Today's Dental News

Scientists Discover Methods Bacteria Use to Cause Cavities, Invade Heart

Scientists may have made a breakthrough discovery regarding cavity-causing bacteria and the impact it has on the heart. With this information, there may be some kind of test—using saliva or a cheek swab—to determine a patient’s susceptibility to endocarditis, a lethal, bacteria-causing infection of the heart.

The June issue of Infection explains how the Streptococcus mutans gains entry into the heart tissue. These bacteria inhabit dental plaque, and eventually maintain a place in the oral cavity while eroding teeth.

The bacteria generally stay in the mouth, but there are cases in which it enters the bloodstream during a dental procedure or while flossing. The immune system eradicates the bacteria most of the time, but it’s possible for the bacteria to move onto the heart tissue. If the result is inflamed heart valves, the condition may be fatal.

Read more: Scientists Discover Methods Bacteria Use to Cause Cavities, Invade Heart

 

Colleges in Florida Look to Open Dental Schools

More colleges want to start dental schools in Florida.

The University of Florida is the only college in the state with a dental school as of now, but at least three other schools want to start their own.

The Board of Governors for the State University System listened to a report recently that indicates that there will be enough new dentists beginning their careers through 2050 to make more dental schools worthwhile. There could be around 3,000 new dentists in Florida per decade to offset any possible costs.

The issue is that many of Florida’s dentists are located in south Florida, not necessarily the panhandle or other parts of the state. The rest of the state is where the need exists for more dentists.

Read more: Colleges in Florida Look to Open Dental Schools

   

Hospital Stays May Hurt Oral Health

Patients who remain in hospitals for extended periods of time may have something else to worry about.

New studies show that a person’s dental health declines during prolonged periods in the hospital. The information indicates that oral diseases, such as gingivitis, are even seen in some cases. To be more specific, when people are hospitalized for any kind of breathing issue, that’s when the numbers of declining dental health are at their highest.

The research for the study was conducted in four countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and France. Five studies were combined to generate this information, and all of the data was similar.

Read more: Hospital Stays May Hurt Oral Health

   

DNA Tests Could Help Prevent Gum Disease

A new study by the University of Michigan’s School of Dentistry is using DNA to predict gum disease.

Gum disease impacts roughly 19 out 20 people at some point throughout their life. The best way to avoid it is by following basic oral hygiene procedures.

The University of Michigan School of Dentistry will study the DNA of about 4,000 volunteers over the course of a year.

In some places like Great Britain, these types of DNA tests are unpopular because insurance companies could look down upon a poor DNA test and raise rates as a result. Americans, however, don’t have to worry about these issues because of the Genetic Information, Nondiscrimination Act, which prohibits these practices.

Read more: DNA Tests Could Help Prevent Gum Disease

   

Fluoride May Damage Nervous System

Ingesting fluoride over long periods of time could damage one’s health, especially the nervous system, according to a study published in Neurologia.

This study enhances the case of the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation. Still, this information is not viewed as fact by all people who study fluoride.

Based on this study, children should avoid toothpaste that contains fluoride because children are more susceptible to the possible harmful effects than adults are. The information also indicates that the harm could take as many as two decades or longer to take effect.

Read more: Fluoride May Damage Nervous System

   

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