Poor dental hygiene link to eyesight loss in older men, experts warn

Scientists have discovered a possible link between tooth loss and blindness in older males.
Results of the study published in the Journal of Periodontology3 reveal men are more than four times as likely to suffer from age-related blindness if they have lost the bone supporting the teeth compared to the general population.
Microscopic image of a young plaque sample from a human mouth. Source Listerine -thumb-2775x1870-1051.jpg
Although bone loss was seen more often in those suffering with age-related blindness, there was still a significant increase in the number of men affected once common risk factors between the disease and poor oral health had been taken into account. The study also showed the relationship was not seen in women.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition among people age 50 and over, and is a leading cause of blindness. It gradually destroys the macula, the part of the eye that provides sharp, central vision needed for seeing objects clearly.
Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, discussed the possible implications for almost half a million people in the UK suffering from AMD4.
Dr Carter said: “It is well-documented that you can reduce the risk of getting AMD by quitting smoking, moderating alcohol intake and having a healthy, balanced diet. These are all lifestyle factors that would be also lead to poor oral health, so the results of this study are particularly interesting, given they have all been accounted for.
“What the study does show is how important it is to maintain good gum health. More teeth are lost through long-standing gum disease than through tooth decay.
“Those who may be at risk of going blind may find their teeth are naturally looser than some of their younger counterparts, but ignoring the problem is not the answer. Untreated gum disease can lead to bacteria getting into the bloodstream and causing heart and respiratory problems. With the number of people over 60 set to increase, it is particularly important for older people to brush twice a day for two minutes at a time using a fluoride toothpaste and to clean in between the teeth at least once a day with interdental brushes or dental floss. Use of mouthwashes to help prevent plaque build-up or products specifically developed for dry mouth can also help them maintain optimum oral care and prevent problems.”
Enhanced by Zemanta

Stem cells may cure age-related sight loss

WORCESTER, Mass: US scientists have used stem cells to slow vision loss in rats suffering from a similar disease to macular degeneration, says a report in the journal Cloning and Stem Cells.

The finding supports the idea of trying the technique in humans suffering from macular degeneration — the leading cause of blindness in people older than 55, The Washington Post reported.

Raymond Lund, then at the University of Utah, and Dr. Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technology Inc. in Worcester, Mass., started by developing a method of turning embryonic stem cells into retinal pigment epithelium cells, which nourish the eye’s light-sensitive “photoreceptor” cells, the newspaper said. In macular degeneration, the pigment cells gradually disappear.

The researchers said they succeeded in all 18 stem cell lines they worked with, injecting the stem cells, about 20,000 per eye, into the retinas of 14 rats with a genetic disease similar to macular degeneration. Eight control rats received eye injections without any cells.

The scientists found treated rats were twice as responsive as untreated ones, which started to become blind. The study also showed treated rats had twice the visual acuity of untreated rats nearly three months after treatment.