Obesity and inflammation: What's new? Polishing and radiographs

Aug. 18, 2011
In this issue of RDH eVillage FOCUS, Editorial Director Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS, highlights four of the many courses presented at the RDH Under One Roof conference held July 28-30 in Chicago. Topics include radiographs, polishing, obesity, and inflammation.
By Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS
RDH Under One Roof (UOR) is a dynamic event offering quality continuing education, workshops, exhibits, social events, and lots of time for networking. At RDH UOR, dental hygienists experienced continuing education courses with some of the leading speakers in the profession. This year the event had record attendance. For fun with RDH UOR go to www.youtube.com/RDHUnderOneRoof.In addition to social events and exhibits, RDH UOR offered a variety of continuing education courses and workshops. The courses included Infectious Diseases of the Mouth, Oral Pathology, Moving New Products from Inception to the Marketplace, Periodontal Diseases, Oral-Systemic Link, Yoga, Ergonomics, Communication, and many, many more. Hands-on courses included hand and ultrasonic instrumentation, polishing, and others.
This issue of RDH eVillage FOCUS will highlight four of the many courses presented at the conference. Aiming For Success: Radiographic Techniques From Analog To Digital, was presented by Marie George, RDH, MS. Marie discusses success in dental radiography, characteristics that are critical to interpretation of the radiographic images, and tips on exposure settings and techniques. The paralleling technique and bisecting angle technique are reviewed, as well as tips to minimize exposure errors and maximize image quality.
The second course highlighted is Polishing: A Workshop for the Master Clinician and was presented by Michelle Hurlbutt, RDH, MSDH, and Debi Gerger, RDH, MPH. The polishing course was an interactive hands-on workshop designed to provide the practitioner with polishing skills to move beyond the competent clinician to master clinician.

Current scientific information, patient communication, as well as hands-on experience with an innovative device focusing on protective hand and postural ergonomics for musculoskeletal wellness were covered. Read the article and test your skills!

The “New” Periodontal Disease: Navigate the Emerging Solutions was presented by Sam Low, DDS, MS, MEd, Casey Hein, BSDH, MBA, and Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS. In the morning session, we presented how our understanding of periodontitis has changed; now we know that it is both a major chronic infection and a disease of inflammation. The challenge is to determine who is at risk and the corresponding therapy. This seminar gave clinicians the science and also the technology, tools and techniques needed to manage the complex periodontal patients presenting in today’s practice of dental hygiene and dentistry.

In Part Two, we had two hands-on sessions entitled Put the Power in Your Hands: Effective Periodontics through Technology and Technique. The workshops helped to develop a balanced approach to optimal periodontal care through technology and technique. We worked through actual patient cases as the students implemented a combination of advanced manual and ultrasonic instrumentation techniques, in tandem with risk assessment modalities. The results were a better understanding of the science, an enhanced armamentarium, and long-term periodontal success.

Casey Hein, BSDH, MBA, discusses her section in detail. She outlines the significance of periodontal disease in contributing to chronic inflammation, and the biological plausibility of a link between periodontal disease and a number of life threatening diseases and conditions. Key concepts in the link between periodontal diseases and systemic diseases and conditions are highlighted.

I will discuss the second half my part of the program, The “New” Periodontal Disease: Navigate the Emerging Solutions. I highlight obesity, a marker of excessive fermentable carbohydrate intake, and how it is associated with an increased risk of periodontal disease. Obesity is on the increase in the USA and worldwide, as well. I point out the link between chronic inflammation and obesity. The impact of smoking on periodontal status and bacteria is crucial to success of treatment.

A newly published study looks at saturated fatty acids (SFA), and if they can be harmful to the teeth, as well as the body. (M. Iwasaki M, Manz MC, Moynihan P, Yoshihara A, Muramatsu K, Watanabe R, and Miyazaki H. Relationship between Saturated Fatty Acids and Periodontal Disease. J Dent Res July 2011 90: 861-867, first published on April 19, 2011). The authors discuss how saturated fatty acids produce an inflammatory response, and how hyperinflammation is now recognized as one of the fundamental etiologic risk factors in periodontal disease.

The study found that a high intake of SFA, known to be in animal fats and some oils, is associated with nearly double the rate of periodontal disease compared with a lower SFA intake, predominantly in nonsmokers. An interesting finding was that smokers appeared to be impervious to the harmful effects of saturated fatty acids on their tissues. The authors state that limiting the study period to one year may have led to an underestimation of the effect of higher SFA intake on the development of periodontal disease. As with any study, there are limitations to this study.

Other studies have looks at the possibly that consuming polyunsaturated fatty acid foods, such as salmon, other fatty fish, and flax seed, may have clinically meaningful benefits for periodontal disease (Consuming polyunsaturated fatty acids may lower the incidence of gum disease. 2010. 8. Kaye EK. n-3 fatty acid intake and periodontal disease. J Am Diet Assoc 2010; 110(11):1650-1652).

It was also stated that dietary therapy, if effective, might be less expensive and safer for the prevention and treatment of periodontitis than mechanical therapy. (DePaola DP. Editor. Can Consumption of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Reduce the Incidence of Periodontal Disease? Colgate Oral Care Report. Volume 21, Number 1, 2011). As always, more research is needed.

If you attended these courses, this will be an overview for you. If you did not have the opportunity to do so, this issue of RDH eVillage FOCUS will hopefully provide some “news you can use” in your practice.


Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS

To read previous RDH eVillage FOCUS introductions by Editorial Director Maria Perno Goldie, go to introductions.