Posts Under Health and Safety

Certain Oral Bacteria May Be Linked To Higher Risk Of Pancreatic Cancer, Study Suggests.

The Washington Post (4/20, McGinley) reports that research suggests certain oral bacteria may be linked to a higher risk of pancreatic cancer. Investigators “analyzed oral-wash samples collected over several years as part of two large cancer prevention and screening studies conducted by the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.”

        CBS News (4/20, Marcus) reports on its website that the researchers “found that two oral bacteria were elevated in the pancreatic cancer patients: Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans.” Individuals “who carried Porphyromonas gingivalis had an overall 59 percent greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer, and those who carried Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans were at least 50 percent more likely overall to develop the disease.” The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

        Medical Daily (4/19, Scutti) similarly reported that the NYU Langone Medical Center study finds “the presence of specific bacteria in the mouth may indicate an increased risk for pancreatic cancer.” After examining “the bacterial contents in mouthwash samples from more than 700 Americans,” the NYU research team found that those “whose mouths contained the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis had a 59 percent greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer,” while those with Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans had “at least a 50 percent likelihood of developing the disease.”

        Infection Control Today (4/19) reported that senior investigator and epidemiologist Jiyoung Ahn, PhD, said, “Our study offers the first direct evidence that specific changes in the microbial mix in the mouth — the oral microbiome — represent a likely risk factor for pancreatic cancer along with older age, male gender, smoking, African-American race, and a family history of the disease.”

        The Daily Mail (4/19) reported that Dr Nigel Carter, CEO of the UK Oral Health Foundation, said, “Further investigation into this association needs to be carried out but if confirmed there’s no reason why a saliva test to detect for pancreatic cancer could not be taken by your dentist.”

Reader’s Digest Identifies Eight Common Mistakes People Make Brushing Teeth.

Reader’s Digest (4/13, Bender) states that it’s easier than one might think “to make tooth brushing mistakes,” identifying eight common mistakes people may make while brushing. The article states, for example, that a common mistake is not brushing teeth long enough, noting that “the American Dental Association recommends brushing for two minutes, but many people fall woefully short—and don’t even realize it.” According to the article, common mistakes also include brushing too hard, using an incorrect angle while brushing, using a toothbrush with bristles that are too firm, using a toothbrush head that is too large, using the same toothbrush for too long, not flossing regularly, and not brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. “Dental disease is totally preventable,” says ADA spokesperson Dr. Sally Cram, “and a lot of it can be avoided by stepping up your home brushing program and having check-ups.” provides additional information on the proper brushing technique.

Zika “Scarier” Than Initially Thought, CDC Official Says.

USA Today (4/11, Korte) reports, “Public health officials said Monday they’ve learned a lot more about Zika since the White House asked Congress for $1.9 billion to combat the mosquito-borne virus and are increasingly concerned about its potential impact on the” US. Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the CDC, said, “Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than we initially thought.” Dr. Schuchat “said the virus has been linked to a broader array of birth defects throughout a longer period of pregnancy, including premature birth and blindness in addition to the smaller brain size caused by microcephaly.”

        The New York Times (4/11, Davis, Subscription Publication) reports that the “mosquito that carries the Zika virus is present in 30 states, more than twice what officials originally thought, Dr. Schuchat said, though no locally acquired cases have been reported yet,” which “indicates that mosquitoes in the states do not yet have the virus.”

Mothers-To-Be Encouraged To Receive Regular Dental Care.

HealthDay (4/5) reported in continuing coverage that Dr. William Wathen, associate professor at the Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry, said in a university news release that a “mother’s dental health affects her overall health and her baby’s health.” Dr. Wathen encourages mothers-to-be to receive dental care before, during, and after pregnancy.

        In a broader article on pregnancy, the Daily Mail (4/6, Healthista) also mentions that it is important for women to see a dentist during pregnancy.

Colorado Wants Denver Residents To Drink Tap Water For Benefits Of Fluoride.

The New York Times (3/31, Turkewitz, Subscription Publication) reports Colorado is trying to convince people in Denver that the city’s “fluoride-enhanced water is actually healthier than bottled water,” but are having a hard time gaining the trust of Latino immigrants after the Flint water crisis and similar problems across the country that “have eroded confidence in public water systems.” The public health initiative began before the Flint water crisis was exposed, but is struggling under the increased scrutiny brought to public water. The initiative’s primary sponsor is Delta Dental of Colorado. The article highlights the importance of fluoride for oral health, including how fluoride “strengthens the teeth of babies in a mother’s womb, hardens the teeth of children and reduces the risk of tooth decay as gums recede in aging adults.” has additional information on the benefits of fluoride.


Hormonal Changes May Affect A Woman’s Oral Health.

The Huffington Post (3/28, Mango) “The Blog” carries an article originally appearing on the Health website discussing how fluctuations in hormone levels may impact a woman’s oral health. An OB/GYN in New York City said, “A surge in the female hormones estrogen and progesterone causes an increase in blood flow to the gums, and a decrease in the way that we can fight off plaque and other toxins.” This can occur during pregnancy, for example, and other times hormone levels change, the article states. The OB/GYN advised daily brushing and flossing, regular dental visits, and limiting consumption of sugar and carbohydrates to promote dental health. provides additional information on pregnancy gingivitis and other topics related to pregnancy and dental health.

Taking Steps To Promote Oral Health Encouraged For People With Diabetes.

In its “Oral Care — Secret Key to Diabetes Success” blog, Diabetes Self-Management (3/23, Spero) stated that “caring for your mouth helps your diabetes,” adding research suggests that having healthier gums and treating gum disease may help people with diabetes. After listing symptoms of gum disease, the article provides dental hygiene tips, noting “the American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, and flossing once a day.” The article also encouraged readers to avoid foods that damage teeth, as listed by the ADA. provides additional information on diabetes and teeth.

Proper Dental Hygiene Tips Provided.

The Toronto (CAN) Sun (3/22, Richard) provides tips to ensure dental health, recommending, for example, that in addition to regular brushing and flossing, people limit sugar consumption and late night snacking, avoid chewing ice and using teeth as tools, and wear a mouthguard during sports. provides additional information on habits that can harm teeth.

Antibiotic Prophylaxis Indicated Prior To Dental Treatment For Select Patients.

Consumer Reports (3/18, Carr) reported that “new guidelines call for fewer people to get antibiotics before a dental procedure.” The article noted that updated “treatment guidelines for dentists (3/20) now advise antibiotics before dental procedures for only a few types of patients such as those with artificial heart valves, a history that includes a heart infection, or who were born with certain serious heart defects.” The article added that this means antibiotics are not indicated for most patients prior to dental work. provides additional information on antibiotic prophylaxis for heart patients. Additional information on antibiotic prophylaxis for dental patients with prosthetic joints and orthopedic implants is also available at, which notes, “The American Dental Association has found it is no longer necessary for most dental patients with orthopedic implants to have antibiotic prophylaxis to prevent infection.”

Study Finds Association Between Gum Disease, Cognitive Decline In People With Alzheimer’s.

BBC News (UK) (3/10, Howell) reported that early stage research suggests a link between gum disease and “a greater rate of cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease.” The University of Southampton and King’s College London led the small study, published in PLOS ONE, which involved “59 people who were all deemed to have mild to moderate dementia.” After tracking the participants for six months, the study found “the presence of gum disease – or periodontitis as it is known – was associated with a six-fold increase in the rate of cognitive decline.” Dentist Dr. Mark Ide from King’s College London said, “In just six months you could see the patients going downhill – it’s really quite scary.”

        The Independent (UK) (3/11, Gander) reported that the research “builds on previous evidence which has linked periodontitis with higher levels of inflammatory molecules associated with deteriorated mental health,” adding that the study suggested that “the body’s inflammatory response to gum disease could explain the link between gum disease and cognitive deterioration.”

        The Daily Mail (3/10, Macrae) also covered the story. provides additional information on gum disease.

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