Go Green to Prevent Gum Disease

Green Tea for Pink Gums


Periodontal Associates is on a constant search to find the latest research on how to prevent and continue to treat gum disease, and the latest philosophy is leaving us thirsty for more.  Green Tea is a well-known beverage that has been used in the Asian cultures for thousands of years to promote health (and increasing in popularity here in Denver, CO), but did you know, Green Tea is linked to stimulating healthy gums and teeth?

The Journal of Periodontology just published a study that analyzed the periodontal health of 940 men, and researchers found that those who regularly drank green tea had superior periodontal health than subjects that consumed less green tea. None on hand?  If you are in Denver, CO then stop by to see Drs. Versman, Heller, or Beckman, and we will greet you with some!

“It has been long speculated that green tea possesses a host of health benefits,” said Dr. Yoshihiro Shimazaki, the author of the study, from Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan. “And since many people enjoy green tea on a regular basis, we were eager to investigate the impact of green tea consumption on periodontal health, especially considering the escalating emphasis on the connection between periodontal health and overall health.”

The study was conducted with male participants from the ages of 49-59 years. The extent of periodontal disease in each subject was compared by pocket depth, clinical attachment loss of gum tissue, and bleeding upon probing. Researchers noted that for every one cup of green tea consumed per day, there was a decrease in all three components which led to the conclusion that periodontal disease occurs less for those who drink green tea on a regular basis.

How does green tea help reduce periodontal disease?  Researchers believe the antioxidant, Catechin, in green tea is the cause of the reduction of gum disease symptoms.  Antioxidants are known for reducing inflammation everywhere in the body, gums too.  Since periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth, it makes sense how green tea can be beneficial.  Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman believes it is important to take every action possible to prevent gum disease as it continues to be connected to the development of other diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

We hope this information is helpful to you as Periodontal Associates is a big advocate for patient education. Please visit our website as it is a comprehensive information resource that includes self-assessment tools,visual guides, and shows how Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman treat gum disease. It is important to begin evaluating your symptoms and learn how to take action to treat it, other than just drinking plenty of green tea. If you have any signs of gum disease, please contact us right away so we can begin treatment immediately in the Denver metro area.

Coconuts Conquer Cavities

Coconut Oil Cracks Down on Cavities


Along the shorelines, among the most tropical regions, coconuts are being swept up to use for eating, drinking, skin care, and now for cavity prevention.  The Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland discovered that coconut oil prevents the growth of decay on our pearly whites and could be used as an alternative to chemical additives in dental hygiene products.  Periodontal Associates does not want to see everyone in Denver, CO throwing out their toothpaste quite yet; however, this research does offer some great insight on future oral home care.

The researchers in this study tested this theory on multiple strains of bacteria called streptococcus, which is located in our mouth.  Both the raw coconut and coconut oils were used to determine which forms were more effective at bacteria growth prevention.  The oil, however, was treated with extra enzymes in order to simulate the coconut in the digested state.

The conclusion? The digested coconut, or the oil, was the more powerful of the two forms. The coconut oil inhibited the majority of the strains of the bacteria like streptococcus and candida albicans.  The first, Streptococcus, is a very common tooth decay causing bacteria while candida albicans is yeast that also results in an infection within the mouth called thrush.


“Incorporating enzyme-modified coconut oil into dental hygiene products would be an attractive alternative to chemical additives, particularly as it works at relatively low concentrations,” Brady, associate director of the Bioscience Research Institute at the Athlone Institute, said. “Also, with increasing antibiotic resistance, it is important that we turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection.”

Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman understand how important it is to find effective weapons in fighting bacteria and preventing decay as the number of individuals with decay are increasing daily, both children and adults.  Dental caries affect anywhere between 60% and 90% of children in industrialized countries, which means this is happening in the Denver metro area too.

Brady said he and his colleagues hope to further investigate which other bacteria and yeast the coconut oil might be effective against, as well as, exactly how the oil and other enzyme-modified foods interfere with the processes by which bacteria cause disease.

For now, Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman suggest routine cleanings, regular brushing and flossing at home, as well as avoiding sugary foods are the best bet to keep tooth decay at bay.  If you have any questions regarding the oral hygiene products you use, please call us at (303) 755-4500, click here for an appointment, or visit our website at www.periodontalhealth.com  for more information.  Periodontal Associates serves patients all over the Denver, CO area, and would be happy to get you started or keep you on the right path for excellent dental health.


Astronauts use Toothbrush to Fix Ship

Add your Toothbrush to your Toolbox


The toothbrush was invented more than 500 years ago by the Chinese, but Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman hope your toothbrush is not that old.  (If you are in the Denver, CO area, stop by Periodontal Associates for a free one!) When created, the toothbrush was meant to be used as a great tool for preventing gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath while keeping your smile bright and beautiful. However, two spacewalking astronauts found another use for it. On September 5, 2012, these space cadets used a spare toothbrush to replace a stuck bolt that was preventing them from fixing a power unit.

Sunita Williams and Akijiki Hoshide, both NASA space flyers, spent almost 6.5 hours outside their spaceship in order to install a pair of bolts that had caused problems for the pair previously.  However, these space discoverers did not have normal tools on hand; instead they were armed with wire cleaner and a toothbrush.

The astronauts were unable to fix the power unit during an earlier attempt, on August 30th, but they were unable to finish the job when a particular bolt was stubborn and unable to cooperate.  Therefore, the NASA space team was forced to get creative.

The toothbrush was used to lubricate the inside of the bolt while the bent wire cleared debris.

“We knew that we had particles down inside the socket, so they came outside with yet another tool that was developed by the ground team,” Johnson told reporters in a post-spacewalk news briefing.

The flight director, Ed Van Cise, then said, “The inventive ideas that led to today’s spacewalk success demonstrates how well the teams on the ground and in orbit work today, and shows the dedication of those involved in the agency’s space station program.”  Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman like to think it just proves how important and innovation the toothbrush is!

At Periodontal Associates, we suggest you use your toothbrush often.  In fact, we want you to brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste. Here are a few more tips to know when it comes to your brush:

  1. Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and gently brush using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.(Yes, do not forget the gums!)
  2. Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
  3. Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of the front teeth.
  4. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.

If you are confused on which brush is best for you or how to use it, please call Periodontal Associates.  Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman would be happy to give you a proper demonstration! We are happy to help as we are located in the Denver metro area, specifically Aurora, CO.  Our clients live state wide and from kids to grandparents.  Whatever your needs, dental implants or just a brushing presentation, we look forward to seeing you soon!

Sugar Substitutes and Cavities

Sugar Substitutes vs. Sugar


Brush your teeth, floss, and avoid sugars.  This is what most people are used to hearing from their dentist, including Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman.  These are important lessons in maintaining proper dental health, but what about all those sugar substitutes placed in our food and drinks?  Are the substitutes as harmful to tooth enamel as sugar?

In a quick summary, no, sugar substitutes do not offer the same threats to teeth.  In fact, according to the American Dental Association, sugar is not even harmful.  What IS harmful is the bacteria in dental plaque as it metabolizes sugar.  After it metabolizes, acid is released, and that is what breaks down the enamel on teeth.

Artificial sweeteners do not offer the fate of acid production as the bacteria from plaque cannot metabolize them and some even have antibacterial properties called polyols.

What is a polyol? It is a sugar derived from alcohol and it neutralizes acids.  They are often added to sweeteners or gums in order to help add taste without compromising dental health.  This is one of the reasons that Periodontal Associates offers artificial sweeteners at our refreshment bar here in Denver, CO.

The British Dental Journal even suggested that chewing sugarless gum, which includes polyols, helps the prevention of tooth decay as it promotes the flow of saliva and does not break down into acids. “In addition, xylitol’s antibacterial properties seem likely to lead to caries reductions superior to the more modest reductions with sorbitol gum,” stated the article.

The Journal of the American Dental Association also agrees regular use of gum made with xylitol can help prevent decay, stating “Chewing xylitol-sweetened gum, especially for patients who like chewing gum, can be fitted readily into a regimen that includes frequent fluoride exposure, good oral hygiene and regular dental appointments.”

Periodontal Associates does suggest everything in moderation, though.  As sugar substitutes may be less harmful for tooth enamel, it is often used in products that already contain high levels of acid which will then breakdown teeth.

For more tips on proper home care, nutrition, or procedures like dental implants, please call Periodontal Associates to schedule a consultation at (303) 755-4500 or click here.  Feel free to also browse our website at www.periodontalhealth.com if you are unable to make it to our office in Denver, CO.  We are specifically located in Aurora, CO, but we service patients from the entire Denver metro area. Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman look forward to meeting with you!

What Are Dental Implants

What Are Dental Implants?


Yes, that’s right, Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman are Denver’s specialists in dental implants, and if you are reading this, then you are in the right place.  But what are dental implants, who needs them, and how are they placed?

What are implants?

Dental implants are prosthetic replacements for missing teeth.  A natural tooth is comprised of a crown and a root.  The crown is the large and white section of the tooth that is visible when a mouth is open.  The root is underneath the gums as it extends to the jawbone and provides support.  Dental implants mimic this same structure.  The implant replaces the root in which a crown is placed.

Dental implants are made of three parts.  The first is the implant itself which is inserted to the bone.  The second is the abutment.  The abutment is the piece that connects the implant to the crown.  Which bring me to the third part, the crown itself.  Most of the implants are made of titanium as it is durable and compatible to fuse with bone.

Do you need dental implants?

First thing first, if you are questioning the need for dental implants, be sure to make an appointment to consult with Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman, and they will be sure comprise a personalized treatment plan.  Dental implants are great for those who have a single missing tooth, several missing teeth, or need a full replacement set.  Dental implants are great replacements for dentures or bridges.  Implants are strong and durable to help you eat normally.  They also have the look and feel of natural teeth.  So, yes it’s true, you can get your beautiful smile back.  If you do not believe, look at these testimonials from our Denver patients. 

 How are they placed?

The word ‘implant’ can make the procedure sound complicated and intimidating, but most implant surgeries are performed safely within a dentist’s office, like here at Periodontal Associates.  Dental implants are placed during a simple outpatient procedure.  For some procedures, forms of patient sedation may be used, such as nitrous oxide.  Every treatment is different depending on the situation, preferences, or patient, but all are safe and with a high percent of success rate. (Especially if your doctor is Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, or Dr. Beckman).

Now that you have learned about dental implants, you may have realized that there is a way to improve your quality of life, and it is not difficult. Even if you have lost just one tooth – whether it is a new situation or something you have lived with for years – chances are you have never become fully accustomed to losing such a vital part of yourself.

Drs. Versman and Heller were one of the first U.S. dentists to study directly with the inventors of today’s implants. They have educated dentists, periodontists and dental students about dental implants and implant procedures for many years, and have lectured on the subject in the Denver/Aurora, Colorado area, nationally and internationally! At Periodontal AssociatesThe Dental Implant Team, we are the market leader and we are driving the development of new dental implant standards and protocols. We wish to share this exciting information with you and answer all of your questions.

For an improved quality of life please call us at 303-755-4500 or schedule a free consultation today!

Artificial Enamel

Artificial Tooth Enamel Prevents Cavities and Tooth Decay


Success! It is official; artificial tooth enamel has been manufactured by researchers in Japan.  Say farewell to cavities, decaying teeth, and yellowing smiles.  Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman do not have access to this technology here in Denver, CO yet as it is still going through approval, but the technology presents an exciting and positive future.

Shigeki Hontsu, a professor at Kinki University’s Faculty of Biology-Oriented Science and Technology in Japan, says this can be applied over existing teeth, and can prevent decay, making teeth appear whiter or even lessen the sensation of sensitive teeth.

The artificial enamel is made out of hydroxyapatite, which allows for flexibility and durability. “This is the world’s first flexible apatite sheet, which we hope to use to protect teeth and repair damaged enamel,” states Hontsu. “Dentists used to think an all-apatite sheet was just a dream, but we are aiming to create artificial enamel.”

The technology has not yet been implemented in regular dental practices like here at Periodontal Associates, and it may be another 5 years before this is approved and perfected.  It is a highly anticipated product as it will cover the exposed dentin, which causes sensitive teeth, but it can also be used for cosmetic purposes.  Currently, the film is transparent, but the researchers hope to make it white in color to help safely whiten teeth.

“The moment you put it on a tooth surface, it becomes invisible.  You can barely see it if you examine it under a light,” confirmed Hontsu.

When created, the researchers were able to make it as then as 0.00016 inches with lasers in order to make it a comfortable and unnoticeable fit for the patient.   The one problem with making and applying this product is the time it takes to adhere to a tooth. It takes almost a full day for the film to stick firmly.

Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman pride themselves on staying updated on the latest research and technology so whenever this artificial enamel is available, Periodontal Associates will know about it.  For now, be sure to schedule your bi-annual cleanings for deep periodontal scaling.  These cleanings and check-ups can also help decrease tooth decay, decrease teeth sensitivity, and prevent staining.  For more information, please visit our website at www.periodontalhealth.com.  We are located in Aurora, CO and serve patients all around the Denver metro area.  Call Periodontal Associates at (303) 755-4500 for any questions or to schedule a free dental implant consultation.

Coffee and Cancer

Coffee may Lower your Risk for Oral Cancer

Periodontal Associates has good news for a 100 million Americans out there. Your daily coffee drinking habit may not be as bad as you once thought! The University of Milan published findings that suggested coffee could help decrease the chances of developing mouth and throat cancers.

In fact, coffee drinkers have 39% less risk if drinking less than five cups of caffeinated coffee a day.  400,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed every year, and it is the sixth most common cancer.   This new finding could prevent 156,000 people from oral cancer.

In Denver, CO this news is very important as the cool weather makes snuggling up to a warm cup of coffee so inviting, especially since over half of the American population over the age of 18 drinks coffee every day.  For all of these great reasons, Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman always keep a hot and fresh pot of coffee on hand at the Aurora office.

The study was published in the Cancer and Epidemiology Biomarks and Prevention journal.  The researches reviewed nine other oral cancer studies comparing 5,139 people with head and neck cancer to 9,028 people without cancer, and they found a common variable.  Coffee contains 1,000 different chemical and anti-oxidants that were also found in decreasing the risk of cancer in former studies.  These anti-oxidants have cancer fighting properties.

Between all the contents, Professor André van Zyl said it was not yet known which specific substances provided anti-carcinogenic properties in coffee. ”Which of these substances actually protect against cancer in humans is a question for future studies,” he said.

It was also not clear which type of coffee was more beneficial, “but espresso is regarded as more concentrated beverage than percolated coffee – up to a factor of three”, said Van Zyl.  However, researchers do know that it is not the caffeine component as green tea drinkers did not experience the same effect.

The cancer fighting properties in coffee and certain foods does not stop at oral cancer, but coffee has also been linking to lowering the risk of womb and colon cancers while also helping cardiac disease.

Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman hope these studies can better promote the important of early detection and prevention instead of focusing on treatment. Visiting us at Periodontal Associates is a huge step in the right direction as each doctor completes a full oral exam designed for cancer screening. Patients need to be educated about the danger signs and how they may play a role in ensuring earlier diagnosis and, consequently, better survival rates.

Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman are specialists in oral health, and are prime fighters of not only oral cancer but gum disease as well.  Periodontal Associates works closely with each of our patients and their general dentist to give them individual treatment plans and optimum health! You cannot have a healthy body without a health mouth. If you have any questions or have not been in to see a dentist in over 6 months, give us a call at (303) 755-4500 and Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman will be sure to give you a through exam.  You can also schedule an appointment by clicking here or visiting us at www.periodontalhealth.com.

Guitar Floss

String your Guitar… with Floss?

Floss… we all get some after our visit to see Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman, but how many people use it for flossing teeth? Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gum line. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.

Periodontal Associates hopes you continue this good habit of flossing; however, it can be fun to think of other ways to utilize this great tool.  Ewan Dobson is a guitarist who plays with a guitar only strung with floss.  In this video on Youtube, he gives a visual of how he uses the floss, and then he continues to play a fantastic piece.

If you are a guitarist, let us know what you think about this make-shift string. Also, if you are in need of a back-up container of floss, just stop by Periodontal Associates for your next hygiene appointment and we will always send you home with a goodie bag!

For more information about everything Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman have to offer, like dental implants and gum disease treatment, visit our website at www.periodontalhealth.com or call us at (303) 755-4500. We are conveniently located in Aurora, CO and serve patients all over the Denver metro area.  We cannot wait to see you!  And next time, feel free to bring your floss strung guitar and play us a tune!

Dog Kisses May Promote Gum Disease

Puppy Smooches and Gum Disease


Hello to all dog lovers!  Periodontal Associates knows how special pets can be to their owners as they provide love and affection, and for some hugging and kissing your furry ones are normal ways to show love.  However, Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman would encourage their patients to be careful about their affections as smooching up to pets could increase the risks of gum disease.

Exchanging kisses or allowing a pet to lick an owner’s mouth could allow pets to pass along gum disease. Dogs’ mouths contain various forms and great numbers of bacteria that are easily transferred through saliva.

This alarming warning became relevant after researchers in Japan examined the dental health of dog owners.  These researchers found bacteria, normally only in dogs, present in 16 percent of owners’ mouths.  Based on questionnaires, most of these 16 percent had a close relationship with their animals.

And if you really love your furry friend, you should know that bacteria can also be passed from owner to pet, too! Researchers also found ten different human gum disease related bacteria in their pets.  Many pets suffer from periodontitis; so yes, dogs need regular hygiene cleanings too!

Infectivity can occur from a one-time occurrence or with frequent interaction. Obviously, the more regular the contact the higher the chances are for cross-contamination, but the likelihood of bacteria exchange can decrease if dental hygiene habits for man and his best friend is maintained well.

Dr. Paul Maza from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University told America’s Fox News, ‘Many of the different types of bacteria in dogs and cats are the same type of bacteria as in humans. If owners practice oral hygiene on their pets, such as brushing their teeth, a pet’s mouth can actually be even cleaner than a human mouth.’

Periodontal Associates wants you to make yourself and your furry friend a priority when it comes to good oral hygiene.  It is a good habit to brush, floss, and use mouthwash on a daily basis for humans and brushing your pet’s teeth often.

Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman only take care of owners here in our Aurora, CO office, but most veterinary clinics can do thorough cleanings.  Also, just like you can pick up brushes and supplies at the store, many pet stores offer at home care products for your pup.

Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman do not discourage love towards animals, but they do ask everyone to take caution with certain types of contact.  Especially if you are at higher risk for gum disease, like dealing with old age, diabetes, or pregnancy, it is even more important to keep kissing to a minimum.

For more information about how to symptoms of gum disease, risks, and treatments, please come in to visit with Drs. Versman, Heller, Beckman and our hygiene team.  You can click here for an appointment or simply give us a call at (303) 755-4500.  We look forward to helping you and your gums stay strong, healthy, and pink!