Athletic Performance Enhancement from Mouth Guards

Athletes have always been known to wear mouth guards to protect their teeth during sports, but is it enhancing their performance?

A study was recently done to see if an over-the-counter mouth guard was as effective as a custom-made mouth guard, and if either one gave an advantage during sports games and races.  While the study concluded no difference could be found statistically in the athletic ability, the athletes reported being able to significantly breathe better, were more comfortable, and did not impair their athletic performance.

These notes are interesting from the athletes have caused interest, and it is now recommended that custom-made mouth guards should be worn in contact sports for protection.

Blood Clots Now Linked to Plaque-Causing Bacteria

A recent study shows that plaque-causing bacteria can cause endocarditis.

S. gordonii is a bacteria that lives in the mouths of humans and is one of the causes of plaque.  Recently, researchers have found that this bacteria, is able to mimic a part of the body necessary for clotting, fibrinogen.  If this bacteria is able to enter the blood stream, it is able to act like fibrinogen and create clots by attracting platelets.  These platelets then surround the bacteria, creating an impermeable clot.  This clot can then travel throughout the body and become stuck in a heart muscle valve, causing infective endocarditis.  About 30% of patients that come in with infective endocarditis will not live, and the other 70% will most likely need surgery to remove the blockage or replace the valve.  These statistics mean that is extremely important to brush and floss your teeth, as well as visit your dentist regularly to maintain your oral health.

Canker Sores, Cold Sores, and More

Mouth sores can be annoying and painful, and some can lead to oral cancer.

Oral cancer is becoming more and more prevalent, and mouth sores could be some of the cause.  Canker sores are small ulcers that occur inside the mouth.  They are gray or white with a red border, and are not contagious.  To treat them, it is recommended that an antimicrobial rinse like Listerine or an over-the-counter anesthetic like Orajel be used.  Cold sores are small sores that are fluid filled.  These occur outside of the mouth, and they are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus.  Once infected with this virus, it will stay in your system forever.  Treatment for these sores is an over-the-counter anesthetic, like Abreva.  Leukoplakia is a type of mouth sore that occurs as thick whitish patches on the tongue, cheeks, or gums.  Leukoplakia is normally associated with tobacco use, specifically chewing tobacco, but they can also be from chewing the side of your cheek or from an ill-fitting denture.  This type of sore can lead to cancer in tobacco users, so your dentist may take a biopsy of the tissue.  To treat leukoplakia, you must first stop the activity which caused the white patches in the first place.  Candidiasis is a fungal infection normally associated with dentures or immune system deficiencies.  It is also seen in people who have chronic dry mouth, which makes the mouth more susceptible to the yeast causing the infection.  The best treatment for this kind of infection is good hygiene, because without it the yeast is allowed to fluorish without boundaries.

Fluoride Levels in Over the Counter Products

Over the counter fluoride products contain varying levels of fluoride.

In over the counter products, there are three types of compounds that are allowed to be used to give fluoride.  These compounds are monofluorophosphate, sodium fluoride, and stannous fluoride.  From these three compounds, over the counter products must contain less than 276 mg F per tube.  Most tubes contain between 1000 and 1100 parts per million (ppm) per tube.  These numbers translate to 30 mg F/oz and 33 mg F/oz, respectively.   Only these products receive the ADA seal and FDA approval.  At Dr. Abeyta’s office only FDA and ADA approved fluoride products are used for her patients.

Diabetes and Dental Care

Diabetes and dental care may be related.

A recent article in the January 2012 edition of the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) showed a study that people with Type II Diabetes who received at least two dental cleanings per year used less diabetes-specific medical care and fewer hospital visits/admissions than those who did not have regular dental cleanings.  The study suggests that receiving dental care reduces the likelihood of going to the hospital with Diabetic complications.  This study was done over the course of 3 years.  For more information on ways to help reduce your risk, please visit the ADA.