s detected in the early stage, that’s why it’s important to have regular check up, unless you can cut out the carbohydrate from your diet no matter how many times you brush you still have the risk of getting decay but it’s your choice nobody is forcing you to see the dentist. If you let your car get to the stage of rusting you obviously never take good care of it, just like your teeth they need regular maintenance.
I’ve left holes unfilled several times, provided it’s not decay and the patient can keep it very clean you don’t have to fill it. The filling is only there to prevent the tooth from getting decay again, as it’s very difficult to keep clean when you’ve a hole in your tooth. If you don’t want it filled it’s fine by me it’s your tooth not mine. What I don’t understand is that why do ppl think that fillings should last forever? Your car doesn’t last forever so why should you expect a filling to last forever. When you have a heart attack you don’t expect the cardiologist to fix your heart back to what it used to be, so why do you bash the dentist when a dental treatment doesn’t restore your tooth to what it used to be? Weird.
Please do more research before you make any untrue statements. Human beings had been practicing dentistry for thousands of years. Archaeologists studying the remains of two men from Mehrgarh, Pakistan, made the discovery that the people of Indus Valley Civilization, even from the early Harappan periods (c. 3300 BC), had knowledge of medicine and dentistry. The physical anthropologist that carried out the examinations, Professor Andrea Cucina from the University of Missouri-Columbia, made the discovery when he was cleaning the teeth from one of the men. Later research in the same area found evidence of teeth having been drilled, dating back 9,000 years. Check out the news on the BBC website
Ancient Chinese medical works also discussed dental and gum diseases in their oldest medical book written by Huang Ti about 2500B.C., one whole chapter was devoted to dental and gum diseases and the treatment of this conditions.
Hammurabi’s Code created around 1780B.C. had several references to dental procedures and fees.
The Edwin Smith Papyrus (dates as early as 3000 B.C.) and Ebers Papyrus from about 1550 B.C. also discussed several dental diseases. Numerous papyri enumerate prescriptions to dental diseases, such as pyorrhea, loose teeth, dental caries and abscesses. Surgically produced holes to drain an abscess under the 1st molar were found in the mandible of a 4th dynasty mummy (2625 - 2510 BC). A loose tooth fixed with a gold wire bridge to a neighboring sound tooth was discovered in another mummy of the same dynasty in Giza. Artificial teeth holding a maxillary bridge by a silver wire was also found in the late period (Greco-Roman). Tooth extraction, treatment of mouth ulcers and treatment of jaw dislocation were also dealt with in the Edwin Smith and Ebers Papyri.
I can go on and on with more examples but I’ll just leave it at that.
So the dental profession has only been around for a century or so? I don’t think so. You are probably living in a cave or your English is so bad you don’t know the defination of “a century”.
I don’t advocate Hollywood straight, bleached teeth. In fact I always try to convince my patients they’ve beautiful teeth whenever they want me to bleach them or straighten them. Teeth are naturally yellow, I won’t bleach my own teeth so I won’t bleach others either. If you want to blame someone, blame the media. There is only supply when there is demand, if ppl never ask for “blinding white” teeth I doubt any dentist would be doing it.
Tooth is drilled to remove decay, if you have a better way of removing it please let me know. Pain would disappear when the nerve dies, but the infection is still there, that’s why ppl end up in the emergency department dying from an ignored dental infection. They think once the pain is gone the tooth is getting better, but as long as the decay is still there it will eventually blow up, the pain will return, often 10 times worse, and if you are the unlucky one, die from a simple tooth decay. If you want to yank your tooth out just because of decay by all mean go ahead, God obviously put your teeth there for a reason but like I said before, it’s your teeth not mine, do whatever you want with them, that’s what I always tell my patients, just don’t come back to me to complain later down the track. :)

I'm still waiting for Ban Filling's reply. He probably went into hiding because he had ran out of shit to rebut me. Ha.

Dentist 1. Stupid ppl 0.

Monday, October 02, 2006

How much is your health worth?

She hasn't been to the dentist for "a while". She said she can't afford it but she had no choice today because one of the teeth was starting to hurt. "I only want that tooth fixed, nothing else.", she said.

I fixed the decay but can't help noticing the thick calculus around her teeth. Studies have shown the association between poor oral hygiene and systemic health, especially heart disease. It costs $65 to get scaling done once a year, that's less than $6 a month. You can't even go to the cinema with less than $15 these days, and I know ppl who burn $200 a week on cigarettes, so I don't think money is a good enough excuse to let your oral health deteriorate like this. It'll cost much more to replace those teeth once they start falling out due to periodontitis, not to mention being handicapped by it coz frankly speaking it's a pain in the arse to replace missing lower teeth with dentures, you won't be able to eat with it. If you want implants, get ready to sell your house.

Anyway, she seemed like a nice lady, no fancy clothes, no make up, no smoker's breath, maybe she does have financial difficulty. So I gave her the benefits of the doubt and did the scaling for free, boss doesn't know of course. I hate it when ppl tell me they can't afford it. I hate it even more if I can do something but sit around and do nothing. So I just went ahead and did it.