Ann Arbor, being the medical town that it is, has a large selection of dentists and dental services available. Their staff have been busy providing information and encouragement to their youth patients concerning the importance of dental health which is not just about having white, shiny teeth. Your entire body depends on you taking care of your mouth.
Many different research studies within the past few years have shown that the spread of bacteria in the mouth could potentially spread to the bloodstream and cause other health conditions such as: heart disease, bacterial pneumonia, and stroke, not to mention periodontal disease.
Recently,The University of Michigan School of Dentistry in Ann Arbor, Michigan has reported positive results using Gene Therapy. The leading cause of tooth loss is periodontal disease as reported by University of Michigan scientists. They believe their tests have shown they can successfully stop periodontal disease using Gene Therapy.
Gene therapy involves introducing specific genes into targeted cells with the hope that those cells will keep producing these genes for a long period of time or for the life of the patient.
To prevent gum disease and possible systemic conditions, The American Dental Association recommends the following :
- brush 2 times per day
- replace toothbrush at least every 3 - 4 months
- floss daily
- eat a balanced diet
- limit snacking
- visit your dentist regularly
You can visit the American Dental Association's website for more information.
When we talk about an ever-growing industry of health and wellness, we tend to stick with exercise and nutrition. But, oral health is also crucial to health and wellness.
Now-a-days, when you visit the dentist, you may leave with some literature and resources that provide knowledge on oral cancer, gum disease prevention, etc..
For example, one SE Michigan dental office is trying to be as preventative as possible.
Dr. James E. Mikula and staff will not only clean your teeth but talk with you about good oral health and send you on your way with a goodie bag of coupons and literature that explains oral conditions and why it's a good idea to prevent them.
Oral cancer may start with a "tiny, unnoticed white or red spot located anywhere in the mouth."
Causes can be but are not limited to:
- Tobacco use (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing, any kind basically)
- Alcohol use combined with smoking
- exposure to sun (lips)
A diet high in fresh produce (fruits and vegetables), cessation of all tobacco products and limiting time in the sun in order to prevent oral cancer. Also, regular dental check-ups will provide routine oral cancer screening. For those who have a fear of the dentist, many dentists are now very careful in providing a comfortable atmosphere and being as pain-free as possible. They're also conscious of the times and many will provide discounts and/or payment plans for self-pay clients.
Many studies have been done and are still under-way concerning how oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and form lipid (fat)-containing clots within the arteries and than affect other areas of the body such as cardiovascular, respiratory, diabetes and possibly even premature birth.
Their suggestions are the same as above (from The American Dental Association) but with more detail:
- brush regularly
- floss at least once a day
- get regular dental check-ups
- eat a well-balanced diet and drink adequate amounts of water to ensure healthy teeth and gums
- discuss chronic and acute conditions (this includes pregnancy) with your dentist
- If you do not have a dentist, ask trusted friends and family members for a referral
While gene therapy is a great breakthrough for those already suffering from periodontal disease, prevention is the best medicine!
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