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Archives for April, 2011

Advances Underway in Regenerative Dentistry

Stem cells collected from the teeth of children for future use could be a vital link in regrowing permanent teeth lost due to decay or an accident, researchers say.

Dr. Paul Sharpe, a dental professor and research advisor, has shown through study that a natural tooth along with relevant root, bone and nerves will mature from a tooth “bud” or “primordium” of stem cells inserted in the area of an incision in the gum.

“In the future we envision, a patient who loses a tooth and wants a replacement will be able to choose between current methods and a biological-based implant—a new natural tooth—derived from the patient’s own dental stem cells,” Dr. Sharpe says.

Dr. Sharpe has also stated the benefits of human dental stem cells in terms of research, in that they are in abundance and raise no ethical issues. Whenever a baby tooth or molar is extracted there you have a potential source. There is no need for an extra invasive procedure and such stem cells can be kept for the donor themselves, thus avoiding the prospect of rejection.

This research is currently in its infancy, but other usage of dental stem cells in human research include the regrowing of jawbone and treatment of periodontal disease.

“Clearly, the future for regenerative and tissue-engineering application to dentistry is one with immense potential, capable of bringing quantum advances in treatment for our patients,” Dr. Sharpe says.

Cavities Caused by Milk?

For years, it has been seen by nutritionists to be one of the leading causes of childhood obesity in the States. No, it’s not the mountains of sweets and cakes American children consume, instead, it is an adaptation of one of nature’s most healthy drinks: chocolate milk.

Food advocates and nutritionists who oppose the chocolaty drink have now found an ally in some dental professionals who say that chocolate milk is a leading cause of cavities in some of their younger patients. This assertion is contrary to the opinion shared by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, who list chocolate milk amongst its recommended healthy snacks.

Dr. Angie Chin, a pediatric dentist from Manhattan, New York, says she recommends that her clients do not drink chocolate milk. “It bathes the teeth in sugar which the bacteria in the mouth metabolize[s] to create an acidic environment,” she said.

According to health food advocates, the chocolaty concoction is potent, in fact, one health food activist described it as being “soda in drag,” masquerading as a healthy alternative to sugary, caffeinated beverages, when, in actuality, it’s no better. The advocate said that 16 ounces of a leading brand of chocolate milk contains a staggering 58 grams of sugar.

Of course, where there’s a negative, there’s often a positive. Pro-chocolate milk advocates are quick to point out that the drink does not contain high levels of acidity, which means it does not etch away at the tooth’s enamel. Furthermore, it is thought that chocolate might be capable of protecting the teeth.

Recent research suggests that eating moderate amounts of chocolate, preferable dark chocolate, may reduce cavities by inhibiting the growth of bacteria. While the American Dental Association has not released a comprehensive report either condoning or promoting chocolate milk, experts say, it is best for parents not to overreact and to work with the child’s dentists to asses the best mode of action and the best dietary requirements suitable.

Thyroid Cancers and Dentists

Thyroid cancer is on the rise. In the United States in 2010, there were nearly 45,000 new cases of thyroid cancer and statistics show that women are three times more likely to develop the cancer than men. The thyroid gland, located in your throat, controls your metabolism by secreting hormones. Now, officials are saying that the increased number of thyroid cancer cases may be due to the use of x-ray machines at the dentist.

The American Dental Association is aware of a potential leak between thyroid cancer and the use of x-ray machines without any protective covering for the gland. But of course, dental x-rays may not be the only culprit in the increased number of thyroid cancer cases.

According to Dr. Joe Miller, dental radiation is equivalent to spending a day or two in the sun. “I wanted to get the latest information so we have found that really the amount of radiation you get from dental x-rays is so low it’s about what you get being out in the sun for a day or two. You get a whole lot more radiation with a chest film, MRIs and all those.”

Although thyroid cancer is one of the most survivable cancers we have (more than 97 percent of patients survive) it is important to recognize thyroid cancer symptoms, which can include:

  • · Difficulty Swallowing or Breathing (it can feel like you are breathing through a straw)
  • · Hoarseness
  • · Lingering Cough unrelated to a Cold
  • · Pain or Lump in Neck
  • · Swelling or Fullness in Neck

Fewer trips to the Dentist means a greater need to go

Australians have been warned that avoiding the dentists does more than just make existing dental problems worse, it increases the likeliness of acquiring new dental problems, according to a new report.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s report, which looked at attendance and oral health conditions, revealed that prevention of decay and infection was directly linked to the frequency of dental visits.

A representative of the organization said, “Those with an unfavourable pattern of dental attendance had more than three times the level of untreated decayed teeth and 1.6 times more teeth missing due to dental decay.”

But, it’s not just a lack of willingness to go that affects Australian adults. The study showed that adults were expected to be three times more likely to evade or hold back on dental care solely due to cost.

The report also showed that gum disease was prevalent more often amongst adults who made infrequent visits to the dentist.

More Adults fearful of Dentists than Reptiles and Arachnids

Half of the adults in Britain would rather play with snakes and spiders than visit the dentist. This information came as a result of the Adult Dental Health survey held in March by the British Dental Health Foundation. The survey also revealed that women reported as having medium to severe anxiety in relation to the dentist.

In the survey, the 1,004 participants were asked to identify what caused them more anxiety from a list of things including visiting a doctor, visiting a dentist, injections, heights, snakes, spiders and flying. More than one in five participants admitted that visiting a dentist would induce the most anxiety.

The hits keep on coming for dentists, as the survey discovered that participants felt less nervous at the GP than in the dentist’s chair. In fact, nearly 10 times as many people were more nervous at the thought of their dentist than their doctor.

Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said: “Everyone in the profession knows that dental anxiety is a major barrier for many people to visit their dentist. What may prove concerning is just how poorly the profession rates in comparison to doctors. The comparison with snakes and spiders may appear frivolous, but it does suggest we still have a lot of work to do to build public confidence.”

Leading Snoring Experts team up with Dentists for Research

Sereno, The Centre for Snoring Solutions, has teamed up with a dentistry team to take a deeper look at the phenomenon of snoring. According to the company’s president, Dr. Matthew Mingrone, the tag-team effort will enable Sereno “to help more patients suffering from snoring and sleep apnea by targeting two additional areas, the tongue and the jaw.”

Snoring and sleep apnea are caused by a myriad of complex factors including:

  1. The soft palate
  2. An obstructed nasal passage
  3. Uvula
  4. Size of the tongue and position of the jaw
  5. Lifestyle choices
  6. Aging

Sereno’s standard operating procedure for treating snoring and sleep apnea begins with an evaluation performed by an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor. After the causes have been identified, a treatment plan is recommended, but the primary treatment is oral appliance therapy. Oral appliances are a type of mouthpiece that result in significant improvements in sleep apnea symptoms.

Richard Goode, an otolaryngology professor at Stanford University, says that there are number of structures in the upper airways which contribute to snoring and sleep apnea. “Typically, these conditions are caused by a combination of several anatomical structures. A treatment approach that targets these conditions at multiple levels, rather than one, offers patients the best opportunity to achieve a successful result.”

Homosexual County Employees recieve same Benefits as Hetrosexuals

In November 2010, Orange County in Florida, United States, made a long-awaited move when it amended its human rights ordinance to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identification.

Now, Orange County (home to Orlando, Florida) has followed that action with what is being described as a “win” in the gay community. Leaders in Orange County have now approved a policy, which will benefit all gay county employees and also their partners and children.

Gay county employees will be given both dental and medical and from 1 January 2012, gay workers will receive all the same benefits, which are now received by heterosexual staff.

A total of 5.5 million people in Florida already live in jurisdictions that offer domestic partner benefits, making Florida 8th in the United States for the number of homosexual people given equal benefits as heterosexual people.

Orland’s mayor, Teresa Jacobs, said, “All people deserve to be treated compassionately. Those values of compassion, sensitivity and fairness are things we need to value.” Jacobs said she had to wrestle through her own beliefs over the sanctity of marriage on the matter since she is a Roman Catholic.

Your Horse’s Silent Suffering

The importance of maintaining proper oral hygiene for pets has been stressed recently, now horse owners are being warned to keep a close watch on their horse’s teeth after research has confirmed that bacteria may wreak more havoc than previously suspected.

Research conducted in Edinburgh has revealed that a staggering 60 percent of horses over the age of 15 have an infection of the structures that hold the tooth in place, or periodontal disease. Until recently, the most common cause of periodontal disease in horses had been food being packed between the teeth.

When a horse has periodontal disease, the research suggests, the pain affects the animal’s ability to eat and to perform. The number of horses with the disease is alarming and most don’t receive any treatment for it. Experts say that is best to have your hoses checked every six months to ensure that they have not developed periodontal disease.

Research is on-going at Bristol University to determine the extent of damage done when horses have periodontal disease and causes.

Even Vampires need Pearly Whites

Lola Molar was seconds away from giving herself entirely to the carnal urges of a local Northamptonshire vampire. Everything was in place, she was willing; he was willing. Outside, the rain fell and thunder roared but something broke the deal.

In the words of Lola Molar, “Your breath stinks!”

Inspired by the popular vampire fad sweeping the world at the moment, this cheeky advert was produced for NHS Northamptsonshire and is a classic example of dentists being willing to adapt marketing schemes to generate interest and spread awareness of dental facilities.

NHS Portsmouth’s Lee Loveless said: “Traditional methods to engage young men haven’t worked. We have looked at what appeals to our target group.”

The video was created taking research into account that revealed that men between the ages of 16 and 35 reported wanting to have fresh breath and an attractive smile due to their photos being uploaded onto social media sites. The research also revealed that men were more prone to brushing regularly and attending dental checkups when reminded to do so by their mums or girlfriends.

The aim of the video is to nip that habit in the bud. “We want them to focus on regular treatment and go down the preventative route,” Loveless said.

NHS Northamptonshire’s video can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lO-9UkSL9Y

Liverpool Dentist extracts Thousands of Teeth in Tanzania

A group of Liverpool dentists recently spent two weeks in Tanzania, training dental officers on proper procedures for tooth extractions as part of the Bridge2Aid Dental Volunteer Programme.

At the charity event, dentists extracted 1,000 teeth, making a huge difference in the Tanzania dental culture. In Tanzania, 75 percent of the population lives in rural areas although 90 percent of the country’s dentists live in the city, making it difficult for rural residents to receive proper dental treatment.

Bridge2Aid is a charity event that helps bridge the demographic gap created in Tanzania by providing opportunities for dentists from outside of the country to administer basic, pain-relieving services. Rizwana Haq, a Vauxhall Health Centre dentist, said she first heard about the opportunity at a British Dental Association Conference.

“I was interested then, but when I took home the application form there were two things stopping me from applying – questions about my motivation for going, and my weaknesses. I just didn’t know how to answer.
“Last year I returned to another BDA Conference and started talking to someone from the Bridge2Aid stand. When I told them why I hadn’t got round to applying, they couldn’t believe it, and really inspired me to apply,” she said.

While in Tanzania, Haq and her coworkers treated over 800 patients and trained 12 community officers. The event helps to provide Tanzanian people with an opportunity for dental treatment since they do not generally have access to a dentist year round.

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