Newly Identified Oral Bacterium Linked to Heart Disease and Meningitis (repost)

I came across this article (below) this morning and think it’s interesting and worth sharing! Once again, this article shows that the links between oral health and the entire body’s health are strong and symbiotic. The body is connected from head to toe, from mouth to heart. Here at our dental office in Ellicott City we also take into account how all of your body’s systems can affect your oral health, and vice versa. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any questions about this article, or other issues related to Oral Systemic Health and dentistry!

– Dr. Blum,, Dental Facial Aesthetics and Oral Systemic Health

Newly Identified Oral Bacterium Linked to Heart Disease and Meningitis

Reposted from ScienceDaily (Feb. 22, 2012)

A novel bacterium, thought to be a common inhabitant of the oral cavity, has the potential to cause serious disease if it enters the bloodstream, according to a study in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. Its identification will allow scientists to work out how it causes disease and evaluate the risk that it poses.

The bacterium was identified by researchers at the Institute of Medical Microbiology of the University of Zurich and has been named Streptococcus tigurinus after the region of Zurich where it was first recognised. S. tigurinus was isolated from blood of patients suffering from endocarditis, meningitis and spondylodiscitis (inflammation of the spine). It bears a close resemblance to other Streptococcus strains that colonise the mouth. Bleeding gums represent a possible route of entry for oral bacteria into the bloodstream.

The similarity of S. tigurinus to other related bacteria has meant that it has existed up until now without being identified. Its recent identification is clinically important, explained Dr Andrea Zbinden who led the study. “Accurate identification of this bacterium is essential to be able to track its spread. Further research must now be done to understand the strategies S. tigurinus uses to successfully cause disease. This will allow infected patients to be treated quickly and with the right drug.”

Dr Zbinden said that while the discovery of the bacterium is no cause for alarm, it is important that it is recognised and the risk is quantified. “This bacterium seems to have a natural potential to cause severe disease and so it’s important that clinicians and microbiologists are aware of it,” she said. “The next step is to work out exactly how common this bacterium is in the oral cavity and what risk it poses. Immunosuppression, abnormal heart valves, dental surgeries or chronic diseases are common predisposing factors for blood infections by this group of bacteria. However, the specific risk factors for S. tigurinus remain to be determined.”

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Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP): Healing Diseased Gums, One Magical Laser at a Time

Let’s get dirty and go under the gums! No Cut, No Sew, No Fear

It’s no secret that the health of our gums, mouth, and teeth directly impact the health of our whole bodies–most things inside of us are connected and this only makes sense. Much contemporary research has also linked gum disease to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and low-birth weight babies.

In essence, when we neglect our mouth, bacteria builds up in the mouth and can get trapped under the gum-line, which results in inflamed gums )sore, quick to bleed, painful, puffy, etc.). Untreated, this inflammation can increase and spread down into the bone; once it reaches the bone, it breaks down/eats away at the bone structure of your jaw and ultimately results in teeth and jaw structure lost to decay. It also runs a higher risk of that bacteria spreading out into the bloodstream, which can increase the probability of blood clots and the like. All in all: not fun and not healthy.

Now here is where the laser comes in. As an alternative to traditional gum surgery (that cuts open the gum to clean out the bacteria and decayed matter), by using laser technology with our Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP), bacteria and diseased tissues are killed/removed while leaving intact & stimulating the regeneration of healthy gum tissue to heal naturally, (without the use of our friend, the scalpel). In cases of bone loss, the laser stimulates bone regeneration as well.

Pony with laser beam eyes frying harmful oral bacteria! And that, in sum, is the gist of the matter. Sadly, many people treat gum disease as an  insignificant matter, and they end up paying for it later with poor oral and systemic  health problems. (Not to mention, it’s more expensive to recover after comprehensive  damage is already done than it is to halt its progression. And the likelihood of losing  one’s natural teeth is higher.) Letting a little gum disease go will likely create much  worse problems–sweeping termites under the carpet does not make them go away!

With the development of LANAP, LANAP certified dentists now have the technology and wonderful opportunity to actually rejuvenate oral health, stop, and even reverse the advancement of gum disease before the losses become catastrophic. The procedure offers a wise way to get one’s mouth back on the right track towards health before things spiral out of hand, and I truly recommend the laser alternative to gum surgery procedure to anyone who has periodontal disease.

I don’t like dental implants or dentures any more than you!



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Keeping Track of Your Habits: A Strategy for Good Oral Hygiene

How do you keep track of your finances? Someone keeps a record of what comes in and goes out, right?

With no intention of becoming a list-oriented Virgo on any of you readers, documenting the comings and goings of one’s money can help create a better understanding of someone’s financial situation.

Also, the same goes with keeping track of one’s diet (aka the food/drink you consume). If you are trying to figure out which foods give you a stomache ache, or wnat to keep track  of the nutrients you are actually consuming, or are on a specific training diet–keeping a list of the things you consume and when you consume them can help you gain a better understanding of your habits.

And what about lists of brushing and flossing habits? Do you ever skip a post-meal brushing? Have you ever gone for two days without flossing? (We’ve all probably done this, so don’t feel guilty!)

Well if you don’t already have superb, consistent oral hygiene habits, I challenge you to keep a log (list) for an entire week of every single time you brush, floss, rinse your mouth with water, gargle with baking soda, or whatever. (Write down the times too!) In addition, it would be even more amazing if you also document your eating/drinking/smoking habits as well.

Before we can change our habits for the better, most of us have to know where our starting points are. So after the week is over, make some time to sit down and come up with a plan, a strategy for improving (or maintaining) good oral hygiene habits. Even if you are only realistically able to make a couple changes at a time, start somewhere!

Do you accept the challenge?!

*For all current patients, if you bring in your recent week log (and your new strategy if you’ve made one!) to your next appointment in the office, we will give you our new Top Secret “Chew for Life” prize!

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Brushing Your Teeth With Sugar! (Xylitol Prevents Dental Caries)

Yes, I really do brush my teeth with sugar!”

“That might sound like the craziest thing you have ever heard. In much the same way that there are good fats like flax seed oil, and bad fats like trans fats, not all sugars are bad for your teeth. In fact, the sugar that I brush my teeth with is a secret weapon to wipe out oral disease-causing bacteria. This sugar is xylitol and it is poised to replace fluoride as the greatest scientific discovery for healthier mouths. Furthermore, xylitol is safe and has been used by diabetics for decades. Xylitol has none of the controversy that surrounds fluoride and it comes in a variety of usable forms that make it very easy, delicious and economical to use...

…Side by side in a sugar bowl, you can’t really tell them apart and they both taste deliciously sweet. However xylitol has a much different effect on the bad bacteria in our mouths, preventing it from adhering to the tooth surfaces. Also, since the bacteria can’t metabolize xylitol, they can’t create the acid byproduct that is created by when bacteria eats up regular sugar [in the mouth]. The xylitol-fed bacteria starve and die off! Regular use of xylitol has been shown to not only reduce tooth decay, but also to facilitate the remineralization of teeth…”

We Need Xylitol Now

“Dental caries affects the populations in every country. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that in the U.S., by the time kids are age 17, almost 80 percent have experienced tooth decay. In Finland, it is practically the opposite, where 80 percent of high school graduates have no caries. What is the difference? Finland schools regularly distribute xylitol to the students. Need more proof? Dr. Peter Allen, head of the Ministry of Health in Belize, reports that in his country’s landmark study, xylitol reduced caries by more than 50 percent with results continuing to  show the same reduction even five years after the study (and xylitol usage) was completed. It appears that xylitol usage has a very long-lasting effect…”

All excerpts written by Dr. Chris Krammer, DDS. Follow this link for more information on xylitol uses, what is xylitol, and more details about how xylitol prevents cavities and the like!

So spread the word about xylitol! Wouldn’t it be great if out governments subsidized xylitol distribution instead of only fluoridating tap water?!



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Nice Smile! Expert Advice on Good Oral Hygiene and Dating

Ellicott City Smiles’ patient reveals the secret of romance–good oral hygiene! 
(Go brush your teeth!)

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