Dr Mark O'Donnell B.D.S
Monday - Thursday
Tuesday and Friday mornings
Good oral hygiene may combat bad breath
Four factors related to the health of your mouth may increase the risk of bad breath (halitosis), according to a study in the journal Acta Odontologica Scandinavica.
The study was done in Tokyo, and enrolled 617 people who were visiting a bad breath clinic. Each person was given an oral exam and gave saliva samples. The researchers found these risk factors for bad breath:
• tongue coating – people with larger areas of tongue coating had more than three times the risk of bad breath as people who had no tongue coating;
• plaque – people with more plaque on their teeth had about twice the risk of bad breath as people who had the least plaque;
• gum disease – people with more advanced gum disease had about a 30% increased risk of bad breath, compared with those who did not have gum disease; and,
• thick saliva – people with thicker saliva had a 10% greater risk of bad breath, compared with those who had thinner saliva.
Regular tooth brushing and flossing can prevent plaque, gum disease and some types of tongue coating. Thick saliva may indicate that a person has dry mouth. Many medicines can cause dry mouth. Other causes include:
• mouth infections;
• allergies, colds or flu; and,
• other medical conditions, such as diabetes or liver disease.
Medical screenings in dental offices could catch undiagnosed conditions
A dental visit may be a useful time to screen people for diabetes, kidney disease and other health conditions. That's one conclusion of a new study in the Journal of the American Dental Association.
Researchers collected urine and blood samples from 171 people ranging in age from 19 to 77. All were visiting a dental clinic for treatment. Researchers also asked questions about people's medical conditions and their medical history.
Here's what the researchers found:
• 83% of people had at least one abnormal test result;
• 18% had results that were significantly abnormal (higher or lower than 99% of other results);
• in women, the most common abnormal tests were high blood sugar and blood in the urine;
• in men, the most common abnormal tests were high blood sugar and high levels of white blood cells; and,
• 36% of people with heart disease and 13% of those with diabetes had test results that could point to kidney disease.
People with medical conditions were more likely to have at least one abnormal test result than people who did not report any conditions. Only 17% of people reported no medical conditions. Some 20% reported one condition, and 63% said they had two or more.
The researchers suggest that the dental office may be a useful place to conduct medical screenings. Few studies have looked at the possibility of medical screening in dental offices. Earlier in 2014, a study found that 41% of dental patients had evidence of diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Simple saliva test may reveal deadly diseases early enough to treat them
Research could lead to a simple saliva test capable of diagnosing – at an early stage – diabetes and cancer, and perhaps neurological disorders and autoimmune diseases.
The study, the most comprehensive analysis ever conducted of RNA molecules in human saliva, reveals that saliva contains many of the same disease-revealing molecules that are contained in blood. It was published online by the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Chemistry.
According to researchers, the test also holds promise for diagnosing type 2 diabetes, gastric cancer and other diseases.
RNA is a cellular messenger that makes proteins and carries out DNA's instructions to other parts of the cell. Researchers discovered that some of the same RNA that is inside human cells are also present in saliva and can be used to detect diseases – a surprising finding because enzymes in saliva can degrade RNA, making the mouth 'a hostile environment'.
Scientists compared microRNA levels in saliva to those in the blood and other body fluids, and found the levels of microRNA in blood and in saliva are very similar – indicating that a saliva sample would be a good measure of microRNAs in the body.
The overriding conclusion is that saliva has tremendous medical and scientific value. In the not-too-distant future, dentists might be able to take saliva samples to analyse for a variety of diseases. And the research could lead to a new category of self-diagnostic devices.