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Dentistry has come a long way since the wooden teeth of President George Washington and even the ivory teeth from the 1700s carved from animal ivory.

Due to the constant studies being conducted in the field of dentistry, researchers have discovered a strong connection between the mouth and body as a whole.

For example, researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle were able to determine that children born to mothers who had higher stress levels during their pregnancy were more likely to have a high incidence of dental decay.

As another example, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and division of National Institute of Health is isolating an inherited gene mutation called LAD-I that makes some humans more prone to gum disease than others.  This particular gene is also responsible for chronic skin and ear infections.

According to NIDCR, periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the US, so researchers are trying to narrow down the sources of tooth loss at the gene level so they can find ways to combat it.

Everyday dentistry continues to see improvements that allow dentists to provide their patients with absolute best care. From digital and 3-D diagnostic imaging to the materials utilized for fillings, crowns and bridges, new technology is always readily available.

Researchers are finding bonding agents that will last longer, polish better and stain less. Crowns materials have progressed from all metal to all ceramic while creating the same or better results. Patients who have had to struggle with a temporary crown for weeks can now have their permanent crown completed in one visit with CAD/CAM technology.

In cases where children are missing a number of teeth, surgeons are now able to borrow forming teeth from one area in the mouth and transplant them to a more needed site.

At the end of the day, no amount of new technology or advancements will ever replace basic brushing, flossing and mouthwashing. Though new toothrushes, dental tools and toothpastes will continue to evolve over time, prevention is still key to keeping all your pearly whites intact.

Source: Dr. Rashmi Bhatnagar for Ahwatukee Foothills News