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

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