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

Household Environment Shapes Saliva Microorganisms

Researchers from UCL in the United Kingdom have discovered that the mix of microorganisms in a person’s saliva are largely determined by the household they live in. The study showed that early environmental influences play a far larger role than human genetics in shaping the salivary microbiome. The microbiome are organisms that play an important role in oral and overall health. The oral cavity is colonized by hundreds of bacterial species, which stop external pathogens but they also can cause oral disease. The researchers were interested in exploring how the salivary microbiome becomes established and which factors are most responsible. The researchers used DNA and saliva from an extended Ashkenazi Jewish family living in various households spread across four cities on three continents. The family members are believed to have shared cultural diets and lifestyles that control for many confounding factors. … Read more

Tooth Decay Higher in Children Who do not Drink Tap Water, But Blood Lead Levels Lower

A new study appearing in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has shown that American children who do not drink tap water are much more likely to have tooth decay than those who do, but also less likely to have elevated levels of lead in their blood. Due to some dangers reported from drinking tap water which includes fluoride and potentially other contaminants, some parents have opted to not give it to their child and instead have opted for bottled or filtered water for drinking. See http://blog.teethremoval.com/large-amounts-of-fluoride-consumed-by-young-children-leads-to-fluorosis/ for more information on the dangerous of fluoride for young children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adding fluoride to the water supply has dramatically reduced the prevalence of tooth decay over the past 70 years. Even so tooth decay is still a large problem affecting the primary teeth of over 20% of U.S. preschoolers … Read more

Reducing mental distress in patients undergoing dental procedures including hypnosis, relaxation, and counseling

An interesting article titled “Non-pharmacological interventions for reducing mental distress in patients undergoing dental procedures: Systematic review and meta-analysis” by Sophia Burghardt  et al., appears in the Journal of Dentistry in 2018 (vol. 68, pp. 22 – 31). The article seeks to determine the effects of hypnosis, enhanced information, relaxation, music, or cognitive-behavioral approaches on adults undergoing dental procedures. The researchers explored 29 randomized controlled trials and found through random effects meta-analyses significant reduction of mental distress when patients underwent a non-pharmacological intervention. In particular the largest effect was shown for hypnosis. People experience anxiety and fear of going to a dentist and some even have a diagnosable condition of dental phobia. Research shows a general dentist is capable of treating adults with mild or moderate forms of dental anxiety but those with severe dental anxiety or even dental phobia often requires … Read more