Saturday, December 24, 2016

Study Suggests Preventive Dental Care Will Increase In The Future

In The Hill “Congress Blog,” the authors of the article “Projections of Dental Care Use Through 2026: Preventive Care To Increase While Treatment Will Decline,” which was published in the December 2016 issue of Health Affairs, discuss their findings. Using data from the 1996-2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a forecasting model suggests visits for preventive dental care are projected to increase in the future, while visits for dental treatment are expected to decline. “More prevention and less treatment means significant savings for individuals and government – measured in both individual pain and suffering as well as dollars and cents,” the authors say.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Researcher Finds Evidence Cavemen Cleaned Teeth With Sticks

The Washington Post reports that researcher Karen Hardy broke down “calcified plaque from some of the oldest human remains in Europe,” finding “pieces of indigestible wood fibers.” The article adds that “Hardy believes they’re from small sticks early humans would jam in their teeth to clean them.” By examining the calcified plaque from a “fossil from the Sima del Elefante archaeological site in Atapuerca,” Hardy was also able “to discern that they ate grass, seeds, other plants and meat – all raw, indicating they didn’t yet use fire to cook.”

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Professional Teeth Whitening Superior To Over-The-Counter Options

In a column in the Master Herald, Faramarz Hedayati considers the “increased demand for teeth whitening.” Hedayati adds, “Professional teeth whitening treatment is far more effective and safer compared to do-it-yourself teeth whitening products that can already be purchased over-the-counter.” Such treatments can contain ingredients harmful to teeth, have limited effectiveness and consistency, and weaken tooth enamel. Additionally, over-the-counter teeth bleaching products are not regulated by the Federal Drug Administration.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Study Suggests Few Older Americans Have Dental Insurance

InsuranceNewsNet reported Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research on Medicare beneficiaries, published in the December issue of the journal Health Affairs, suggests that “only 12 percent of older Americans have some form of dental insurance and fewer than half visited a dentist in the previous year.” Such “an enormous unmet need for dental insurance among those 65 and older in the United States” means older adults are “at risk for oral health problems that could be prevented or treated with timely dental care, including tooth decay, gum disease and loss of teeth.” The research also highlights “the financial burden associated with dental visits, among both the insured and uninsured.” Study author Amber Willink, PhD, an assistant scientist in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School, said, “With fewer and fewer retiree health plans covering dental benefits, we are ushering in a population of people with less coverage and who are less likely to routinely see a dentist. We need to think about cost-effective solutions to this problem.” provides a guide to finding and paying for dental care, listing factors to consider when determining if purchasing a dental benefit plan will save money on dental care costs.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Study Suggests Link Between Gum Disease Bacteria And Rheumatoid Arthritis

HealthDay reported a study published online Dec. 14 in the journal Science Translational Medicine found signs of infection by the bacteria A. actinomycetemcomitans, which is linked to gum disease, “in almost half of the rheumatoid arthritis patients compared to just 11 percent of another group of people without gum disease or rheumatoid arthritis.” This suggests “that the germ could cause both gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis,” although study co-author Dr. Felipe Andrade said that this is “an early finding that needs confirmation by others,” and “it may be decades before researchers can actually prove a cause-and-effect relationship between the two.”

Monday, December 19, 2016

US, Canadian Researchers Warn E-Cigarettes May Harm Gums

The Daily Mail reports scientists are warning that vaping can “trigger severe gum disease – and even increase the risk of mouth cancer.” Experts at the University of California Los Angeles say that e-cigarette toxins and nanoparticles can “kill the top layer of cells in the mouth and gums.” University of Rochester researcher Dr Irfan Rahman said, “When the vapours from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins. This aggravates stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to oral diseases.” Université Laval researchers say e-cigarettes can cause gum tissue to mutate.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Most Medicare Beneficiaries Lack Dental Coverage

Reuters reports in continuing coverage that a recent study suggests that “only about one in nine U.S. adults with Medicare coverage” also have dental coverage, and “many of them may be putting off oral healthcare as a result.” Researchers “examined nationally representative survey data for 56 million people on Medicare,” finding 80 percent of seniors with dental coverage had a dental visit in the previous year, while only 41 percent of seniors without dental coverage received a dental exam. “We knew that older adults in the U.S. have substantial oral health problems in the way of tooth loss or untreated tooth decay, but this article really brings to light the substantial differences in access to dental services by income groups and how dental insurance mitigates much of these access issues across incomes,” said lead study author Amber Willink, a public health researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The analysis found dental coverage status “appeared to be the biggest predictor of whether a person received oral health care.”
        The findings are published in the December issue of the journal Health Affairs.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Surgeon General Report: E-Cigarette Use Is A “Major Public Health Concern.”

The ADA News reports that the US Surgeon General said in areport released Dec. 7 that e-cigarette use among youth has been increasing in recent years at an “alarming rate,” and public health professionals, parents, and others must work together to address it. “All Americans need to know that e-cigarettes are dangerous to youth and young adults,” said US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy in a news release about the report. “We need parents, teachers, health care providers and other influencers to help make it clear that e-cigarettes contain harmful chemicals and are not okay for kids to use.”
        The surgeon general’s office also in December launched a new, consumer friendly website, E-cigarettes., aimed at educating parent and adult influencers of young people about e-cigarette use.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Oral Health Issues May Indicate “Serious Health” Problems

The New York Post (12/6, Shea) reports that oral health issues can indicate “serious health issues,” ranging from “digestive troubles to diabetes.” The article discusses what health conditions may be revealed by problems with gums, teeth, saliva, lips, and breath. For example, xerostomia may be an indicator of Sjögren’s syndrome, while red and bleeding gums may be a sign of gum disease or diabetes. In another example, the article reports that halitosis may result from poor oral hygiene practices but could also be a sign of acid reflux.
        TIME (12/6) carries a article that also discusses the association between poor oral health and other health conditions, stating “research suggests that the condition of your gums is connected to a variety of health issues,” such as heart disease. The article stresses the importance of cleaning between teeth every day to remove debris and help prevent plaque buildup.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Melbourne Scientists Publish Research On Therapeutic Dental Vaccine

A release on EurekAlert (12/4) states a team of dental scientists at the Oral Health CRC at the University of Melbourne has developed a vaccine that “could eliminate or at least reduce the need for surgery and antibiotics for severe gum disease.” The vaccine “targets enzymes produced by the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis, to trigger an immune response,” which then “produces antibodies that neutralise the pathogen’s destructive toxins.” According to the release, the vaccine has been validated by research published in the journal NPJ Vaccines, and clinical trials could begin in 2018.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Research Team Develops Model To Digitally Reconstruct Teeth

Engadget reports that Disney Research and ETH Zurich have developed a method “to digitally recreate teeth beyond the gum line” using “source data and everyday imagery.” After creating a model for an “average” set of teeth using 3D scans, the team “wrote an algorithm that adapts that model based on what it sees in the contours of teeth in photos and videos.” According to the article, the technology will benefit “digital actor models in animated movies and video games,” but also has “plenty of medical uses.” For example, dentists could use the technology “to previsualize a patient’s mouth before they sit in the operating chair.”
        A release on EurekAlert states that the model-based method to reconstruct teeth uses “just a few, non-invasive photos or a short smartphone video of the mouth.” In addition, the “method can digitally reconstruct teeth even though some teeth are obscured in the photos or videos by the edges of the mouth or by other teeth.”

Friday, December 2, 2016

Oral Cancer On The Rise In The United States

The Dental Tribune (11/28) reports in continuing coverage that FAIR Health, a nonprofit healthcare transparency organization, analyzed data on privately billed medical and dental coverage claim lines related to oral cancer diagnoses, finding the overall number of claims in the United States rose by 61 percent between 2011 to 2015. According to the article, “The greatest increase was in malignant neoplasm of the nasopharynx, hypopharynx and oropharynx,” followed by “malignant neoplasm of the tongue.” and the Oral Health Topics on provide information on oral and oropharyngeal cancer for patients and for dental professionals.

Taking Care Of Children’s Oral Health Is Necessary

In an article in U.S. News & World Report, Jonathan Fielding, MD, professor of public health and pediatrics at UCLA, states that “we are not taking care of our children’s teeth,” noting that “tooth decay is among the most common chronic conditions of childhood,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Poor oral health in children can cause pain and infections and adversely affect school attendance and learning. Dr. Fielding notes that according to the American Dental Association, there are “more than 125 health conditions that may affect or be affected by oral health, including cardiovascular disease, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis, obesity, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.” In addition, the ADA states that children with tooth decay are more likely to have tooth decay as adults. Given this, Dr. Fielding recommends children practice good dental hygiene and make dietary changes, while also stressing the need for additional public health steps, such as expanding access to fluoridated water, applying fluoride varnish and sealants to teeth, increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates, and expanding the availability of dental coverage.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Congolese Boy Thriving After Receiving Free Facial Reconstruction Surgery

The AP reported that Dunia Sibomana, a nine-year-old Congolese boy, is thriving after receiving a rare surgery at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital in New York last January. The surgery involved “grafting tissue and muscle from his forearm to recreate his lips,” which had been “ripped off” during a chimpanzee attack three years ago. The Smile Rescue Fund for Kids, founded by retired orthodontist Dr. Leon Klempner, brought Dunia to the hospital. “A lot of the social stigma that he came with is now gone,” said Dr. Klempner. “He’s got a lot more confidence now. He doesn’t get the stares that he used to get.”

        The Daily Mail reported that Dr. Klempner said Dunia “will undergo a series of additional surgeries in 2017 to improve his appearance and function.” Following the first surgery, he is already speaking more clearly, keeping food in his mouth, and no longer drooling constantly.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Oral Cancer Rates In United Kingdom Increase 68 Percent

The Independent (UK) reports that new data from Cancer Research UK finds oral cancer rates in the United Kingdom have increased “68 per cent over the past 20 years.”
        In a release on Science Daily, Cancer Research UK stated about “nine in 10 cases are linked to lifestyle and other risk factors.” The release stated, “Smoking is the biggest avoidable risk factor, linked to an estimated 65 per cent of cases,” and “other risk factors include alcohol, diets low in fruit and vegetables, and infections with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).” and the Oral Health Topics on provide information on oral and oropharyngeal cancer for patients and for dental professionals.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Medicare Advantage Plans Often Include Dental Coverage

MarketWatch encouraged people to understand the differences between Medicare and Medicare Advantage, noting that “unlike traditional Medicare, some Medicare Advantage plans also offer extended benefits, such as vision and dental care.” provides information on paying for dental care after retirement.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Archaeologists Find Earliest Dental Prosthesis In Medieval Tomb

International Business Times (UK) reported that archaeologists have discovered “the earliest dental prosthesis in Tuscany” during excavations “inside the S. Francesco Monastery at the town of Lucca.” The dental prosthesis, which may date back to the 14th century, is made of “five human teeth linked together by a golden band” to “replace the anterior arch of the jaw.”

        The archaeologists said in their paper published in Clinical Implant Dentistry and Related Research, “This dental prosthesis provides a unique finding of technologically advanced dentistry in this period.”

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Archaeologists Unearth “Ancient Set Of Dentures”

The Telegraph (UK) reports in continuing coverage that archaeologists have discovered an “ancient set of dentures” made from human teeth in Tuscany. Found at the monastery of S. Francesco at Lucca, the prosthetic teeth “include three central incisors and two lateral canines, repurposed from their original owners and strung together with a golden band.” Simona Minozzi, a paleopathologist at Pisa University, said, “This is the first archaeological evidence of a dental prosthesis using gold band technology for the replacement of missing teeth.” The archaeologists describe the dental prosthesis in their paper published in Clinical Implant Dentistry and Related Research.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Motley Fool: Consider A Medicare Advantage Plan

The Motley Fool encourages people to consider Medicare Advantage plans since they may offer “greater coverage at a lower price than original Medicare.” The article noted that “a Medicare Advantage plan must offer at least as much coverage as original Medicare (i.e., Part A and Part B),” and “it will often provide more than that,” such as dental care.

        In a second piece, the Motley Fool stated that “many people sign up for Medicare without realizing the limitations of the program: what you do get and what you don’t.” For example, original Medicare does not cover “dentures or most dental care,” the article stated.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Archaeologists Discover Earliest Dental Prosthesis In Italy

International Business Times (UK) reported that “archaeologists have found the earliest dental prosthesis in Tuscany, in the collective tomb of an aristocratic family from the late Middle Ages.” The dental prosthesis, which may date back to the 14th century, is made of “five human teeth linked together by a golden band” to “replace the anterior arch of the jaw.”

The Daily Mail reported that the archaeologists said in their paper published in Clinical Implant Dentistry and Related Research, “This dental prosthesis provides a unique finding of technologically advanced dentistry in this period.”

Monday, November 21, 2016

Study Suggests E-Cigarettes May Be Just As Damaging To Teeth And Gums

CBS News reported on its website in continuing coverage that “electronic cigarettes could be as harmful to gums and teeth as regular cigarettes are,” a new study published in Oncotarget suggests. “We showed that when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins,” said study leader Irfan Rahman. These, in turn, “aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases.”

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Dentists, Health Organizations Warn Parents About Tooth Decay In Children

Opposing Views reported that dentists and health organizations are warning parents about the “increase in tooth decay among young children – particularly resulting from soft drinks.” About “42 percent of children aged 2 to 11 have had cavities in their baby teeth, and 21 percent of those aged 6 to 11 in their permanent teeth,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The article notes that consumption of sugars and acids, especially from sodas, contribute to tooth decay. In addition, some parents may be unaware that children need assistance with brushing their teeth until they are able to brush their teeth properly on their own. Dr. Edward Moody, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, said, “It’s not that they don’t want to do a good job, they’re just not physically capable yet.” provides information on nutrition and dental health, including nutrition tips for babies and children, and information on how to Care for a child’s teeth.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Dentists Can Play A Role In Helping Patients Quit Smoking

Noting that the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout is Nov. 17, the ADA News (11/14, Manchir) reports that “dentists can talk with their patients about tobacco abuse, which is the number one cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Dentists and dental hygienists have a unique opportunity to address tobacco use with their patients, according to Dr. Scott Tomar, professor and interim chair of the department of community dentistry and behavioral science at the University of Florida College of Dentistry. “Dentists can ask their patients for permission to discuss their tobacco use and ask their patients how tobacco fits into their lives,” Dr. Tomar said. “Our goal is to have patients articulate why they want to quit, and then work with them to move them toward taking action.”

        The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers resources for dentists to help patients quit smoking, including videos, fact sheets, and handouts. Dentists can also refer their patients to the ADA’s consumer-friendly website,, for information about oral health and tobacco

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Patients Advised To Consult With A Dentist Prior To Any Tooth Whitening Regimen

Consumer Reports discussed home tooth whitening treatments, which may help remove surface stains, according to a dental adviser to Consumer Reports. “You will see a noticeable difference, but final results can vary depending on individual teeth and the depth of staining or discoloration,” says Dr. Edmond Hewlett, a professor of dentistry at the University of California Los Angeles and spokesperson for the American Dental Association. Home tooth whitening kits can’t address all discoloration, however, says Dr. Hewlett, and checking with a dentist first before beginning a tooth whitening treatment is advised. The article noted that “good dental hygiene is key,” and Dr. Hewlett says, “Keep your teeth clean with regular brushing and flossing.”

Monday, November 14, 2016

Millions Of People In The United Kingdom Suffer From Bruxism

The Daily Mail reports that about six million people in the United Kingdom suffer from bruxism, which can damage teeth and put pressure on the jaw muscles. According to the article, bruxism cases are “soaring, particularly among women.” With stress contributing to bruxism, the article speculates that middle-aged women may suffer from bruxism due to the demands of work and childcare. provides additional information on bruxism and TMJ.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Rising Use Of Charcoal In Personal Care Products, Home Remedies Lead To Warnings From Health Officials

The Baltimore Sun reports on the growing popularity of personal care products containing charcoal, which is being “promoted by some for regular use, with applications that include whitening teeth and zapping acne away,” as well alleviating digestive issues. However, medical professionals and health experts “warn against taking [charcoal] regularly, and the Food and Drug Administration has approved it as a drug only for limited use as an over-the-counter poison treatment.” FDA spokesperson Andrea Fischer said, “Consumers should be mindful of products that claim to prevent, treat, or cure diseases or other health conditions, but are not proven safe and effective for those uses. ... Relying on unproven products or treatments can be dangerous, and may cause harmful delays in getting the proper diagnosis and appropriate treatments.”

Thursday, November 10, 2016

In its November newsletter, the National Institutes Of Health (11/1) states that although news stories have questioned the benefits of dental flossing due to lacking research, dentists have “seen the teeth and gums of people who floss regularly and those who haven’t,” and “the differences can be striking.” The article notes that “red or swollen gums that bleed easily” can indicate “flossing and better dental habits are needed.” A dental health expert at NIH says, “Cleaning all sides of your teeth, including between your teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach, is a good thing.” While strong evidence showing the benefits of flossing “may be somewhat lacking,” the article observes that “there’s little evidence for any harm or side effects from flossing, and it’s low cost.” The article encourages people to talk to their dentist to address any questions or concerns about their teeth or gums and to learn the proper flossing technique.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Many Seniors Need Dental Care But Lack Coverage

The Boston Herald carries KHN contributing columnist Michelle Andrews’ piece stating many seniors need dental care, but paying for it can be “a serious concern” since traditional Medicare does not cover dental care. According to an analysis by the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute, over a third of low-income seniors “had untreated tooth decay between 2011 and 2014.” Some have proposed adding dental coverage to Medicare Part B to increase seniors’ access to dental care, while others advocate for seniors buying private dental coverage. Marko Vujicic, the vice president of the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute, said that private dental coverage often lacks value for seniors, because the premiums and copays exceed the benefits. provides a guide to finding and paying for dental care, listing factors to consider when determining if purchasing a dental benefit plan will save money on dental care costs.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

November Is National Diabetes Awareness Month

Twenty-nine million people in the United States have diabetes, and another 1.7 million cases are diagnosed each year. With 1 in 5 cases of total tooth loss linked to diabetes, it’s especially important for people with diabetes to take good care of their oral and overall health. However, you may be treating patients who aren’t even aware they have it, as 8.1 million people are currently living with the disease but undiagnosed. Use National Diabetes Awareness Month as an opportunity to educate your patients on the link between diabetes and dental health with these helpful resources:

Monday, November 7, 2016

Consider A Medicare Advantage Plan

The Motley Fool encourages older Americans to maximize the Medicare benefits that are available to them to help offset the rising healthcare costs many experience during retirement. Among the tips provided to help get the most out of Medicare, the article encourages retirees to look into Medicare Advantage. At a minimum, Medicare Advantage plans “match the coverage of Medicare Parts A and B,” and many offer additional benefits, such as dental care coverage. The article also recommends retirees sign up for Medicare on time, review prescription medication needs, and receive any free preventive care services offered through Medicare.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Oral Cancer Claims Rise 61 Percent Since 2011

A release on PRNewswire states that data from FAIR Health shows “privately billed insurance claim lines related to oral cancer diagnoses rose 61 percent from 2011 to 2015.” The data also shows that men were “nearly three times as likely to be diagnosed as women,” and “tongue and throat cancers in particular were more likely to occur in men than women.” Men and women had “similar chances of developing gum cancer,” the release adds. and the Oral Health Topics on provide information on oral and oropharyngeal cancer for patients and for dental professionals.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Many Seniors Need Dental Care But Lack Coverage

Michelle Andrews writes in her “Insuring Your Health” column in Kaiser Health News that seniors need dental care, but most lack coverage because traditional Medicare does not cover dental care. According to an analysis by the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute, over a third of low-income seniors “had untreated tooth decay between 2011 and 2014.” Some have proposed adding dental coverage to Medicare Part B to increase seniors’ access to dental care, while others advocate for seniors buying private dental coverage. Marko Vujicic, the vice president of the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute, said that private dental coverage often lacks values for seniors, because the premiums and copays exceed the benefits. provides a guide to finding and paying for dental care, listing factors to consider when determining if purchasing a dental benefit plan will save money on dental care costs.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Consumers Encouraged To Consider Several Items When Selecting Dental Coverage

On its website and in a broadcast, WATE-TV Knoxville, TN discussed dental coverage, recommending consumers consider several factors when selecting a plan, such as the annual price of premiums, the policy limit and coverage, and the care needed. In addition, the article emphasized the importance of preventive dental care to help reduce costs. provides resources for patients on finding and paying for dental care.

Monday, October 24, 2016

ADA Spokesperson Discusses How To Prevent Cavities

A consumer-directed video on the Business Insider website features American Dental Association spokesperson Dr. Ada Cooper discussing dental caries. “The biggest myth about cavities is that if it doesn’t hurt you don’t need to fix it,” Dr. Cooper said. “That is completely wrong.” She states that when a cavity has begun to cause pain, it usually requires “more extensive treatment” at that point. Explaining what causes dental decay and why some people may have more cavities than others, Dr. Cooper says “brushing and flossing, of course, are the best way to minimize the number of cavities that you get.” In addition, dentists have many tools available, such as fluoride rinses and treatments, to make teeth more resistant to dental decay. “The best thing to do,” Dr. Cooper says, is to have regular dental visits to ensure detection and treatment of cavities while they’re still small.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Antibiotics: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Antimicrobials, antibiotics among them, are unique among medications in the way they intersect personal and public health. Successful treatment of patients for bacterial infections will result in decreased spread of infections in the community. Not long after the discovery of these miracle drugs, however, patients’ use of antibiotics also created resistant bacteria, which is a serious public health concern. It is estimated that more than 70% of illness-causing bacteria are resistant to at least 1 antibiotic. Numbers may lie, but with an estimated 50,000 deaths due to antibiotic resistance in 2015 in the United States and Europe alone—and a projected death toll of 10 million worldwide every year by 2050—the continued benefits from antibiotics may be dwindling rapidly. In the United States alone, every year 23,000 deaths and more than 2 million infections are attributed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The primary reason for the increase in antibiotic resistance is its excessive use.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Study: Frequent Recreational Cannabis Use May Increase Risk Of Gum Disease

In a release on MarketWired (CAN), the American Academy of Periodontology stated, “Researchers have found that frequent recreational cannabis use – including marijuana, hashish, and hash oil – may be associated with elevated risk of periodontal disease.” The study found participants who used cannabis “at least once a month for a year” had “increased indicators of mild, moderate, and severe periodontal disease” when compared to those who used cannabis less regularly. Dr. Terrence J. Griffin, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, said, “There are a number of risk factors that contribute to the development of periodontal disease, and this report suggests that cannabis use may be one of them.” The study is published in the Journal of Periodontology.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Researchers Find Stem Cells From Jaw Bone Can Help Make New Cartilage, Repair Joints

A release on EurekAlert stated Columbia College of Dental Medicine researchers have found that stem cells residing within the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can “make new cartilage and repair damaged joints” in animals with TMJ degeneration. “This is very exciting for the field,” said Mildred C. Embree, DMD, PhD, assistant professor of dental medicine at Columbia University Medical Center and the lead author of the study. The findings were published in Nature Communications. provides information on TMJ disorders for patients.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Most Dental Patients Do Not Require Antibiotic Prophylaxis Prior To Procedures

The Washington Post discussed antibiotic prophylaxis, stating that revised guidelines recommend fewer people receive antibiotics before a dental procedure. The article notes that a 2014 American Dental Association panel “reviewed studies comparing the dental histories of people who had contracted infections of artificial joints with those of similar people with replaced joints who remained infection-free,” finding “no statistical connection between dental visits and subsequent joint infections, regardless of whether patients had taken antibiotics.” In 2015, the ADA published new clinical practice guidelines concerning prophylactic antibiotics for patients with prosthetic joints.
        The ADA News reported previously that a continuing education course at ADA 2016 – America’s Dental Meeting will focus on prophylactic antibiotic use. According to the article, “The session, Prophylactic Antibiotic Use and a ‘Different’ Kind of Joint (5352), will be led by Dr. Tom Sollecito, the lead author of a 2015 report from the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs that offers guidelines about the use of prophylactic antibiotics prior to dental procedures in patients with prosthetic joints.”
        The guidelines, “The Use of Prophylactic Antibiotics Prior to Dental Procedures in Patients with Prosthetic Joints,” are available for download at and the Oral Health Topics on also provide information on prophylactic antibiotic use for patients and for dental professionals.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Researchers Finding “Possible Relationships” Between Gum Disease And Several Health Problems

The Washington Post reported that researchers are finding “possible relationships between gum or periodontal disease and diabetes, heart disease, stroke and at-risk pregnancies.” Although “experts are far from understanding what these links might mean,” the links “have been so consistent that some insurers offer extra preventive periodontal care at little or no cost to people with those conditions.” The article pointed out that according to the CDC, “nearly half of all Americans age 30 and older have some form of gum disease; in people 65 and older, 70 percent have some degree of periodontal disease.” The article noted, “Signs of gum disease include bleeding, red or swollen gums; areas where the gum seems separated from the teeth; bad breath; and loose teeth, which can cause changes in your bite, according to the American Dental Association.”

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

ADA: Dental Amalgam Is “Durable, Safe And Effective

TIME carries an article originally published on that stated University of Georgia research suggests “dental fillings made of amalgam—a mixture of mercury, silver, and other metals—can contribute to elevated mercury levels in the body.” The study found “people with more than eight fillings had blood mercury levels more than twice as high as people with no fillings,” although the article noted the average mercury levels for these individuals were still “below the safety thresholds established by the EPA and the World Health Organization.”
        The ADA examined the study’s findings, noting that although the study found a “statistically significant difference in circulating levels of mercury, all the levels observed were within the lower 95% confidence limit set forth as safe by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences.” In addition, the findings “also pointed to the impact of fish consumption in blood total and methyl mercury levels.”

        The ADA released a statement reaffirming its position that “dental amalgam is a durable, safe and effective cavity-filling option” and providing information for patients about restorative materials at

Monday, October 10, 2016

Tips For Choosing New Health Benefits Includes Recommendation To Consider Dental Plans

Virginia Business Magazine features a list of five tips for people taking advantage of open enrollment season to find a new healthcare plan, so that they can “make more informed choices that may improve [their] health and even save money.” The first four tips include: “take time to review your options;” “look for incentive-based wellness programs;” “take advantage of health care apps and online tools;” and “open a health savings account.” The fifth piece of advice is to pay attention to other sorts of benefit plans, notably dental, vision, accident and critical illness insurance plans. The magazine states, “Research shows a connection between oral health and overall health, so adding a dental plan may help prevent larger medical problems.”

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Gum Disease Can Worsen Pain For Rheumatoid Arthritis Sufferers

Dental Asia reports on the ways in which poor dental hygiene and gum disease can contribute to and worsen rheumatoid arthritis. By testing gum disease strains on arthritic mice, researchers found that Porphyromonas bacteria made the mice’s joint pain worse. Dental Asia recommends that people with rheumatoid arthritis who wish to prevent gum disease use a moving toothbrush, rinse their mouth with mouthwash, quit smoking, and eat a healthy and clean diet.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Oral Health Issues May Indicate Other Health Conditions

Good Housekeeping identified several oral health issues that may signal other health conditions. For example, chronic halitosis may be a sign of gum disease, says ADA spokesperson Dr. Sally Cram, who recommends brushing and flossing daily to help reverse early gum disease. If gums become swollen and bleed even with proper oral hygiene, the article states, this may be a sign of diabetes, warranting a trip to a dentist or physician. In another example, having prolonged tongue pain is a common early sign of oral cancer, says Dr. Cram. If the pain persists for longer than two weeks, or if any “sores, lumps or lesions” do not disappear, visiting a dentist or physician is advised.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Researchers Find Associations Between Gum Disease And Several Health Problems

The Washington Post reported that researchers are finding potential links “between gum or periodontal disease” and several different types of health problems. Although “experts are far from understanding what these links might mean,” the “links between gum disease and diabetes, at-risk pregnancy, heart disease and stroke have been so consistent that some insurers offer extra preventive periodontal care at little or no cost to people with those conditions.” The article pointed out that according to the CDC “nearly half of all Americans age 30 and older have some form of gum disease; in people 65 and older, 70 percent have some degree of periodontal disease.” The article noted, “Signs of gum disease include bleeding, red or swollen gums; areas where the gum seems separated from the teeth; bad breath; and loose teeth, which can cause changes in your bite, according to the American Dental Association.”

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Research Aims To Help Humans Grow New Teeth

BBC News (UK) discussed recent research that suggests someday people may be able to grow or repair their teeth, using “healthy, living tissue.” For example, the article noted a lab at King’s College London has “successfully implanted bio-teeth into mice,” while other “recent approaches have focused on finding ways to get our teeth to heal themselves.” The article stated that despite this research, preventing dental decay is still essential. “The most important ... thing for us to keep in mind in terms of prevention is water – especially fluoridated water,” said ADA spokesperson Dr. Ruchi Sahota. “Not only does the fluoride help mineralise and regenerate tooth structures that may have become infected by a cavity, the physical motion of drinking water helps to flush away food, bacteria and any debris that may be stuck in your teeth as well.”

Friday, September 30, 2016

Scientists Unveil Self-Repairing Bioactive Glass Fillings

The Daily Mail reported in continuing coverage that scientists at the Queen Mary University of London have developed a new compound for tooth fillings, known as bioactive glass, that “not only blocks cavities but repairs bacterial damage.” According to the article, “The filling is made from bioactive glass composites that release fluoride as well as calcium and phosphate needed to form tooth mineral.” Professor Robert Hill, who helped develop the technology, said the new compound “fills in the gaps with tooth mineral thus preventing the oral bacteria which cause tooth decay from establishing themselves.” Professor Hill adds, “Research suggests this will potentially prolong the life of fillings and slow secondary tooth decay because the depth of bacterial penetration with bioactive glass fillings was significantly smaller than for inert fillings.”

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Study Finds Association Between Poor Oral Health And Heart Disease

Men’s Health reported that a new study from Finland suggests poor oral health may affect heart health. Researchers examined “the teeth and the arteries of more than 500 people,” finding that those needing a root canal were “nearly 3 times more likely to have acute coronary syndrome” than “patients with healthy teeth.” Study author Dr. John Liljestrand suggests the bacteria from the tooth infection may spread to other parts of the body, including the heart. Dr. Liljestrand recommends brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and regular dental visits to help reduce the risk of tooth decay.
        In an article in the Omaha (NE) World-Herald (9/24), Dr. Robert Schwab, a physician specializing in internal medicine at Boys Town National Research Hospital, also stated that research suggests poor oral hygiene may impact overall health, including heart health. With this in mind, Dr. Schwab provides tips to promote heart and oral health.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Many Medicare Advantage Plans Cover Dental Care

In the Motley Fool “Industry Focus: Healthcare” podcast, analyst Kristine Harjes and contributor Todd Campbell discuss Medicare to help retirees “understand the ins and outs of this critical program.” Harjes and Campbell explain that unlike traditional Medicare, many Medicare Advantage plans offer coverage for dental, vision, and hearing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Benefits Of Community Water Fluoridation Discussed

USA Today carried a Kaiser Health News article discussing fluoridation, noting the CDC considers fluoridation to be “one of the 10 top public health achievements of the 20th century,” reducing tooth decay by about 25 percent in children and adults. “A big thing about community water fluoridation is that it’s a passive intervention, you don’t really have to do anything other than drink tap water,” said Katherine Weno, oral health director at the CDC. The article noted the American Dental Association and the World Health Organization also support fluoridation.
        Meanwhile, the Daily Caller reported that scientists at Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council analyzed “60 years of research and 3,000 scientific studies,” finding “fluoride in drinking water is safe.” According to the article, “Researchers found that fluoride in water has no adverse health effects at the levels used in Australia, and that the substance is not linked to low IQ, cancer, or cognitive problems.” The researchers found the “only result” of fluoridation was “reduction of the effects of tooth decay by 26 to 44 percent in children.” The article notes that the ADA supports fluoridation, estimating that “every $1 invested in water fluoridation saves $38 in dental treatment costs.”

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Taking Preventive Steps To Manage Inflammation Advised

Harvard University (MA) stated that although “inflammation plays a central role in healing,” if “left to run wild, this process can lead to arthritis, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.” To help keep chronic inflammation under control, Dr. Andrew Luster, of the Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, recommends people manage their diet and lifestyle and take several other preventive steps, including fighting gum disease. The article stated that “if your gums bleed when you brush or floss, you most likely have inflammation,” recommending people improve oral hygiene and visit the dentist.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Swiss Oral Health Company Curaprox Introduces Activated Charcoal Toothpaste

Drug Store News reports Swiss oral health company Curaprox has introduced a new product called the Black Is White Collection that features “a natural and gentle toothpaste powered by activated charcoal.” The activated charcoal reportedly “removes stains without abrading the enamel or using chemical bleaching agents” by absorbing stain particles and eliminating them. Additionally, the activated charcoal “balances the PH of the mouth while protecting against the growth of pathogens and cavities.” The piece suggests the growing trend of companies incorporating activated charcoal into their products “seems like it’s here to stay.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Increasing Number Of People Choosing Medicare Advantage Plans

In an article in the Houston Chronicle , Holly Steinbrecher, CEO, Unitedhealthcare Medicare & Retirement In Texas, discusses Medicare Advantage plans, stating an increasing number of people eligible for Medicare are choosing Medicare Advantage, both in Houston and across the country. Steinbrecher says several characteristics of Medicare Advantage plans may be fueling the shift, including “predictable costs, additional benefits and care coordination.” For example, “some plans cover hearing aids and preventive dental care,” notes Steinbrecher.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Company Preserves Dental Stem Cells

The Northwest (IL) Herald eported that Provia Laboratories launched Store-A-Tooth in 2010, aiming to preserve stem cells in people’s teeth. According to Store-a-Tooth’s website, “the dental pulp in children’s baby and wisdom teeth provide an excellent source of mesenchymal stem cells,” which may “help generate replacement tissue and heal people’s bodies.” Store-A-Tooth offers original state preservation, which “helps maintain the tissue in its initial form,” and cultured cell preservation, which “extracts the stem cells before freezing them and then grows them in multiple storage vials.”

Friday, September 16, 2016

Flossing Still Beneficial For Oral Health

The McGill (CAN) Tribune discusses flossing in light of the AP story that questioned the benefits of the practice. The article notes the ADA has stated “flossing is an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums.” Moreover, “most other dental associations recommend that their patients remove plaque with the aid of a physical support,” the article adds. “There is much we do in medicine and dentistry that is not evidence-based, but that doesn’t mean it does not work,” said Dr. Øyvind Asmyhr, head of the Norwegian Dental Association. Also commenting on the AP story, McGill Dentistry Professor Omid Kiarash said, “The notion that no flossing is somehow better than flossing simply because the strength of the studies are not high quality is ridiculous.”

        The ADA has released a statement on the benefits of using interdental cleaners, and a Science in the News article titled “The Medical Benefit of Daily Flossing Called Into Question” discusses evidence about the impact of flossing on oral health.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Study: Tooth Loss Associated With Reduced Physical, Mental Health Among Older Adults

Science Daily carried a release stating “older adults who have significant tooth loss are less functional when compared with people who lose fewer teeth,” according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. For the study, researchers “examined information from the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study (JAGES) project,” which asked participants questions about the number of teeth they had, their physical and mental health, and their ability to perform common activities. The researchers suggested “it is essential that older adults receive the support they need to maintain good oral health self-care practices, and that they receive adequate dental care.” provides oral health information for patients over 60.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Despite FDA Ban From Soaps, Triclosan Considered Effective Ingredient In Toothpaste

The New York Times (9/7, Louis, Subscription Publication) reports that the ingredient triclosan, which the FDA banned from antibacterial soaps recently, can still be legally used in some toothpastes. According to FDA spokesperson Andrea Fischer, the ingredient is “demonstrated to be effective at reducing plaque and gingivitis.” Fischer adds, “Based on scientific evidence, the balance of benefit and risk is favorable for these products.” The article noted that a 2013 Cochrane review “concluded that toothpastes with triclosan and fluoride outperformed those with only fluoride.”

        The ADA reported previously that a study in the May 2016 issue of mSphere was “designed to examine whether use of consumer products” containing triclosan could “alter gut microbiome composition, endocrine function, and markers for obesity, diabetes, and inflammation.” The ADA says the study is “strongly suggestive” of triclosan’s “safety for use by humans.”

Brush, Floss Twice A Day To Promote Good Oral Hygiene

Spark People Health & Fitness writer Leanne Beattie discusses ways to address bad breath. Beattie recommends one of the best ways to combat bad breath is to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing teeth and the tongue and flossing at least twice a day. Additionally, she recommends people drink lots of water, eat crunchy fruits and vegetables, stop drinking coffee, chew sugarless gum, eat yogurt, consume an adequate amount of vitamins, avoid tobacco products, and watch out for OTC medicines that can cause bad breath.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

ADA Spokesperson Provides Tips To Alleviate Halitosis

In a consumer-directed video on the Business Insider website, American Dental Association spokesperson Dr. Ada Cooper discusses halitosis, which can be caused by several factors, including poor oral hygiene and dry mouth. To help prevent halitosis, Dr. Cooper advises people to remember to brush their teeth at night to remove food from the mouth. In addition, brushing the tongue and drinking plenty of water can help remove odor-causing bacteria, says Dr. Cooper. If these methods do not help, Dr. Cooper encourages people to visit their dentist to determine if something else may be causing halitosis.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Study: Teen “Night Owls” More Likely To Have Tooth Decay

The Daily Mail reported that a new study finds teenagers who are “night owls” are “up to four times as likely to require fillings as those who prefer an early night.” The researchers suggested this may stem from the teenagers neglecting “to brush their teeth before falling asleep.” In addition, the study found teenagers who go to bed late are “more likely to wake up later and skip breakfast,” resulting in “increased snacking throughout the day.” Given this, the Oral Health Foundation is “encouraging parents to ensure their children understand the importance of brushing their teeth before bed, and the impact of tooth decay.” Dr. Nigel Carter, the foundation’s chief executive, said the combined effect of not brushing teeth regularly before bed and skipping breakfast is “a real recipe for disaster” for oral health and increases the “risk of developing tooth decay.” Dr. Carter said, “Problems in the mouth can affect the way our children communicate, their relationships and their wider general health, so it is vital they prioritize their oral health.”

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Oral Health Issues May Indicate “More Serious Health Problems.”

Simplemost stated oral health issues may be a sign of “more serious health problems.” For example, white spots on the tongue may be a sign of oral thrush (candidiasis), while red and bleeding gums may be a sign of gum disease. In another example, the article stated that dry mouth, also called xerostomia, may be a side effect of certain medications, but it “could also be a symptom of something more serious,” such as diabetes or an autoimmune disorder. The article advised seeing a dentist if experiencing oral health issues.
        The Oral Health Topics on and provide additional information on xerostomia for dental professionals and for patients. also provides information for patients on candidiasisdiabetes and oral health, and gum disease.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Study: Poor Oral Health Associated With OPSCC Regardless Of HPV Status

Oncology Nurse Advisor reports that a study published in the journal Cancer suggests poor oral health is associated with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) “regardless of HPV status.” According to the article, although poor oral health has been “linked to an increased risk for developing head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, including OPSCC,” the “impact of HPV status on the association between poor oral health and OPSCC cancer risk remains unclear.” Using data from the large population-based Carolina Head and Neck Cancer case-control study, researchers found “routine dental examinations were associated with a 48% reduced risk of HPV-negative OPSCC...and a 45% reduced risk of HPV-positive OPSCC.” Researchers also found “tooth mobility, which is an indicator for periodontal disease, increased the risk of HPV-negative OPSCC by 70%...and HPV-positive disease by 45%.” and the Oral Health Topics on provide information on oral and oropharyngeal cancer for patients and for dental professionals. The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs provides a statement on human papillomavirus and squamous cell cancers of the oropharynx. also provides information for patients on HPV and oral cancer.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Dental Sealants Effective At Preventing Tooth Decay

FiveThirtyEight reports in continuing coverage that dental sealants have been “shown to be very effective at preventing cavities.” The article notes that “sealants can prevent tooth decay from starting and can also stop early-stage decay from progressing into a cavity,” according to newly updated practice guidelines from the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. The article adds that the groups recommend clinicians “reorient their efforts toward increasing the use of sealants” on the biting surfaces of primary and permanent molars in children and adolescents.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Drs. Oz and Roizen: Flossing Still Beneficial

The Dubuque (IA) Telegraph Herald carries an article written by Michael Roizen, MD, and Mehmet Oz, MD, discussing recent AP reporting questioning the benefits of dental flossing. Drs. Oz and Roizen state, “What the AP findings actually showed was that there haven’t been enough reliable clinical trials to state definitively that flossing prevents cavities or periodontal disease.” The two note that the American Dental Association stated in response to the study, “The bottom line for dentists and patients is that a lack of strong evidence doesn’t equate to a lack of effectiveness.”

        The ADA has released a statement on the benefits of using interdental cleaners, and a Science in the News article titled “The Medical Benefit of Daily Flossing Called Into Question” discusses evidence about the impact of flossing on oral health.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Study: Patients With Gum Disease May Be More Likely To Suffer Heart Attack, Stroke, Severe Chest Pain

Reuters reported that a study finds an association between gum disease and heart disease and stroke. According to the article, the “study of more than 60,000 dental patients” indicated that “those with gum disease were twice as likely to have had a heart attack, stroke or severe chest pain.” Researchers found that “even after taking other risk factors for cardiovascular disease into account, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking,” individuals “with periodontal disease were still 59 percent more likely to have a history of heart problems.” The findings were published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.