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. √ėyvind 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.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

FDA Approves Intranasally Administered, Needleless Dental Anesthetic

UPI reported in continuing coverage that the US Food and Drug Administration has approved Kovanaze, “a nasal spray anesthetic” for use during a restorative procedure “after it was shown to be safe and effective in clinical trials.” The FDA approved Kovanaze, which is a combination of tetracaine and the nasal decongestant oxymetazoline, “for use with patients over 88 pounds, though the company plans to investigate its use with children, as well as for other procedures.” The article noted that the results of the phase 3 trial are published in The Journal of the American Dental Association.
        In a release carried on EurekAlert (8/25), the University of Pennsylvania stated Kovanaze “was deemed safe and effective in a recent Phase 3 clinical trial led by University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine researchers.” Dr. Elliot V. Hersh, the study’s lead author and a professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery/Pharmacology at Penn Dental Medicine, said, “This is obviously a great thing for needle-phobic individuals, and it can reduce inadvertent needle-stick injuries in the clinic as well.”

        The ADA (7/15) had reported previously that “Kovanaze™ is indicated for regional pulpal anesthesia when performing a restorative procedure on teeth 4 through 13 and A through J in adults and children who weigh 40 kg (88 lbs) or more.”