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Periodontal disease is common and unpleasant ranging from its earliest form of ginigivitis all the way to advanced periodontitis. According to ever mounting evidence, it could also play a role in a whole host of seemingly unrelated health problems.Periodontal Disease is a slow, progressive disease that has the capability to destroy our oral and systemic health. Many of the underlying symptoms of periodontal disease take time to manifest themselves and are often ignored. It is important to recognize these signs and symptoms as periodontal disease is the #1 cause of tooth loss in adults. Periodontal disease shows itself in many different forms including aggressive, chronic, necrotizing periodontitis, and periodontitis associated with systemic diseases. Each type of periodontal disease has its own set of characteristics and symptoms, and all require prompt, individualized treatment by your dentist to help slow the progression and hopefully halt the subsequent bone and gum tissue loss. Risk of periodontal disease increases with age. For younger people, dental caries are a more important risk for tooth loss, while for older people, periodontal disease is the more important risk factor. Studies have shown that over 70% of all Americans aged 65 and older have some form of periodontal disease.

The underlying mechanisms behind periodontal disease progression are relatively well understood, and newer research shows that this health problem may play a role in the development of a number of other conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and respiratory disease.

Periodontal Disease And Effects On The Brain

Neurological conditions and periodontal disease are not normally associated together even though they are in close proximity to one another. Recent scientific research has found a link between periodontal disease (and associated tooth loss) with cognitive function. These researchers found that the risk of cognitive decline in older men increases as more teeth are lost. So therefore they concluded that periodontal disease is related to cognitive decline. The research also linked periodontal disease with an increased build up of beta amyloid in the brain. If you are unaware this is the neurological hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Similar studies have also found evidence that one type of bacteria found in advanced periodontitis can also be found inside the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

Heart Disease Linked To Periodontal Disease?

This area is not 100% linked but correlations can be made between the two. The two diseases share risk factors such as alcohol abuse and using tobacco products. It is believed the 2 diseases are inter related thru inflammation. Inflammation is the bodies protective response to an irritant or pathogen. If left unchecked it can lead to damage to tissues and organs. There are two thoughts on this. One is that the inflammation in the oral cavity ultimately sparks inflammation in the cardiovascular system. The other is that the bacteria related to periodontal disease is also related to heart disease. Bacteria in the gum tissues can enter the blood supply and reach distant destinationsin the body, including the heart, where they can cause inflammation and damage. Researchers have shown evidence that this is possible. Researchers have shown that P. gingivalis (a gram-negative oral anaerobe and considered as a main etiological factor in periodontal diseases) is the most commonly found bacterial species in the coronary artery.

Increased Cancer Risk

Periodontal disease has been found to be associated with a small, but significant, increase in overall cancer risk. Studies have also found a strong link between periodontal disease and overall cancer risk. The link was also significant between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer.

Conclusion

While we are learning new things about the links in our body every day, we need to follow what our doctors and dentists tell us to maintain a healthy lifestyle.



Periodontal disease – is the infection and inflammation of the gums and other supporting tissues of the teeth caused by oral bacteria. While periodontal disease is considered a localized infection that affects the teeth, gums and surrounding oral tissues, it can also have dramatic negative effects on a person’s overall health. Recent research shows there is a connection between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Periodontal inflammation has been shown to be  associated with inflammation in the brain that increases the risk for cognitive dysfunctions linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and the 6th leading cause of death in America today. Approximately five million Americans have this progressive condition that involves loss of cognitive function and short term memory. Alzheimer’s disease appears o be on the rise in the United States with more and more cases being diagnosed each year. The most common risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease include old age, heredity and family history. Most of the patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease also have periodontal disease. This has led researchers to believe that there is a connection between these two disease states.

Periodontal Inflammation = Increased Risk For Alzheimer’s Disease?

Periodontal disease increases the risk of developing the cognitive disorder linked to Alzheimer’s disease. According to recent studies conducted to find out the causal relationship between these two conditions, people with periodontal inflammation face an increased risk of having lower cognitive functions compared to those without periodontal inflammation. The risk increases as the level of inflammation increases. Researchers believe that periodontal disease also causes an increased decline in  cognitive functions in people with already declining cognitive functions.

In 2005, a group of researchers noticed an increased presence of antibodies and inflammatory chemicals linked to periodontal disease in patients with Alzheimer’s disease compared to those of healthy individuals. Alzheimer’s disease patients also showed higher levels of periodontal bacteria in their brains. Researchers believe that when the oral periodontal bacteria multiply, they enter the blood stream and travel to the brain, where they cause infections and damage there.

researchers think there are three possible ways that periodontal disease can lead to Alzheimer’s:

1. Periodontal bacteria causes infections and damages brain cells.

2. Periodontal bacteria triggers inflammation on the brain. This inflammation is involved in Alzheimer’s disease.

3. Oral bacteria responsible for periodontal disease causes vascular changes that can promote Alzheimer’s disease.

Relationship Between Periodontal Disease and Lowered Cognition

Reserachers used the Digital Symbol Test for cognitive function for people aged 70, those with periodontal inflammation had lower DST scores compared to those with little inflammation or none at all, even after considering other risk factors for low DST scores such as obesity and other forms of tooth loss unrelated to periodontal disease.

Early Periodontal Health and Alzheimer’s Disease

According to an article published in the Journal of American Dental Association, any kind of Inflammation as a child increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as an adult. Developing periodontal disease or losing teeth before the age of 35 increases the risk of having Alzheimer’s disease in old age. This makes it so important to maintain good oral hygiene throughout life.

Common Shared Risk Factors

Common risk factors for both Alzheimer’s disease and periodontal disease include genetics and smoking cigarettes. These risk factors could explain the connection between these two disease states. Periodontal inflammation and any kind of tooth loss are risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.

It is also possible that periodontal disease can cause cerebrovascular injury to the brain.  Stroke is also a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, and periodontal disease increases the risk of developing stroke.

Alzheimer’s As a Risk Factor for Periodontal Disease

Patients of Alzheimer’s disease are not always able to practice the required oral and dental hygiene needed to maintain a healthy teeth and gums. This places them at a higher risk of developing periodontal disease.

While there is no conclusive evidence that gum disease causes Alzheimer’s disease or that taking proper care of teeth can reduce the risk of this form of dementia yet, numerous studies conclude that preventing periodontal disease is an effective way of avoiding or delaying Alzheimer’s disease. Along with a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a nutritious diet, regular visits to the dentist as well as practicing proper dental hygiene by brushing teeth and flossing are effective ways of preventing both diseases.



Angular Chelitis – is inflammation of one, or more commonly both, of the corners of the mouth. The inflammation is caused by yeast development in the area. The condition may show itself as deep cracks or splits in the lips, and the inflamed area may extend onto the skin of the face. In severe cases, the splits can bleed when the mouth is opened and shallow ulcers or a crust may form. It is a fungal disease, which is difficult to treat long term, and commonly recurs.

Angular chelitis has long been a curious disorder to treat. It is difficult to know the cause of the angular chelitis from individual to individual. The usual culprits include poor diet and nutrition (specifically Zinc or Vitamin B2 deficiencies) and certain medications. Angular chelitis can also be caused by the loss of vertical dimension of the teeth. Vertical dimension refers to the height of our teeth, which over time becomes less and less as our teeth wear or our dentures break down. This in combination with the aging process can lead to loose flabby skin at the corners of the mouth. These folds cause a warm, moist, dark environment in which, yeast flourishes.

Solutions For Angular Chelitis

There have been many home remedies tried in treating angular chelitis. These include vitamin regimens, tea tree oils, fish oil, and even a combination of grapefruit and vodka. None of these angular chelitis treatments work. The best approach is to eliminate the source of the issue. Dentists have long known that the loss in vertical dimension coupled with the flabby skin at the sides of the mouth are the triggers in most cases of angular chelitis. Angular Chelitis treatments include:

-Topical Antibiotic/Antifungal Treatment – monostat topical cream is a very effective solution. It needs to be applied externally only, and throughout the day for 2-3 weeks. In many cases this is a temporary solution at best as the root cause of the problem, the mouth folds in the corners, has not been solved. As the patient loses more tooth height, the folds of skin will increase in depth causing the angular chelitis to become harder and harder to treat.

-Increase Vertical Dimension – Once the yeast has been treated and eliminated, the only way to keep it from returning is to address the corner folds. This can be done in a variety of ways but the goal is to open the bite, or increase tooth height, to remove or lessen the presence of the folds around  the mouth. This can be achieved through the fabrication of a new denture (for denture wearers) or through the use of crowns to modify the bite.

-Use of Dermal Fillers – Luckily, we have a third option which many prefer. It includes the use of dermal fillers (such as Restylane and Juvederm) to replace lost volume in the tissues of the lower face. These dermal fillers are generally used in combination with Botox to relax the muscles and subsequently smooth out the wrinkles surrounding the mouth.

Angular Chelitis Conclusion

Angular chelitis can be a long term problem if not treated correctly. It can become quite uncomfortable and unsightly. Some may only be able to utilize the topical antifungal treatment, while others may be able to remove the problem permanently by increasing dental height with the aforementioned dental treatments. Fortunately, we have options at our disposal to treat this condition. You no longer need to be frustrated or embarrassed by this infection. See your dentist to see which treatment is best for you!

AAAHH!! The dreaded brain freeze  (also called an ice cream headache)…we have almost all experienced it when drinking an ice cold drink or eating ice cream way too fast.

Brain Freeze Marielaina Perrone DDS

The Dreaded Brain Freeze!

But, did you know that the dreaded brain freeze is actually considered a short duration headache? Do you know what causes brain freeze or how to stop it?

What Is A Brain Freeze?

A brain freeze is a form of  cold stimulus headache. The medical term for this type of headache is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgiaThe brain freeze occurs when something cold touches the roof of our mouths (also called the palate). The sudden onset change in temperature of the tissue stimulates nerves to cause rapid dilation and swelling of blood vessels. There is an attempt by the body to direct blood to the area and warm it back up. The dilation of the blood vessels triggers pain receptors, which release pain-causing prostaglandins, increases sensitivity to further pain, and produces inflammation, while sending signals through the trigeminal nerve to alert the brain to the problem. The trigeminal nerve can sense facial pain, strangely the brain interprets the pain signal as coming from the forehead. When the body senses pain in a different area than the source this is called “referred pain”.

Generally, the headache appears in about 10 seconds after placement of cold in the mouth and usually lasts around 20 seconds, although some people may experience much longer instances of pain. The sensation can become intense and hit fast as nerve endings go into overdrive. Only about a third of the population ever experience brain freeze from eating or drinking something cold, though most people are susceptible to a related headache from sudden exposure to a very cold climate.

Can Brain Freeze Be Prevented?

Since the brain freeze is caused by the rapid chilling and subsequent warming by the body, there are a few ways to help prevent brain freeze. They are as follows:

Brain Freeze Marielaina Perrone DDS-Eating ice cream or drinking cold drinks slower instead of rushing through.

-After drinking or eating something cold use your tongue to warm the top of your mouth. This can alleviate the onset of brain freeze.

-Tilting your head back for about 10-15 seconds allows blood flow to equilibrate and not rush to the area as quickly.

-Drink a liquid that has a higher temperature than whatever caused the brain freeze.

Conclusion

A brain freeze is not really a serious issue but it is annoying. Recent research has also shown that those who experience migraines seem to be more susceptible to brain freeze. This can possibly lead research teams to develop new medications that help prevent or treat the vasodilation that is causing the headaches. These drug therapies could  lead to significant advances in many peoples lives.