Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Morning Drill: March 14, 2012

Good Morning!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

Study finds link between contraceptive and periodontitis

An injectable contraceptive administered every three months may be putting women who opt for this method at increased risk for periodontal disease, according to a new study in the Journal of Peridontology (JOP; February 6, 2012).

Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) is a progestin-only, injectable contraceptive that is most often seen under the brand name Depo-Provera, marketed by Pfizer.

It has been suggested that progestins may have an inflammatory component and/or stimulate the synthesis of prostaglandins, which is why the extended use of DMPA may be associated with a higher risk of periodontal diseases, according to the study authors.

"There are many hormonal contraceptive options out there for women to prevent or delay pregnancy, yet we have little information on how they may affect women's oral health," lead author Susan Taichman, RDH, MPH, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, said in an interview with

Information regarding the pill and gingival inflammation is mixed, she added, with some studies showing an association and others not.

"There remains some controversy over the impact of new, low-dose oral contraceptives and periodontal diseases," she said. "We previously reported in an analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data that low-dose oral contraceptives had no significant association with decreased periodontal health."

Two recentclinical studies illustrated a relationship between progestin-only contraceptive use and gingival inflammation and clinical attachment (CA) loss, Taichman added (Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice, May 1, 2010, Vol. 11:3, pp. 33-40; JOP, July 2010, Vol. 81:7, pp. 1010-1018).

Steinberg to introduce change to Sacramento County's kids' dental program

Seeking to break managed care's monopoly on dental care for Sacramento County's poor children, state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg plans to introduce legislation to allow more choice in dentists, his aide told the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

More than 110,000 Sacramento County children on Medi-Cal participate in a mandatory dental managed care model, the only one of its kind in the state.

But that model also has one of the worst records of care: In fiscal 2010-2011, 30.6 percent of Sacramento County children with Medi-Cal saw a dentist, compared with nearly half of the children on Medi-Cal statewide.

The Sacramento Democrat's bill, which he plans to introduce next week, would give Sacramento children the option of a fee-for-service model, which pays dentists for each visit they report, said Steinberg's health consultant Diane Van Maren. The measure also would include beefed-up consumer protections, she said.

If approved, it would take effect July 1, she said.

Tooth decay “epidemic” in Canada could be linked to too much fruit juice: study

While Canadian pediatric dentists wage a war against tooth decay in kids’ teeth, British officials are pointing a finger at sugary fruit juices as the culprit.

On Monday, the Royal College of Surgeons in the United Kingdom warned parents that feeding children large amounts of juice, in an attempt to make kids eat more fruits, is damaging teeth.

The effects could even be long-lasting – in the U.K., half of five-year-olds already had signs of wear to their tooth enamel.

The situation isn’t any better in Canada, according to Toronto-based pediatric dentist, Dr. Elliott Schwartz, who has worked on kids’ teeth since 1977.

“There are so many kids that need dental treatment – and they’re young kids about 2 ½ to three years old with just rotten teeth. It’s skyrocketing. It’s an epidemic in North America,” he told Global News.

Do Statins Make It Tough to Exercise?

For years, physicians and scientists have been aware that statins, the most widely prescribed drugs in the world, can cause muscle aches and fatigue in some patients. What many people don’t know is that these side effects are especially pronounced in people who exercise.

To learn more about the effect statins have on exercising muscles, scientists in Strasbourg, France, recently gave the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor to a group of rats for two weeks, while a separate control group was not medicated. Some of the rats from both groups ran on little treadmills until they were exhausted.

It was immediately obvious that the medicated animals couldn’t run as far. They became exhausted much earlier than the rats that had not been given statins.

The differences were even more striking at a cellular level. When the scientists studied muscle tissues, they found that oxidative stress, a measure of possible cell damage, was increased by 60 percent in sedentary animals receiving statins, compared with the unmedicated control group.

The effect was magnified in the runners, whose cells showed 226 percent more oxidative stress than exercising animals that had not been given statins.

Enjoy your morning!

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