Warning — D.I.Y. Orthodontics is not a good idea! (I hope you knew this already!)

Warning — D.I.Y. Orthodontics is not a good idea! (I hope you knew this already!)

Once again, I have an article that was submitted by a patient of mine that is rather interesting reading.

There are some things you can or should do by yourself — maybe pump your own gas or use a self-checkout at a grocery store. You should never, however, do your own orthodontics!

Orthodontists Warn Against DIY Teeth Straightening

Scientific Research Done on Neanderthal Teeth Reveals a Great Deal About Our Past

Scientific Research Done on Neanderthal Teeth Reveals a Great Deal About Our Past

Surprising Conclusions

My brother sent me this article on Neanderthal teeth research (Thanks Scott Wooddell!) I find it to be quite intriguing. Although the article starts out talking about what may be the world’s oldest toothbrushes, it digresses into what I feel is a fascinating discussion about the changes in humanity’s diet over the millenia and how those changes affect our oral health and overall health as well.  It’s amazing what conclusions scientists draw from looking at ancient skulls/jawbones of our predecessors.

What We Can Learn From Cavemen Teeth

New Report on Smoking and Its Effects on Dental Implants

New Report on Smoking and Its Effects on Dental Implants

Smoking Can Have Negative Effects on Dental Implants

This recent report demonstrates how smoking can affect the viability of dental implants.  My experience with my patients is that smokers have a greatly increased chance of problems with bone regeneration. This can lead to more infections and possibly implant failure.  As with many other smoking-related issues, if you are a former smoker, the longer it has been since you quit, the lesser the problems.

Smoking Can Complicate Dental Implant Procedures

Fluoride – Is It Safe and Effective?

Fluoride and Fluoridation in dentistry is one of the ten most important public heath measures of the 20th century

Fluoride – Is It Safe and Effective?

The answer is yes. Don’t believe everything you hear!

A patient of mine brought up a very interesting subject recently. (Thanks, Karen!)  She listens to a radio program on the weekends hosted by a supposed health expert (turns out that he’s a chiropractor in Fairfax). During the program, he discusses various issues about health and well-being. The topic of one of his recent broadcasts was fluoride use. His contention was that not only is fluoride useless, it can actually cause injury.  He claims that large organizations, such as the American Dental Association, are working hard on suppressing evidence and research that indicates that fluoride use can cause harm to humans. To be perfectly blunt, these assertions are ridiculous.  This guy is doing nothing more than playing on the fear of some people that have a poorly-understood malady, diagnosed or not. These people are impressionable to suggestions that there is some conspiracy involving government, corporations, and/or large organizations that are out to get them.  Remember when, in the early 1960s, some cities were beginning to fluoridate their water supply? The public started a large outcry that this was a conspiracy. They thought the Soviet government was actually behind it because fluoride would lower the IQ level in the American population. Same type of argument here. To sum it up, there is a preponderance of evidence that not only is fluoride (in appropriate concentrations) safe, but also effective in helping to prevent dental decay.  I can cite study after study, going back some 60 years, that prove this. Please don’t listen to these charlatans, and please feel safe to drink fluoridated water, use fluoridated toothpaste, etc.  It will help to prevent dental disease.

Washington Post Article on Toothpaste Additives: My Comments

Washington Post Article on Toothpaste Additives: My Comments

Not all toothpaste additives are beneficial.

This article, linked below, is from the Health section of the Washington Post. It raises some interesting points about toothpaste additives — some I agree with and some I disagree with. Some need further investigation:

Detergents: I disagree with what the article reports. Testing has demonstrated that foaming agents do help with the cleaning ability of toothpaste and the removal of plaque.
Whiteners: I agree with what is written. I believe that whiteners in toothpaste have little, if any, effect upon the staining of your teeth. Plus, they can contribute to sensitivity
Desensitizers: These are often very effective if used properly. The diagnosis of the reason for the sensitivity is the key here, which is what was stated in the article.
Triclosan: The FDA currently has this chemical additive under considerable scrutiny. The research is not conclusive, but it does seem to point to some health issues with triclosan. Therefore, at this point, I advise caution with its use.
Xylitol: I disagree with the article here. Many studies have shown its effectiveness. Furthermore, you would have to swallow amounts much greater than in your dab of toothpaste to cause bloating or diarrhea. They fail to mention this in the article, which indicates to me that they really didn’t do their research on this.
 
In conclusion, the Washington Post made some good points in the article. Some of what they reported, however, has little basis in fact. As always, you should consult with your dentist if you have any questions.
 

Washington Post Article on Antibiotics for Dental Patients with Artificial Joints

Washington Post Article on Antibiotics for Dental Patients with Artificial Joints

Should artificial joint recipients take antibiotics before visiting the dentist?

This is a link to an interesting and well-written article the in the Health Section of today’s Washington Post. The author deals with some of the confusion currently swirling around as to whether artificial joint recipients need to take antibiotics prior to visiting the dentist.  I frequently get questions on this subject from patients.

I totally agree with the conclusion of the article. There is no existing evidence that taking antibiotics has any benefit. In fact, it could do more harm than good. Unfortunately, there is some continuing resistance in the world of Orthopedics to accept the current science. As the author says, “Old habits die hard.”

Do Artificial Joints Put You at Risk of Infection at the Dentist?

Drink your coffee!

Drink your coffee!

Recent evidence suggests coffee may benefit your teeth and gums.

We have all seen studies that make recommendations to avoid some foods. Later, we see other studies that recommend their consumption.  This is no different.  Long thought to cause a variety of health problems, coffee has actually begun to show up in recent medical reports as being beneficial to our health.  The key thing is moderation.  This article is interesting in that it describes that, although there can be some deleterious effects on teeth (such as staining), coffee also has some benefit.  So, drink up!

(The study that this story references was done by a Professor of Biochemistry at my Alma Mater, the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.)

Despite Staining, Coffee Strengthens Teeth

American Dental Association Rebuttal to Flossing Story

American Dental Association Rebuttal to Flossing Story

Flossing is beneficial to dental health.

I have been waiting and watching for a good post to share that answers last week’s ridiculous press reports that claimed flossing your teeth is a “waste of time” and the government no longer recommends it. This article is a little dry, but provides the most direct and succinct response that I have found. Statement From the American Dental Association About Interdental Cleaners

Today Show does a segment on “Why We Don’t Need to Floss”

Today Show does a segment on “Why We Don’t Need to Floss”

I saw this brief segment on The Today Show on Tuesday morning about why flossing may not be necessary. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of questions from patients about this. Interesting that they refer to a “new research” study, but there is no mention about who is doing this research and how scientific it is. With 30+ years of experience, I know that flossing helps reduce tooth decay and gum disease. Bottom line, sorry to tell you this, but I’m going to recommend that you keep on flossing!

“Is Flossing Your Teeth a Waste of Time”

Another Study Shows Connection Between Dental/Periodontal Disease and Coronary Heart Disease

Another Study Shows Connection Between Dental/Periodontal Disease and Coronary Heart Disease

This brief, interesting article reports on another study showing a strong connection between dental and periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. When initial studies came out, some 20 years ago, linking these two seemingly very different diseases, there was a great deal of doubt. Medical science has now accepted the fact that inflammatory response caused by chronic dental disease affects other organ systems in the body. Cardiovascular disease is the most-studied of these cause/effect diseases. Research, however, has also linked dental disease to a wide variety of other diseases as well.

Connection Between Dental/Periodontal Disease and Coronary Heart Disease