Dr. Paul Hanna

CDC: Number Of Cases Of Vaping-Related Illness Exceeds 1,000

The New York Times (10/3, Grady) reported that on Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said vaping-related illness had increased to 1,080 cases, which is up by 275 cases from the previous week. In addition, the resultant death toll had risen to 19 as of Thursday. The article said that while “the exact cause” remains unknown, many affected “have vaped THC,” while some have vaped both THC and nicotine, and others say they have only vaped nicotine.

The AP (10/3, Stobbe) reported that as of Thursday, there have been cases reported in all states except Alaska and New Hampshire. Physicians “say the illnesses, which first appeared in March, resemble an inhalation injury.”

Meanwhile, STAT (10/3, Boodman) highlighted the difficulties youth addicted to nicotine face when attempting to quit vaping, as well as certain strategies that are being used to help teens stop the habit.

For more information on the facts, health effects, and risks of using electronic cigarettes, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. The US Food & Drug Administration also offers information on lung illnesses associated with use of vaping products.

Study: Periodontal Disease Associated With Increased CAD Risk In Select Patients

Study: Periodontal Disease Associated With Increased CAD Risk In Select Patients

Endocrine Today (6/6, Neuffer) reported researchers found that in adult patients with type 1 diabetes who smoke, “periodontal disease increases the risk for coronary artery disease [CAD].” The findings were published in the Journal of Diabetes and its Complications.

Diabetes (UK) (6/7, Woodfield) reported lead researcher Tina Costacou, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, said, “These data suggest that in addition to good [blood glucose] control and treatment of high blood pressure, smoking cessation and oral health are important factors in reducing the development of heart disease.”

Dental professionals can find information on diabetes on an ADA Science Institute-developed Oral Health Topics page. In January, ADA Science Institute researchers published a paper exploring the number of additional individuals with prediabetes or diabetes who could be identified if diabetes risk assessments were conducted in the dental care setting. In addition, the ADA offers the online course Diabetes and the Dental Professional and the Diabetes and Your Oral Health brochure.

Dentists can refer patients to MouthHealthy.org, ADA’s consumer website, for information on diabetes. JADA For the Patient also includes the articles, Can Diabetes Affect My Oral Health?, Diabetes and Oral Health, and Diabetes: Tips for Good Oral Health.

Cold and Flu Season: 5 Ways to Care for Your Mouth When You’re Sick

Cold and Flu Season: 5 Ways to Care for Your Mouth When You’re Sick

When he’s feeling under the weather, ADA dentist Dr. Gene Romo says one thing always helps him feel a little more like himself. “Brushing my teeth when I’m sick actually makes me feel better,” he says. “My mouth feels clean, and in a way, I feel like my health is starting to improve.”

When you have a cold or the flu, taking care of your body is your top priority—and that includes your mouth. “It’s important to take care of your dental health all year round, but especially when you’re sick,” Dr. Romo says.

Here are some simple ways to care for your dental health when you’re not feeling well:
Practice Good Hygiene

When you’re sick, you know to cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze. Don’t forget to keep up your dental and toothbrush hygiene as well.

According to the CDC, the flu virus can live on moist surfaces for 72 hours. “The number one rule is not to share your toothbrush anytime, but especially when you are sick,” Dr. Romo says.

You also probably don’t need to replace your toothbrush after you’ve been sick. Unless your immune system is severely compromised, the chances of reinfecting yourself are very low. “But if you’re still in doubt, throw it out,” says Dr. Romo. “Especially if you’ve had your toothbrush for 3-4 months, when it’s time to replace it anyway.”
Choose Sugar-Free Cough Drops

Read the label before you pick up a bag at the drug store with an eye to avoid ingredients like fructose or corn syrup. “Many cough drops contain sugar, and it is like sucking on candy,” says Dr. Romo. “Sugar is a culprit when it comes to cavities.” The longer you keep a sugary cough drop in your mouth, the more time cavity-causing bacteria has to feast on that sugar, which produces the acid that can leave holes in your teeth.
Swish and Spit After Vomiting

One unfortunate side effect of a stomach flu, among other illnesses, is vomiting. You might be tempted to brush your teeth right away, but Dr. Romo says it’s actually better to wait. “When you vomit, stomach acids are coming in contact with your teeth and coating them,” he says. “If you brush too soon, you’re just rubbing that acid all over the hard outer shell of your teeth.”

Instead, swish with water, a diluted mouth rinse or a mixture of water and 1 tsp. baking soda to help wash the acid away. Spit, and brush about 30 minutes later.
Stay Hydrated to Avoid Dry Mouth

When you’re sick, you need plenty of fluids for many reasons. One is to prevent dry mouth. Not only is it uncomfortable—dry mouth can also put you at greater risk for cavities. The medications you might be taking for a cold or flu—such as antihistamines, decongestants or pain relievers—can also dry out your mouth, so drink plenty of water and suck on sugarless cough drops, throat lozenges or candies to keep that saliva flowing.
Choose the Right Fluids

When it comes to your mouth and your body, one beverage is always best. “The safest thing to drink is water,” Dr. Romo says. “Sports drinks might be recommended to replenish electrolytes when you’re sick, but drink them in moderation and don’t make them a habit after you’ve recovered because unless they are a sugar free version, they contain a lot of sugar.”

You might also want something to warm you up. “When you have a cold or the flu, you may want something comforting to get through it, like tea,” he says. “Try not to add sugar or lemon if you can avoid it. Sugar can helps to fuel cavity-causing bacteria, and lemon is acidic. It’s something to keep in mind once you’re feeling 100% again, as well.”


Gum Disease May Play Role In Alzheimer’s Development, Researchers Suggest.

The Telegraph (UK) (1/23, Knapton) reports that “gum disease may play a pivotal role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, scientists believe.” According to the article, “Researchers said they now had ‘solid evidence’ that the bacteria which causes periodontitis produces an enzyme which destroys neurons leading to memory loss.” The article says that the bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) is “one of the chief causes of gum disease and tooth loss in humans,” and “an international team of researchers tested the brains of 53 people with Alzheimer’s,” finding the bacteria enzyme present in 96 percent.

Science Magazine (1/23, Kaiser) reports that “the provocative findings are the latest in a wave of research suggesting microbial infections may play a role in Alzheimer’s disease.” Still, some scientists question a causal relationship between the bacteria and Alzheimer’s. “I’m fully on board with the idea that this microbe could be a contributing factor. I’m much less convinced that [it] causes Alzheimer’s disease,” says neurobiologist Robert Moir of the Harvard University. The findings were published in Science Advances.

Tooth Loss Associated With Increased Hypertension Risk In Postmenopausal Women, Study Finds.

Dentistry in the News

Medical Xpress (12/4) hosts an Oxford University Press release stating a new study finds that “postmenopausal women who have experienced tooth loss are at higher risk of developing high blood pressure.” After studying “36,692 postmenopausal women in the Women’s Health Initiative-Observational Study, in the US,” researchers found that the women with tooth loss had about a “20% higher risk of developing hypertension during follow-up compared to other women,” and “the association was stronger among younger women and those with lower BMI.” The findings were published in the American Journal of Hypertension.

The Oral Health Topics on ADA.org and MouthHealthy.org provide information on aging and dental health for dental professionals and patients.

Air Pollution Associated With Higher Risk Of Oral Cancer, Study Suggests.

Dentistry in the News

The Guardian (UK) (10/9, Davis) reports a study published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine found that “high levels of air pollution are linked to an increased risk” of oral cancer. Researchers in Taiwan studied the association “by looking at air pollution data from 66 air quality monitoring stations around the country collected in 2009,” and combining this with “data from the health records of more than 480,000 men aged 40 and over from 2012/13.” They found that after adjusting for other known risk factors for oral cancer including age, betel quid chewing, and smoking, “men exposed to the highest levels” of fine particulate matter < 2.5 microns had an increased risk of oral cancer.

Newsweek (10/9, Gander) reports that the study “did not account for the socioeconomic status of the participants, which may also play a role.”

ADA’s resources related to oral cancers for clinicians and patients are available at ADA.org/oralcancer. Dental professionals can find additional information on oral and oropharyngeal cancer on an ADA Science Institute-developed Oral Health Topics page. The ADA also offers the brochure “Get The Facts About Mouth and Throat Cancer.”

Dentists can refer patients to MouthHealthy.org, ADA’s consumer website, for information on oral cancer. JADA For the Patient also includes the articles Oral cancer: What to do if something unusual shows up and What you should know about oral cancer.

When to Talk to Your Dentist About Sensitive Teeth

Many people experience some degree of tooth sensitivity. A study published in the March 2013 issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) revealed that 1 in 8 people have sensitive teeth. But many don’t discuss the condition with their dentist.

If you have sensitive teeth, you may think that the discomfort you feel when you eat or drink cold, hot, sweet, spicy, or sour foods or beverages is normal, and that the solution is simply to avoid trigger foods and drinks.

Depending on the cause of your tooth sensitivity, avoiding these triggers may help alleviate your symptoms. But tooth sensitivity can also be a sign of a serious underlying problem, which is why it’s important to discuss any tooth sensitivity — as well as any other concerns — with your dentist.
When to Schedule a Dental Visit

Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime. “And they will — if you take care of them,” says Kimberly Harms, DDS, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association (ADA), based in Minneapolis. But teeth are subject to damage over time. Enamel can wear down, making teeth more sensitive. Gums can recede, exposing the root and nerves and therefore increasing sensitivity. Teeth can develop cracks, cavities, and abscesses. And you might experience other dental problems.

Aside from your regular checkups, it’s important to see your dentist immediately if you suddenly experience an unusual level of tooth sensitivity, or if one particular tooth or area becomes especially sensitive. “Don’t wait for your next scheduled appointment,” says Dr. Harms.

If you have a cracked tooth, for example, bacteria can grow in the tooth and lead to an infection, she explains. The crack could also get worse. “It’s really important to take care of any dental issues as quickly as possible,” Harms says. “The longer you wait, the worse a problem can get.”

Experts at the Academy of General Dentistry also recommend that you get a dental evaluation if a tooth is highly sensitive for more than a few days and reacts strongly to hot and cold temperatures.
What to Expect During Your Visit

To rule out any underlying causes of tooth sensitivity, like a cracked tooth, a cavity, an abscess, or nerve damage, your dentist may ask questions such as:

How often do your teeth feel sensitive?
Do all of your teeth experience sensitivity, or is it just a single tooth?
How long does the sensitivity last — does it linger for a while or go away immediately?
Does the sensitivity occur only with really cold foods, like ice cream, or hot foods, like soup?
Does it occur when you’re consuming acidic food or drinks?
Do you have pain when you bite into something or chew?

Depending on your answers to these questions, your dentist may recommend changing your regular toothpaste to one that’s specially formulated for sensitive teeth; fluoride treatments to help strengthen your teeth and manage your symptoms; a mouth guard to protect your teeth from the effects of grinding or clenching; or a crown, inlay, or bonding. A surgical procedure, like a root canal or gum surgery, is sometimes necessary.

Talking to your dentist about your symptoms can help you find the best course of treatment for sensitive teeth.
Last Updated:6/14/2017

Study Shows Benefits Of Fluoride Varnish.

Study Shows Benefits Of Fluoride Varnish.

Science Daily (4/26) reports, “Fluoride varnish effectively helps in the remineralization of the tooth surface and prevents the development and progression of caries” according to a study published by the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. In the study, “a total of 5,002 children were treated with fluoride varnish” compared to 4,705 children who were not treated. All received training in “oral hygiene, instructions on the correct tooth brushing technique or provision of toothbrushes and fluoridated toothpaste.”

For more information about fluoride and the ADA’s advocacy efforts on fluoridation, visit ADA.org/fluoride. In addition, the updated 2018 edition of “Fluoridation Facts” is available in print (J120), as an eBook (J120T), or as a bundle (J120BT) of the two.

Dental professionals can also point their patients to the ADA’s consumer website, MouthHealthy.org, for information about fluoride and fluoridation. JADA For the Patient also includes the article, Drink Up! Fluoridated Water Helps Fight Decay.


Dentistry in the News
Oral Cancer Survivors Share How Dental Visits Saved Their Lives.

In an article for Dentistry IQ (4/18), Amber Young writes that at age 35 “my dentist saved my life,” explaining how having her dental team offer “a panoramic x-ray and an oral cancer screening” led to being diagnosed with clear cell odontogenic carcinoma, a rare and aggressive cancer. “I would not be here today to write this article or be a crusader against oral cancer had it not been for the thorough and wonderful dental team and dentist who took the time to offer an oral cancer screening” and “educate the patient on what is in their best interest (and why),” she writes.

WBTV-TV Charlotte, NC (4/17, Tedesco) shares how a dental visit saved the life of Kirsten Price. After Kirsten noticed “a lump inside of her cheek,” her mom brought her to their family dentist, who advised she see an oral surgeon. Kirsten was diagnosed with oral cancer at age 12. She underwent surgery and is now fully recovered. The article stresses the importance of early detection, listing signs and symptoms of oral cancer not to ignore.

ADA’s resources related to oral cancers for clinicians and patients are available at ADA.org/oralcancer. Dental professionals can find additional information on oral and oropharyngeal cancer on an ADA Science Institute-developed Oral Health Topics page. In addition, a guide from the National HPV Vaccination Roundtable and the ADA lists actions dental health care providers can take concerning cancer prevention through HPV vaccination, and a CE course is available on HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer. The ADA also offers a brochure, “Get The Facts About Mouth and Throat Cancer.”

A head and neck cancer track at ADA 2018 will offer dental professionals ways to learn about their role in cancer screening, biopsy, and management. To register for this course or the meeting, visit ADA.org/meeting.

Dentists can refer patients to MouthHealthy.org, ADA’s consumer website, for information on oral cancer and HPV and oropharyngeal cancer. JADA For the Patient also includes the articles, Oral cancer: What to do if something unusual shows up and What you should know about oral cancer.

Dentures Were Once Made With Real Human Teeth!


Dentures Were Once Made With Real Human Teeth.

Atlas Obscura (3/15, Grundhauser) stated that “tooth replacement of some kind or another goes back to ancient times,” and over time, the materials used in dentures have changed. The article discussed how dentures were once made using real human teeth, since they were “thought to look better and be more comfortable than false teeth up to that point, which were often carved from bone, ivory, or animal teeth.” While some refer to these dentures as “Waterloo teeth,” due to “the practice of yanking perfectly good teeth from battlefield casualties,” Andrew Spielman, associate dean for academic affairs at the NYU School of Dentistry, said, “It’s kind of a misnomer, because the Waterloo battle was in 1815, and human teeth were in use in dentures already.” The article added that “according to Spielman, human teeth had been used in dentures for at least a century before the Battle of Waterloo, and were routinely culled from battlefields since at least the French Revolution in the late 1700s.”