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    Link Between Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease

    Last updated 2 years ago

    Dr. Maria Febbraio, a foundational science researcher at the University of Alberta School of Dentistry, has recently added to the existing research showing that patients with untreated periodontal disease are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

    In her research, published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, Dr. Febbraio identified a new receptor on cells that interacts with bacteria in the mouth causing periodontal disease. This new receptor, called CD36, interacts with toll-like receptors—the immune system’s early-warning sentinels against infection—to produce a protein called interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β). The IL-1β then increases inflammation, which plays a role in both periodontal disease and atherosclerosis, providing a direct link between the 2 diseases.

    “Other studies established the link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease and showed that toll-like receptors were involved. But this study recognizes CD36 as an essential co-receptor in the inflammatory response,” says Dr. Febbraio. “Now that we have an idea of the players involved, we can try to direct therapies more specifically to avoid the unwanted side effects of medication used to treat inflammation.”

    With hope to further develop the research and ultimately find a way to treat or stop the progression of heart disease by targeting these receptors, Dr. Febbraio adds, “We can specifically try to intervene in the interaction between CD36 and toll-like receptors to block the inflammatory response to the bacteria. Our studies identify CD36 as a new potential therapeutic target.”

    Breathing through mouth during sleep may increase tooth decay risk

    Last updated 2 years ago

    The researchers note that dentists are reporting an increasing number of patients who complain of dry mouth, especially during sleep or upon awakening.

    Mouth breathing during sleep can dry up saliva, which is an important defense mechanism for preventing the mouth becoming too acidic. Previous studies suggest that dry-mouth individuals run a higher risk of erosion than individuals with normal salivary secretion rates.

    Acidity leads to loss of tooth enamel through erosion (the direct effect of acid without the influence of bacteria) and tooth decay or caries (the effect of bacteria breaking down foods to produce acid).

    For the new study, the researchers decided to investigate what happens to acidity levels in the mouth during open- and closed-mouth sleep.

    They measured pH and temperature levels in the mouths of 10 healthy volunteers as they alternately slept without and with a nose clip that forced them to breathe through the mouth.

    The volunteers were fitted with a device that continuously measured the pH and temperature of the "palatal aspect of the upper central incisors" inside their mouths. They wore it for two sets of 48 hours.

    To force them to breathe through their mouths as they slept, the volunteers wore the nose clip for two nights of the four. To balance any potential bias from the wearing sequence, five of them wore the clip the first night and the others wore it the second night at each of the 48-hour sessions.

    The results showed that on average, daytime mouth pH was 7.3, and during sleep it was 7.0. The mean mouth pH during sleep with mouth breathing was 6.6, "which was statistically significant compared with the normal sleep condition," note the authors.

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    Chocolate Better Than Fluoride

    Last updated 2 years ago

    For the 40 million Americans who suffer from tooth sensitivity, relief may now come in the form of chocolate.

    A naturally occurring extract in cacao, called Rennou, has been found to work better than fluoride to restore and repair enamel.

    This research was done at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Eighty patients compared the enamel strengthening potential of Theodent toothpaste, which contains the extract, to standard, fluoride-based toothpastes. Researchers examined each product’s ability to repair and remineralize exposed dentin.

    Patients who brushed with Theodent twice a day for one week were noted to have their dentinal tubules re-mineralized or repaired, alleviating sensitivity.

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    Last updated 2 years ago

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