Fluoride Isn’t The Answer Sugar IsThe Problem

fluorideMany people use fluoride to help keep their teeth healthy and strong.  While fluoride may help strengthen teeth, what you eat is more important to the health of your teeth. An article from Dr. Mercola suggests that fluoride isn’t the answer, sugar is the problem.

Cavities are caused by the demineralization of your teeth because of acids formed by fermentation of sugars. Studies have shown that the more sugar you eat, the more chance of getting cavities, regardless of fluoride use.

In order to minimize your risk of cavities, sugar should make up no more than 3 percent of your total calorie intake. Read the full article from Dr. Mercola here: Fluoride Isn’t the Answer, Sugar Is the Problem.

Evolution Of Cosmetic Dentistry

cosmetic dentistryCosmetic dentistry is a way to make your smile as good as new.  But just like everything in medicine, it has come a long way from when it first began.  Here are some ways that cosmetic dentistry has changed over the years.

When dentists first started filling cavities, it was with gold foil.  Next came metal fillings.  Now dentists can fill your cavity with composite fillings.  These are a mix of plastic and glass and are tooth colored for a more natural appearance.

Another dental issue is missing teeth. Dentures have long been a way for people to hide their missing teeth. Bridges are another option which hide the missing tooth by suspending a crown attached to caps on the two teeth adjacent to the missing tooth. While these two options are still used, a more popular solution is the dental implant.  These are posts that are screwed into the jawbone and gums to replace a missing tooth root.  Then the part that looks just like a regular tooth is screwed in on top. Dental implants have the same cosmetic benefits of bridges but they also support the jawbone so it doesn’t deteriorate, which can sometimes be a problem with bridges and dentures.

Changes In Cosmetic Dentistry Over the Years|The Dental Geek

The Ancient Story Of Tooth Worms

tooth wormsIn the ancient times, it was a firmly believed that toothaches were due to worms that eat away the teeth right from the top to the roots. Old literature and scripts from Egypt, China, Sumeria and India are recorded proof of the fact that people at that time believed in the concept of tooth worms.

During those days dental treatment was barbaric and involved extremely painful methods for the removal of tooth worms. The most dangerous fact was that these treatment methods could endanger one’s life as well. Also, barbers were considered to be the forefathers of former dentists and they used to do work like pulling out teeth along with their profession. Here are some peculiar ways in which toothaches or tooth problems were treated during those times.

  • If the cavities were small, ancient dentists used to treat them with a smoke that was formed by low-power narcotics in an emulsion. To form the smoke iron rods were heated. This was quite a dangerous act as hot iron can pose serious injury. Another risk was the accidental inhalation of the emulsion by the patient leading to extensive respiratory injuries.
  • In some places, certain herbs were used to treat dental cavities.
  • An interesting fact was that dental cavities were a rarity in those days.
  • There was no other way to treat a tooth with a large cavity than to pull it out. Imagine a tooth being pulled out without numbing your gums properly! How breathtakingly painfully would that be! The primitive anesthetizing was mainly done through the administration of alcohol which could be a distilled type or grain type.  One or two shots of whiskey would just be enough to distract the patient but there was no provision to make the procedure painless. In some countries, dentists used opium to get the similar effect.

During those years sugar was not considered a main culprit for dental decay or cavities. People thought that teeth just became decayed at some point or another in each person’s life and nothing could be done about it. About a thousand years later, Pierre Fauchard, a dentist by profession, was the first one to bring up the fact that the story of tooth worms was a myth and had no factual information to justify its existence. He was the first one to show the world that dental decay can be avoided and is not destiny that one must succumb to. He is considered the father of modern dentistry for his praiseworthy contribution to the world of dentistry. Today, we know how a dental cavity is formed and what can cause it. Due to the advancing dental technology the concept of tooth worms remains just a fairy tale and nothing more than that!

Salivary Mucins: True Teeth Protectors

salivary mucinsOur saliva provides a unique function for our bodies. It protects our teeth. We may not have even realized how important these salivary mucins are for us. Lack of saliva produces difficulty in speech and a condition called dry mouth. Low production of saliva has serious consequences like oral ulcers and tooth decay. For those who wear dentures, the presence of optimum quantity and quality of saliva is essential. To understand the degree of severity we need to get a deeper understanding of the ways saliva works within our mouth.

  • Saliva is a clear, slightly sticky liquid and contains mostly water with a small percentage of mucins. Mucins are large glycoproteins that are responsible to give a slippery feel to saliva due to its gel like features. Recent studies have shown that these mucins protect the teeth from Streptococcus mutans (organisms known to cause tooth decay).
  • These mucins carry out their function of inhibiting the action of S. mutans in a different way. They neither kill the bacteria nor reduce the level of the bacteria. Mucins keep the bacteria suspension so that the bacteria are unable to form a biofilm on the teeth. S. mutans can function only through a biofilm as a biofilm helps the bacteria to be in constant touch with the teeth and digest tooth structure.
  • Biofilm is the term used to describe the slimy layer on the teeth that is composed of plenty of bacteria and the layer remains stuck onto the teeth surface through sticky substances secreted by the bacteria themselves. Once the bacteria are able to establish themselves on the teeth in the form of a biofilm they feed on leftover food particles and release acids in return. These acids demineralise the tooth structure and lead to cavities finally.
  • A report says that it is always ideal to enhance the immune response of the body rather than going for external applications of sealants or fluorides.
  • It has been found out that diseases like asthama, cystic fibrosis or ulcerative colitis have a strong link with problems related to mucin production. This is because mucins play a very critical role in the maintenance of healthy oral microbiota.

With all the above mentioned findings, it has been clear that salivary mucins are not simply particles that provide the gel-like consistency to saliva. They have the potential to influence the behavior of oral microbes.

Pain Free Fillings!

pain free fillingsIf you are anything like me, when your dentist tells you that you have a cavity that needs a filling you probably want to run for the door. But scientists have developed a new method of pain free fillings!  It allows cavities to be repaired without the drilling or injections.

This scientific technology called Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation (EAER) was developed at King’s College in London. It encourages the teeth to repair themselves by accelerating the natural movement of calcium and phosphate minerals into the damaged tooth.  This technology should be available within three years. Tooth decay is normally removed by drilling the decay from the tooth and replacing it with material such as amalgam or composite resin.

This sounds like my kind of dental filling!  Read more about it here: No More Fillings As Dentists Reveal New Tooth Decay Treatment|The Guardian.