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December 2002

Viral mouthwash may curb precancerous mouth lesions

A mouthwash that contains a modified respiratory virus known as ONYX-015 may help prevent precancerous mouth lesions from becoming cancerous. Approximately 30% to 40% of precancerous mouth lesions contain defects in p53, a common tumor suppressor. Although surgery--the conventional therapy--eradicates individual lesions in a patient's mouth it has no effect on new cases of cancer. ONYX-015 is an adenovirus that has been modified to selectively kill p53-deficient cancers and precancerous cells. The virus is being developed as a therapeutic by Onyx Pharmaceuticals of Richmond, California.

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HRT Toothpaste, Taste of Things to Come? 

Women seeking to counter the effects of the menopause may soon be able to do it simply by brushing their teeth: American scientists have developed a toothpaste that provides hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The toothpaste, which also works perfectly for dental hygiene, will offer an easily remembered alternative for women suffering the hot flushes, flagging libido and sleeplessness that often accompany the menopause. Research at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston has shown that controlled, long-lasting doses of the female hormone oestrogen can be administered effectively in this way. Although further trials are still required, the HRT toothpaste could reach the market within five years. British Dental Association Dec 02 

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Reducing tobacco use doesn't compare to quitting in risk reduction

 Heavy smokers hoping to stave off respiratory illness or death by cutting down on the number of cigarettes they smoke may want to rethink their choice and quit altogether, according to new study findings from Denmark. Significantly reducing the number of cigarettes smoked did not appear to have any long-term benefit in terms of death risk compared to not cutting down at all, according to the report published in the December issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. In the current study, Dr. Nina S. Godtfredsen of Copenhagen University Hospital and colleagues assessed the cause of death for nearly 20,000 people over a 15-year period. The investigators compared heavy smokers (15 or more cigarettes a day) who reduced the number of cigarettes they smoked by at least half during the study but didn't quit, with smokers who did quit, as well as people who continued to be heavy smokers. The researchers also looked at consistent light smokers, who smoked 14 cigarettes or less daily. Heavy smokers who cut their cigarette intake by half saw no reduction in deaths from any cause during the study period. Quitters, on the other hand, had a 35 percent lower risk of death from all causes than those who continued to smoke heavily, while light smokers' death risk was 25 percent lower. And quitters cut their risk of death from tobacco-related cancer by 64 percent, while there was no significant difference in mortality from such cancers for those who reduced their tobacco intake. The researchers also found no difference in respiratory disease or mortality from cardiovascular disease between people who reduced their smoking and those who continued to smoke heavily. The authors note that the study is the first, to their knowledge, to investigate from a prospective point of view the question of whether reducing cigarette smoking can cut mortality risk. SOURCE: American Journal Epidemiology 2002;156:994-1001.

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Additive-free cigarettes no safer for smokers: 

 Additive-free cigarettes such as the "American Spirit" brand are no safer to smoke than conventional filtered cigarettes, researchers  from the University of Maryland have found. Noting that both the American Spirit cigarettes and bidis contain carcinogenic compounds, the investigators point out that such non-conventional cigarettes pose a substantial health risk to smokers. And they emphasize that adolescents appear to be particularly vulnerable to becoming dependant on such brands. Sanders from the American Spirit company states "American Spirit cigarettes are not marketed as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes but rather as a tastier option." We make no representation — expressed or implied — that these cigarettes are any less hazardous than any other cigarettes." A.D.A. Dec. 2002

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A Question of Digestion
If you're having trouble digesting your holiday leftovers, try chewing on some gum after your meal.

Chewing gum may help to alleviate symptoms of heartburn by stimulating saliva production. Saliva helps protect the lining of your esophagus by reducing the amount of time that stomach acid comes into contact with it. Choose non-mint gum because mint flavoring may exacerbate heartburn.

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November 2002

Simply White 

Colgate-Palmolive Co.'s Simply White, clear whitening gel, sells for about $15. The American Dental Association says the product is safe; the range of whitening power it has, though, is usually just a shade or two. 

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Elderly Nutrition: It's Not The Dentures, But How They Fit

Although many older people don't get the nutrients they need, the risk of having a poor diet is higher in people who are missing teeth or have ill-fitting dentures, according to a recent study. It shocked researchers to learn that it didn't matter if people had dentures or not — it was how the dentures were maintained.

Nutrition is important at all ages, but is especially important in older people, who often have other medical conditions or complications. For example, protein and zinc deficiencies can weaken the body's immune system, and decreased vitamin C intake can increase the risk of periodontal disease and peripheral artery disease.

Having a bottom denture that fits correctly is more important to nutrient intake than having a well-fitting top denture. Tooth loss causes underlying bone loss in the jaw, which can alter the fit of dentures gradually until they no longer fit properly.

"Maintain your health and your teeth and keep them as long as you can."

The research appears in the October 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

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Hide your toothbrush behind closed doors in the medicine cabinet to dry, or put down the toilet lid before you flush the toilet. 

Experiments on toothbrush disinfectant reveal E.coli grows on wet toothbrushes left out on the bathroom counters in toothbrush holders or cups as a result of contaminated aerosols released into the air after flushing the toilet -these tiny droplets contaminated with E.coli and other enteric organisms settle on wet toothbrushes and the bugs multiply and then infect the oral cavity. The idea that E.coli comes from contaminated toothbrushes in bathrooms explains (partially) why some people grow E.coli when we do cultures of saliva samples (the other reason is, of course. is 'honeymoon syndrome' - oral sex. It also explains why you can get serious pneumonia infections when your immune system is compromised (e.g. while in the hospital). Then there are the kids in the family who let their pet dog lick them on the mouth. If the dog doesn't pick up enteric organisms from licking itself you- know-where, it could easily pick up human enteric organisms from drinking toilet water. Written by Harvey from

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The Relationship Between Periodontal Disease Attributes and Helicobacter pylori Infection Among Adults in the United States 

  We investigated the relationship between Helicobacter pylori infection and abnormal periodontal conditions. Methods.  A total of 4504 participants aged 20 to 59 years who completed a periodontal examination and tested positive for H. pylori antibodies that cause stomach ulcers were examined. Results. Periodontal pockets with a depth of 5 mm or more were associated with increased odds of H. pylori seropositivity  Poor periodontal health, characterized by advanced periodontal pockets, may be associated with H. pylori infection in adults, independent of poverty status.

Bruce A. Dye, DDS, MPH, Deanna Kruszon-Moran, MS and Geraldine McQuillan, PhD The authors are with the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Md. Correspondence: Requests for reprints should be sent to Bruce Dye, DDS, MPH, CDC/NCHS, 6525 Belcrest Rd, Room 900, Hyattsville, MD 20782 (e-mail:

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Harvard Medical School researchers studied longevity and found one of the most important contributing factors was daily flossing. Because it removes bacteria from the teeth and gums, flossing helps to prevent periodontal disease and gingivitis. Another study found that men with periodontitis had a whopping 72% greater risk of developing coronary disease. Gingivitis was associated with a 42% increased risk for men.

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According to Research!America, Americans spent nearly $2.025 billion on Halloween candy this year. That would fund the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research for almost six years.

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October 2002 is National Dental Hygiene Month 

Telephone Tooth.

You can listen but you can not talk back.  A prototype of the telephone tooth-an implant that allows recipients to discreetly receive phone calls, listen to music, and connect to verbal sites on the internet was recently unveiled at the Science Museum in London.  The reception of the sounds would be totally discreet, enabling the user to receive information anywhere, at any time, without detection, but you can only listen; it cannot allow you to talk back to callers or make outgoing phone calls.  You would also be required a have a small device outside your body to both power and program the implant.

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Doctors Grow Living Pig Teeth

Pig's teeth were grown in rat's abdomens from dental stem cells in 30 weeks.  This is an effort to move toward biological replacement tooth therapy. It was predicted that you will be able to grow your own replacement tooth in about 10 years.

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Trends in Caries among Adults 18 to 45 Years Old

Caries improvements have occurred with a 50% decrease in cavities in this age group. Young adults 18 to 25 years old in NHANES I grew up before widespread fluoridation, while people the same age in NHANES III grew up when fluoridation and preventive dentistry were more widely available.  The impact is a decline in the need for restorative dentistry. [Trends in Caries among Adults 18 to 45 Years Old JADA September 2002 Brown L.J.,Wall T.P.,Lazar V.]

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Phantom' Tooth Pain

— Phantom limb pain after an amputation isn't the only type of mysterious pain that puzzles doctors and worries patients. Dental patients who have a tooth extracted can have pain at the site of the extraction for months afterwards. It's the toothache that won't go away, but there's no tooth there. It's not common, it affects perhaps less than one percent of dental patients. But phantom tooth pain can last for months, and can also spread beyond the extraction site to other areas of the mouth. Such phantom tooth pain may be related to changes in a person's pain threshold.  Phantom tooth pain is caused by changes in surrounding nerves that can occur after some extractions.  No one knows what causes these changes. Patients who suspect they may have phantom tooth pain should consult a specialist in orofacial pain to obtain a diagnosis. Often, when the pain spreads, dentists who don't think about the possibility of phantom tooth pain will suggest more procedures, such as extracting another tooth. "Don't keep having procedures done," he advised, until a diagnosis of phantom tooth pain is ruled out. Aug. 27, 2002 Post-extraction 'phantom' tooth can haunt patients By Kathleen Doheny San Diego (Reuters Health) 2002 Reuters Limited.

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 GREEN TEA: Fighting Bad Breath

The "polyphenols" in green tea (GTP) induced cell death in certain types of tumor cells, including oral carcinoma cells. Therefore, drinking green tea is a safe way to prevent the growth of certain cancers without harming normal cells. The investigative team at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) compared the effects of foods such as green tea products, mint, a parsley oil product, and chewing gum on the bacteria that cause bad breath. The green tea dramatically reduced the concentrations of methyl mercaptan in the subjects' mouths. Also, there was a significantly higher deodorant effect from the tea than from the other products. The team thus concluded that green tea is a promising approach to the gentle treatment of bad breath. American Association for Dental Research GREEN TEA: Preventing Cancer AND Fighting Bad Breath San Diego, CA

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September 2002

Researchers Grow Teeth in Mass. Lab 

 -A team of scientists grew accurate versions of natural teeth in a laboratory, raising the possibility of an eventual replacement for manmade implants such as dentures, bridges and crowns. The scientists, based at Forsyth Institute, were reportedly the first to grow such a complex tooth structure from a collection of individual cells. 
Researchers said it would be at least a decade before the technique could be used to help patients. The results appear in the  The Forsyth scientists manipulated pigs' dental stem cells - primordial cells that differentiate into the various tooth structures - to make enamel, which gives teeth their distinctive, hard exterior.
The Associated Press BOSTON (AP)

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Sensitive Stuff
Are you thinking of brightening your smile at home with a tooth-whitening product? Make sure your teeth are healthy first.

Studies show that some at-home whitening systems may cause a temporary increase in tooth sensitivity, especially in people with receding gums due to gingivitis. Stay up-to-date on your dental checkups and make sure that your teeth and gums are healthy before you expose them to the active ingredients used in whitening kits.

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Government's first annual report on the Health Status of Women

Women Health USA 2002 reports trends that show a disproportionate impact on women of certain health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, lupus and osteoporosis. Women are living longer than men and are more likely to have health insurance. Information on dental care in this report indicates that 62.7 percent of women visited a dentist in the last year but that approximately one-third of American women had not visited a dentist for a year or more. Hispanic and black women were more likely than white women to have gone without dental care for a year or more. Less than 1 percent of women had never seen or talked to a dentist. To view the site:

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Nursing Home Oral Health Care  questions to ask before placing a loved in a nursing home.

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August 2002
Falls Cause The Most Dental Injuries In Children
Falls are the most common cause of dental emergencies in children, and boys are injured three times more often than girls, according to a one-year study.

Nearly 60 percent of dental trauma seen during the study was caused by falls during play. The least common cause of injury to the mouth or teeth was motor vehicle accidents, which accounted for less than 2 percent. The children ranged in age from 15 months to 14 years, and males accounted for 75 percent of the visits.

Injuries tended to occur at home in the middle of the day. On average, the visit to the emergency room occurred five months after the fall or trauma.

In most cases, at least one tooth was fractured. The permanent upper front teeth were affected 80 percent of the time. About 40 percent of the children needed some form of endodontic (root-canal) treatment. Five percent had to have missing teeth replaced.

Dental Traumatology; August 2002; Nancy Volkers; InteliHealth News Service

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Dental problems can boost pneumonia risk Dental problems can boost pneumonia risk in elderly.

Better dental care among the elderly — especially in nursing homes — could reduce cases of a particular type of pneumonia, according to researchers from the University of Michigan and Veterans Administration. Aspiration pneumonia is an infection that occurs after bits of food or stomach contents are inhaled into the lungs. Investigators found patients were at higher risk for this type of pneumonia if they had dental plaque or certain types of mouth bacteria. Overall, patients who had a stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease  or needed help eating were at risk for the ailment. "We know, as a result of previous studies, that it's just an area that tends to be overlooked in nursing homes It's often left to the residents to clean their mouth, and they just ignore it.People with dementia or other conditions that impair their mental status, or those who can't easily move their hands, are especially likely to have dental problems. In the meantime, nursing homes should assign and educate specific staff members, preferably nurse's aides, to do some actual tooth brushing for people who can't brush their own teeth. Additionally, they should encourage the use of a mouthwash, such as chlorhexidine, which can kill some harmful organisms in the mouth. "
By Meg Bryant Washington (Reuters Health) 

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Dentists Reassure Patients Confused About Dental Filling Safety
CHICAGO (American Dental Association) -- A new survey indicates one in four people have heard that silver-colored fillings (amalgam) are "bad for you" or could cause health problems, despite assurances from major U.S. health agencies that this is not the case. According to the findings, patients who ask about the safety of amalgam during their dental visits are more likely to choose the silver-colored filling than those who do not ask.

Dr. Donovan asserted that there's a wealth of scientific studies, which show there is no relationship between amalgam fillings and adverse health problems, except for a tiny percentage of people who may be allergic to one of the filling's components.

"Let your common sense be your guide," Dr. Donovan stressed. "Dentists work with amalgam nearly every day, and research shows they are no more prone to serious health problems than the general population."

Dr. Donovan urges people to talk to their dentist about any concerns they may have with their oral health. "We want to help patients make informed choices about their oral health treatments based on the best available science and their individual case history."

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Boys Develop Extra Teeth More Often Than Girls
Boys are more than twice as likely as girls to develop extra teeth, according to a study of more than 150 children.

About three-fourths of the children had only one extra tooth, 18 percent had two, and 5 percent had three or more. The children ranged in age from 5 to 15.

Ninety percent of the extra teeth were in the top front of the mouth. Only about one-fourth of the extra teeth had erupted into the mouth.

Other research also has shown that extra teeth, also called supernumerary teeth, are more common in males than in females.

About two in every 100 people have at least one extra tooth. Some are of normal shape and size, but many are underdeveloped. The top front of the mouth is the most common place for extra teeth to appear. They can interfere with the eruption of other teeth or can cause crowding. Often, the extra teeth have to be extracted.

July, International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry; Nancy Volkers InteliHealth News Service

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Smoking is so harmful to gums that even smokers with good oral-hygiene habits are more likely to develop gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss.

Researchers looked at the conditions of lower molars (back teeth) in 60 smokers and 60 people who had never smoked. The people in the study ranged in age from 31 to 60 years, and all had good oral-hygiene habits.

Smokers had more signs of periodontal disease, including receding gums, pockets between the teeth and gums, loss of gum attachment to the teeth, and loose teeth. Seventy-three percent of smokers, but only 20 percent of nonsmokers, showed a loss of gum attachment down to where the tooth splits into more than one root.

The researchers conclude that smoking is a major risk factor for periodontal problems, even in people with good dental care habits.

July issue of the Journal of Periodontology; Nancy Volkers InteliHealth News Service

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Warning denture-wearers to keep their mouths shut during high-adrenaline sports? Carl Root, of Daytona Beach, let out a whoop as he jumped from a skydiving plane and lost his dentures, reports The Daytona Beach News Journal. Mr Root, 34, said, 'It's a very expensive learning lesson,' and added that he would never jump wearing his dentures again. The stunt was being filmed, and the dentures can clearly be seen on tape, falling 9,000 ft. Root said they could be anywhere in a 770 square-mile area, so has given up hope of finding them, but Root says their loss did not ruin his day. He loves skydiving and will be jumping again in October – without his dentures

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Tooth Decay Decreasing In Younger Adults, But Not For Those Over Age 45
Tooth decay has become much less common in young and middle-aged adults since the 1970s, but older adults still have as much tooth decay as they did then.

Overall, tooth decay dropped 27 percent from the early 1970s to the early 1990s. However, all the decrease was among adults aged 18 to 45. Decay rates remained the same among older adults -- those aged 46 to 65..

In both the 1970s and 1990s, the youngest group of adults had less than half the decay rate of the oldest group, which the researchers attribute to childhood access to widespread water fluoridation and better preventive dentistry.

Data from both surveys showed that women had more decay than men, whites had more than African-Americans, and people above the federal poverty level had more decay than those at or below it. People living at or below the poverty level were more likely than people living above poverty level to have untreated tooth decay.

Journal of the American Dental Association., July 2002

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July 2002

Respiratory infections The oral cavity has long been considered a potential reservoir for respiratory pathogens. The mechanisms of infection could be:

aspiration into the lung of oral pathogens capable of causing pneumonia


colonization of dental plaque by respiratory pathogens followed by aspiration


facilitation by periodontal pathogens of colonization of the upper airway by pulmonary pathogens.

Several anaerobic bacteria from the periodontal pocket have been isolated from infected lungs. In elderly patients living in chronic care facilities, the colonization of dental plaque by pulmonary pathogens is frequent. Notably, the overreaction of the inflammatory process that leads to destruction of connective tissue is present in both periodontal disease and emphysema. This overreaction may explain the association between periodontal disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. These findings underline the necessity for improving oral hygiene among patients who are at risk and those living in long-term institutions. 
[Mojon P Oral Health and Respiratory Infection JCDA 2002;68(6):340-5]

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Tooth surface loss: does recreational drug use contribute?  This study showed that there was severity of occlusal (biting surface) tooth wear of the lower first molar teeth was significantly greater in the drug user group than in the control group  Conclusion. Regular use of amphetamine-like drugs could be associated with increased posterior (back) tooth wear. 
Tooth surface loss: does recreational drug use contribute? Peter J. Nixon, , Callum C. Youngson and Angela Beese Clin Oral Invest (2002) 6: 128-130

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July 5 is Dental Awareness Day, Call SmileLine for Free Advice On July 5, 2002, dubbed "Dental Awareness Day". Anyone with questions or concerns about their oral health can call the SmileLine, toll-free, at 1-800-SMILE-33 (1-800-764-5333) from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. EDT. 

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Tooth decay in outer space 

"Japanese researchers say the bacteria that cause cavities seem to grow 40 to 50 times faster in zero gravity. The reason is unknown, but a micro-gravity environment can affect the body's ability to produce saliva. This means that bacteria aren't washed off the teeth quickly. Also, because of the shortage of water on space missions, astronauts don't usually spit after brushing, in which case, even the bacteria that are dislodged by brushing might stick on the teeth again. The Japanese research team is now working on an "outer space toothbrush" its bristles will ooze toothpaste and reabsorb the foam as an astronaut brushes." [ Science News, 2002 April 2 cited Communique 2002;May/June:10

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June 2002

Swimmers Risk Stained Smiles, Chipped Teeth 

Competitive swimmers may be at risk for developing yellowish-brown or dark-brown stains on their teeth. Athlete swimmers, who often swim laps more than six hours a week, expose their teeth to large amounts of chemically-treated water. Pool water contains chemical additives like antimicrobials, which gives the water a higher pH than saliva, causing salivary proteins to break down quickly and form organic deposits on swimmer's teeth. The result is swimmer's calculus hard, brown tartar deposits that appear predominantly on the front teeth. "It's a common cosmetic condition among swimmers. Swimmers who notice the stains should talk to their dentist and perhaps increase their dental visits to three or four times a year. During the summer, swimming pool accidents are the number one cause of dental emergencies. "Swimming underwater and quickly coming to the surface causes some children to hit the hard ledge, loosening the front tooth,". Also, running on slippery, slick cement and ceramic pool surfaces sends many children headfirst into the ground, often causing chipped or displaced (loose) teeth. "Diving into shallow waters and hitting the bottom pushes the tooth up and can fracture the whole bone,".
Academy of General Dentistry June 2002

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Avoid Diver's Mouth Syndrome And "Tooth Squeeze" 

Before you go scuba diving, see your dentist because this sport can lead:


to jaw joint pain


gum tissue problems


"tooth squeeze"--pain in the center of the tooth caused by the changing pressure. 

All of these symptoms add up to "diver's mouth syndrome," a condition of the mouth that is caused by the mouthpiece and by the air pressure change involved in scuba diving. 

"Diver's mouth syndrome" is also called barodontalgia. Most standard scuba diving rubber mouthpieces are usually too small for most divers. Divers have to drag a bulky air regulator through the water with their teeth. They may bite too hard into the mouthpiece, which could lead to jaw joint pain and gum lacerations. At first, divers may not notice the discomfort in their mouth caused by an ill-fitting mouthpiece because they are so distracted. But when they conclude their dive and pull off their mouthpiece, they may notice the jaw joint pain caused by clenching too hard onto the mouthpiece or gum lacerations. If the jaw joint pain persists longer than a few days, the diver should consider visiting a dentist to evaluate for possible temporomandibular joint syndrome. The dentist may construct a custom-fitted mouthpiece for scuba divers to avoid such problems. 

"Tooth squeeze is if there's a big cavity, a filling that's broken, gum disease, periodontal abscess or incomplete root canal therapy, the changing pressure of scuba diving can become extremely painful.

Be sure you're in good dental health before you go scuba diving. 
Be wary of scuba diving if you've just had a tooth extracted that caused an open space in your gums, or if you have only temporary fillings. Be very cautious if you have dentures or partial dentures -- they can be inadvertently swallowed during a dive.
Academy of General Dentistry, June 2002.

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From Wallet to Waistline

A report titled "From Wallet to Waistline" that compares the price, calories, and saturated fat in differently sized foods from fast-food chains, convenience stores, ice cream parlors, coffee shops, and movie theaters.  Click here for more on this is a shocking example: Moving from a small to a medium bag of movie theater popcorn costs about 71 cents—and 500 calories. A 23% increase in price provides 125% more calories and two days’ worth of saturated fat. (And that’s unbuttered popcorn!)

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Secondhand Smoke Could Cause Cavities in Children
A new study of 3,873 children, shows that children whose parents smoke are more likely to develop cavities. The children had dental examinations and a blood test measuring their cotinine levels, which is a quantitative marker for tobacco-smoke exposure. 

The researchers found that 47 percent of the children in the study had cavities in their deciduous (baby) teeth and 26 percent had cavities in permanent teeth. The researchers determined that secondhand smoke was most associated with cavities in deciduous teeth.

This study should serve as a sobering wake-up call to parents who still don't see the danger in smoking around their children that secondhand smoke accounts for a significant proportion of cavities in children.

"If a child has a cavity, the dentist should explain to parents that smoking may be the cause.  New research shows that secondhand smoke may cause cavities. Maybe that's another reason you should try to quit.'"

The study's findings were presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies', from the University of Rochester Medical Center.

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There's Nothing Dangerous About 'Silver' Fillings

Mercury Ban Promotes Lawsuits, Not Health

Migraines: Prevent them with a dental appliance
A dental appliance called the NTI recently won FDA approval as a remedy for migraine and tension headaches. In studies, 82% of migraine sufferers had 77% fewer headaches when they wore the NTI. The NTI can be made in a dentist's office in 15 to 20 minutes and costs $600 to $800. More than 28 million Americans suffer from migraines.

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May 2002

It is generally recommended that toothbrushes should be replaced after three-months' use in order to maintain efficacy.  This study showed that both the new and the worn toothbrushes significantly reduce plaque. The new brush was, however, significantly more effective than the worn brush.  New toothbrushes had 13.4%, 11.0%, and 17.0% greater plaque reduction. It is concluded that a worn toothbrush is less effective than a new toothbrush for plaque removal and control of gingivitis.
J Clin Dent 2002;13(3):119-24; A clinical investigation into the effect of toothbrush wear on efficacy. Warren PR, Jacobs D, Low MA, Chater BV, King DW.  

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Poor Dental Hygiene in Elderly May Increase Risk of Type of Pneumonia
    A study of patients aged 57 years to 98 years found an increased risk for aspiration pneumonia in individuals with dental plaque or certain types of mouth bacteria. Aspiration pneumonia is an infection that is caused by bits of food or stomach contents being inhaled into the lungs. The study reviewed records of 408 patients and found those who had a stroke; had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis; or needed help eating, were at risk for the infection.  They suggested that nursing homes encourage the use of mouthwash and that they assign and educate specific staff members to perform tooth brushing for those patients who cannot do it for themselves.

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FDA warning: Nicotine lollipops, lip balm illegal

Smokers who've used nicotine-containing lollipops or lip balm as a smoking cessation aid or a quick fix in a non-smoking environment may be surprised to learn that some such products could be illegal.

The FDA says that compounded nicotine medications produced with a
compound not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and
produced without a prescription are illegal. The FDA issued warning
letters to three pharmacies nationwide that have been selling nicotine lollipops and/or nicotine lip balm on the Internet. The pharmacies involved are located in Mississippi, Massachusetts and Illinois .The candy-like lollipops may also present a risk to children who mistake them for candy.

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Early AM Dental Appointments. May Reduce Stress
To reduce stress and possibly the risk of a heart attack, people with a history of heart disease should schedule short, early in the day dental appointments according to a new study in JADA.  Patients with severe heart disease whose blood pressure fails to adapt well to stress are at a high risk of experience heart failure during dental procedures. (April JADA)

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In-dental-office screening for diabetes mellitus 

     Diabetes mellitus (DM) is undiagnosed in approximately half of the patients actually suffering from the disease. In addition, the prevalence of DM is more than twice as high in patients with periodontitis. Thus, a high number of patients with periodontitis may have undiagnosed DM.During routine periodontal examination bleeding gums is a sign of periodontitis.  This blood may be used for diabetes mellitus screening
in a dental office setting.

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April 2002

California defeats amalgam bill

      April 24, the state assembly's Health Committee voted 9-4 to table a bill that would have phased out the use of dental amalgam.
"Part of the junk science testimony was that amalgam is a 19th century medical practice —and that, in itself, is a reason to not use it,Yet, four out of the five committee members who agreed with that analogy were wearing eyeglasses—another health apparatus used in the 19th century."
"This bill, on and after Jan. 1, 2007, would have prohibit a dentist from providing a patient with a dental filling that contains mercury," .Furthermore, from now until the total ban takes effect, the bill would have required dentists who place amalgam fillings to provide patients with a written disclosure.
Such proposed warnings conflict with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's guidance on labeling dental amalgam and FDA conclusion that "no valid scientific evidence has ever shown that amalgams cause harm to patients with dental restorations."
Taken from ADA News 4/26/02 
By Mark Berthold

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Bad News For Apple Fans

Dentists are warning that fruit should no longer be eaten as a snack between meals because of its high level of sugar and acidity, which erode teeth, 

Part of the problem is the fact that the sugar content in apples has risen by up to 50 per cent in the last decade. New research found that the typical modern apple now has a sugar content of up to 15 per cent, meaning that it contains
the equivalent of 4 teaspoons of sugar. Also, the acid content in apples can strip away tooth enamel.

The British Dental Association (BDA) are advising people to:
bulletChoose a wiser snack between meals of cheese because it neutralizes the acidity that can attack tooth enamel.
bulletBrushing the teeth after eating an apple as a snack.
bulletEat apples only at mealtimes and then rinse the mouth with water to minimize tooth damage.

The Sunday Times and the Daily Mail.

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 Giving Your Eye Teeth

A woman who has been blind for 10 years can see again after an
operation in which a tooth was implanted into her eye socket

The tooth was first fitted with an optic lens and inserted in the other eye, so that soft tissue and blood vessels could develop around it.

Kalpna Shah, 39, is only the 20th person to undergo the pioneering surgery, called, osteo-odonto keratoprothesis, since it was first performed in 1996, says the newspaper. The operation was carried out at the Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton - the only unit in the UK where the surgery is carried out.

The procedure involves the surface of the eye being reconstructed using tissue taken from the inside of the cheek. Then, a tooth is selected and removed and a hole drilled, into which an optical cylinder is placed. The tooth is then inserted in the opposite eyelid, so that tissue can form around it and blood vessels grow into the graft.

A second operation is then performed up to 4 months later where the tooth is removed and replaced into the white of the other eye. As a result, vision gradually improves.

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March 2002

Coffee May Help Prevent Decay

    Coffee made from roasted coffee beans has antibacterial activities against certain microorganisms, including Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans), a major cause of dental caries“. All coffee solutions have high antiadhesive properties due to both naturally occurring and roasting-induced molecules.  It was found that caffeine is not involved in the antiadhesive properties of coffee solutions. The data from the study also suggest that trigonelline, a water-soluble compound in coffee that contributes to the aroma and flavor of the beverage, may have the major responsibility for coffee’s anti-adhesive activity. So coffee might be effective in preventing S. mutans-induced tooth decay.”
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry; Gabriella Gazzani, Ph.D., of the University of Pavia 3/02

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The Dental Health Status of Dialysis Patients is poor and requires greater attention. Judith T. Klassen, BSc, DDS Brenda M. Krasko, DMD; JCDA 2/02

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Popular Medications Increase Risk of Cavities

The medications with the above mentioned effects include asthma medications, allergy drugs, medications with a calming effect and stomach medications.

More than 70% of those who use the drugs have said that they experience a dry mouth and many of these are elderly and/or women. The dryness increases the risk of both cavities and inflammations in the oral cavity
 M2 Communications Ltd

March is National Nutrition Month.

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February 2002

One-off spray to end tooth decay

A MOUTHWASH containing genetically engineered bacteria could soon
offer a permanent solution to tooth decay.
The spray, which is based on a new strain of the mouth microbes that cause cavities, would be squirted into the mouth in a one-off treatment lasting five minutes. It would offer lifelong protection. A research team led by Jeffrey Hillman, Professor of Dentistry at the University of Florida, has created a genetically modified strain of
S. mutans, which does not produce lactic acid, so cannot cause decay.
The GM strain is much stronger than the naturally occurring one and
rapidly drives harmful bacteria from the mouth.

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Most Common Bleeding Disorder Goes Undiagnosed With Sometimes Tragic Consequences

Von Willebrand Disease

     It’s the most common bleeding disorder in the world, one hundred times more common than better-known Hemophilia, but chances are you’ve never heard of it—nor have many doctors. Von Willebrand (WILL-E-BRAND) disease affects an estimated 3 million American men and women, most of whom are undiagnosed. The bleeding disorder can cause a number of problems ranging from life-altering to life-threatening, especially in women where heavy menstrual periods can rule their lives and lead to unnecessary hysterectomies.  The first step towards treatment begins with a visit to your family doctor.

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Smile Deemed A Valuable Asset
81 percent of women and 66 percent of men between the ages of 18-65 years believe a smile is very important to a person's appearance, according to a survey by the ADA/and ORAL B. In addition, 47% of women and 27% of men said a smile was what they noticed first about other people. Nearly 100 percent felt healthy teeth and gums were important.

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January 2002

Bad Oral Health Plagues Americans: to see more click here.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Periodontal Disease May Be Associated

An Australia study found that prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis was 3.95% in the periodontal treatment groups versus 0.66% in the general dental treatment group.  In addition, 62.5% of periodontal patients with rheumatoid arthritis suffered from ADVANCED DISEASE.

The periodontal group also reported a higher prevalence of  cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus.  Patients with more advanced periodontal disease were at higher risk of having rheumatoid arthritis and vice versa.  This study concluded there are some pathogenetic similarities between the two chronic inflammatory disease.
Year Book of Dentistry 2001, Dentistry Today, pg 38 Jan 2002

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Smart Fillings Speed Healing
Amorphous calcium phosphate is showing great promise in dental restorative work. It has a tendency to convert to the stable dental mineral hydroxyapatite, which is the main inorganic component of teeth. It re-deposits the hydroxyapatite in areas of the tooth damaged by decay helping the tooth structure to repair itself.  It could be used for cavity liners or bases; however it cannot replace conventional filling materials at this time

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Estrogen Receptor Variations Related to Tooth Loss
Estrogen receptor genotypes may be connected to tooth loss in elderly women.  The type of estrogen receptor gene a woman carries could signal her risk of experiencing tooth loss.

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Gene variation tied to periodontitis

A variation in the gene that expresses fibrinogen, a protein that aids coagulation and accumulates in the blood stream in response to infection, may help to explain why some people develop severe gum disease while others do not.

The findings were announced by the American Association for Dental Research, based on studies by oral biologists from the University at Buffalo  School of Dental Medicine. The study reported that adults with severe gum disease were more likely than healthy control group members to exhibit a genotype (Ernesto De Nardin, PhD, AGD IMPACT - News briefs

A.D.A. New Ad Campaign against oral cancer:

If you see to see your dentist!

To learn more about oral cancer visit: Oral Cancer Index

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Legacy of Discontinued Ingredients in Patients' Mouths

Dentists see legacy of discontinued ingredients in patients' mouths in the form of potentially precancerous lesions. Sanguinarine, a natural anti-bacterial agent, was once a key ingredient in the Viadent line of toothpastes and mouth rinses. Researchers suspect that sanguinarine causes the formation of white
lesions, called oral leukoplakia.
The current study suggests that users of the former Viadent formulation were eight to 11 times more likely to develop leukoplakia 

Patients who used the old formulation of Viadent develop lesions two, three, four, even five years after they stopped using the product.

Patients who had used Viadent products were 9.7 times more likely to
have developed the white lesions.
  Risk was highest in patients who had used both toothpaste and mouth rinse. Patients with leukoplakia should be alert for oral cancer. Patients with oral leukoplakia should get a thorough oral examination at least every six months. While Colgate has since replaced sanguinarine in its Viadent products with another anti-bacterial agent, 
people need to watch out for the ingredient in other brands of dental products.
***The research was supported by a grant from the American Cancer
Society. Epidemiology

Check out the latest dental news for 2001 at: Dental News 2001

Check out the latest dental news  for 2000 at: Dental News 2000

Return to dental news for 2003 at: Dental News 2003

September 14, 2007

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