Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Some of the Latest Results in Experimental Dentistry

This is going to be less of a traditional narrative blog post and much more like Harper's Findings: a list of several hopefully-fascinating discoveries from the annals of recent experimental dentistry. Enjoy!
  • Experimenters found no difference in surface whiteness between bleaching with hydrogen peroxide vs. carbamide peroxide, but the latter did a much better job of getting into the dentin beneath the enamel and 'deep bleaching' teeth.
  • A group studying electric vs. manual toothbrushes found that electric toothbrushes were significantly more effective at reducing plaque and gingivitis.
  • A researcher in nanotechnology believes it may be possible to create a fluoride-ion-infused porcelain that will not only cap off a cavity, but prevent further cavities in its area.
  • Swiss researchers are working on an aluminum-garnet laser that can be used to more safely 'drill' holes in patient's jawbones for the purpose of implanting false teeth permanently.
  • A group of scientists is developing a method of cleaning teeth by "sandblasting" them with microscopic glass beads that hit hard enough to knock away bacteria and to smooth out the tooth (making it harder for bacteria to re-attach in the future), but not hard enough to injure the tooth.
  • Much like the gold fronts of the American rap world, dentists in India have started taking requests for 'tooth jewelry' that sits atop the enamel and sparkles whenever you smile.
  • Scientists studying tooth whitening bleaches have found that outside of very rare (<1%) cases, there are no side effects of bleaching that last longer than 2 weeks after the bleach treatment has finished, no matter what bleach or what system you use.
  • Scientists recording people's opinions of their own smiles discovered that tooth discoloration and protruding teeth are the leading causes of 'smile dissatisfaction.
So there you have it; if you're a victim of one of the leading causes of smile dissatisfaction, get a carbamide-based tooth whitening for the 'deep bleaching', and don't worry -- the side effects almost always vanish after a week.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Manly" Drinks & Your Dental Health - Slurpees

Free Slurpee day isn't until next month (July 11th -- 7-11, get it?), but we hope that by posting about it a little early, we might convince you to skip out on the free treat -- and every other Slurpee you might want to down this summer.

The dangers of a Slurpee? "All of the above." Slurpees might not have the same levels of acidity as a Coke (unless, of course, you're drinking a cola flavored Slurpee, which are basically made by using the same syrup that's mixed with carbonated water to make Coke, and mixing it with icy slush instead), but none of them get much above a pH of 4.5 -- easily enough to do some damage to your teeth, especially sipped slowly over a long period of time, which you basically have to do with a Slurpee unless you're mystically immune to brain freeze.

Of course, that slow-drink goodness along with the massive quantities of sugar in a Slurpee makes them even worse than iced tea for developing a good colony of Streptococcus Mutans all along your gum lines. But Slurpees don't stop there.

They may not be contributing alcohol to your oral cavity the way that drinking a beer does, but Slurpees are dropping off a huge quantity of artificial concoctions in your mouth, many of which have a variety of unknown side-effects. The flavors are artificial, the colors are artificial, the sodium benzoate they use as a preservative is a known carcinogen when mixed with citric acid (which basically all of the fruit-based flavors have in abundance), and even the bark extract they use to give the drinks a particular 'mouth feel' can leech calcium out of your body and cause kidney stones.

None of that might be directly related to your oral health, but in this case, we think it's wise to take advice from a cartoon character. As Candace of Phineas and Ferb fame once said, "Crushed ice covered in blue carbs? Lame!"

Friday, June 21, 2013

"Manly" Drinks & Your Dental Health - Iced Tea

Tea has so many health benefits that it's rare you'll find anyone disrespecting the Asian brewed drink -- but then Americans took something that's basically amazing and decided that we need to infuse it with lemons and massive quantities of sugar, make it ice-cold, and drink it that way rather than with the typical Asian respect. To be honest, much of what we refer to as 'iced tea' -- especially anything you make by mixing a powder into water -- has basically nothing to do with actual tea. It's a flavoring, and it's usually mostly artificial.

The problem with iced tea isn't limited to its extra acid from the lemon and how all that added sugar promotes the growth of Streptococcus Mutans (the bacteria that causes plaque, tartar, and gingivitis) in your mouth. It's also in how we drink it. Like all bacteria, Streptococcus Mutans has a limit to how fast it can multiply in your mouth -- and it's also limited by its supply of fuel.

Because the tradition with iced tea is to lean back on the porch or around the picnic table while you watch your son's Little League team whup its competitors, you're essentially creating a worst-case scenario in your mouth. You feed those bacteria a few sips of sugar every minute or two for an hour, giving them all of the time and fuel they need to make a huge, military-style advance against your gum line.

Now, if you make your tea by actually making real tea (Green is best unless you're strictly avoiding caffeine) and then adding ice and a small amount of added sugar, you can totally enjoy that knowing you're doing right by your mouth. But instant, prepackaged, or other iced "teas" aren't going to leave your mouth feeling its best.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Manly" Drinks & Your Dental Health - Beer

Beer is one of those things like red wine -- it's great for you in moderation, but bad in large amounts. Beer may not have the heart-protecting Resveratrol that makes red wine so popular, but it does have something that few other foods have in great quantities; dietary silicon. Yes, the human body uses silicon to help grow and firm up your bones.

If you're a menopausal woman worried about osteoporosis, for example, drinking a less-processed beer like ale (as opposed to a lager) every day can do huge amounts to keep your bones strong. Beer also has a surprising amount of bioavailable calcium, though nothing like a glass of fresh milk.

On the other hand, for your oral health, beer isn't the best thing to finish a meal with. Beer is acidic, much like cola, and has similar -- if weaker -- effects. To put a technical side on it, acids start demineralizing your tooth enamel at a pH of about 5.5. Coke comes in at a very acidic 2.5. Depending on the darkness of the malt, beer can check in around 5.4 for a weak brew like Budweiser all the way down to 3.2 for a true sour like Rodenbach Grand Cru.

Beer, however, compounds the acidity problem by adding alcohol and sugars to the mix. If you think about it, beer is created by bacteria that consume the barley and hops, fermenting it and turning it into alcohol. Of course, then, it's a great environment for bacteria to grow in, especially once it gets warm in the mouth. Now, not much beer remains in the mouth for hours at a time, but on the molecular level, if it's the last thing you eat or drink before you start working or get otherwise distracted, the alcohol and sugar that's left behind will promote the growth of 'bad' oral bacteria quite readily.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"Manly" Drinks & Your Dental Health - Coca-Cola


Coke is perhaps the worst possible thing that you can do to your teeth -- shy of getting into a fight with a motorcycle gang -- and it's one of those rare occasions where brushing your teeth afterwards does more harm than good. The reason why is right there in the ingredients label; phosphoric acid. That sounds like an industrial chemical instead of a food ingredient, and the fact of the matter is that it is indeed an industrial chemical.

When you drink phosphoric acid, a lot of things happen. Things deep in your intestines and in your bones and all over your body; my nutritionist tells me that a can of cola is essentially an anti-multivitamin. It actually causes your body to urinate out a whole pile of vitamins and minerals that it should otherwise have kept and used. That lack of micronutrients really does affect the health of your teeth in the long run -- but it's nothing compared to the short-term impact.

The short-term impact is that the phosphoric acid severely weakens your enamel, especially if you keep the drink in your mouth for any considerable period of time. That's why brushing your teeth after you drink Coke is a bad idea. Even a medium-hard toothbrush will literally scrub the weakened enamel away, and leave you in dire need of Dr. Johnson.

Now, we do have to put a bit of a lid on the hysteria, because we've done the research; cola will not, in fact, dissolve a tooth overnight. It takes a few weeks, and fresh-squeezed orange juice will actually do the job faster. But that doesn't mean it's necessarily safe to drink regularly if you want to avoid a trip to our office.

If you must drink a sugary, manly, bubbly drink this summer, we encourage you to check the label. If it lists any kind of acid that isn't citric, you should probably switch drinks. According to one study, root beer is generally best for your teeth if you must have a soft drink.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Just One of Many Things Men Can Learn From Women: Oral Health

We've known for years that women outlive men — and we've known for years that good oral health translates rather directly into good overall health, including a longer life. What we've found out relatively recently is that those two facts might actually be related.

A study published in the April 2011 Journal of Periodontology examined the oral health habits of men vs. women, and discovered that one of the best ways to improve your oral health habits is to have a second X chromosome. On average:
  • Men brush their teeth 1.9 times per day — women: 2.5
  • Men lose 5.4 teeth by age 72 — women: 3.2
  • 53.1% of men said they have concerns about visiting the dentist — women: 41.1%
  • 57.6% of men said they only went to the dentist when they had a toothache — women: 46.9%
  • 61.2% of men said they "brush each tooth carefully" — women: 77.7%
The list of statistics goes on and on, but the implicit truth is clear; women pay more attention to their oral health than men. While no one is saying that the extra attention they give their oral health leads directly to women's longer lifespans, it certainly has merit as a contributing factor.

Among other things, that's because oral and throat cancer (caused by gum disease) is significantly more common in men than in women. Again, there's no evidence that the difference in cancer rates is directly related to the lack of attention the average man pays to his oral health, but it's a fairly easy conclusion to draw.

Some experts have argued that the extra care women take with their teeth is largely undone by the effects that progesterone has on increasing one's vulnerability to gum disease. The ladies at Dr. Johnson's office, on the other hand, think it's an opportunity for the men in our lives — one of many ways that, if they were just a little more like us, they might be a bit better off.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In Honor of Mother's Day...

In honor of Mother's Day this month of May we would like to celebrate some important women in the history of dentistry.

Like Amalia Assur, who in 1852 became the first female dentist in Sweden; she was given special permission from the Royal Board of Health (Kongl. Sundhetskollegiets) to practice independently as a dentist, despite the fact that the profession was not legally opened to women in Sweden until 1861. The infamous Emeline Robert Jones, who in 1855 became the first woman to practice dentistry in the United States. She married the dentist Daniel Jones when she was a teenager, and became his assistant in 1855. These women and so many more helped pave the way for women's role in the field of dentistry so that in recent times, Kathleen T. O'Loughlin, of Medford, Mass., became the first female executive director of the American Dental Association in 2009.

Women have always played an important role in history and dentistry is no exception. The office of Drs. Johnson and Risbrudt are appreciative and humbled by the impact these dentists, women, and mothers have had on the field of dentistry.

Pre 20th century

  • 1523: The earliest known dental engraving, made by Lucas van Leyden in copper, depicts an itinerant dentist and his female assistant.
  • 1866: Rosalie Fougelberg became Sweden's first female dentist after the profession was opened to both genders. In
  • 1861, the dentist profession was legally opened to women in Sweden. Fougelberg tried twice to get her dentist's certificate; the second time, she was approved by the medical examiners but not by the dentistry representative. During her third try in 1866, the examination was supervised by the press. She was still turned down by the Collegium Medicum, but given a royal dispensation by the monarch, Charles XV of Sweden.
  • 1866: Lucy Hobbs Taylor became the first woman to graduate from a dental college (Ohio Dental College).
  • 1869: Henriette Hirschfeld-Tiburtius, born in Germany, became the first woman to take a full college course in dentistry, as Lucy Hobbs Taylor received credit for her time in dental practice before attending dental college. She graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery in 1869. She later returned to Germany and became the first female dentist in Germany.
  • 1874: Fanny A. Rambarger became the second American woman to earn the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1874, when she graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery. She worked in Philadelphia and limited her practice to women and children only.
  • 1886: Margarita Chorné y Salazar became the first female dentist in Mexico.
  • 1890: Ida Gray Rollins became the first African-American woman to earn a dental degree in the United States, which she earned from the University of Michigan.
  • 1892: The [American] Women's Dental Association was founded in 1892 by Mary Stillwell-Kuesel with 12 charter members. Annie T. Focht, secretary, listed 32 members in her report on March 4, 1893, and stated: "the women interested in dentistry [met] in Philadelphia in March 1892, to organize a society by which they could strengthen themselves by trying to help one another." At monthly meetings of the association essayists presented scholarly dental papers. Their mailing list grew to include about 100 female dentists. No reports of the association exist after 1898.
  • 1895: Lilian Lindsay became the first licensed female dentist in Britain. She was also a leading dental historian, and the Lindsay Society for the History of Dentistry, established in 1962 (after her death) was named for her.
  • 1898: Emma Gaudreau Casgrain earned her license to practice dentistry and thus became the first female dentist in Canada.
20th century
  • 1907: Frances Dorothy Gray became Australia's first female Bachelor of Dental Science upon graduating from the Australian College of Dentistry, University of Melbourne, in 1907.
  • 1916: Gillette Hayden became the first female president of the American Academy of Periodontology.
  • 1920: Maude Tanner became the first recorded female delegate to the American Dental Association.
  • 1921: During the annual meeting of the American Dental Association (ADA), 12 female dentists met in Milwaukee and formed the Federation of American Women Dentists, now known as the American Association of Women Dentists (AAWD). AAWD's first president, M. Evangeline Jordan, was one of the first to limit her practice to children and was a founder of pedodontics. She graduated from the University of California School of Dentistry in 1898.
  • 1923: Anita Martin became the first woman inducted into the American dental honor society Omicron Kappa Upsilon.
  • 1933: Grace Rogers Spalding was appointed the first formal editor of the [American] Journal of Periodontology, a position she held until July 1949.
  • 1946: Lilian Lindsay became the first female president of the British Dental Association.
  • 1951: Helen E. Myers of Lancaster, Pa., a 1941 graduate of Temple University, was commissioned as the U.S. Army Dental Corps’ first female dental officer in 1951.
  • 1975: On July 1, 1975, Jeanne C. Sinkford became the first female dean of an American dental school when she was appointed the dean of Howard University, School of Dentistry.
  • 1977: The American Association of Dental Schools (founded in 1923 and renamed the American Dental Education Association in 2000) had Nancy Goorey as its first female president in 1977.
  • 1988: In 1988, the American Student Dental Association elected its first female president, N. Gail McLaurin of the Medical University of South Carolina.
  • 1991: Geraldine Morrow became the first female president of the American Dental Association.
  • 1997: Hazel J. Harper became the first female president of the [American] National Dental Association.
21th century
  • 2001: Marjorie Jeffcoat became the first female editor of The Journal of the American Dental Association.
  • 2003: Rear Admiral Carol I. Turner became the first female Chief of the U.S. Navy Dental Corps.
  • 2004: Sandra Madison, of Asheville, N.C., was elected as the first female president of the American Association of Endodontists.
  • 2005: Michele Aerden became the first female president of the FDI World Dental Federation.
  • 2007: Laura Kelly became the first female president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
  • 2008: Beverly Largent, a pediatric dentist from Paducah, Ky., became the first female president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
  • 2008: Valerie Murrah became the first female president of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.
  • 2008: Paula Jones became the first female president of the Academy of General Dentistry.
  • 2008: Deborah Stymiest of Fredericton was elected as the first female president of the Canadian Dental Association.
  • 2008: Susan Bordenave-Bishop became the first female president of the Academy of Dentistry International.
Info courtesy of Wikipedia.