Dentist Studies Link Between Vitamin D and Fewer Dental Cavities

Dentist Studies Link Between Vitamin D and Fewer Dental CavitiesA new study review by Dr. Philippe Hujoel of the University of Washington in Seattle reveals a link between vitamin D and a 50% reduction in the incidence of dental cavities among approximately 3,000 children ages 2 – 16.

According to United Press International, the study review included clinical trials from the 1920s to the 1980s on approximately 3,000 children between the ages of 2 and 16, from United States, Britain, Canada, Austria, New Zealand, and Sweden.

The review showed that vitamin D was associated with decreased levels of tooth decay.

The UPI further states that the American Medical Association and the U.S. National Research Council concluded around 1950 that vitamin D was beneficial in managing dental cavities. However, the American Dental Association disagreed based on the same evidence. In 1989, the National Research Council, despite new evidence supporting vitamin D’s cavities-fighting benefits, called the issue “unresolved.”

Dr. Hujoel told Medical Daily, “My main goal was to summarize the clinical trial database so that we could take a fresh look at this vitamin D question. Whether this is more than just a coincidence is open to debate. In the meantime, pregnant women or young mothers can do little harm by realizing that vitamin D is essential to their offspring’s health. Vitamin D does lead to teeth and bones that are better mineralized. One has to be careful with the interpretation of this systematic review. The trials had weaknesses which could have biased the result, and most of the trial participants lived in an era that differs profoundly from today’s environment.”

Dentists, what are your thoughts on vitamin D and tooth decay?

For more on this story see: Vitamin D Helps Prevent Tooth Decay

Oldest Dental Filling Ever Uncovered is Beeswax

Oldest Dental Filling Ever Uncovered is BeeswaxDentists have used composite, gold, ceramic, and amalgam for dental fillings, but beeswax?

Scientists have uncovered a 6500-year-old human jawbone with a tooth that has what appears to be cavity covered by beeswax.

The jawbone was discovered last century in a cave in Slovenia and the research group report that radiocarbon dating places the jawbone in the Stone Age.

Researchers Federico Bernardini and Claudio Tuniz of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Italy, along with Alfredo Coppa, Lucia Mancini, Diego Dreossi, Diane Eichert, Gianluca Turco, Matteo Biasotto, Filippo Terrasi, Nicola De Cesare, Quan Hua, and Vladimir Levchenko published their findings in the open access journal PLoS ONE on September 19.

The report states that with the use of different analytical techniques, including synchrotron radiation computed micro-tomography (micro-CT), Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating, Infrared (IR) Spectroscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), has shown that the exposed area of dentine resulting from occlusal wear and the upper part of a vertical crack affecting enamel and dentin tissues were filled with beeswax shortly before or after the individual’s death. (PLos ONE)

The beeswax filling is significant because prior to this discovery there has been no published evidence on the use of therapeutic-palliative substances in prehistoric dentistry.

“The jawbone remained in the museum for 101 years without anybody noticing anything strange,” says Claudio Tuniz at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste. That was until Tuniz and his colleague Federico Bernardini happened to use the specimen to test new X-ray imaging equipment, and spotted some unusual material attached to a canine, reports New Scientist Life.

The scientists hypothesize that due to the exposed dentin and possibly the vertical crack, the tooth probably became very sensitive, limiting the functionality of the jaw during occlusion. The occlusal surface could have been filled with beeswax in an attempt to reduce the pain sealing exposed dentin tubules and the fracture from changes in osmotic pressure (as occurs on contact with sugar) and temperature (hot or cold relative to the oral cavity). The binding properties of beeswax could have been increased by the probable presence of honey, one of the main ingredients of external applications used in ancient Egypt to fix loose teeth or to reduce the tooth pain. (PLos ONE)

Since 3D imaging was used to discover the filing, it will be interesting to see how this technology will help dentists diagnose dental problems at their earliest stages.

What are your thoughts on this discovery? 

To read the full research article, see Beeswax as Dental Filling on a Neolithic Human Tooth on PLos ONE.

Science Friday: Will Dentists See The End to Cavities in Their Lifetime?

Science Friday: Will Dentists See The End to Cavities in Their Lifetime?Dentists may see the end to cavities in their lifetime.

At least this is what researchers José Córdoba from Yale University and Erich Astudillo from the University of Chile are hoping will happen.

These two researchers have uncovered a new molecule that kills the bacteria that causes cavities in just 60 seconds.

The new molecule is named Keep 32, after the 32 teeth in the human mouth.

Córdoba and Astudillo report that the molecule can be added to dental care products, telling Diario Financiero Online, “The molecule can not only be incorporated into a gum, but in products like toothpastes, mouthwashes, dental floss, candies, lollipops, dental night gel and others who items that can be kept inside the mouth for at least 60 seconds.”

The 60 second time frame is what’s needed to kill all the Streptococcus Mutans bacteria. The Strep-Mutans bacteria converts sugar in the mouth to lactic acid which eats away at tooth enamel.

Reasearchers remain optomistic, with having completed seven years of successful testing and are now set to start human trials. They further hope that products will be available on the consumer market in about 14 to 18 months if everything continues as planned.

Studies have revealed that more than 1/4 of U.S. children between ages 2 and 5 suffer from severe tooth decay with no end in sight for this trend, but if dentists can get these at-risk kids to at least chew a special gum after they eat, they may be able to reverse the cavity epidemic in pediatric dental care.

Dentists, do you think you will see the end to cavities in your lifetime?

For more on this story see: Can “Keep 32” Chemical Keep You Cavity-free?

Science Friday: Will Better Cavity Filling Technology Make Dental Implants Obsolete?

Will Better Cavity Filling Technology Make Dental Implants Obsolete?Will dental implants be a thing of the past with the help of new dental technologies?

The University of Maryland School of Dentistry has announced that scientists using nanotechology have created the first cavity-filling composite that kills harmful bacteria and regenerates tooth structure lost to bacterial decay, as reported by Newswire.

“Rather than just limiting tooth decay with conventional fillings, the new composite is a revolutionary dental weapon to control harmful bacteria, which co-exist in the natural colony of microorganisms in the mouth,” says professor Huakun (Hockin) Xu, PhD, MS.

“Tooth decay means that the mineral content in the tooth has been dissolved by the organic acids secreted by bacteria residing in biofilms or plaques on the tooth surface. These organisms convert carbohydrates to acids that decrease the minerals in the tooth structure,” says Xu, director of the Division of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering in the School’s Department of Endodontics, Prosthodontics and Operative Dentistry.

After a dentist drills out a decayed tooth, the cavity still contains residual bacteria. Xu says it is not possible for a dentist to remove all the damaged tissue, so it’s important to neutralize the harmful effects of the bacteria, which is just what the new nanocomposites are able to do.

The researchers also have built antibacterial agents into primer used first by dentists to prepare a drilled-out cavity and into adhesives that dentists spread into the cavity to make a filling stick tight to the tissue of the tooth.

“The reason we want to get the antibacterial agents also into primers and adhesives is that these are the first things that cover the internal surfaces of the tooth cavity and flow into tiny dental tubules inside the tooth,” says Xu. The main reason for failures in tooth restorations and secondary caries or decay at the restoration margins. “Applying the new primer and adhesive will kill the residual bacteria,” he says.

Fillings made from the School of Dentistry’s new nanocomposite, with antibacterial primer and antibacterial adhesive, should last longer than the typical five to 10 years, though the scientists have not thoroughly tested longevity. Xu says a key component of the new nanocomposite and nano-structured adhesive is calcium phosphate nanoparticles that regenerate tooth minerals. The antibacterial component has a base of quaternary ammonium and silver nanoparticles along with a high pH.

The alkaline pH limits acid production by tooth bacteria.

“The bottom line is we are continuing to improve these materials and making them stronger in their antibacterial and remineralizing capacities as well as increasing their longevity,” Xu says.

The new dental products have been laboratory tested using biofilms from saliva of volunteers. The Xu team is planning to next test its products in animal teeth and in human volunteers in collaboration with the Federal University of Ceara in Brazil.

The University of Maryland has patents pending on the nanocomposite and the primer and adhesive technologies, according to Nancy Cowger, PhD, licensing officer with the University’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT).

Licensing opportunities are available, she says, and potential development partners are invited to contact the OTT at www.ord.umaryland.edu/ott

Source: Dental Fillings That Kill Bacteria and Re-Mineralize the Tooth

Dentists Reveal Alarming Cavity Problem Among Preschool Children

Dentists Reveal Alarming Cavity Problem Among Preschool ChildrenDentists across the U.S. are reporting an increase in young dental patients with cavities.

Some dentists feel that this increase is due to parents skipping children’s regular dental appointments during tight economic times and not pushing young children to brush their teeth after each meal, or at least twice a day.

But could this possibly be linked to a reduction, or lack of fluoridated water beyond regular oral hygiene?

The CDC reports that over 19% of children ages 2-19 have untreated cavities — the first increase in 40 years, with the largest increase in the number of preschoolers with cavities since the last study completed five years ago.

The New York Times recently reported that dentists nationwide say they are seeing more preschoolers at all income levels with 6 to 10 cavities or more. The level of decay, they added, is so severe that they often recommend using general anesthesia because young children are unlikely to sit through such extensive procedures while they are awake.

Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, a pediatric dentist in Augusta, Me. told the New York Times, “I have parents tell me all the time, ‘No one told us when to go to the dentist, when we should start using fluoride toothpaste’ — all this basic information to combat the No. 1 chronic disease in children.”

Dentists believe there are several contributing factors to the increase in tooth decay: lack of regular, enforced tooth brushing, too many sweetened juices without brushing, regular visits to the dentist starting when the child is 1, and parents who are choosing bottled water over fluoridated tap water.

The Times article features an image of the surgical wing of the Center for Pediatric Dentistry at Seattle Children’s Hospital with 30-month-old Devon Koester.  Eleven, of his twenty baby teeth are being treated due to cavities.

NBC’s chief medical editor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman spoke to the tooth decay problem on the “Today” show. She said that too much sugar, lack of regular brushing, and drinking bottled water instead of regular old tap water has exacerbated the problem.

Dr. Snyderman offers the following report on tooth decay in children’s teeth —


The American Dental Association offers the following tips for parents with babies, Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers —

  • After each feeding, clean the baby’s gums with a clean wet gauze pad or washcloth.
  • When teeth start to appear, brush them with a child’s size toothbrush and plain water.
  • At the direction of your dentist, some children under two may benefit from the use of fluoride toothpaste. Look for toothbrushes that carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance.  They have been evaluated by the ADA for safety and effectiveness.
  • Begin flossing when at least two teeth begin to touch.
  • Start dental visits by the child’s first birthday. Make visits regularly. If you think your child has dental problems, take the child to the dentist as soon as possible.
  • Brush teeth of children over age two with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and make sure to floss daily. Look for toothpastes that carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance. They have been evaluated by the ADA for safety and effectiveness.
  • Children should be supervised while brushing to keep them from swallowing the toothpaste.

Dentists, what has been your experience? Have you seen an increase in young children with severe cavity problems?

What do you think are the reasons behind this growing dental care trend?

For more on this story see: Preschoolers in Surgery for a Mouthful of Cavities

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