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Cancerous Pancreatic Cysts and Endoscopy

A new study has found that oral bacteria in “cystic pancreatic tumors” is associated with the severity of the tumors. Not all pancreatic tumors are cancerous. These cystic pancreatic tumors (pancreatic cysts) are often benign. Some of them, however, can become cancerous. Perhaps more important, it is difficult to identify which cystic pancreatic digestive system - pancreas highlight  - pixabay cco free -41529 1280tumors will become cancerous.

Until now, this differentiation was only possible with surgery. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have discovered that the differentiation, and determination of the severity of the tumor, can be made based on bacteria inside the cystic tumor.

One reason pancreatic cancer is so deadly is that it is often discovered only late in its process. The new research is able to find the bacteria at a time when the cysts are only beginning to show signs of cancer. They are able to isolate the bacterial DNA in fluid from the cancerous cysts. These cysts (tumors) should be surgically removed. The researchers hope this kind of testing and identification of oral bacteria will reduce the number of diagnostic surgical procedures performed and reduce the number of procedures performed to remove benign cysts.

But how does oral bacteria enter the pancreas? One mechanism is in the invasive pancreas endoscopy. These researchers found that the amount of bacterial DNA was higher in patients who had undergone pancreatic endoscopy. This procedure inserts a flexible tube into the mouth and down the throat. They believe that without adequate removal of the bacteria prior to the endoscopy, some of the bacteria is transmitted by the flexible tube.

The value of the research is not conclusive at this time. First, the findings of this study need to be corroborated with additional studies. Second, although endoscopy explains the presence of the bacteria in the pancreas of some patients, it does not explain it in all patients. Therefore, additional study is needed to determine why and how the oral bacteria are introduced into the pancreas.

The study is promising. It indicates that the likelihood of transference during endoscopy can be reduced by rinsing the mouth with an antibacterial agent and good oral hygiene prior to an endoscopy. Much remains to be tested and confirmed before developing new treatments and diagnostic tests. It is encouraging to think that we may be approaching a new treatment protocol to reduce incidences of cancerous cystic pancreatic tumors and to treat them before they become deadly.

 
How To Stop Bleeding Gums

There are many causes of bleeding gums. One question we are asked frequently is, “What can I do at home to stop bleeding gums?” Bleeding is one of the indications of gum disease, and therefore it should be taken seriously.

According to a recent study (Crest), 60% of people have experienced gum bleeding. One in three people think bleeding gums is normal. Among the signs of gum disease are: bad breath, swollen gums, receding gums, and loose teeth.  bleeding gums - paid Depositphotos 182555064 m-2015

Causes of bleeding gums

  1. The buildup of plaque on your gums can cause gingivitis. This causes inflammation and bleeding.
  2. Deficiencies of Vitamin C and/or Vitamin K.
  3. Infected gums.
  4. The hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy may cause bleeding gums.
  5. Poor oral hygiene. Not brushing twice daily.
  6. Smoking and vaping.
  7. Diet.
  8. Leukemia.
  9. Scurvy.
  10. Use of blood thinners.
  11. Using a toothbrush that is too stiff or hard.
  12. Using a worn and frayed toothbrush that does not clean teeth and gums effectively.
  13. Being too rough when flossing. Remember to push down gently and hug the sides of each tooth.
  14. Some medications that can thin the blood a bit: some prescription medications, aspirin, ibuprofen.

How to Stop the Bleeding

Minor gum bleeding can often be treated at home. If you try any of these remedies and your gums continue to bleed, see your dentist immediately. Remember that there are many types of bacteria in your mouth. If your gums become infected, you risk the spread of that infection.

Here are some home/natural remedies you might want to try at home.

  1. Use gauze to stop the bleeding. Press a clean and damp gauze pad against the bleeding area gently. Hold it in place until the bleeding stops. If your immune system is compromised or you take a blood thinner, expect the treatment to take a bit longer.
  2. Use a small ice pack. Hold a cold compress, a small ice pack, or an ice cube against the bleeding area.
  3. Use mouthwash. This will treat the bleeding gums and prevent further bleeding. The ingredients in mouthwash that kill bacteria and stop bleeding are chlorohexidine and hydrogen peroxide.
  4. Rinse with warm salt water several times each day.
  5. Make a paste of turmeric and apply it to the gums.
  6. Rinse with hydrogen peroxide (be sure to spit it out and not swallow).
  7. For sensitive gums, you might choose an “extra soft” toothbrush.
  8. Floss gently every day.
  9. Avoid smoking or vaping.
  10. Avoid starchy processed foods and sugary foods.
  11. Eat crunchy vegetables (celery, carrots, for example). The crunchiness can help to remove food particles from your teeth.
  12. Eat more leafy greens in your diet. People with a Vitamin K deficiency require more time for the blood to clot, and see more bleeding of the gums.
  13. Use an anti-gingivitis toothpaste.
  14. Apply some raw honey to the affected area and gently massage the gums.
  15. Drink some unsweetened cranberry juice each day.
  16. Manage your stress.
  17. Be careful about sharing with your partner. Gum disease and bleeding gums are contagious.
  18. Drink green tea daily. It contains catechin, a natural antioxidant that can lower the inflammatory response to oral bacteria.

Remember to see your dentist twice each year for a checkup and cleaning. Your dentist will be able to help you improve your oral health and prevent bleeding gums.

 
Six Keys to Keeping Your Teeth Longer

Most people want to keep their teeth throughout their lifetime. Your oral care and dental treatment are the beginning of keeping your teeth longer. Yet statistics regarding the dental health of people over age 65 are disturbing. According to the CDC:

  • 20% of older adults have untreated tooth decay.
  • More than 66% of older adults have gum disease.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 older adults has lost all of his or her teeth.

Here are 6 quick and easy keys to keeping your teeth longer.

  1. Brush for two minutes twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste. Avoid whitening toothpastes.senior citizens -- grandparents - pixabay cco free -3604134 1280
  2. Buy and use the right toothbrush. Manual toothbrushes do a fine job. But some believe that electric and sonic brushes are better. They are easier to use for those with arthritis of hands or wrists or other dexterity challenges. Brush gently and replace your toothbrush every 3 months.
  3. Clean between your teeth with dental floss, a water jet, or an interdental brush. Many people find the interdental brush easier to use as they age (and it works best).
  4. See your dentist at least annually. We recommend that you see us every 6 months so that we can treat any emerging problems quickly. Always tell your dentist if you have dry mouth.
  5. If your oral health is good, get bitewing x-rays annually. If you have oral health issues, you may need the x-rays twice each year.
  6. Be alert to changes or pain in your mouth. This could signal a dental emergency. If you have facial swelling, difficulty chewing or biting, or if a tooth splits vertically. Never ignore a dental emergency. Keep in mind that many other problems should be treated quickly: broken denture, broken tooth without serious pain, a persistent mouth sore.

If you care for your teeth, follow basic oral hygiene instructions, and have regular dental exams and care, you will keep your teeth longer.

If you know you have dental problems, come in and let’s evaluate the problems and create a treatment plan that will help your goal of keeping your teeth longer. If cost and payment structures are an issue, let us know. We can point you to insurance companies or introduce you to the Care Card. You may prefer to enroll in our complete dental care savings plan, which will help you save money on your dental care (http://www.carolinewallacedds.com/complete-dental-care-savings-plan.html).

 
Osteoporosis Drugs Delay Healing After Tooth Extraction

Osteoporosis Drugs Delay Healing After Tooth Extraction

A new study finds that long term use of bisphosphonates (drugs used for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis or other bone weakness conditions) does not delay your healing after having a tooth extracted. If you have taken bisphosphonates for more than five years, healing of a tooth extraction socket will be significantly delayed (as tooth extraction SM - paid - shutterstock 1284549592compared to those not taking one of these drugs).

What are Bisphosphonates?

“Bisphosphonates are a group of medicines used to treat bone problems, such as thin or fragile bones. . . They are commonly used to treat bone disorders such as osteopenia, osteoporosis, Paget’s disease, and metastatic bone disease.” [American College of Rheumatology, https://www.rheumatology.org]

Drugs in the family of bisphosphonates include:

  • Oral: Alendronate (Fosamax), risedronate (Actonel), and ibandronate (Boniva)
  • IV: Pamidronate, and zoledronic acid (Reclast/Zometa)

The goal of the study was to determine whether stopping these drugs prior to a tooth extraction is advisable to prevent bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ). “Osteonecrosis of the jaw, commonly called ONJ, occurs when the jaw bone is exposed and begins to starve from a lock of blood. Most cases of osteonecrosis of the happen after a dental extraction. [American College of Rheumatology]

Why does this Study Matter in Dentistry?

The study demonstrated that long-term use of bisphosphonates (more than 5 years) significantly delayed the healing of an extraction socket when compared to use of these drugs for less than 5 years. Bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw did not develop in any group in the study.

The study also found that healing time was not affected by systemic risk factors: glucocorticoid administration, diabetes mellitus. There were also no adverse effects to the bone, such as fracture.

Many dentists (including our practice at Complete Dental Care in Salem, VA) have asked patients to stop taking bisphosphonates prior to tooth extraction in order to allow normal healing of the tooth socket. This study supports the claim that stopping these drugs is not necessary, particularly if you have been taking the drugs for less than five years. There have been differences of opinion about the effect of osteoporosis medications on tooth extractions. This research settles the question for dentists.

We always ask you what medications you are taking before beginning any dental procedure. If we do not know you are taking a particular drug, we cannot calculate how it would affect your health during or after the procedure. If you tell us you are taking an osteoporosis medication (for prevention or treatment), we may want to know more about your medical history. Then we can evaluate any risk to your health prior to the procedure.

All of us at Complete Dental Care in Salem, VA are committed to protecting and preserving your health.

 
Vaping: Dangerous without Nicotine

Scientists have been alerting us that vaping is dangerous. Since the introduction of e-cigarettes there has been ongoing debate about the relative benefits and risks of the devices. Numerous studies have been conducted to understand those risks and benefits. Particular attention has been given to the effects of vaping on teens. Soon after their introduction, many smokers embraced e-cigarettes as a way to stop smoking or as a substitute for nicotine-Woman vaping SM - Isabella Mendes-pexels-photo-338710loaded cigarettes. Since then, we have learned that many e-cigarettes contain more nicotine than cigarettes (making them more addictive). A new report claims that even the e-cigarettes without nicotine are dangerous to users.

A massive report (600+ pages) presents the analysis of 800 peer-reviewed studies of vaping. Its conclusion was that vaping requires far more caution than previously recognized, particularly for young smokers. Recent studies have raised concerns about the ingredients in e-cigarettes that are not related to nicotine.

Effects of Vaping

One article published in the journal of the American Heart Association, “Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis and vascular biology,” argues that the flavor additives in these e-cigarettes may impair the proper functioning of blood vessels. Another article, by Jessica L. Fetterman, PhD (assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School Medicine), identifies nine chemicals used as flavoring agents in many e-cigarettes:

  • Menthol (mint)
  • Acetylpyridine (burnt flavor)
  • Vanillin (vanilla)
  • Cinnamaldehyde (cinnamon)
  • Eugenol (clove)
  • Diacetyl (butter)
  • Dimethylpyrazine (strawberry)
  • Isoamyl acetate (banana)
  • Eucalyptol (spicy cooling)

These chemicals were tested to understand their effects on endothelial cells, which line blood vessels and the inside of the heart. These lab tests found that they damage the endothelial cells at the highest chemical levels tested. Some of the chemical also caused higher levels of an inflammatory marker called interleukin-6 at all concentrations. These chemicals also reduced levels of nitric oxide, which inhibits inflammation and clotting, and promotes vasodilation in response to greater blood flow. Dr. Fetterman concluded, “Increased inflammation and a loss of nitric oxide are some of the first changes to occur leading up to cardiovascular disease and events like heart attacks and stroke, so they are considered early predictors of heart disease.”

These flavoring chemicals are dangerous and affect blood vessels and the heart. Perhaps most alarming is the fact that the chemicals are more dangerous when combined.

Research is moving at a rapid pace and can be expected to continue at that pace. The chemicals in e-cigarettes are believed to be damaging to the circulatory system. The chemicals also damage monocytes (immune cells), resulting in potential pulmonary toxicity and tissue damage.

It remains to be seen what regulation and other steps will be taken to protect the public health. Certainly, more studies will be forthcoming and warnings to potential users will become stronger. We may not know the effects of vaping over time until a generation of e-cigarette users can be studied after years of use.

E-cigarettes and extensive vaping will affect your health. Vaping has effects upon gum tissues and upon teeth, as well. We are providing this information because we care about you and about your health. Please tell us if you are vaping – whether your e-cigarettes do or do not contain nicotine. We want to do all that we can to protect your health.

 
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