Bacteria Not the Only Culprit Behind Tooth Decay in Children

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine have found that yeast plays a role in a common form of serious tooth decay in toddlers. The yeast, known as Candida albicans, contributes to tooth decay when it combines with the enzyme GftB. GftB is a byproduct of the bacterium Streptococcus mutans, or S. mutans.

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Marijuana Use Raises Risk of Gum Disease

Columbia University Medical Center researchers show in a new study that the recreational use of marijuana and other cannabis-related drugs can increase the risk of gum disease.

Gum disease occurs when bacterial infections develop below the gum line. As a response, the body’s immune system causes the affected gum tissue to become inflamed. The inflammation aims to kill off the bacteria behind the infection. Inflammation is painful and causes the gums to become red and tender. Many patients with gum disease also develop swelling and bleeding as an effect of inflammation.

If left untreated, gum disease can develop into serious health issues, like cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and low birth weight in babies.

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Toothbrushing Goes High Tech

A fully automated toothbrush called the Amabrush promises to thoroughly clean teeth in 10 seconds.

Dental Goes Digital

The Amabrush is a hands-free toothbrush created in 2015 by entrepreneurs from Austria, Germany and the United States.

Amabrush developers claim that despite its 10-second cleaning capabilities, the cleaning provided by the Amabrush is more thorough than a cleaning provided by a manual toothbrush.

Manufacturers of the Amabrush say this is because their device can clean all the surfaces of all teeth simultaneously, unlike a manual toothbrush.

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Checking for Peri-Implantitis With Chewing Gum

Dentists may be adding an unusual new tool to their treatment plans: chewing gum.

Researchers at the Julius-Maximilians-Universitat (JMU) Wurzburg in Bavaria, Germany, have developed a unique chewing gum designed to detect inflammation in the mouth.

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Obstructive Sleep Apnea Can Increase Pregnancy Complications, Dental Orthotics Can Help

Obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to complications in pregnancy, according to a new study by researchers at Brown University.

The study of more than 1.5 million pregnancies found that pregnant women with OSA often experienced complications, had a 174 percent greater risk of being admitted into intensive care, and on average spent more time in the hospital than women without the condition.

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Patients With Diabetes Face Higher Risk of Gum Disease

A new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine sheds light on why people with diabetes face a greater risk of developing periodontal disease.

Diabetes and Gum Disease

Researchers at the university have discovered that diabetes affects the balance of delicate good and bad bacteria in the mouth. When this balance is disrupted, bad bacteria begin to take over and create high levels of inflammation in the mouth. As a result, patients can develop gum disease.

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Dental Restorations Get a Boost with Grape Seed Extract

Grape seed extract has long been promoted for its powerful health benefits, but now dental researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry have found that dentists may soon be singing its praises because of its ability to heal damaged dentin. Researchers at the university have found that special plant compounds found in grape seed extract promote the growth of collagen in dentin. This growth of collagen repairs and strengthens areas of the tooth that have become damaged as a result of tooth decay and cavities.

These compounds are flavonoids known as oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs. Flavonoids are said to have immune-boosting properties, and many individuals believe them to have antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits.

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Oral Cancer and HPV

Smoking and the use of tobacco products is a major contributor to developing oral cancer. But according to the National Center for Health Statistics, there is another factor that is driving up the rate of oral cancer diagnoses. This factor is the human papillomavirus.

Human papillomavirus, also known as HPV, is a group of over 150 viruses. These viruses cause papillomas, or warts to appear in infected areas. HPV is transmitted through sexual contact and is the most common sexually transmitted disease. Some of the viral strains in this group are known to cause cancer in the genitals, and six of the strains have been linked to oral and oropharyngeal cancer cases, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.

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Mercury: Going, Going...Almost Gone

 Mercury amalgam has been used in dental restorations in Europe for almost 200 years. A decision by the European Parliament has changed that, however. The European Parliament made the decision to phase out the use of mercury in dental fillings by 2030. Legislators made the decision to eliminate mercury in an effort to prevent mercury poisoning and pollution.

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Is Your Mouth on Fire? You May Have Burning Mouth Syndrome

Tingling, numbness or a constant feeling of burning in the mouth or tongue may indicate a health condition known as burning mouth syndrome. Other symptoms include extreme dry mouth, as well as a sandy or gritty feeling on the tongue and gums that never goes away, and many patients report feeling as if they drank a cup of too hot coffee. While burning mouth syndrome affects only a small percentage of Americans, for some individuals, it could be a sign of a more serious health situation.

According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, only about 2 percent of Americans are affected by this disorder. Although a direct cause of burning mouth syndrome has not been discovered, researchers believe that it develops when the taste and sensory nerves of the mouth and tongue stop working properly, and quit sending impulses to the brain. Without this information, the brain cannot turn off the mouth’s pain receptors. This leaves a painful, constant burning feeling in the mouth.

Another theory on how burning mouth syndrome develops links the disorder to diabetes. Diabetes causes inflammation in tissues throughout the body, including the mouth. Many diabetic patients with diabetes often suffer from gum inflammation.

Some burning mouth syndrome patients experience the condition while using certain medications, especially those medications prescribed to control high blood pressure. Some individuals develop burning mouth syndrome from over use of some vitamins or nutritional supplements, like zinc. Too little zinc may also cause the condition, along with a lack of iron or vitamin B-12.

Candida fungus, also known as oral thrush, leaves the mouth feeling like it is burning and dry. Patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, also frequently experience feelings of burning in the mouth and tongue caused by stomach acid eruptions.

While the cause of burning mouth syndrome may be a mystery, patients should still relay their symptoms to their dentists as part of their total health review. Dr. Steven P. Rogers, D.M.D, P.C., is a Grant’s Pass, Oregon, dentist who makes a point to review his patients’ total health history as part of their regular dental checkups.

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Airplane Structures May Soon Be Modeled After Your Teeth

Tooth enamel is known for its strength and flexibility- which is why researchers at the University of Michigan are using it as a model to build more resilient airplane flight computers. When in flight, airplanes are exposed to various vibrations caused by atmospheric pressure changes. These vibrations impact the solid structures of the airplane, and over time cause cracks and damage. Softer airplane structures have more flexibility to absorb the changes in pressure exerted on the plane, and do not suffer the same wear and tear as their more rigid counterparts.

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How Does DNA Affect Your Dental Health?

Bacteria and poor dental hygiene practices are often listed as causes for cavities and tooth decay. While this is true in many individuals, some people find that despite their best efforts at brushing and no matter how frequently they floss, they still are left with cavities. Researchers at the University of Zurich have found a possible explanation for this, and it starts in the DNA.

Specifically, Swiss scientists at the Centre of Dental Medicine and the Institute of Molecular Life Sciences have found that it starts in the DNA gene complex that is the foundation for the formation of tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the hard, bony white substance that covers the tooth. It is the hardest substance in the body, and it serves to protect the sensitive, living parts of the tooth from bacteria and food debris during chewing.

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Taking Care of Your Teeth During Pregnancy Benefits Mom and Baby

Doctors advise women to take care of their bodies during pregnancy. Women are cautioned to eat a healthy diet, stay active and to take prenatal vitamins to contribute to the good health of their impending arrival. Another important part of a healthy pregnancy is practicing good oral hygiene.

Pregnant women should also make time to ensure they take care of their teeth and gums. This is because the hormonal changes brought on by pregnancy lead to tooth decay and gingivitis, and it is estimated that 50 percent of pregnant women have a form of periodontal disease. If these conditions go untreated, they lead to tooth and gum loss, as well as serious health complications that impact both mother and child.

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The Anatomy of a Root Canal

Root canals have been a long standing treatment at many dental offices across the United States. The procedure is used to alleviate pain and remove diseased tooth pulp, typically after a tooth infection or severe tooth decay. While the procedure does alleviate pain and gets patients back to chewing, the procedure can fail. Root canal failures result in more pain and unavoidable tooth extraction. There is an alternative to the traditional root canals that can treat tooth decay without risking the loss of the tooth. This alternative is found in biomimetic dentistry.

For many patients, the root canal or pulpectomy procedure happens as a result of tooth decay. But it can happen two ways, directly as a result of severe, untreated tooth decay, or as a result of a failed dental filling treatment to treat the tooth decay. When tooth decay is left untreated, the enamel is compromised and begins to disintegrate away, leaving the pulp portion of the tooth exposed. The dental pulp is the living tissue of the tooth, the functions of the pulp include keeping the enamel and other hard tissue alive by supplying nutrients, production of hard dentin tissue that helps to form the tooth during development, and senses changes in temperature, pressure, and pain.

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Save Your Blood Pressure and Stop Sleep Apnea Through a Visit to Your Dentist

Researchers at the University of British Colombia have concluded that a single occurrence of sleep apnea can negatively impact the ability of the body to regulate its blood pressure. This can put a serious strain on the patient’s heart, putting them at risk of heart attack or stroke. Sleep apnea is a common condition, impacting over 25 million Americans, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine; many of which go untreated. There is a simple treatment available for sleep apnea that can help prevent negative impacts on blood pressure and total health. But the treatment is not available at the doctor – it’s available at the dentist.

Sleep apnea occurs when a patient stops and starts breathing repeatedly during sleep. There are several types of the condition, but the most common type is obstructive sleep apnea, in which the muscles of the throat and tongue become so relaxed during sleep that they collapse, cutting of the patient's airway. When this obstruction occurs, the patient experiences a decrease in their oxygen level. For some patients, breathing interruption can occur 30 or more times in an hour of sleep.

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Diabetic? Don't Skip Your Dental Check Up!

Diabetics know their condition affects more than just their pancreas. Heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, stroke and even blindness are just some of the related medical complications that diabetics face. Another health complication that diabetics experience as a result of their disease is poor dental health, and experience gum disease and periodontal infections at a higher rate that puts them at a greater risk for tooth loss.

This is especially true for patients who have diabetes and go undiagnosed. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and the American Diabetes Association estimate that 8.1 million Americans go undiagnosed each year.

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Stop and Read If You Have Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth are very common, according to the American Dental Association. The ADA estimates that over 40 percent of adults suffer from tooth sensitivity, and experience pain when eating hot or cold foods, or foods that are too sweet. Many patients that suffer from tooth sensitivity manage their symptoms by avoiding foods that trigger pain or use over the counter toothpaste and rinses designed to help reduce sensitive teeth. Dentists treat tooth sensitivity, and patients with the condition should report their symptoms to their provider for further investigation – as their symptoms could be evidence of a more serious condition.

When the dentin of the teeth becomes exposed as a result of injury or tooth decay, the nerve endings of the tooth are also uncovered. This causes the teeth to become extremely sensitive to temperature and textures.

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Dentists Make a Point to Check out the Other Structures of the Mouth, Too.

It probably goes without saying that dentists are naturally inclined to be concerned about the teeth and gums. But they are not the only thing dentists that check out during a checkup. Dentists make a point to look beyond the pearly whites at the rest of the structures that make up the mouth in order to make sure patients are in good health.


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Are You Experiencing Enamel Loss? Find Out Why You Need to Know.

According to the National Institute of Health, over half of American adults have experienced some degree of loss in tooth enamel, and approximately 33 percent of children also have shown evidence of enamel loss. The loss of tooth enamel is a serious thing, is often very painful and for many patients leads to significant dental problems.

The protection of tooth enamel is very important to the health of the teeth, and a patient’s overall oral health. Enamel is the dense, white, bone-like material that covers the tooth, and serves much like armor to protect the inner sensitive parts of the tooth. Enamel is the hardest substance found in the body, and despite it being only just a few millimeters thick is very strong. It keeps out keeps out dangerous foreign particles that can cause infection and tooth decay, protects the tooth from injury and plays a very important role in the ability to chew.

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Don't Like Your Smile? You're Not Alone - But You Can Do Something About it with a Smile Makeover.

Some people just love their smiles and have no problem flashing their pearly whites during selfies or photo ops. Other people feel completely opposite, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. A poll conducted by the AACD found that only half of individuals they surveyed were satisfied with their smiles. Individuals who are unhappy with their smile’s appearance often take care to smile without showing their teeth, and may even take extreme measures to avoid having their picture taken. The same poll found that patients between the ages of 31 and 50 are the group that is the most unhappy with their smiles, and equate a good smile to making a positive first impression and being successful. People that do not love their smile may even also lack confidence in social situations, the workplace and personal relationships. Patients no longer have to simply live with their smiles if they’re unhappy with their look. There are many cosmetic dental options to improve a patient’s smile aesthetic, as well as boost their confidence and improve their self-esteem.

Many factors impact the look of a smile. These factors include the health of the mouth and teeth, alignment and spacing of teeth, facial characteristics and smile aesthetics. Many times, patients looking for cosmetic dental improvements have issues in each category that need to be corrected in order to give the patient the smile of their dreams. Dr. Steven P. Rogers, D.M.D., P.C., performs smile makeovers at his Grants Pass, Oregon, dental practice. "The first assessment of a patient’s smile includes a checkup to review the health of their teeth and gums," says Rogers. Once reviewed, Rogers plans restorative and reconstructive treatments, like dental implants and crowns, in order to address tooth decay, and missing or damaged teeth.

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