Greetings from all of us at Wilmette Dental. I hope this newsletter finds you healthy and happy.
I am pleased to report that daughter Elise is thoroughly enjoying her sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She complains about the long walking distances (it’s a BIG campus), but in every FaceBook photo we see of her, she is always surrounded by friends and has a huge smile on her face. It doesn’t seem to be all that bad. She is taking a heavy science load this year, and is doing some volunteer work with children (when she’s not walking).
Our drummer boy Christopher is wrapping up his college search. Applications are in, and now the waiting game begins. He actually is interested in dentistry! Perhaps one day, I’ll be able to pass the torch (the drill). It was an excellent marching band season for his school, Glenbrook South. Chris is drumline captain this year, and his percussion section took 1st Place at the annual St. Rita’s Mustang Band Competition. This was a huge win, and we’re very proud.
Recently, I hosted our Wilmette Dental staff on a trip to New Orleans for the American Dental Association Annual Session. Everyone attended continuing education programs so that we may provide the highest quality of care to our patients. Of course, we also found time for terrific music, delicious Creole cooking and, of course, beignets at Cafe du Monde. It
was a fantastic trip.
We have some interesting articles in this edition of Word of Mouth. I hope you enjoy it. Stay well (and warm).
Dental Cleanings Reduce Healthcare Costs
If you suffer from a chronic medical condition such as diabetes or asthma, having good oral health can actually reduce your overall healthcare costs, according to a recent study by United Healthcare.
The 2013 study compared medical and pharmacy costs of individuals with diabetes, asthma, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, obstructive pulmonary disease, or kidney disease, with the dental treatment they received to determine if there is a difference in total healthcare costs associated with varying dental treatments. Researchers looked at three years of claims data from more than 130,000 individuals.
The study revealed that those with a chronic condition who received regular preventive dental services, had net dental/medical claims that were on average more than $1,000 lower than those who did not. Regular dental cleanings appear to be most beneficial. People with chronic ailments who received regular hygiene cleanings had the lowest overall healthcare costs, compared to their counterparts who did not.
Among diabetes patients, for example, the average yearly net medical and dental claims were nearly $1,300 lower for those who regularly saw a dentist compared to those who did not. And, the savings was realized even after accounting for the additional cost of the dental care itself.
This is further evidence that dental health has a profound impact on general health...and on your wallet.
Oral Bacteria and Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest of all cancers, largely because it is extremely difficult to detect. The disease kills 40,000 Americans annually, and most die within just six months of diagnosis. Now, scientists are looking at a possible link between an oral bacteria and an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.
Studying blood samples from more than 800 adults, researchers found that a high antibody level (an immune system response to bacteria) of one of the more infectious periodontal strains of Porphyromonas gingivalis was associated with a twofold risk for pancreatic cancer. P. gingivalis is an oral pathogen that causes inflammation, which can result in the oral bone destruction that is periodontal disease. Scientists have long suspected P. gingivalis as a risk factor for such systemic conditions as diabetes, stroke, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
While more work needs to be done to establish the presence of P. gingivalis antibodies as a risk factor for pancreatic cancer, the evidence is mounting that immune system responses to oral bacteria in general may be a marker for many diseases. In the case of pancreatic cancer, such markers may mean early, life-saving detection rather than almost certain death.
Let’s Talk Wine and Cheese
Just in time for the season of parties, comes news about two buffet table staples: wine and cheese.
If you’re one of Dr. Neuhaus’ many patients who do whitening treatments, be careful of red wine. In fact, if it’s between a coffee beverage or red wine, dental researchers in Sao Paulo, Brazil suggest you choose the coffee. In a study, the scientists looked at human molars exposed to coffee and red wine both during and after whitening treatments.
During the treatments, remineralization of the enamel with artificial saliva and then a subsequent bleaching session was effective in preventing enamel staining. But, once the whitening treatments stopped, both coffee and wine did cause enamel color changes -- and the wine did more damage than did coffee.
When it comes to cheese, go right ahead and enjoy. It seems that consuming cheese and other dairy products may actually help protect teeth against cavities.
According to a study recently published in General Dentistry, people who eat cheese show a rise in plaque pH -- and that’s a good thing. A pH level lower than 5.5 puts a person at risk for tooth erosion. Researchers believe that the rise in pH levels from eating cheese may occur due to increased saliva production, possibly caused by the action of chewing. And, various compounds in cheese may adhere to tooth enamel, further protecting teeth from acid.
An Ancient Dental Health Culprit
In examining ancient human dental problems, scientists have discovered an unusual cause for the erosion of tooth enamel: dust.
By looking at worn tooth surfaces, researchers have found that quartz dust was a significant cause of enamel microwear. In particular, our East African ancestors may have suffered enamel abrasion from dust storms, especially from particles carried in the seasonal winds of the Arabian peninsula.
These results may alter scientists’ understanding of how microwear reflects dietary habits. Our ancestors’ environment (dust storms and droughts) may actually have had as significant an impact on dental health as did their diet.
Here are some “tooth facts” about our favorite holiday animals:
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Wilmette Dental, Ltd
344 Linden Ave.
Wilmette, IL 60091
Monday: 8:00AM - 4:30PM
Tuesday: 8:00AM - 4:30PM
Wednesday: 8:00AM - 2:00PM
Thursday: 1:30PM - 7:30PM
Saturday: 8:00AM - 2:00PM (alternating)
Outside our regular business hours, please note our emergency care information.