Is Pediatric Dental Death Avoidable?

An interesting article titled “Pediatric Dental Anesthesia: An Avoidable Tragedy,” written by Lee et al. appears in the December 2017 edition of Pediatrics (vol. 140, no. 6). In the article the authors present a case of a dental death after anesthesia for early childhood caries and have experts provide commentary. Pediatric dental deaths have been reported in the news over the years with all too much frequency. See the dental deaths page for numerous cases and the original source of the information regarding the case. In the article by Lee the authors say how young children with early childhood caries or cavities are often treated using moderate sedation or general anesthesia. It is estimated that up to 250,000 pediatric sedations for dental treatment occur in the U.S. each year. In these sedations the children are often given benzodiazepines, opioids, nitrous … Read more

How To Increase The Affordability Of Dental Insurance?

Selecting a dental plan can be an easy task, but finding an affordable dental plan can be a difficult job. You will want a plan that can meet your dental needs and also be within your budget. To get the right health insurance, it is essential to understand what makes up a good dental plan. The best dental plans should save you money on your dental treatments. They will also allow you to cover the dental treatments of your immediate family members. Feel free to consult your dentist before purchasing a dental plan. Your dentist may have unique insights into the intricacies of different dental plans and be able to give you excellent advice. Dental Savings Plans vs. Dental Insurance Dental insurance is a product that people often carry for many many years so people often buy it. Before buying … 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

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

Your Dentist Can Help Protect You From Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition affecting up to 100 million Americans, making it one of the biggest health concerns facing the U.S.. While it can be managed with a change in diet and prescription medication, there is also a role for your dental practitioner. They will be able to tell from examining your mouth whether you are at risk and can perform procedures to stabilize blood sugar levels. Poor dental health can tell you so much more about your health than just the condition of your teeth and has been linked not just to physical conditions but also to poor mental health. Don’t be afraid to ask your dentist if they see any other health concerns during a dental checkup, particularly having to do with diabetes. The Link Between Diabetes and Dental Diseases Even if a doctor hasn’t diagnosed you with diabetes, you … Read more