Squid ink and lasers at the dentist

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a method that uses squid ink to check for gum disease. This strange technique requires a patient to gargle a concoction of food-grade squid ink, water and cornstarch. Lasers are then shined into the mouth causing the dense concentration of melanin nanoparticles to swell which creates differences in pressure within gum pockets. Ultrasound then accurately creates a visual map of your mouth and the depth of the gum pockets reveals the health of your gums.

While strange to think of gargling squid ink at your next dental appointment, this advancement is painless and can give dentists much better information about your mouth.

Source: Futurism.com

Salami is good for your teeth

Salami isn’t known as a health food but apparently along with butter and soft cheeses it might be good for our oral hygiene.

According to dentist Dr Steven Lin, good dental nutrition is more important than toothpaste. On his website he wrote that teeth were living organs that required proper nutrition to regenerate and maintain healthy levels of enamel and dentin, and that without proper nutrition teeth would struggle to stay intact. Only through getting the right nutrients, vitamins, and minerals could teeth continue to regenerate throughout your life.

‘Vitamins, minerals, and enzymes find their way to the outer layers of your teeth from the inner pulp through the dentin in tiny routes called, dentinal tubules. When you have sufficient vitamins and minerals, your teeth with naturally regenerate and remain strong and healthy,’ says Dr Lin. ‘But when you aren’t getting the right nutrients, the bacteria and acid in your mouth begin to overcome the healing process and breakdown down your teeth faster than they can regenerate.’

Dr Lin also stated that it wasn’t just sugar that caused cavities – it was also the lack of tooth-strengthening nutrients as teeth weren’t quick to heal naturally as soft organs such as the skin and liver. The slow healing process meant that once you started down the path to tooth enamel loss, it was a lot harder to stop and reverse.

So what foods can improve our dental health?

Cheese, eggs, butter, salami – vitamin K2
Calcium is crucial for healthy, strong bones but without vitamin K2, it can end up going to the wrong places. Vitamin K2, Dr Lin says, ‘like the traffic cop for your calcium, telling it where and when to go’. ‘And if you have vitamin K2 deficiency, your calcium ends up on your arteries and kidneys instead of helping to rebuild your teeth. It’s a key vitamin in the dental-heart connection.’

Spinach, broccoli, nuts – vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant which helps keep the mouth microbiome healthy and keeps bacteria at bay.

Mushrooms, oily fish – vitamin D
Dr Lin says vitamin D is ‘probably one of the most important vitamins for your teeth’ because it’s responsible for keeping our bones strong. ‘In a review of 24 clinical trials, examining the connection between vitamin D and tooth decay found that vitamin D reduces dental cavities. ‘Also, there’s actually a little immune system within your teeth, called your odontoblasts, which needs vitamin D to be activated. Your odontoblasts are the cells of your teeth that produce dentin and are vital to tooth regeneration.’ He recommends getting at least 2,000 IU of vitamin D a day – the equivalent of 20 minutes in the sun. You can also by vitamin D sprays which are useful in the winter.

Liver, milk, eggs – vitamin A
Vitamin A is necessary for saliva production which protects the teeth from harmful bacteria.

Source: Metro

Alzheimer’s disease drug fixes cavities and regrows teeth

Dental fillings may soon be a thing of the past thanks to a drug being developed and trialed to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Tideglusib works by stimulating stem cells in the pulp of teeth, the source of new dentine. Dentine is the mineralized substance beneath tooth enamel that gets eaten away by tooth decay.

Teeth can naturally regenerate dentine without assistance, but only under certain circumstances. The pulp must be exposed through infection (such as decay) or trauma to prompt the manufacture of dentine. But even then, the tooth can only regrow a very thin layer naturally—not enough to repair cavities caused by decay, which are generally deep. Tideglusib changes this outcome because it turns off the GSK-3 enzyme, which stops dentine from forming.

The research team inserted small, biodegradable sponges made of collagen soaked in Tideglusib into cavities. The sponges triggered dentine growth and within six weeks, the damage was repaired. The collagen structure of the sponges melted away, leaving only the intact tooth.

King’s College London Dental Institute Professor and lead author Paul Sharpe told The Telegraph, “Using a drug that has already been tested in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease provides a real opportunity to get this dental treatment quickly into clinics. The simplicity of our approach makes it ideal as a clinical dental product for the natural treatment of large cavities, by providing both pulp protection and restoring dentine.”

Source: Futurism

A vaccine to prevent tooth decay is being developed

Researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIOV) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences are working on a vaccine that could help protect teeth against dental decay.

The jab offers a dose of proteins that are effective at removing build-ups of plaque responsible for cavities. Early trials show it to be 64% effective – meaning people would still have to brush their teeth twice a day to avoid a trip to the dentist’s chair.

It offers hope of a ‘fantastic’ answer for preventing or even reversing cavities, which strike a third of adults, according to figures. The researchers said the vaccine would be welcomed in Western countries, where teeth-rotting sugar is consumed heavily.

The research team said the vaccine is still several years away from undergoing clinical tests but experts are excited. Dr Richard Marques, a Harley Street dentist said, ‘This sounds like a fantastic development in dentistry. Preventing tooth decay through vaccination would totally change the dental situation of many children and adults around the world. Dental decay is such a problem and a drain on healthcare resources so this has the potential to transform dental healthcare.’

A Global Problem

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), dental carries remains a major health problem in most industrialized countries despite recent advances in oral healthcare. Some 60 to 90 percent of schoolchildren, as well as adults, are known to suffer from dental caries, so clearly, a huge number of people could benefit from a vaccine that prevents their formation.

Source: Futurism and Daily Mail

Aspirin could reverse tooth decay

Aspirin could reverse the effects of tooth decay by triggering teeth to self-repair. According to researchers at Queen’s University Belfast, Aspirin helps form new dentine, the hard tooth structure that is usually damaged by decay.

Principal investigator Dr El Karim said: ‘There is huge potential to change our approach to one of the biggest dental challenges we face. Our initial research findings in the laboratory suggest that the use of aspirin, a drug already licensed for human use, could offer an immediate innovative solution enabling our teeth to repair themselves.’

How does aspirin self-repair teeth?
Tooth decay occurs when acid from within the mouth dissolves the enamel and dentine of the teeth causing holes or cavities to form. The acid is produced by bacteria that are found within the plaque – a sticky and thin film – that builds up on our the teeth. When we eat sugar it interacts with the bacteria within the plaque to produce this destructive acid. If the plaque is allowed to build up, the acid can begin to break down the surface of your tooth, causing holes known as cavities.

The cavity begins to eat away at the second level of tooth material that lies beneath the enamel: the dentin. Tooth decay can lead to tooth abscesses, which may result in the tooth having to be removed. A filling can still be used to stop the onslaught of bacteria assaulting the tooth in order to prevent the cavity from reaching the tooth’s most critical component: the pulp. However, most fillings eventually fail and may need to be replaced many times during the life time of the tooth. Amalgam types typically last 10 to 15 years and less robust – but aesthetically pleasing – composite-resin fillings, or tooth-coloured fillings, usually last up to seven years.

The new research findings, which were presented at the British Society for Oral and Dental Research Annual Conference in Plymouth, found that low-dose aspirin ‘significantly increased’ the rebuilding of minerals which restores strength and function. It also stimulated existing stem cells in the tooth to regenerate the damaged tooth structure. Dr El Karim said the next step will be to test the drug effectiveness on tooth decay in clinical trials.

Source: Daily Mail

Are you brushing your teeth properly?

Despite most of us thinking that we’re brushing our teeth correctly or flossing frequently enough, dentist visits are often full of surprises. Irritation, cavities, gingivitis ― the list of our maladies goes on and on.

Jessica Hilburg, DDS and associate dean for clinical affairs at the NYU College of Dentistry, believes it should take two minutes to brush your whole mouth ― 30 seconds for top teeth surfaces that face the lip and cheek, 30 seconds for top teeth inside surfaces and same for bottom teeth. Hillburg said, “Sometimes people forget to brush the insides of their teeth, the surfaces that face the tongue and the palate. Food and plaque can buildup in these areas so it’s just as important to brush there as it is on the front of our teeth where we can easily see.”

Watch the video below to see how it’s recommended to brush twice a day.

As to when you should brush your teeth Dr Richard Marques, a leading UK dentist said, “You should wait at least 30 minutes after eating to brush the teeth, otherwise the acid can damage the tooth surface. Brushing before bed is really important, as otherwise the food can sit against the surface of the teeth and cause them to decay overnight.”

Source: Huffpost and the Independent

Popular denture adhesive triggers neurological disorder in man

A 62-year-old ex-mechanic lost feeling in both legs after wearing ill-fitting dentures for 15 years.

The unidentified Scottish patient used four tubes of denture fixative containing zinc each week to glue them down but this triggered a rare neurological disorder which left him housebound because of the numbness, pain and weakness in his legs.

The man is in a wheelchair due to the damage, which doctors think may be irreversible – although his symptoms have died down. He was referred to a neurology clinic after developing numbness, pain and weakness in his legs and the symptoms which lasted for six months stopped him from leaving the house and left him reliant on a walking stick. He was then given an MRI scan which revealed spinal cord abnormalities, doctors said in BMJ Case Reports.

The diagnosis
After several tests at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, he was eventually diagnosed with copper deficiency myelopathy (CMD) – caused by his excessive use of Fixodent, a popular denture adhesive. The neurological disorder can sometimes cause loss of feeling and a numbing sensation in the arms and legs. In rare cases, excess zinc intake can interfere with the absorption of copper, leading to neurological problems.

The man was advised to stop using the fixative and given copper supplements to treat his symptoms. However, he didn’t recover completely and doctors warned irreversible nerve damage may be a consequence of a delayed diagnosis of CDM.

Writing in the journal, doctors said: ‘Prompt recognition and treatment… may have prevented any irreversible neurological deficit.’

Source: The Mail

10 Strange Uses for Denture Tablets

01 Bring back your diamond’s sparkle
Has your diamond ring lost its sparkle? Drop a denture tablet into a glass of water and follow that with your ring or diamond earrings. Wait a few minutes then remove your jewelry and rinse to reveal the old sparkle and shine.

02 Vanish mineral deposits on glass
Fresh flowers often leave a ring on your glass vases that seems impossible to remove no matter how hard you scrub. Fill the vase with water and drop in a denture tablet. When the fizzing has stopped, all of the mineral deposits will be gone.

03 Clean a coffeemaker
Hard water leaves mineral deposits in the tank of your electric drip coffeemaker that not only slows the perking but also affects the taste of your brew. Denture tablets will fizz away these deposits and give the tank a bacterial clean-out too. The tablets were designed to clean and disinfect dentures, and they’ll do the same job on your coffeemaker. Drop two denture tablets in the tank and fill it with water. Run the coffeemaker. Discard that potful of water and follow up with one or two rinse cycles with clean water.

04 Clean your toilet
Looking for a way to make the toilet sparkle again? Porcelain fixtures respond to the cleaning agent in denture tablets. Here’s a solution that does the job in the twinkling of an eye. Drop a denture tablet in the bowl. Wait about 20 minutes and flush. That’s it!

05 Clean enamel cookware
Stains on enamel cookware are a natural for the denture tablet cleaning solution. Fill the pot or pan with warm water and drop in a denture tablet or two, depending on its size. Wait a bit — once the fizzing has stopped, your cookware will be clean.

06 Unclog a drain
Slow drain got you down? Reach for the denture tablets. Drop a couple of denture tablets into the drain and run water until the problem clears. For a more stubborn clog, drop 3 tablets down the sink, follow that with 1 cup white vinegar, and wait a few minutes. Now run hot water in the drain until the clog is gone.

07 Remove Tomato Stains
Easily banish tomato stains from your plastic food storage containers. Just fill each stained container with water, drop a denture tablet in and allow them to soak overnight. It’ll lift the stains better than anything else you’ve tried.

08 Clean your shower head
Mineral deposits clog the nozzles on your shower head over time, resulting in a less intense spray. For an easy fix, just fill a plastic bag with water, add in a denture tablet and then fix around your shower head with an elastic band. Allow it to soak for several hours so the mineral deposits have a chance to soften up. Remove the bag and give your shower head a quick scrub with a firm brush to remove any remaining gunk.

09 Clean retainers or mouthguards
Put a cup of warm water in a glass and add one denture tablet. Add the retainer/mouthguard and let it soak for about 10 minutes. Remove and rinse thoroughly.

10 Whiten your nails
Pop a denture tablet into a glass of water and soak your fingers for five minutes to brighten and whiten your nails.

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