Link between Alzheimer’s disease and oral bacteria

We have touched on connections between oral health and Alzheimer’s disease before, yet felt the need to re-touch on the subject again. Nearly 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, and with aging of baby boom generation, the number of cases is expected to increase 70 percent by 2020.Now that the movie Still Alice has shined a light on Alzheimer’s disease, the time to show the oral health connection to Alzheimer’s disease seemed appropriate.

In 2013, a study published in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found a link between Alzheimer’s disease and oral bacteria. Researchers analyzed brain samples from 10 people with Alzheimer’s and 10 people without the brain disease and found gum disease-related bacteria in the brain samples from four of the 10 Alzheimer’s patients. No such bacteria was found in the brain samples from people without Alzheimer’s.

“This clearly shows that there is an association between oral bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease, but not causal association,” study author Lakshmyya Kesavalu, an associate professor in the College of Dentistry at the University of Florida, said in a university news release.

Bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream during chewing, brushing, flossing and dental procedures. The bacteria can travel in the blood to the brain and can potentially lead to brain tissue degeneration that appears similar to Alzheimer’s, the researchers said.

Another study followed 109 pairs of identical twins in Sweden to find any lifestyle factors associated with developing dementia. This study found that twins who had periodontal disease earlier in life were four times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Researchers believe gum disease is a sign of inflammation, which may play a role in the destruction of brain cells. (

In 2010 NYU dental researchers have found long-term evidence that gum disease may increase the risk of cognitive dysfunction associated with Alzheimer’s disease in healthy individuals as well as in those who already are cognitively impaired. “The research suggests that cognitively normal subjects with periodontal inflammation are at an increased risk of lower cognitive function compared to cognitively normal subjects with little or no periodontal inflammation,” Dr. Kamer said. (

The evidence in mounting, there is a link between Alzheimer’s disease and oral bacteria. Though the research is on going the results are undeniable. Keeping your gums healthy effects more that just your smile, your cognitive abilities.

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Dental Care, Gum Disease

The link between Inflammation in mouth and rheumatoid arthritis

oral health care

In the last several years more research results have been connecting the link between Inflammation in mouth and rheumatoid arthritis. At first glance, these two conditions seem to have very little in common. One deals in joint pain and the other gum and dental pain. Rheumatoid arthritis affects millions of Americans. It is considered a chronic joint disease that causes the soft tissue around joints to thicken and swell and cartilage to erode. Unlike osteoarthritis, which is characterized by joint damage from wear-and-tear stress, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks the joints, especially joints of the hands and feet. It is for this reason RA is thought to be an autoimmune disease. Periodontal diseases are infections of the structures around the teeth, which include the gums, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. In the earliest stage of periodontal disease — gingivitis — the infection affects the gums. They sound very different right? Yet on closer look, these two conditions have one very important thing in common, inflammation.

Inflammation is a protective immune system response to substances like viruses and bacteria. In autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system mistakenly triggers inflammation, although there are no viruses or bacteria to fight off. In RA, the inflammation causes joints to become swollen, painful, and stiff.

Scott Zashin, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School says “it’s possible that the immune system is stimulated by mouth inflammation and infection, “setting off a cascade of events where inflammation develops at the site of joints or arthritis.” He says controlling the inflammation through better dental care could play a role in reducing the incidence and severity of RA. ( ) .

A recent study titled “Inflammation in the Mouth and Joints in Rheumatoid Arthritis.” Has yielded some very interesting results. The study finds Periodontitis shares pathogenic mechanisms with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and may trigger its onset. In this study, researchers performed joint and dental examinations, determined Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) antibodies, and examined inflammatory microenvironments in early and chronic RA patients. RA patients showed a marked inflammatory profile in all microenvironments, including oral, despite routine dental care. P. gingivalis antibodies can be considered as biomarkers for rheumatologists in identifying those who may benefit from periodontal treatment. (

In another research Researchers tested bacterial strains of gum disease on mice with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), which is similar to RA in humans.

They found that the Porphyromonas gingivalis strain, responsible for periodontal disease, worsened arthritis in the mouse models by speeding up onset, progression, and severity, including the breakdown of bone and cartilage. This is because P. gingivalis creates an enzyme called peptidylarginine deiminanse (PPAD), which exacerbates CIA.

The researchers also found high levels of citrullinated proteins at the infection sites of P. gingivalis, which points to more bad news for RA sufferers since the body will attack citrullinated proteins. (

So what does all this research mean? How does all this data and research effect your daily life.? The finding show how important it is to remember that maintaining oral health keeps gingivitis at bay before it devolves into periodontal disease. The findings suggest that to decrease your chance of rheumatoid arthritis, keeping your gums clean, thus lessening the bacteria that leads to gum disease can play a major role by less chances of the immune system being triggered, thus lessening chances of triggering inflammation.

Posted from Charleston, West Virginia, United States.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Dental Care, Gum Disease

A History of Opiate Drug Laws in the United States

Prescription narcotic and opiate abuse is an epidemic on the rise. Yet, the United States in the last 115 years has been passing laws and waging a war to curb this troubling problem. Below is an infograph of the laws the United States has past since 1800’s on drug abuse. The information provided by .

A History of Opiate Laws in the United States

Posted from Houston, Texas, United States.

Posted in Uncategorized

Prevention Of Prescription Drug Abuse in Dental Practices

Prescription Drugs in Dentistry Dentist can play a key role position in in the identification and minimizing prescription drug abuse through patient education, patient assessment and referral for substance abuse treatment when indicated, and using tools such as prescription monitoring programs. Dentist have to be ever vigilant about responsible prescription writing and monitoring of their patients.

Tools for Dental Practices is minimize Prescription Drug Abuses

A growing trend for dentist is to have collaborative practice agreement between dentist and pharmacist. Collaborative practice agreements (CPAs) create a formal practice relationship between a pharmacist and another health care provider and specify what patient care services. ( ) Currently, 48 states plus the District of Columbia allow for some degree of collaborative practice agreements between pharmacists and other health care providers. Agreements between pharmacist and pain or primary care physicians are there to better control pain medications.

Patient History

Another tool a dentist has is patient health history. When a patient first meets a dentist, usually the dentist will request and obtain a patients health records. More than 40% of physicians do not ask about prescription drug abuse when taking a patient’s health history and one-third do not regularly call or obtain records from the patient’s previous (or other treating) physician before prescribing controlled, potentially addictive drugs like opioids.. (CASA). During the first consultation, the dentist should ask about past prescription drug abuse. Both dentist and patient may be uncomfortable talking about past abuse, yet an open ended question on a dentist patient health history form should be a good way to start. In order for patients not to feel as if they are being “singled out” , dentist should familiarize their patient with the practices privacy policy to instill personal health information remains confidential.

With that in mind, dentist need to coax out any information about any past and present prescription drug usage as well as illegal drug or alcohol use. Consultation with a patients other physicians such as primary care doctor or drug counselor if any abuse is known, so that proper medications during dental procedures can be given at level accordance to where they are in recovery.

Screening Tools

A dentist also has the option to use a number of screening tools in order to ascertain the situation. These screening tools where originally designed for general physician practices, but have been easily modified so dental practices can use them. These tolls include the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral Treatment, NIDA- Modified Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Test and Drug Abuse Screening Test.

Alternative Prescriptions

If a patient is at risk of prescription drug abuse, a dentist may use alternative pains medication instead of opioids. The most common alternative is prescribing NSAIDS or acetaminophen. In short, medications like Tylenol, Ibuprofen or Aspirin. These medications do come with their own set of risks, so they should be taken within their proper dosage.

In Conclusion

Dentists have an ethical obligation to be cautious when prescribing medications when there is suspected prescription drug abuse. This abuse could jeopardize some of the intended results of the medication or dental procedures and aftercare they were prescribed for. If you’re a patient, please not be offended at the questions a dentist must ask. In the end, it is your wellbeing that is the most important consideration a dentist can make.


Posted from Houston, Texas, United States.

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in General Dentistry

History of Prescription Drug Abuse

prescription drugs

The abuse of prescription painkillers and drug abuse is not a new phenomenon. This is problem that has existed for thousands of years. In the decades and centuries following its discovery, opium was used for both medicinal and recreational purposes throughout the world, including Egypt, India, and Greek, Roman, Persian and Arab Empires.


In the 15th century, China began to use opium recreationally, under the misguided notion that opium could provide longevity and a more vigorous sex life. Shortly thereafter, opium smoking in tobacco pipes became a symbol of luxury and wealth in China, influencing infamous opium dens across the country, and around the world. In 1895, Bayer, a German pharmaceutical company, produced heroin with the intention of it being a less addictive form of morphine. It was offered as an over-the-counter drug for a short time until it was discovered that heroin was absorbed faster and was more addicting than morphine. By 1900 Opium, morphine, heroin and cocaine in wide use in over-the-counter medicines made by a pharmacist or a manufacturer In 1905, the US banned opium. The first national drug law was the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, which required accurate labeling of patent medicines containing opium and certain other drugs.


Supreme Court decisions made it illegal for doctors to prescribe any narcotic to addicts; many doctors who prescribed maintenance doses as part of an addiction treatment plan were jailed, and soon all attempts at treatment were abandoned and the use of narcotics and cocaine diminished significantly by the 1920s. The spirit of temperance led to the prohibition of alcohol by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1919, but Prohibition was repealed in 1933.

1 in 6 admit to taking prescription drugs to either get high or change their

In the 40’s 50’s 60’s and 70’s , various drug laws and regulations are passed. Yet derivatives of opium are used has medication. Morphine, heroin, codeine and methadone are all highly addictive derivatives of opium that were extracted and/or created with the intention of each being less harmful and addictive than its predecessor. All four substances are now considered among the most highly abused and addictive drugs available in the world. Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet are commonly prescribed synthetic opiates that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration,

The use of prescription pain relievers, stimulants, sedatives and tranquilizers in an abusive manner continues. Current trends show younger people, including teenagers, are becoming addicted to these prescription medications, as well as elderly patients. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the number of people abusing prescription drugs increased from just under 600,000 in 1990 to 2.5 million in 2000.



Posted from Houston, Texas, United States.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Dental Care, Dental Implant, General Dentistry

Dental Affects of Regular Marijuana Use

Dental affects of weed

While using meth has a much more dramatic effect on your teeth, marijuana still has unhealthy dental effects. Similar to smoking tobacco, regular marijuana smoking can cause gum disease and other dental health issues.

New Zealand research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined the effects of marijuana smoking by analyzing the general health of over 900 adults who had ingested marijuana at least 40 times since turning 18 years of age. The findings showed that habitual pot-smokers have a greater risk of developing “periodontal disease by age 32,” even for non-smokers ( The connection was true even for group participants who opted against tobacco use. ( ) Cannabis smoke acts as a carcinogen and is associated with dysplastic changes and pre-malignant lesions within the oral mucosa. Users are also prone to oral infections, possibly due to the immunosuppressive effects.

habitual pot-smokers have a greater risk of developing “periodontal disease by age 321800 Dentist Study

Other effects include dry mouth and throat. Users typically experience increased thirst because of the dryness. Having a dry mouth means that your production of saliva becomes limited, and saliva is very beneficial for keeping your teeth clean because it neutralizes bacteria and plaque that create an acid that attacks your teeth. THC also has side effect that increases the appetite (also known as “the munchies”), which is that it often creates the desire to consume sugary or high carbohydrate foods. Another effect is Tetrahydrocannibol (THC), the main ingredient in marijuana, is known to interfere with the process of calcium absorption. Healthy teeth need calcium to stay strong, and long-term use of marijuana can lead to decay or tooth loss. This loss of calcium can lead to jaw bone decay and loss.

Though marijuana is considered by some as a “safe “ drug , and does not the dramatic effects of meth, it does have adverse dental health affects. These affects should not be ignored, or taken lightly. These affects of regular marijuana use should be at least known and considered if a person is considering such use,



Posted from Houston, Texas, United States.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Dental Care, Dental Problems, General Dentistry

Long term dental effects of Methamphetamine


Methamphetamine, or meth for short s highly addictive drug that has soared in popularity since being showcased in shows such shows as Breaking Bad. It’s allure is that it takes users on a psychedelic adventure promising an unmatched euphoria. Yet meth is one of the more destructive illegal drugs in terms of dental health.

With prolonged meth abuse, the progress of dental decay can be swift and the destruction of teeth, obliteration of enamel, and damage to the nerve pulp occurs rapidly. The severe damage of teeth that occurs from chronic meth abuse is so rampant and dramatic that it has its own slang term, meth mouth. Unlike the side effects of other euphoria-generating drugs, the dental problems from meth mouth are very visible.

Though the exact cause of meth mouth is not known, what is known is extreme dry mouth, severe tooth decay, gum disease, poor oral hygiene, low nutrition, teeth grinding, and overall neglect become causative factors. Meth mouth usually starts with bad breath, cavities, and progressively swollen, bleeding, and red gums. The later stages of meth mouth are complete disintegration of the teeth.

How does Methamphetamine Destroy Teeth?

The extreme dry mouth (xerostomia) that results from meth abuse leads to a progression of decay along the gumline. With extreme dry mouth, there is a significant decrease in salivary enzymes that kill the bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. Also, during the high meth users are on, many partake in “buzzing,” where they will consume sugary foods and soda during cravings. The acids in the soda and the glucose in the sugary foods facilitate bacteria to continue their decay.

In the late stages of meth mouth, the results are debilitating. After a continuous and prolonged cycle of neglectful oral hygiene, dry mouth, tooth decay, progressive gum disease, and a high-risk diet, teeth can decay all the way to the gumline. This is when teeth can fall out and become decayed all the way to their roots. With many meth abusers, paranoia may also settle in, resulting in the abuser to grind their teeth, leading to the fracture of teeth and tooth loss.

The dental effects of Methamphetamine can be one of the most devastating of all the different drugs. Long-term meth abusers can experience rampant tooth decay, tooth loss, loss of taste, and an inability to chew. The dental consequences can be disastrous.

Posted from Houston, Texas, United States.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Dental Care, Dental Problems, General Dentistry

How mouth is affected by prolong use of cocaine


It is well known cocaine effects the mind, especially in prolonged use. Yet did you know that prolonged use in cocaine can affect the mouth? It can and it does. Prolonged use of cocaine affects more than just the mind, other bodily systems and functions are effected as well, such as the mouth.

Cocaine users may suffer permanent lung damage or cancers of the throat. Those who “snort” cocaine by inhaling it through the nose repeatedly, may damage the lining of their nose, throat or larynx, to the point of destruction of all tissues lining those organs. Permanent damage may be caused, requiring surgical repair for appropriate functioning of nose and/or throat as there could be scarring of the throat. Chronic sore throats are also another symptom of prolonged cocaine use.

Cocaine users have the tendency of users to grind their teeth when under the influence of cocaine. Users may grind their teeth or clench their jaws when under duress, which is more often, due to the cognitive damage done to the brain of the user. They may wear down or break teeth and many have serious dental problems subsequent to long-term use of cocaine.

Cocaine users frequently suffer from bruxism, commonly giving rise to pain in the temporomandibular joint and masticatory muscles. Mild attrition affecting all canines and first premolars as well as the upper lateral incisors was observed in a patient with a two-year history of regular use of cocaine and other drugs. Administration of cocaine to rats also induced a significant increase in attrition rate and non-functional masticatory activity. The increased risk of cervical abrasion is probably related to excessive vigorous tooth brushing. (

Users sometimes rub cocaine over their gums which causes ulceration of gums and the underlying bone. When cocaine mixes with saliva it creates an acidic solution, which erodes tooth enamel.

Sufficed to say, cocaine, along with the known neurological effects, has dental effects as well. Dry mouth, gum erosion, broken teeth, and even oral cancers are all effects of prolonged use of cocaine. SAMHSA’s National Helpline (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental health and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.


Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357)



Posted from Houston, Texas, United States.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Dental Care, Dental Problems, General Dentistry

What To Do For Heart Attack or Stroke


Do you know the signs? Sweating. Pressure. Nausea. Jaw pain. Believe it or not, these are all symptoms of a heart attack. Hard to believe  but they are also symptoms that are often brushed off as the flu, stress or simply feeling under the weather, yet they are symptoms of  life threatening heart attack or stroke.

Signs of a Heart Attack

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.


As with men, the most common heart attack symptom in women is chest pain or discomfort. But it’s important to note that women are more likely to experience the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

What to do during a heart attack

If you experience any of these signs or symptoms:

  • Do not wait to call for help. call 9-1-1, and  make sure to follow the operator’s instructions and get to a hospital right away.
  • Do not drive yourself or have someone drive you to the hospital unless you have no other choice.
  • Try to stay as calm as possible and take deep, slow breaths while you wait for the emergency responders.

Symptoms of a Stroke

Signs that you may be having a stroke:

Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
Sudden severe headache with no known cause
You should never wait more than five minutes to dial 9-1-1 if you experience even one of the signs above. Remember, you could be having a stroke even if you’re not experiencing all of the symptoms. And remember to check the time. The responding emergency medical technician or ER nurse at the hospital will need to know when the first symptom occurred.



Stroke is not only the No. 4 cause of death in the United States, it’s also a leading cause of severe, long-term disability. It is vital to take action immediately. Research conducted by The American Stroke Association shows that patients who take a clot-busting drug, or thrombolytic, within three hours of their first stroke symptom can reduce long-term disability from ischemic stroke – the most common type, accounting for about 87 percent of all cases.

Information provided by American Heart Association

Posted from Houston, Texas, United States.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Nutrition

Study finds link between tooth loss and mental, physical decline in older adults


The research found that adults with their own teeth tested better in memory and physical tests. he study, out of University College of London, studied over 3,100 British adults over the age of 60 from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), and compared memory and walking speed within the demographic. Published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the research found that study participants with none of their own teeth performed approximately 10% worse in both walking speed and memory tests than participants that had some natural teeth. The associations between poorer memory and physical function were more obvious in adults 60-74 years of age than in those over 75.

“Tooth loss could be used as an early marker of mental and physical decline in older age, particularly among 60-74 year-olds,” said lead author Dr. Georgios Tsakos of the UCL Department of Epidemiology & Public Health in a recent college news release. “Regardless of what is behind the link between tooth loss and decline in function, recognizing excessive tooth loss presents an opportunity for early identification of adults at higher risk of faster mental and physical decline later in their life. There are many factors likely to influence this decline, such as lifestyle and psychosocial factors, which are amenable to change.

Prior to making conclusions about the associations between tooth loss and memory and physical function decline, researchers adjusted the results for potentially influential factors, such as sociodemographic characteristics, preexisting health problems, socioeconomic status and education. Despite the adjustments for these factors, people without their own teeth still walked slower than those who still had their teeth.

The full study, “Tooth Loss Associated with Physical and Cognitive Decline in Older Adults,” was first published in December on the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society website.

Posted from Houston, Texas, United States.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Dental Problems, General Dentistry