Dental X-rays Show Vitamin D Deficiency

McMaster anthropologists have found that human teeth hold important information about Vitamin D deficiency which can be identified by a dental X-ray. The researchers had previously discovered that human teeth hold a detailed and permanent record of Vitamin D deficiency. The teeth show microscopic deformities in dentin. This is preserved by enamel which protect teeth from breaking down. Vitamin D deficiency often occurs when a human does not get enough exposure to sunlight. This work is useful for examining the teeth of people who lived years ago to see if they were ever deprived of sunlight and had Vitamin D deficiency. An issue when looking for teeth deformities currently is that that a tooth must be cut open and there are limited teeth the researchers had access to. To avoid wasting specimens, the researchers tried to find a way to … Read more

How Does Cavity Causing Bacteria Survive?

Researchers from the University of Basel’s Preventative Dentistry and Oral Microbiology Clinic and Department of Biomedical Engineering have found that extracellular polysaccharides play a central role in the survival capabilities of cavity causing bacteria in dental plaque. These bacteria live in biofilm and cause cavities by attacking dental enamel by converting sugar and starch into acids that dissolve out calcium from the enamel. The dissolution of calcium increases the concentration of calcium locally which creates an environment hostile to bacterial life. The researchers investigated how bacteria manage to survive in dental plaque despite conditions of hostility. They suggested that extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) support the bacteria’s survival capabilities. EPS are substances that build extracellular cariogenic bacteria from sugar residue. These substances create biofilm’s scaffolding and ensure bacteria are able to anchor themselves in  dental plaque. The researchers showed the more that calcium cariogenic … Read more

Dentists Should be Prepared to Refer to a Counselor, Psychologist or Psychiatrist

In recent years more and more dentists have had to deal with patients with substance use disorders. Wisdom teeth extractions are sometimes said to be a potential cause of a later substance use disorder, see for example http://blog.teethremoval.com/painkiller-overdose-in-michigan-are-wisdom-teeth-extractions-contributing/. Even though dentists and oral surgeons have taken steps in recent years to reduce the amount of drugs they prescribe to their patients that would possibly be used for non-medical purposes this may not entirely solve the problem. If through the course of a patient evaluation, a dentist becomes aware of a possible drug or alcohol problem, they should be prepared to refer their patient to a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist. As such they should have several possibilities available for the referral. The American Dental Association (ADA) had a webinar series several years ago titled “Interviewing and Counseling of patients with substance use … Read more

Will Dental School Debt Lead to Future Counseling?

Future dentists these days are being subjected to large amount of loans that are necessary as a part of dental school. This topic has been covered a bit before on this site, see for example http://blog.teethremoval.com/medical-school-student-costs-in-the-u-s-are-affecting-mental-health/ and http://blog.teethremoval.com/medical-students-are-at-risk-for-suicide/. This topic has also been recently discussed on the American Dental Association (ADA) Viewpoint and Letters to the Editor. In an April 18, 2016, letter titled “Dental student loan debt” Dr. Sparkman from Texas said If most dental students today are borrowing over $200,000 to get out of dental school then I have part of the solution in three words. Get a job. Dr. LeMert a 2009 dental school graduate from the state of Washington took issue with this position and found Dr. Sparkman’s position laughable.  He said in a May 16, 2016 letter titled “Dental school reality” Dental school itself was a 60 hour/week … Read more

Preventing Tooth Cavities with an Inhibitor

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have created a small molecule that prevents tooth cavities in a preclinical model. The inhibitor blocks the function of an enzyme in an oral bacterium and prevents it from forming biofilms. Specifically the inhibitor causes Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) which is the prime bacterium that causes tooth decay and dental cavities, to not make the sticky bioflim that has it glue to a tooth surface. The selective inhibition of the sticky biofilm acts against S. mutans reduced dental caries in rats fed a diet intended to promote cavities. The glucan biofilm is made by three S. mutans glucosyltransferase (Gtf) enzymes. It is know what the crystal structure of the GtfC glucosyltransferase is, and the researchers used the structure to run numerous computer simulations for drug-like compounds for binding at the enzyme’s active site. Ninety compounds with diverse … Read more