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To Floss or Not to Floss?

August 3rd, 2016

Of course, we all know that's a silly question. (With the answer being a resounding, "YES!")

Earlier this week, the Associated Press released a report that flossing may not be all it's cracked up to be.

According to the Huffington Post, a letter to the AP from the government acknowledged that the benefits of flossing had not been researched properly.

The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology also claimed that some studies weren't long enough, didn't have enough participants or used outdated testing methods to be considered reliable.

While these are valid points, ADA spokesperson Dr. Matthew Messina rebukes, "Nobody’s done a study to say that using a parachute jumping out of an airplane is safer than not using a parachute." He also stated, “There’s only so many research dollars and so much research effort,” he said. “So not a lot of effort has been put into the study of dental flossing, just simply because there are other more important things for us to do.”

So as much as you'd like to try to fool yourself into believing that flossing may not be beneficial, Messina maintains, “We need to remove bacteria from the teeth, from the gums, and from in between the teeth."

In addition to that, flossing helps prevent plaque buildup, reduces the risk of periodontal disease and removes any traces of cilantro from that fresh guac you had for dinner earlier.

Stay flossy!

Diamonds Aren't Just a Girl's Best Friend Anymore

February 4th, 2016

I'm sure when you think of diamonds, it's likely that your first thought doesn't go to your dental health.

However, that might be about to change, according to new research by the UCLA School of Dentistry. In this study, they found that nanodiamonds may decrease the adverse affects experienced after a root canal.

"How?", you  may wonder. Well, before we get into that, let's first discuss what root canal therapy is and why one would need it. According to this article,

"When a tooth’s pulp — that’s the area inside a tooth where there are nerves and blood vessels — gets infected, it causes horrendous pain and potential health consequences. Dentists then go inside the tooth, scrape out all the infected areas, and refill it with a polymer called “gutta percha” that acts as a sealant against future infections. (The gutta percha basically looks like a long sliver that fills up the empty tooth canal.) However, using traditional gutta percha isn’t a surefire bet, since the material isn’t totally solid and doesn’t prevent infection. Additionally, there may also be tooth canals that the dentist missed in the initial procedure or the tooth may be cracked (both of which could lead to further, worse infections)."

That being said, the team of UCLA researchers took the nanodiamonds, which is essentially what is left over after diamond mining and refining, and mixed it with this gutta percha to create a compound that is much stronger than your average canal filling material.

The team then conducted two experiments on human teeth:

1) One set tested with gutta percha-reinforced material

2) One set tested with gutta percha-reinforced material and mixed with antibiotics (amoxicillin, to be exact)

The first test yielded the same results as traditional non-gutta percha reinforced material. However, the increase in strength of the material still lends itself to the same type of complications with infections.

The second test, however, showed the ability to ward off bacteria thanks to the mixed-in antibiotics.

In conclusion, if you're headed for the dental chair for a root canal anytime in the near future, just grab yourself some nanodiamonds and amoxicillin and you're set! (No pun intended.)

Too Tired to Brush?

October 16th, 2015

We all know the feeling. We've been out and about all day and just want to go straight to bed.

Results from a new survey by GlaxoSmithKline (as part of the Love Your Mouth Campaign) shows that you're not alone. The survey revealed that 48% of participants had gone to bed without brushing their teeth first, and 39% blamed it on being 'too tired'.

Another 27% of participants admitted to being too lazy to brush twice a day, while 23% claimed they simply forgot.

Participants even admitted to using water instead of toothpaste and using their finger in lieu of a toothbrush. But at least they tried?

In any case, dental practitioner Natty Burgess said that while skipping brushing may not seem like that big a deal, the reality is that neglecting oral hygiene can cause problems much more serious than just bad breath but gum disease, which is linked to a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Burgess said that only 4 minutes a day is enough to make a difference in oral health, reducing the risk of both decay and gum disease.

Source: Cosmetic Dentistry Guide

Link Between Pregnancy Stress and Childhood Tooth Decay?

October 9th, 2015

A new study shows a possible link between pregnancy stress and childhood tooth decay.

It is commonly known that stress during pregnancy can elevate the risk of complications during labor and birth, but a recent study shows that it may increase the risk for childhood tooth decay as well.

Dr. Wael Sabbah and a team of researchers from Kings College London and Seattle's University of Washington analyzed date from 716 children and their mothers, each over 30 years old. The mothers' waist measurements, blood pressures and biological indicators for stress during the pregnancy were monitored throughout the study. They also took regular blood tests in order to measure levels of glucose, C-reactive protein, trigylcerides, cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein.

Upon analyzing the data, they found that mothers with two or more allostatic load (AL) markers for stress were much more likely to have children who suffered from tooth decay than those who had no markers.

Also, non-breastfed children had a higher likelihood of developing decay. Mothers of a lower socio-economic level were less likely to breastfeed their children or take their children for a check-up than those with higher incomes.

Studies in the past have suggested a link between income/socio-economic status and risk of decay, however, this is the first study to report a link between stress during pregnancy and childhood tooth decay.

Sources: American Journal of Public Health