Teaching Kids About Oral Health

Teaching Kids About Oral HealthAs kids go back to school this fall, parents may be wringing their hands about what the little darlings will learn in reading, writing, and advanced calculus. And useful as it may be to know the capital of Botswana or the formula for hydrochloric acid, parents ought to give some attention to what their children learn about oral hygiene and oral health.

Somewhere along the line, kids may have a unit or two on proper oral hygiene in a health or science class. But since oral disease, including gum disease and dental cavities, continues to increase at an alarming rate, parents and schools are advised to make sure children have proper instruction about how to care for their teeth.

Teaching resources

Fortunately, there is a vast wealth of teaching resources available. Dentists have printed brochures or other materials available, and many dentists, dental hygienists or other experts may be engaged to speak to classes or groups. Local dental societies may provide a speakers bureau or other teaching options.

Concerned parents or teachers need go no further than a good search on the internet. A recent search on “oral health education” turned up several pages of links to great websites. Here are just a few.

This Dental Health Education Resource Guide comes from the California Dental Association’s Council on Community Health in Sacramento, California. It includes curriculum outlines, fact sheets, plus some fun games to print and copy

Healthy Teeth is a production of the Nova Scotia Dental Association with the assistance of the Canadian Dental Association and the Halifax County Dental Society. The website offers several topics, kid-oriented explanations and cute graphics. It features some cool experiments that kids can do at home or at school.

This website has a compilation of oral health resources readily available online. It is published by the University of Florida College of Dentistry.

This educational curriculum is published by the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation. With a theme of “ToothFairy Island, ” there are plenty of resources right on the website, plus other materials that can be purchased.

On top of this, other dental associations, public health organizations, and, of course, dental products manufacturers also provide interesting teaching materials for all age levels.

The ABCs of oral health

What should kids be taught? Here’s a list for starters: How to brush correctly. How to use dental floss. How often to brush and floss. What to expect at a dental check-up and why it’s important to see the dentist regularly. The importance of proper nutrition. The danger of too much sugar, especially candies or beverages that linger in the mouth. The danger of tobacco for teeth and gums. The use of mouth guards for athletics. The basics of dental caries and other oral diseases.

As with any educational program, kids at different age levels will have different interests and abilities. Kids in pre-kindergarten should learn not to swallow toothpaste as they learn to brush daily. High school students need to see what happens to teeth and gums subjected to cigarettes or other tobacco products.

Teaching starts at home

Whatever children are taught in school, it should only be an adjunct to what they learn at home. As with most life lessons, parents are the best teachers. Moms and dads can instruct their children about oral hygiene, but the best teaching is personal modeling. It’s best to start early helping children develop good oral hygiene habits. As they get older, teach them the rationale and reasons they should keep up the habits for life.

Let’s review proper oral hygiene for adults: Limit the amount of sugars in your diet. Minimize sodas and other drinks that are corrosive and lead to cavities. See your dentist twice a year. Brush and floss daily. And don’t forget the AO ProVantage dental gel or AO ProRinse. New products like antioxidant toothpaste are emerging in the dental industry all the time. These great-tasting and refreshing products can make the oral hygiene routine especially pleasant, and the antioxidants contribute to a healthy appearance and bright smile.

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PerioSciences Launches Two Oral Hygiene Systems with Antioxidant Toothpaste, Mouth Rinse, and Dental Gel

Antioxidant Oral Care SystemsYour smile. It’s the facial feature that half the people you meet notice first.

Your breath. If it’s bad, it’s the number-one turn-off for face-to-face encounters.

Your oral health. Scientists are constantly increasing the list of chronic diseases that are linked to oral disease. Heart attack, stroke, diabetes, even problems with fertility and pregnancy are just a few.

Every health and beauty expert will stress the importance of a bright smile and fresh breath. And every dentist will recommend good oral hygiene, including regular dental visits. Now, PerioSciences is proud to provide the most complete and effective systems available for at-home oral care.
A new suite of PerioSciences products, including antioxidant toothpaste, mouth rinse, and dental gel, with powerful antioxidants that work together to maximize effectiveness, are revolutionizing oral hygiene. PerioSciences, LLC is launching two new complete oral care systems. The NATURAL system is formulated with natural ingredients; the WHITE CARE system is designed for people who use teeth-whitening treatments. Both feature the proven, powerful antioxidants, phloretin and ferulic acid.

The AO Pro family of oral care products promote fresh breath plus a brighter, healthier smile. The new WHITE CARE System — with AO ProToothpaste, AO ProRinse and AO ProVantage dental gel —soothes oral tissues following teeth-whitening procedures while it boosts and extends the whitening effects. The system supplies antioxidants to help maintain normal, healthy pH balance and counteract the harsh chemicals of teeth whitening. In addition, maximum strength fluoride fights cavities.

The NATURAL system features specially formulated antioxidant-infused toothpaste and mouth rinse, along with the AO ProVantage dental gel. All the products in the NATURAL system are free of alcohol, fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, and artificial sweeteners. Environmentally friendly and naturally healthy, the powerful antioxidants counteract toxins that cause free-radical damage.

Both the NATURAL and the WHITE CARE formulations of AO ProToothpaste include hydroxyapatite, or crystalline calcium phosphate, which is the mineral that forms the structure of teeth. Dental scientists are researching hydroxyapatite as a means of remineralizing teeth and combating cavities. PerioSciences is the first company to include this important mineral in a toothpaste.

PerioSciences president and founder, Russell Moon, was the co-founder of SkinCeuticals, the high-end, antioxidant-based skin care product line acquired by L’Oreal in 2005. “SkinCeuticals was and is a fabulously successful product line because the antioxidants were clinically and scientifically proven to be effective,” says Moon. “In the same way, the antioxidants in PerioSciences products have been tested and proven in both laboratory and clinical settings.”

PerioSciences is dedicated advanced science in dental care and to providing the best oral care products. If you would like to learn more about our products, visit us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Braces: No More Nightmares

BracesIn season four of The Simpsons, one episode deals with the issue of braces for Lisa. Because of a poorly negotiated employer’s plan for dental insurance, she and her family are confronted with a hard financial choice. The orthodontist, Dr. Wolfe, shows Lisa two options: “These braces are invisible, painless, and periodically release a delightful burst of Calvin Klein’s Obsession… for Teeth,” he says, holding out a nice, modern, low-profile set. Then, since the Simpson’s dental plan doesn’t cover orthodontics, Dr. Wolfe blows the dust off an older, rusty contraption, saying, “These predate stainless steel, so you can’t get them wet.”

Let’s face it. Many of us still think of braces as being a nightmare of medieval torture devices inflicted on poor Lisa. But, thank goodness, braces are more comfortable, attractive and effective than ever before.

Who needs braces?

Dental surgeons began using rudimentary braces as early as the 17th century. Technological improvements continued through the ages. Today, some four million Americans have braces at any point, about one-fourth of them are adults. Many people have braces for cosmetic reasons, to correct crooked teeth or other conditions they consider to be unsightly. But braces are often prescribed for health reasons. Improper alignment of teeth or jaws can cause problems with chewing or speaking, and malocclusions may contribute to head or jaw pain. Poorly aligned teeth can also contribute to oral disease, such as cavities or gum disease. Decisions about braces—whether to get them, what kind, and how much to spend—are best made jointly among dentists, orthodontists, patients, and, for children, their parents.

Options for braces

The traditional braces—still widely in use—are small metal bands encircling the teeth with brackets attached. The brackets are ligated, or wired, to an arch wire that governs the positioning. Over time, teeth move as the arch wire exerts pressure on the brackets. Sometimes springs or rubber bands are used to put more force in a specific direction.

Besides the metal bands, there are several newer types of braces. Clear, ceramic braces are less visible. Brackets that can be attached to the back of the teeth are also less visible. Innovations in the brackets, wires, ligatures, bonding materials and other components of braces are constantly improving the effectiveness, appearance and costs.

Another method of straightening teeth uses customized plastic aligners that fit like tooth guards over teeth. Patients wear the removable orthodontic aligners for about two weeks as they gently move the teeth into a new position. Then, they are replaced with a new aligner that has a slightly different alignment. The average total treatment time is from a few months to two years.

Besides the braces, other procedures or appliances are sometimes used for more complex or severe requirements. These can include spacers that stretch the jaws, head gears that provide additional pressure, and sometimes tooth removal or other surgery.

Costs for braces

The brackets and wires for braces can be manufactured from a wide range of materials and processes. Stainless steel, titanium, and other alloys are used for metal braces; various ceramics or plastics can be used as well. Some “designer” braces actually use sapphire and gold.

The cost for braces takes into account the hardware, as well as the orthodontist’s professional services. A ballpark figure would be between $4,000 and $8,000. Dental insurance plans may or may not cover the cost for braces. If the braces are intended to remediate problems with chewing, speaking or pain—as opposed to simply cosmetic concerns—they are more likely to merit coverage.

Don’t forget complete oral hygiene!

It’s more important than ever to maintain proper oral hygiene with braces. Teeth are still vulnerable to stains, plaque, cavities and gum disease. Brushing and flossing may be a little trickier, and some bonding materials are prone to staining from foods, beverages, and tobacco. Dentists may recommend special techniques or cleaning products.

People with braces have even more reason to add in AO ProVantage dental gel and AO ProRinse to their daily oral care routine. Not only are the antioxidants and other ingredients cooling and refreshing, they may help soothe any discomfort from the irritation of the appliances.

Lisa Simpson’s braces may have been a nightmare, but most people can have a pleasant experience with braces on their way to the smile of their dreams.

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Dental Sealants: An Invisible Protective Shield

Raise your hand if you remember a toothpaste that advertised the “Gardol invisible shield” back in the early 1960s. The TV ads showed the announcer standing behind some kind of invisible panel while actors threw coconuts or other projectiles at him. How great that looked! An invisible shield that protected your teeth from cavities!

It wasn’t until the late 1960s that dentists began using a real invisible shield of sorts to protect teeth. These dental sealants, thin layers of a plastic material applied to the surface of teeth, have become widely accepted as an effective way to help prevent dental caries, or cavities.

Sealing out the bad stuff

Dental sealants are most common on children and adolescents, although they are sometimes used on adults. They may be applied to undamaged teeth or to teeth with just the beginnings of dental caries. They seal out bacteria and food particles in the pits and fissures of the molars. The cost can range from about $35 to about $60 per tooth and most dental insurance companies cover dental sealants.

Most dental sealants are resin-based, although some are made of glass ionomer cement. They are clear, white, or slightly tinted so they can’t be easily seen on teeth. Sealants are applied in a dental office. First, the teeth are carefully cleaned and dried. Sometimes the teeth are roughened slightly with phosphoric acid; sometimes another type of primer is used before application. The sealants may be self-curing, or they may require a light treatment to harden them. Normally, sealants last from three to five years.

Effective at reducing cavities

Research shows that dental sealants are quite effective at reducing cavities in children. According to a report in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), “Reduction of caries incidence in children and adolescents after placement of resin-based sealants ranges from 86 percent at one year to 78.6 percent at two years and 58.6 percent at four years.”. Also, data from Medicaid and dental insurance companies indicate that dental sealants reduce the need for future restorative procedures.

Not without controversy

Dental sealants are not without detractions and controversy. There is some evidence that they can slightly raise the level of bisphenol A or BPA in saliva. This chemical, found in plastics, has been linked to obesity, neurological issues, thyroid function, and various cancers.

Part of a full program of hygiene

Ideally, patients understand dental sealants as only one aspect of a multi-part system of keeping teeth and gums healthy. Fluoride, from toothpaste and rinses as well as from public water supplies, is essential to strengthening teeth. More to the point, regular brushing, flossing and dental visits do the most to get rid of food particles and bacteria that cause cavities. Don’t forget the importance of a healthy diet, with a minimum of sweets, plus the advantages of topical dental antioxidants applied directly to gums.

By the way:

“Gardol” was an ingredient in Colgate toothpaste. It was the company’s name for sodium lauroyl sarcosinate. This substance is known as a surfactant, which means it helps with foaming and cleaning. In other words, the only “protective shield” from Gardol was helping remove pesky bacteria and food particles that lead to bad breath and plaque.

If you’d like to build a powerful daily health regimen to help you keep your teeth looking and feeling their best, PerioSciences can help. Our AO ProVantage products and AO ProRinse help soothe dental tissues and keep your mouth healthy. To learn more about antioxidants in dental care, fill out the form on our blog. To connect with PerioSciences, check us out on Facebook or Twitter.

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Eating Disorders and Oral Care

Eating disorders have probably been plaguing people for centuries, but it’s really been in the last couple of decades that they have been openly discussed and widely diagnosed. So much about eating disorders has been covered in popular and scientific media, it’s hard to imagine that anyone is unfamiliar with the topic. The primary disorders are anorexia nervosa, when people quit eating, and bulimia, when people overeat and then purge by vomiting, laxatives or excessive exercise.

It may take months or years for someone’s eating disorder to be recognized and formally diagnosed. A major characteristic of the disorder is secrecy—eating in secret, or secretly not eating—and purging in secret. Eventually, some sufferers may become emaciated and weak from malnutrition. By then, family or friends may have insisted on consulting a physician.

But very often, the first professional to recognize an eating disorder is the dentist.

A train wreck for teeth

The excessive vomiting that is characteristic of many people with bulimia is a train wreck for the teeth and oral tissues. Stomach acid is extremely corrosive and can quickly erode the enamel in teeth. Often when people vomit, their lower teeth are protected by the tongue so that the erosion shows up sooner on the upper teeth. In addition, following vomiting, people may brush their teeth so vigorously, the erosion of the teeth is actually made worse. In extreme cases, dentists may also recognize swelling of the salivary glands, and trauma to the soft oral tissues.

People with anorexia may not manifest dental issues as quickly or as dramatically as people with bulimia. Eventually, teeth will show the effects of a lack of calcium and other minerals that strengthen enamel. Proper nutrition is necessary for strong enamel and for the delicate balance of oral chemistry, including the natural antioxidants and other components in healthy saliva. Also, it’s not uncommon for people with anorexia to have poor dental hygiene—inadequate brushing, flossing and dental check-ups. All these can lead to a rise in dental caries, cavities, and oral diseases such as gingivitis or periodontitis.

Comprehensive care

A dentist will advise patients who vomit that brushing teeth immediately after vomiting can increase the erosion. It’s better to rinse the mouth with water, perhaps with a little baking soda to neutralize the acid, and then allow saliva to further neutralize the acid. Toothpaste, mouth rinses, and oral gels that contain fluoride can help resupply the minerals lost to erosion. And AO ProVantage dental gel and AO ProRinse help replenish the oral tissues and saliva with natural, soothing antioxidants.

Health care professionals understand that treating an eating disorder may require nutritional, medical, and psychological intervention. Because of the toll the disease takes on the teeth and oral tissues, proper oral care and dental hygiene must be part of the comprehensive treatment plan.

If you’d like to build a powerful daily health regimen to help you keep your teeth looking and feeling their best, PerioSciences can help. Our AO ProVantage products and AO ProRinse help soothe dental tissues and keep your mouth healthy. To learn more about antioxidants in dental care, fill out the form on our blog. To connect with PerioSciences, check us out on Facebook or Twitter.

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Traveling? Don’t forget great oral care!

Chances are you’ll be doing some traveling this summer. According to the U.S. Travel Association, Americans logged 1.5 billion trips for leisure in 2010. This summer, zillions of people will jump in the car or board a plane to get out of town for a while. Travel is great for relaxation and recreation, but can be a challenge to keep up with good oral hygiene habits.

As you pack your travel kit, make sure to include your toothbrush and floss. Whether your vacation is going to be slow and leisurely with lots of down time or fast-paced with sight-seeing and other adventures, vow to take the few minutes required for thorough brushing and flossing. After all, it takes just a few hours for the bacteria in your mouth to begin creating the plaque that leads to dental decay and gum disease.

If you’re flying and carrying toothpaste in your carry-on luggage, you’ll probably want to purchase travel-sized toothpaste. Some hotels can provide small tubes of toothpaste, and, of course, it’s available for sale in most parts of the world. Of course, you can successfully clean your teeth without toothpaste, so don’t let forgotten toothpaste keep you from brushing.

Pack up the topical antioxidants, too.

We suggest packing a 15 ml. travel-sized container of AO ProVantage dental gel, too. Traveling can set the stage for increased oxidation and free radicals in your oral cavity. Food and drinks, including alcohol, can release free radicals. Nicotine—from tobacco use or even from second-hand smoke in bars, cafes and other public places—is another assault on oral tissues. Stress contributes to oxidation as well. Dashing around to keep a schedule or make a flight is a cause of stress. And if you’re visiting family, there just might be an uptick in your stress level.

When there’s an overabundance of free radicals in oral tissues, the cells can begin to break down. Antioxidants, like the phloretin and ferulic in AO ProVantage products, have been shown to neutralize the free radicals caused by nicotine, alcohol, and other stressors.

Major dental work

While you’re traveling, you might encounter a dental emergency such as a cracked or broken tooth, or perhaps toothache. Your best bet is to call your regular dentist for advice. She may advise you to find a local dentist, or tips on what to do till you can get back home. A hotel, visitor information office, or even a local hospital might be able to refer you to a reputable local dentist.

A growing trend is for people to travel abroad for a major dental procedure, such as cosmetic dentistry or even root canals. They are attracted by the allure of recovering as they vacationing in an exotic location. Also, costs can be a fraction of what one would pay at home. Dental vacationers are advised to be extremely cautious in researching the credentials and skills of the dentist who will be performing the procedure, as well as the local standards for sterilization.

Bon voyage! Have a great vacation! Take lots of photos—and take extra good care of your oral health.

If you’d like to build a powerful daily dental regimen to help you keep your teeth and body in prime condition, PerioSciences can help you protect yourself. Our AO ProVantage products and AO ProRinse are products designed to help keep your dental hygiene at its best with daily use. To learn more about antioxidants and dental care, fill out the form on our blog. To connect with PerioSciences, check us out on Facebook or Twitter.

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Checking the Signs for Oral Cancer

Checking the signs for oral cancerYou’re sitting in the dentist’s chair. The hygienist has finished cleaning your teeth. Maybe you had some X-rays. Now the dentist is taking a look. She checks your teeth, probes your gums a bit. You’re ready to hop up and go—but she’s still looking closely at your gums and palate, and she even lifts up your tongue and checks underneath. “Whaaa u ooing?” you ask, in the secret language of dental patients.

She informs you she’s checking for signs of oral cancer. You relax, smiling (sort of). That’s good news.

Major risk factors

Oral cancers strike nearly 40,000 people each year. An estimated 8,000 people die from these cancers annually. It is twice as common among men than women, and the risk increases with age. Major identified risk factors include human papilloma virus (HPV); chronic irritation, such as from dentures; medications that suppress the immune system; and generally poor oral care and hygiene.

Tobacco use and heavy alcohol consumption are major risk factors. Smoking and drinking together are a double whammy, increasing the likelihood of oral cancer by a factor of 15. However, about one-fourth of all oral cancers occur in people who do not smoke and who only drink once in a while.

Early detection is critical

Symptoms of cancers include white plaques in the mouth; swelling, lumps or bumps; rough patches; unexplained bleeding or sores that won’t heal; hoarseness or chronic sore throat; difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking; and even ear pain.

Early detection is the key. Although some people may notice a warning sign, many of the sores, bumps or ulcers in the mouth that are cancerous are painless in their early stages. The practiced eye of a dental professional may be the first to observe a potential oral cancer. He may perform a biopsy. An oral brush biopsy is painless and just wipes a small sample of the tissues for examination. Or, the dentist may want a scalpel biopsy, using local or sometimes general anesthesia.

The dentist may recommend further tests to determine the extent of the cancer. These could include X-rays, CT scans, MRI, PET scans or an endoscope to examine throat, windpipe and lungs. And, the dentist may refer patients to another kind of specialist, such as an oral surgeon; head and neck surgeon; ear, nose and throat specialist; or doctors who specialize in cancer treatment.

Treatment and care for side effects

Treating oral cancer is similar to treatment for other kinds of cancer. The options include surgery to remove the cancerous tissue, as well as radiation or chemotherapy.

Although treating oral cancer can be life-saving, it can take a toll on oral tissues, as well as one’s general health. Nausea and fatigue are common side effects of cancer treatment. Radiation can also cause painful inflammation and ulcers in the mouth and throat. Pain medication and topical anesthetics can be helpful for these.

Teeth can be more susceptible to decay following radiation therapy, so it is more important than ever to maintain excellent oral hygiene. Use an extra-soft toothbrush and warm water if regular brushing is painful. Your dentist may also recommend additional fluoride application.

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is another common problem that can make it hard to eat, talk or swallow. Medication may cause temporary dry mouth, but sometimes radiation destroys salivary glands making dry mouth a permanent condition. Your dentist can recommend various ways to relieve symptoms, including ways to replace saliva or increase the effectiveness of saliva’s natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Complete oral care, including antioxidants

Because of the vulnerability of oral tissues—including gums and teeth—to any kind of cancer treatment, it is important to deal with any dental issues before starting treatment. Once treatment begins, gum disease, cavities, or other issues may become much worse.

PerioSciences products, antioxidant-infused gel and mouth rinses, are excellent for nourishing delicate oral tissues and balancing the chemistry within the oral cavity. People with healthy mouths love the taste and feel of our products and the vibrant appearance of their gums. We have heard from people with oral inflammation and dry mouth how much they appreciate AO ProVantage dental gel and AO ProRinse because they are cool and soothing without the burning sensation of many oral products. The antioxidants phloretin and ferulic have been shown to neutralize free radicals associated with inflammation and infection, and they complement the natural antioxidants found in normal saliva.

PerioSciences topical antioxidants are an important addition to regular oral hygiene, on top of routine brushing, flossing and dental visits. And, for people dealing with oral cancer, or with oral problems due to any cancer treatment, our products are the cooling, soothing antioxidant alternatives.

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They Call It ‘Fire Water’

Alcohol and Oral InflammationTry this: Pour a shot glass of whiskey. Gin, vodka, tequila or other spirits will do, too. Don’t add anything else. No ice, lime juice, or olives are needed. Now take a big swig.

Notice anything? How about that fiery feeling in your mouth? If you dare to swallow it, that burning sensation will travel all the way down your gullet.

What does this little experiment suggest about the effects of alcohol on your body? If the reaction of the mucous membranes in your mouth and throat are any indication, you might conclude that alcohol is bad, especially for your delicate oral tissues.

An insult to teeth and gums

An alcoholic drink or two are hard on your oral tissues. When sugar or citrus products are added in as mixers—such as in a margarita—the insult to teeth and gums is multiplied.

Heavy drinking is another story. Studies have shown that heavy drinkers are much more likely to have severe oral health problems such as gum disease and decayed teeth. Many heavy users have poor dental hygiene. For patients requiring dental procedures, alcohol use can reduce the ability to heal and even complicate anesthetic administration. Further, more than one-third of alcohol abusers have potentially precancerous oral lesions.

Think about it. Besides its use in alcoholic beverages, ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is a major component in medical wipes and antibacterial hand sanitizer. Ethanol kills many bacteria and fungi by denaturing their proteins and dissolving their lipids; that is, by destroying some of their cellular structures.

Antioxidants help

Scientists at Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry (BCD) in Dallas, Texas have shown that ethyl alcohol has a negative impact on oral cells. Their studies have confirmed that ethanol keeps wounds—such as a scratch on oral cells—from healing because it increases reactive oxygen species (ROS, or free radicals). Ethanol also inhibits cells from migrating across a wound to heal it.

The research also looked at whether antioxidants might counteract the effects of ethanol. The researchers exposed two types of oral cells—those that become gingival tissue, and cells that form ligaments holding teeth in place—with different concentrations of ethanol. They observed the cells’ viability and the ability to synthesize DNA. Not surprisingly, the higher the concentration of ethanol, the worse the results. Then, the researchers applied antioxidants, including phloretin and ferulic acid, to the oral cells exposed to the ethanol. They found that the antioxidants decreased the production of ROS free radicals and increased cell viability in the cells exposed to ethanol.

Other research involving ethanol has also demonstrated the benefits of antioxidants on oral tissues. Studies in Italy have shown that red wine has antioxidants, which seem to prevent the bacteria that cause tooth decay from clinging to saliva and teeth. Also, researchers in New York and Canada found that polyphenols from grapes and red wine may neutralize the damage caused by free radicals, and help limit inflammation caused by gum infections.

Our mission at PerioSciences is to produce topical antioxidant oral care products. Our antioxidants, phloretin and ferulic acid have been shown to counteract the effects of free radicals, such as those caused by alcohol, in the oral cavity. AO ProVantage dental gel and AO Pro Rinse are an excellent addition to your oral hygiene regimen of daily brushing and flossing, plus regular dental visits.

To help keep the chemistry of your mouth in balance, consider using antioxidant-rich products like those offered by PerioSciences. Phloretin and ferulic acid, two of our active ingredients, can help improve the antioxidant balance of your mouth. To learn more about antioxidants in oral care, fill out the form on our blog. Also, be sure to connect with PerioSciences on Facebook and Twitter.

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Alzheimer’s, Inflammation and Antioxidants

“Alzheimer’s sucks.” These words posted in June on Facebook by a seminary professor express everyone’s feelings about this terrible disease. It has been called “the long good-bye,” and devastates those who suffer from it as well as all the people around them.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a form of dementia that worsens over time, affecting memory, thinking and behavior. The earliest symptoms are forgetfulness, followed by difficulty performing tasks that used to be easy, language problems, getting lost, and sometimes personality changes. Later stages can include depression, forgetting personal history, not recognizing friends and family, and physical difficulties. A German psychiatrist and neuropathologist, Alois Alzheimer, first described the disease in 1906. Prior to Dr. Alzheimer, the disease was not distinguished from other types of dementia among elderly people.

Causes and progression

Early onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD) begins prior to age 60. It is less common and has been linked to family genetics. Late onset AD may run in families, but the genetic link is less clear. Skilled diagnosticians can determine if someone has Alzheimer’s, but the only sure way of telling is by examining brain tissue after death.

Other than some genetic predisposition for AD, there are few identified risk factors. However, statistics suggest that females are at higher risk than males. A history of head trauma is also a higher risk factor. And, cardiovascular disease has been associated with a higher risk. These include high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

The causes and progression of AD are still not well understood. It is estimated by 2050, one in 85 people will suffer from AD. In 2006, there were 26.6 million people worldwide with Alzheimer’s. It is a major public health concern that will not decrease without new treatments that can delay the onset, slow the progression or reverse the disease. Anything that can help with early detection and treatment is extremely important.

Prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease are high on the list of research goals. The National Institutes of Health, the largest source of biomedical research funding in the world, expects to spend about $500 million on Alzheimer’s research this year. This includes a $50 million increase announced by President Barack Obama in February.

Researching the role of inflammation

Scientists are looking closely at the role of inflammation in AD. Perhaps, they hypothesize, inflammation elsewhere in the body might increase the level of inflammation within the brain, leading to the onset or progression of AD.

Dental science is at the forefront of this research, as scientists investigate the inflammation from oral disease, especially periodontitis, as a risk factor in Alzheimer’s disease. Several other debilitating diseases, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease have been associated with oral disease, periodontitis, and chronic inflammation.

One study among identical twins showed that tooth loss—often caused by periodontitis—increased the risk for AD. This suggests that oral disease might significantly impact the incidence and prevalence of AD. It is not clear whether oral infection and inflammation are causes AD or just factors that contribute to the disease and its progression.

Controlling oral disease

The research connecting oral disease, including periodontitis, with inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease is beginning to accumulate. In the ongoing, desperate fight against AD, one battlefront is controlling oral disease and inflammation.

While scientists connect the dots between oral disease, inflammation and AD, consumers can take the steps of maximizing their oral health. Daily brushing and flossing along with regular dental visits are the first line of attack against oral disease including periodontitis. Adding topical oral antioxidants, such as PerioSciences AO ProVantage dental gel and AO ProRinse mouthwash, can complete the oral care regimen. These products work synergistically with naturally occurring salivary antioxidants to freshen breath while soothing soft tissue in the oral cavity. The result is improved appearance of tissue and a pleasant, fresh feeling in the mouth.

PerioSciences is dedicated to advanced science in dental care and to providing the best oral care products. If you would like to learn more about our products, visit us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Traveling? Don’t forget great oral care!

Chances are you’ll be doing some traveling this summer. According to the U.S. Travel Association, Americans logged 1.5 billion trips for leisure in 2010. This summer, zillions of people will jump in the car or board a plane to get out of town for a while. Travel is great for relaxation and recreation, but can be a challenge to keep up with good oral hygiene habits.

As you pack your travel kit, make sure to include your toothbrush and floss. Whether your vacation is going to be slow and leisurely with lots of down time or fast-paced with sight-seeing and other adventures, vow to take the few minutes required for thorough brushing and flossing. After all, it takes just a few hours for the bacteria in your mouth to begin creating the plaque that leads to dental decay and gum disease.

If you’re flying and carrying toothpaste in your carry-on luggage, you’ll probably want to purchase travel-sized toothpaste. Some hotels can provide small tubes of toothpaste, and, of course, it’s available for sale in most parts of the world. Of course, you can successfully clean your teeth without toothpaste, so don’t let forgotten toothpaste keep you from brushing.

Pack up the topical antioxidants, too.

We suggest packing a 15 ml. travel-sized container of AO ProVantage dental gel, too. Traveling can set the stage for increased oxidation and free radicals in your oral cavity. Food and drinks, including alcohol, can release free radicals. Nicotine—from tobacco use or even from second-hand smoke in bars, cafes and other public places—is another assault on oral tissues. Stress contributes to oxidation as well. Dashing around to keep a schedule or make a flight is a cause of stress. And if you’re visiting family, there just might be an uptick in your stress level.

When there’s an overabundance of free radicals in oral tissues, the cells can begin to break down. Antioxidants, like the phloretin and ferulic in AO ProVantage products, have been shown to neutralize the free radicals caused by nicotine, alcohol, and other stressors.

Major dental work

While you’re traveling, you might encounter a dental emergency such as a cracked or broken tooth, or perhaps toothache. Your best bet is to call your regular dentist for advice. She may advise you to find a local dentist, or tips on what to do till you can get back home. A hotel, visitor information office, or even a local hospital might be able to refer you to a reputable local dentist.

A growing trend is for people to travel abroad for a major dental procedure, such as cosmetic dentistry or even root canals. They are attracted by the allure of recovering as they vacationing in an exotic location. Also, costs can be a fraction of what one would pay at home. Dental vacationers are advised to be extremely cautious in researching the credentials and skills of the dentist who will be performing the procedure, as well as the local standards for sterilization.

Bon voyage! Have a great vacation! Take lots of photos—and take extra good care of your oral health.

If you’d like to build a powerful daily dental regimen to help you keep your teeth and body in prime condition, PerioSciences can help you protect yourself. Our AO ProVantage products and AO ProRinse are products designed to help keep your dental hygiene at its best with daily use. To learn more about antioxidants and dental care, fill out the form on our blog. To connect with PerioSciences, check us out on Facebook or Twitter.

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