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

Dental Implant Success Depends on Oral Surgeon and Patient

Dental Implant Success Depends on Oral Surgeon and PatientThe Journal of Oral Implantology has released the findings of a 10-year study evaluating the success of implant-supported, fixed complete dentures.

According to the Journal, the aim of the study was to evaluate the predictability of the immediate loading protocol with fast bone regeneration (FBR)-coated implants placed in postextractive sites in the maxilla, considering the success rate after at least 5 years of follow-up.

The clinical and radiographic results were evaluated in terms of soft tissue conditions and crestal bone loss values. 158 dental implants were inserted following dental extraction in 70 consecutively operated patients.

Each implant was immediately prosthesized. Data was collected before surgical planning, at the time of insertion, and after 3 and 5 years of occlusal loading.

The study, “Long-Term Results of Immediately Loaded Fast Bone Regeneration–Coated Implants Placed in Fresh Extraction Sites in the Upper Jaw” revealed that certain characteristics of both the patient and the oral surgeon performing the procedure determined the success rate of the dental implant procedures.

Two dental patient risk factors increased the likelihood of dental implant failure: bruxism and diabetes. Implant failure occurred in 29% of the patients with bruxizm and over 28% of the patients with diabetes. Higher implant failures also occurred with newer oral surgeons who had performed 50 implant procedures or less. Interestingly, the effect of smoking was not a risk factor in the study.

The use of immediately loaded FBR-coated implants in fresh extraction sockets is shown to be a predictable technique if implants are inserted in selected cases and positioned with great care, following thorough preoperative analysis. (American Academy of Implant Dentistry).

The study reported a 90% success rate for implant-supported fixed dentures.

To review the report see: American Academy of Implant Dentistry

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.

Dentists: Is There a Relationship Between Children’s IQ and Fluoride?

Is There a Relationship Between Children's IQ and FluorideWhile Portland, Oregon, the second-largest city in the country without fluoride in the water, is considering adding fluoride to their water supply, a Harvard study has been published stating that fluoride impacts children’s neurodevelopment.

The objective of the Harvard study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies to investigate the effects of increased fluoride exposure and delayed neurobehavioral development.

The researchers searched the MEDLINE, EMBASE, Water Resources Abstracts, and TOXNET databases through 2011 for eligible studies. They also searched the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) database, as many oral health studies on fluoride neurotoxicity have been published in Chinese journals only.

Lead author Anna Choi, research scientist in the Department of Environmental Health at HSPH, states, “Although fluoride may cause neurotoxicity in animal models and acute fluoride poisoning causes neurotoxicity in adults, very little is known of its effects on children’s neurodevelopment.”

In total, the study identified 27 eligible epidemiological studies with high and reference exposures, endpoints of IQ scores or related cognitive function measures with means and variances for the two exposure groups.

The results of their study reveals that the standardized weighted mean difference in IQ score between exposed and reference populations was -0.45 (95% CI -0.56 to -0.35) using a random-effects model. Thus, children in high fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low fluoride areas. Subgroup and sensitivity analyses also indicated inverse associations, although the substantial heterogeneity did not appear to decrease.

The study reviewed data based on exposure to high water fluoride levels — not levels found in U.S. drinking water, which is less than 1 part per million.

The study was published online in Environmental Health Perspectives on July 20, 2012.

Dentists, do you think there is a relationship between cognitive function and fluoride?

(Source: Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis)

Dentists: BPA is Back Making Front Page Dental News Again

BPA in Children is Making Front Page Dental NewsBisphenol A (also known as BPA), a chemical used in lightweight plastics, dental sealants and dental fillings is back making news headlines once again.

First, the federal government announced this month that baby bottles and sippy cups can no longer contain BPA.

This was followed by reports from a new study stating that children getting dental fillings made with BPA are more likely to have behavior and emotional problems later in life.

The study, as reported in Pediatrics Online, “makes a strong case that in the short-term, use of BPA-containing dental materials should be minimized,” asserts Philip Landrigan, director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

The researchers in the study tracked 534 children with cavities from when each child received their first dental fillings. Over the following 5 years, the researchers noted that those children who had cavities filled with a composite material containing traces of BPA consistently scored 2 – 6 points less on 100-point behavior assessments than those who didn’t have fillings.

As reported in Science News, the researchers never administered clinical diagnostic behavioral tests to the children.

Instead, they periodically administered some widely used checklists to the children or their parents, allowing each to self-assess features such as a child’s attitudes toward teachers or others, depression, self-esteem, attention problems, delinquent behaviors, acting-out or problems with attentiveness.

Since the children were 6-12 years old at the time, these type of behaviors are not uncommon for children living with a variety of circumstances like divorce, bullying, and problems at home.

However researchers argue that the behavior problems being reported seemed to happen more with the children who had BPA fillings, causing them to believe that some dental fillings may start to break down over time, thus exposing these children to the chemical.

The U.S. government is currently spending $30 million on its own BPA research to determine the chemical’s health effects on humans.

As a dentist, what are your thoughts on the use of BPA?

For more on this story see: Putting BPA-based Dental Fillings in Perspective 


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