Cut Sugar to Prevent Cavities

If you are looking to avoid cavities in your teeth and wisdom teeth, then you may want to consider limiting your intake of sugar. Free sugars are added to many foods and are naturally present in other food such as honey and fruit juice. Since 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said they suggest less than 10% of all calorie intake should be from free sugars. A study conducted by Newcastle University and commissioned by the WHO and was published last year in the Journal of Dental Research explored free sugar intake as a percentage of calorie intake and the incidence of dental cavities. The article found when less than 10% of total calories in the diet is from free sugars there are much lower levels of cavities (tooth decay). The article also found that when less than 5% of total calories is from free sugars even further benefits are found which reduces the risk of dental cavities over a lifetime. Hence if one is expecting to keep their teeth throughout their lifetime and wants to minimize the risk of dental cavities they should modify what they eat and drink to limit sugars. The researchers from Newcastle explored 55 […]

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Chewing Gum Linked to Headaches

An interesting study and findings regarding a link between headaches and gum chewing has come from Tel Aviv University. The article was published in Pediatric Neurology and looked at 30 patients between 6 and 19 with chronic headache and who were big gum chewers. The patients were told to stop chewing gum. After 1 month, nineteen of the patients had their headache go away and 7 additional patients in the group had a decrease in the severity and frequency of their headaches. Twenty six of the patients were then told to go back to chewing gum like they used to and they all said their previous symptoms returned within days. The researchers speculate that temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction may be the likely trigger at bay. The researchers believe that TMJ overuse is causing the headaches. Other possibilities were suggested such as aspartame commonly found in chewing gum but many other products contain aspartame and don’t have a clear link with headaches. The researchers believe that if teenagers are suffering from chronic headaches and chew gum a lot, they should stop chewing gum and see if their symptoms resolve. This way expensive tests and other treatments can first be avoided. Other triggers for headaches include […]

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Dental Anxiety Associates with Pain During Dental Procedures

It is well known by dentists that some patients experience dental anxiety, with some patients have worse dental anxiety than others. In a review article titled “Dental Anxiety Is Considerably Associated With Pain Experience During Dental Procedures,” by Mike T. John, appearing in J Evid Base Dent Pract, 2013, issue 13, pp. 29-30, the issue of dental anxiety in dental patients is explored. The study reviews a study titled “Predictors of pain associated with routine procedures performed in general dental practice,” by Tickle M, Milsom K, Crawford FI, and Aggarwal VR, in Community Dent Oral Epidemiol, 2012 Aug;40(4):343-50. In the original study 508 patients who visit 38 different dentists in England participate. Dental anxiety was measured with the Corah Dental Anxiety Scale which resulted in a score between 4 and 20. This score was grouped into 4 different variables representing anxiety. The dental patients were asked to rate their intensity of pain on a scale of 0 to 10 during the procedure, after the procedure, and later after the procedure (not immediate). The researchers performed logistic regression and found that very anxious patients had a fivefold increased odds of experiencing pain during the dental procedure compared to patients who had […]

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How Evolution Sold Us Short As it Relates to Wisdom Teeth

I came across an interesting article titled “‘Not tonight, I have toothache': how evolution sold us short” published in February 16, 2013, in the Times in London and written by Hannah Devlin. The article talks about evolution and how it relates to wisdom teeth, which is a topic I don’t usually bring up on this site/blog since it is controversial. The idea goes that wisdom teeth were important for our ancestors because their diets consisted of a lot of tough and chewy foods. As their other teeth wore down, the third molars, played an important back up role as additional teeth to use. In addition, the idea is that as humans evolved their brains became larger and their laws became smaller leaving less room available for teeth to grow. Earlier hominids (our ancestors) had very large back teeth in long jaws; however, evolution began selecting for increasing brain size. Since the jaws have shrunk over time as a result, wisdom teeth often become impacted. In the article Professor Alan Mann, an anthropologist at Princeton University, describes how impacted wisdom teeth, in which the wisdom tooth remains partially buried in the gum, are a result of changes in the shape of […]

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Ethical Issues for Consent in Dentistry

An article appears in the Journal of Medical Ethics, vol. 39, pp. 59-61, January 2013, titled “Consent in dentistry: ethical and deontological issues,” written by Adelaide Conti, Paola Delbon, Laura Laffranchi, and Corrado Paganelli. The authors are from Italy and so the focus of the article is a discussion of some of the ethical issues in dentistry. I have previously discussed some ethical issues in medicine and dentistry. See for example, Attending to the Patient in the Informed Consent Process and Are Dentists Ethical or Scam Artists?. In the article the authors say “The right of patients to make decisions about their healthcare has been enshrined in legal statements: in Italy the National Constitution establishes that personal liberty is inviolable and that no one may be obliged to undergo any given health treatment except under the provisions of the law…In addition, the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union and the Council of Europe’s ‘Convention on human rights and biomedicine’ establish the general rule of free and informed consent in the health field.” The authors touch on how it is possible that some treatment options provided by dentists may be considered a disfigurement in some cultures but a sign […]

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