As an experienced orthodontist, I have been involved in the treatment of more than twenty thousand patients. You can be sure that most of them started the discussion before treatment with the question “do I need braces” or “why do I need braces”? Fortunately, I have always been able to answer pretty much the same […]
Processed and pre-packaged foods are getting a pretty bad rap lately and it turns out to be very well deserved, as more studies are coming out that back up this theory. These items have been shown to mess with hormone production, mood and more but new studies are also showing that these kinds of food can mess with your teeth in a really big way.
Lead study author Dr. Katia Jedeon, of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), and colleagues found exposure to the chemicals bisphenol A (BPA) and vinclozolin may interfere with hormones responsible for the growth of dental enamel.
The researchers recently presented their findings at the 2016 European Congress of Endocrinology in Munich, Germany.
BPA and vinclozolin have been identified as endocrine disruptors (EDs) in numerous studies. This means they can interfere with hormone functioning in mammals, increasing the risk of reproductive problems, cancer, births defects, and various other conditions.
BPA is used in the production of certain plastics and resins, many of which are used for food and drink packaging, while vinclozolin is a fungicide used to protect vineyards, orchards, and golf courses.
Molar incisor hypomineralization
Dr. Jedeon and colleagues note that previous animal studies have indicated that EDs may be related to a condition called molar incisor hypomineralization (MIH), which is estimated to affect up to 18 percent of children aged 6-9 years.
MIH is a developmental condition in which enamel defects occur in the first permanent teeth, most commonly the molars and incisors. Such a defect is irreversible; once tooth enamel is damaged, it cannot grow back.
Children with MIH can experience heightened tooth sensitivity, particularly to cold foods and drinks, and they are at greater risk for dental caries. Their teeth may be creamy, yellow, or brown in appearance, and they may chip away easily.
For their study, Dr. Jedeon and colleagues conducted two experiments to gain a better understanding of how exposure to EDs might be associated with MIH.
BPA, vinclozolin block hormones needed for tooth enamel production
Firstly, the team exposed rats to daily doses of either BPA alone or a combination of BPA and vinclozolin from birth for 30 days. Doses were equivalent to the average daily dose a human would be exposed to.
At the end of the 30 days, the researchers collected cells from the surface of the rats’ teeth.
On analyzing the cells, they found that exposure to BPA and vinclozolin altered the expression of two genes – KLK4 and SLC5A8 – that regulate tooth enamel mineralization.
Next, the researchers cultured ameloblast cells of rats, which are cells that deposit enamel during tooth development. They found that these cells contain sex hormones – including estrogen and testosterone – that increase the expression of genes that produce tooth enamel.
Interestingly, they found that testosterone increases the expression of the KLK4 and SLC5A8 genes.
Because both BPA and vinclozolin are known to inhibit the effect of male sex hormones, the authors say their findings indicate that the chemicals may lead to MIH by blocking hormones needed for development of tooth enamel.
“Tooth enamel starts at the third trimester of pregnancy and ends at the age of 5, so minimizing exposure to endocrine disruptors at this stage in life as a precautionary measure would be one way of reducing the risk of enamel weakening.”
Dr. Katia Jedeon
Our mouth is- excuse the pun- one of our most telling places on the body. It is where we express language, receive sustenance, show joy, sing and kiss. When you are stressed, your mouth shows it in spades. You’d be surprised how much your dentist can surmise about you from the state of your mouth…
Dentists routinely see oral symptoms of stress, including orofacial pain, cold sores and temporomandibular disorders (TMD).
“At the first sign of oral pain or infection, it’s important to see your dentist,” says Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Peter Bastian, DDS, MAGD. “These symptoms may be your mouth’s warning signs for more serious health risks.”
Dentists know that stress and stress-related disorders, including mental illnesses such as depression, are contributing factors to heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, accidental injuries and suicide ? all leading causes of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Reviewed: January 2012
A lot of people experience dental phobia and really hate going to get their teeth looked at. One of the reasons that people cite not wanting to go is that they hate having to answer this one question every single time because they know that their answer is not what it is supposed to be. That question is how often have you been flossing?
You know it’s coming: that moment you always dread. Your hands are already gripping at the edges of the dental chair in squirming anticipation: Your dentist is about to drop “the F (Floss) bomb.”
And, lo and behold, she does, finishing your exam with a simple question: “Have you been flossing regularly?”
Listen, I’m a dental student. I LOVE everything tooth-related. I even woke up on Black Friday for a sale on an electric toothbrush! But even I miss a day of flossing here and there. It happens. I’m busy, days are long, time is limited, and whoops, I forgot to floss. So believe me when I say I sympathize with the dreaded nagging to floss your teeth. Don’t dentists get how much of a pain that is?!
Well, like I said, I’m a dental student, and, from the doctor’s side of the chair, I can say that we do get it! We’re human, too. And, we care about you. We care about your smile and your oral health. We care about your oral habits and your systemic health. And we care to let you know that you have power when it comes to preventing oral disease!
I know, I know, it sounds like I’m getting carried away. Floss is just a little piece of string, after all. Except, it’s a little string that can make a major impact. Over five hundred bacterial species can reside in the plaque in your oral cavity. A toothbrush can start to keep things clean, but what about that bacteria below your gum line? When that multiplies, you can start to develop chronic inflammation, irritation, and even gum recession and tooth loss, a process you may know as gum or periodontal disease. Uncontrolled periodontal disease may even increase risk associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and systemic inflammatory conditions, because your mouth, a highly vascularized orifice, is intimately integrated with the rest of your body’s organ systems. Though you may think periodontal disease is something you’ll never experience, the reality of its prevalence is startling: The CDC reported that over 47 percent of American adults had periodontitis, and over 70 percent of adults above the age of 65 had this disease.
But even with those statistics, periodontal disease may sound a little extreme for your healthy body. So let’s take a step back and think about your teeth in general. What causes tooth decay? Acid acting on the enamel surface. And where is that acid formed? In the dental biofilm, the site where bacterial metabolism is taking place. While brushing your teeth is a primary step in managing your oral health, flossing — the added removal of bacterial build-up — is a necessary second step in your oral hygiene routine. Besides, who wants to walk around all day with a piece of lettuce stuck between two molars or with a particle of food breaking down to cause bad breath?
Listen, I hear you when it comes to flossing. I don’t always want to do it, and I have never enjoyed my dentist’s well-meaning lectures to make flossing a habit. In fact, according to a survey in 2014, only four in 10 Americans really do floss every day! But, as much as I understand the dread of that flossing conversation, I am going to keep the conversation alive. I am going to call out to my medical colleagues and friends in the nursing community. I am going to holler to teachers and teenagers. Because not a lot of medical ailments are preventable, but periodontitis is. The systemic complications that come from periodontitis are, too, preventable. So let’s keep this flossing conversation alive until every single one of us can say we used the F (Floss) word today.
The doctor said she would live in a nursing home, confined to a wheelchair, crippled by pain; that was thirteen years ago. Instead, Mirissa D. Price is a 2019 DMD candidate at Harvard School of Dental Medicine, spreading pain-free smiles, writing through her nights, and, once again, walking through her days.
Of course nothing will ever completely replace good brushing and flossing habits coupled with a responsible diet, there is a new solution in university studies right now that could make cavity prevention even easier and more effective. Much like the way that people ingest probiotics to help their digestive tract, now there is an equivalent for oral health.
In 2011-2012, dental cavities, or caries, affected 91% of adults aged 20-64 years in the US, exacerbated by consumption of sugary foods and drink, lack of oral hygiene and not paying regular visits to the dentist.
For the mouth to stay healthy, pH levels must be neutral. Too much acid can cause dental cavities or other disorders.
Acid in the mouth causes bacteria on the teeth to create more acid, and acid dissolves the teeth.
Researchers at the University of Florida (UF) College of Dentistry, led by Robert Burne, PhD, and Marcelle Nascimento, PhD, wanted to know what causes high pH.
Their search revealed a new strain of bacteria that could keep bad bacteria under control, and pave the way to using probiotics to prevent cavities.
Keeping a balanced pH in the mouth
Previous research by the same authors has found that two main compounds are broken down into ammonia, and this helps to neutralize acid in the mouth.
The two compounds are urea, which everyone secretes in the mouth, and arginine, an amino acid. The researchers already knew that people who had few or no cavities were better at breaking down arginine than those with cavities.
Fast facts about cavities
- In 2011-2012, 17.5% of 5-19-year-olds had dental caries
- Among those aged 20-44 years, the figure was 27.4%
- 83% of those aged 2-17 years visited the dentist in the previous year.
They knew that bacteria were responsible for breaking down these compounds, but did not know which bacteria do this best, or how this activity prevents cavities.
Part of the answer is a previously unidentified strain of Streptococcus, currently called A12.
Samples of dental plaque, the bacteria that grow on the surface of teeth and can contribute to the formation of cavities, were collected for the study.
Over 2,000 bacteria were then screened to find the right one. The team characterized 54 bacteria that metabolized arginine. Of these, A12 had all the properties needed to prevent cavities probiotically.
The researchers then sequenced the entire genome of A12.
They hope to use the findings to develop a screening tool for people with a higher risk of developing cavities, alongside other factors, such as diet and oral hygiene habits.
Nascimento says that if they can confirm that people with a higher level of A12 develop fewer cavities, A12 could be used to measure for cavity risk.
‘Good’ bacteria to fight the bad
Burne explains that, just as we might use a probiotic approach to the gut to promote health, a similar strategy could be effective for the mouth.
“You would implant this probiotic in a healthy child or adult who might be at risk for developing cavities. However many times you have to do that, once in a lifetime or once a week, the idea is that you could prevent a decline in oral health by populating the patient with natural beneficial organisms.”
The fact that A12 helps to neutralize acid by metabolizing arginine was not the only discovery. The authors also found that A12 often kills Streptococcus mutans, an especially harmful kind ofl bacteria.
Even when A12 did not kill S. mutans, it hindered it from causing disease by disrupting the processes.
Burne points out that growing A12 and S. mutans together reduced the ability of the bacterium to develop properly or to make biofilms, also known as dental plaque.
S. mutans metabolizes sugar into lactic acid, and this contributes to the acidic conditions that form cavities.
Meanwhile, the researchers hope to carry out a larger study to find more instances of A12, and to test how prevalent bacteria with similar properties are in the human mouth.
While the development of an effective oral probiotic is still a long way off, A12 looks a promising candidate.
Medical News Today reported last month that people who sleep with their mouth open may have a higher risk of tooth decay.
Although nothing replaces a good old brushing and flossing after each meal, many do not brush their teeth more than once or twice a day, making sugar free gum an excellent substitute as opposed to nothing at all. In England, studies are showing just who massive of an effect picking up this habit could have on their dental system as a whole.
The NHS could save £8.2 million a year on dental treatments – the equivalent to 364,000 dental check-ups – if all 12-year-olds across the UK chewed sugar free gum after eating or drinking, thanks to the role it plays in helping to prevent tooth decay.
So says a study involving researchers from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry published in the British Dental Journal.
Tooth decay is preventable but treating it is an increasing burden on the NHS and family finances. The latest Government figures show that young people in the UK experience unacceptably high levels of tooth decay and that it can have a real impact on their self-esteem as well as their health, with 35 per cent of 12 year olds reporting being embarrassed to smile or laugh due to the condition of their teeth.
New health economic research published in the British Dental Journal demonstrates that the NHS could save up to £2.8m on dental treatments per year if all 12-year-olds across the UK were to chew one additional piece of sugar free gum per day. This cost saving raises to a potential £3.3m if two pieces of sugar free gum were to be chewed per day by all 12-year-olds and to £8.2m for three pieces. This research is the first of its kind in the UK and was conducted by York Health Economics Consortium and Peninsula Dental School, University of Plymouth with support from The Wrigley Company Ltd.
Sugar free gum could be an easy and effective addition to families’ oral health routines. The British Dental Health Foundation recommends that, while brushing for two minutes, twice a day is still the best way to keep teeth clean and healthy, for children over the age of seven, chewing sugar-free gum during the day can be extremely effective in breaking down lingering food, neutralising harmful plaque acids and reducing the risk of decay.
Chewing sugar free gum after eating and drinking increases the production of saliva, which helps to wash away food particles and neutralise harmful plaque acids which, over time, can weaken teeth and lead to tooth decay. It also promotes the remineralisation of tooth enamel. The important role of sugar-free gum in oral care is widely recognised and accepted by experts, dental associations and regulatory authorities around the world. The European Commission (EC) has approved five oral health claims for sugar-free chewing gum, one of the few food categories to gain such recognition. The oral care benefits of chewing sugar-free gum are also recognised by the World Dental Federation (FDI), and endorsed by the British Dental Health Foundation.
Professor Liz Kay of Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, and co-author of the study says: “The findings of this study are hugely exciting as they reveal a new and easy way of helping people improve their oral health. Crucially, whilst these figures are significant, they refer only to cost reductions for treating 12-year-olds in the UK; if this model was to be applied to the whole population then there is a real potential to create substantial NHS savings. Clinical evidence has already proved that sugar free gum can help prevent caries and now we can also see a clear financial advantage.”
Dr Mike Dodds, Lead Oral Health Scientist at Wrigley comments: “This study demonstrates the role that sugar free gum can play in preventing dental decay. Wrigley is committed to supporting people across the UK to improve their oral health through the simple step of chewing sugar free gum after eating and drinking, especially while they’re on the go.”
The cost of dental disease in the UK
Each week, more than 1 million patients in the UK use NHS dental services – many of them seeking treatment for dental disease, the consequences of which costs the NHS a huge £3.4bn a year. A 2013 study showed that 34% of 12-year-olds surveyed in the UK had obvious decay in their permanent teeth, while other studies have demonstrated that poor oral health as a child or adolescent can lead to poor oral health as an adult, creating a potentially vast NHS cost throughout the patient’s lifetime, through the replacement of fillings and the implantation of crowns, bridges and prosthetics. A recent survey of hygienists and dentists found that they are most anxious about the state of their paediatric patients’ oral health, with hygienists noting that teens were the second group of concern, making these age groups key targets for interventions.
In the UK, official oral care guidance has rarely explicitly mentioned sugar free gum. However the evidence described above suggests that the potential benefits of including sugar free gum in preventative oral health advice should be considered. With the NHS facing a huge funding gap, new solutions – such as sugar free chewing gum – need to be considered to help tackle the totally preventable problem of tooth decay.
Most people have heard many stories of people avoiding the dentist’s office for years at a time resulting in major health problems and other inconveniences that would have been easily solved with regular checkups but more research is showing that a lot of the reason that people do no make regular visits to the dentist or orthodontist is based on psychological reasons.
DOYLESTOWN, Pa., USA One out of three Americans admits to being nervous about seeing the dentist and nearly half consider dental visits a “necessary evil,” according to the results of an online survey published recently. Conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of OPT-In Dental Advantage, a branded private practice organization dedicated to patient advocacy, the survey found that misconceptions about dental visits persist among a significant portion of Americans.
“Despite considerable advancements in preventative care and technology, making dentistry easier and more comfortable than ever before, patients still have real concerns about dental visits,” said OPT-In Dental Advantage Founder and President Dr. Dean Mersky. “We as dentists have a responsibility to address those concerns. We need to bridge the gap between truth and fiction to create trust between dentists and patients. That’s why OPT-In is launching a dental education campaign, Speaking The Tooth, focused on dispelling patients’ fears by sharing free and accessible information about everything from the reality of how dental insurance works to what to ask your dentist at every check-up.”
The survey of more than 2,000 adults also revealed that older patients tend to have more negative perceptions of dental visits than their younger counterparts, and nearly one in five of those polled lacks certainty about their personal dental health.
“We want to address the factors that are preventing patients from feeling confident and comfortable in their interactions with their dentists,” Mersky explained. “Sharing quality information about the true ins and outs of oral health will open communication channels and help make patient-dentist relationships what they should be. It’s time to take the worry and mystery out of a dental visit and make the experience one that builds confidence instead.”
In support of the aim of empowering patients through access to dental information, Speaking The Tooth materials are now available on the OPT-In website, www.optindentaladvantage.com/blog.
OPT-In Dental Advantage is the nation’s first branded private practice organization dedicated to patient advocacy. Founded in 2014 by Dr. Dean Mersky, an industry veteran with over 25 years’ experience practicing dentistry, OPT-In provides patients with the tools and knowledge they need to communicate effectively with their dentists.
Serving over 60,000 patients annually, OPT-In also offers patients access to high-quality private practice dentists with offices in thirty states throughout the country.
(Source: OPT-In Dental Advantage)
Pacifiers are something that most adults have experience with in their formative years. New studies into pacifier use are coming out that confirm the positive aspects of pacifiers but others are showing some new dangers associated with it. One thing that can potentially suffer from pacifier use is your child’s teeth.
Pacifiers Have Negative and Positive Effects
It’s one of the hardest habits to break and can require a great deal of persuasion: Parents often struggle with weaning their child off of a pacifier.
There is much debate regarding the use of pacifiers, but there is evidence to show that there are both pros and cons, according to a study in the January/February 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal.
“Contrary to popular belief, there are some positive effects that result from sucking on pacifiers,” says Jane Soxman, DDS, author of the study and Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. “One is that they assist in reducing the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Babies who are offered a pacifier do not sleep as deeply as those who sleep without a pacifier. Pacifier sucking makes it possible for the infant to be aroused from a deep sleep that could result in the stopping of breathing. Pacifiers also increase sucking satisfaction and provide a source of comfort to infants.”
However, parents should be aware of the negative effects of pacifier sucking on an infant’s oral health. “Children should stop using pacifiers by age 2,” says AGD spokesperson Luke Matranga, DDS, MAGD, ABGD. “Up until the age of 2, any alignment problem with the teeth or the developing bone is usually corrected within a 6-month period after pacifier use is stopped. Prolonged pacifier use and thumb sucking can cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth, alignment of the teeth and changes in the shape of the roof of the mouth.”
There is also an association between pacifier use and acute middle ear infections (otitis media).
“Continuous sucking on a pacifier can cause the auditory tubes to become abnormally open, which allows secretions from the throat to seep into the middle ear,” explains AGD spokesperson Maria Smith, DDS. “Transmission of bacteria in secretions would lead to middle ear infections.”
The bottom line is that if your child is continuously battling middle ear infections, you may have an alternative to surgery or antibiotics to stop this problem, says Dr. Smith, which would be to remove the pacifier.
Breaking the pacifier habit is not always easy, and there are several methods parents can use to stop it. Parents can dip the pacifier in white vinegar, making it distasteful; pierce the nipple of the pacifier with an ice pick or cut it shorter to reduce sucking satisfaction; leave it behind on a trip; or implement the “cold turkey” method.
Tips and recommendations:
- Pacifier use should be restricted to the time when the infant is falling asleep.
- Pacifiers can cause severe lacerations if the shield is held inside the lips.
- Look for a pacifier with ventilation holes in the shield, as they permit air passage. This is important if the pacifier accidentally becomes lodged in your child’s throat.
- In order to prevent strangulation, do not place a cord around your child’s neck to hold a pacifier. Look for pacifiers that have a ring.
- A symmetrical nipple permits the pacifier to remain in the correct sucking position.
- Dispose of the pacifier after use; it is not sanitary to keep it or give it away.
Updated: February 2007
Like most aspects of life now, dentistry is going digital and it is important to stay informed on the cutting edge technologies that are being released at a faster rate than ever thought possible previously. Recently a conference was held in New York to discuss the future of digital dentistry and how to adapt to the needs of this blossoming industry.
Stanley Bergman, chairman of the board and CEO of Henry Schein, talks to Greater New York Dental Meeting attendees about the broad scope of trusted digital dental solutions available under the ConnectDental umbrella. (Photo: Fred Michmershuizen, DTA)
NEW YORK, N.Y., USA: The future of dentistry is digital, and Henry Schein is poised to lead the way with a comprehensive menu of offerings. For those who want to be at the forefront of the digital revolution, Schein hosted a breakfast Monday morning during the Greater New York Dental Meeting to unveil ConnectDental-the company’s broad array of trusted digital solutions.
Gerard Meuchner, vice president, chief global communications officer for Henry Schein, kicked off the program with opening remarks. Stanley Bergman, chairman of the board and CEO of Henry Schein, spoke about the company’s ongoing journey into digital technology, followed by Jim Breslawski, president of Henry Schein and CEO of its Global Dental Group, who talked about the company’s ongoing commitment to digital solutions.
Dr. Robert Gottlander, vice president, global prosthetic solutions for Henry Schein, offered specifics on the many trusted digital solutions available under the ConnectDental umbrella, which encompass everything from digital intraoral scanners, to milling and printing devices and materials, to cone-beam 3-D imaging, practice management and digital laboratory solutions.
Also at the breakfast, Dr. Lyndon Cooper, chair of the American College of Prosthodontics Education foundation and associate dean for research at the University of Illinois at Chicago, talked about the vital role of education in dentistry’s digital revolution.
Following the conclusion of the program, attendees were invited to visit the Henry Schein ConnectDental Pavilion for further information and to speak one-on-one with key experts in digital dentistry. Located just steps away from the Crystal Palace entrance to the Javits Center on the main floor outside the Exhibit Hall, the pavilion is open to all throughout the meeting. Practitioners who are considering integrating digital technology solutions into their practice or laboratory are encouraged to stop by and learn about Schein’s suite of offerings, services and support.
Experts who have successfully incorporated digital dentistry and experienced increased efficiency and enhanced patient care are on hand at the pavilion to share their knowledge with meeting attendees. Visitors can also see how Henry Schein’s “Practice Analysis Tool” can help identify tailored solutions that meet the unique needs of a practice.
White teeth is almost always the goal for most people as it is seen as a sign of youth and beauty but there are many reasons that teeth discolor over time. This is something to be very aware of as it can indicate an underlying health issue if your teeth are any color but white. Several different factors play into the color of your teeth.
There is beauty in the magic splendor of softly falling flakes of snow against the backdrop of winter’s color palate, but when it comes to teeth, most people want one shade: the whitest white that white can be. Unfortunately, teeth come in many shades and can change color from a variety of causes.
As the tooth enamel develops, the color can be affected by many factors, says Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Howard S. Glazer, DDS, FAGD. “White, bright teeth certainly help maintain a youthful appearance,” said Dr. Glazer. Unfortunately, stains from food and drink can darken teeth over time, usually resulting in a yellow or orange hue. Illness, heredity or environmental factors can cause discoloration. In rare cases, injury can discolor teeth.
Maternal use of certain antibiotics, notably those of the tetracycline family, during pregnancy can cause brown or gray discoloration of the baby’s tooth enamel. Children who take this medication during the period of permanent tooth development may have similar discoloration of the permanent teeth.
But you don’t have to live with a dull smile, says Dr. Glazer. “With today’s techniques and materials, we can change the color of a patient’s teeth to provide a more healthy, youthful appearance,” he said.
Professional tooth-whitening products can improve enamel color in many instances, although severe discoloration may require bonding procedures for good cosmetic results. Contact your dentist to obtain a proper diagnosis and to learn what treatment options are available.
Updated: January 2012