Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Study Debunks Oral Sex Myth -- Maybe

WebMD recently posted the results of a new survey that shows teenagers are NOT engaging more in oral sex as a replacement for intercourse.

Quoting WebMD, who quotes Laura Lindberg, senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute,

There is a widespread belief that teens engage in nonvaginal forms of sex, especially oral sex, as a way to be sexually active while still claiming that technically, they are virgins. However, our research shows that this supposed substitution of oral sex for vaginal sex is largely a myth. There is no good evidence that teens who have not had intercourse engage in oral sex with a series of partners.

The article goes on to state that STDs are common and mentioned the link to oral cancer -- which is all well and good, but it's information most of us already know.

It also shouldn't surprise anyone that teens are having sex.

The real issue -- and one not brought up in the WebMD article or the survey -- is that we as a country are not doing a good job of communicating the facts of STDs.

The fact that one in four girls gets one proves it -- as does the fact that the U.S. has the highest rates of STDs *in the world.*

(Unbelievable if you ask me.)

Here locally a story ran in the Gloucester Times about the number of high school pregnancies spiking to three times the "normal" number.

According to the report, high school girls are intentionally becoming pregnant due to the influence of young Hollywood stars, such as Jamie Lynn Spears, doing so.

What this story confirms is that these young women, and many like them, do not use anything to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases.

Unfortunately, preaching abstinence is not going to work. Or, it should be followed up by education on the prevention and transmission of STDs.

It would be interesting to compare the rates of STDs in 15-year old girls from 20 years ago to see if anything has changed.

Friday, May 16, 2008

NBC's Brian Williams Does Not "Get" Importance of Oral Health

I watched the video below in stunned amazement.

NBC's Brian Williams received dental floss in response to an ongoing debate about the connection between Alzheimer's Disease and periodontal disease.

He sacrastically reports that this connection lacks any type of "medical underpinnings."

So NBC's healthcast reporter actually provides him with the information based on a study of 20,000 identical twins.

Williams response is more sarcasm -- causing TV news reporter Sue Simmons to fall off her chair in dramatic disgust.

What stunned me? Brian's reaction to medical evidence!

Like many people, he simply does not understand how your oral health affects your entire body!

Monday, May 12, 2008

New Drug Eliminates Effects of Local Anesthesia

Hate feeling like your lip or tongue is about five sizes too big once you've been subjected to anesthesia?

According to today's New York Times, Novalar Pharmaceuticals, a small drug company, has won FDA approval to market a new drug that dispels the effects of local anesthesia.

According to the Times article, the new drug, called OraVerse, "cut the median time it took for full sensation to return to the lips by about 75 to 85 minutes, or by more than half."

The drug seems easy to use -- after the dentist has completed a procedure, "he or she injects OraVerse into the same spot where the anesthetic had been injected."

This is just another way that dental technology is making dental dentists less stressful and more pain-free for patients!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

New Study Links Oral Bacteria and Preeclampsia

In a new study by the University of North Carolina, researchers have linked gum disease in pregnant women with preeclampsia -- a serious pregnancy complication that leads to high blood pressure, premature delivery, and even death of the mother and/or child.

According to lead investigator, Dr. Michael Ruma, speaking to Reuters Health, "Maternal periodontal (gum) disease clearly contributes to an increased risk of preeclampsia, and our results demonstrate that this risk is further increased in the presence of elevated systemic inflammation."

You can read the study abstract at the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Website (April 2008 issue).

If you're a woman and planning on getting pregnant or have recently become pregnant, I urge you to see your dental professional in order to determine if you have periodontal disease. According to my colleague, Dr. Abboud, a periodontal specialist, over 30% of those with the disease have a severe form of it.

You can also download my e-book, Healthy Mouth, Healthy Sex, for more information about how your oral health affects your physical and sexual health.