Dr Ronan Kennedy BDS (QUB)

Dr Ronan Kennedy
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Edenderry
Co Offaly
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News - February 2018

Poor oral health increases risks of frailty in older men

dfdfdOral health problems are linked to frailty in older men, according to a new study. Researchers observed over 1,000 men over a three-year period and found those with poor oral health were more likely to suffer from weight loss, exhaustion, reduced gripping ability and walking speed, and low physical activity.
The study showed that 20% of the people examined had no teeth, 54% had gum disease, 29% suffered from dry mouth and 11% had trouble eating.
Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, says older adults are more likely to experience issues in the mouth and this can have a direct effect on their overall wellbeing: "Oral health problems are more common among older adults, with tooth loss, gum disease, tooth decay and dry mouth the most likely to occur. These conditions not only influence the health of the mouth but also impacts on a person's quality of life too”.
The study highlighted the importance of oral health in the elderly and Dr Carter believes more could be done to identify and manage poor oral health of older adults: "Sensory impairments such as eye sight and hearing, poor physical function and a patient's wider history of disease are often what is taken into consideration when identifying frailty, and oral health is often ignored when assessing the care of older people.
"Dental examinations and the health of a person's mouth could become highly useful indicators of frailty and be added to general health screening assessments in older people”.

From: www.dentalhealth.org

 

What causes periodontitis?

dfdfdPeriodontitis occurs when the wisdom teeth do not have enough room to erupt through the gums. Consequently, they may only partially come through the gum, which may lead to inflammation and infection of the soft tissue around the wisdom tooth.
If wisdom teeth only partially erupt, gum flaps may develop. These flaps are areas where food can become trapped, and bacteria can build up, causing infection.
Chronic symptoms include:

  • dull pain;
  • mild discomfort;
  • bad taste in the mouth; and,
  • swollen gums in the affected area.

Chronic symptoms often only last for one to two days but keep recurring over a period of months. Acute symptoms usually last three to four days and can include:

  • severe pain;
  • swelling;
  • discharge of pus;
  • pain when swallowing;
  • swollen lymph nodes; and,
  • fever.

There are also some common causes and conditions associated with periodontitis:

  • poor oral hygiene;
  • stress;
  • pregnancy; and,
  • upper respiratory tract infection.

Once a dentist has diagnosed periodontitis, they will design a treatment plan for the individual. It can be difficult to treat because if there is a gum flap, then the problem will not go away completely until the tooth fully erupts, or the tooth or tissue is removed.
In many cases, the dentist may recommend removing the tooth, especially if it is a recurring problem.
It is vitally important that symptoms of periodontitis are treated swiftly to keep the infection from spreading and to lessen the risks of complications. Anyone experiencing symptoms of periodontitis should contact their dentist as soon as possible.

From: www.medicalnewstoday.com

 

Teeth help change how we view elderly people historically

dfdfdAn archaeologist from the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra is looking to redefine what we know about elderly people throughout history, and dispel the myth that most people didn't live much past 40 prior to modern medicine by examining teeth.
Christine Cave has developed a new method for determining the age of death for skeletal remains based on how worn the teeth are.
She developed her method by analysing the wear on skeletal teeth and comparing it with living populations of comparable cultures. She examined the skeletal remains of three Anglo-Saxon English cemeteries for people buried between AD475 and AD625.
She says: "For people living traditional lives without modern medicine or markets the most common age of death is about 70, and that is remarkably similar across all different cultures”.
Ms Cave says the myth has been built up due to deficiencies in the way older people are categorised in archaeological studies: "Older people have been very much ignored in archaeological studies and part of the reason for that has been the inability to identify them.
“When you are determining the age of children you use developmental points like tooth eruption or the fusion of bones that all happen at a certain age. Once people are fully grown it becomes increasingly difficult to determine their age from skeletal remains, which is why most studies just have a highest age category of 40 plus or 45 plus.”
Ms Cave says the new method will give archaeologists a more accurate view of past.

From: www.sciencedaily.com