Today's Dental News

Healthy Gums May Lead to Healthy Lungs

Maintaining periodontal health may contribute to a healthy respiratory system, according to research published in the Journal of Periodontology. A new study suggests that periodontal disease may increase the risk for respiratory infections, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia. These infections, which are caused when bacteria from the upper throat are inhaled into the lower respiratory tract, can be severely debilitating and are one of the leading causes of death in the US.

The study included 200 participants between the ages of 20 and 60 with at least 20 natural teeth. Half of the participants were hospitalized patients with a respiratory disease such as pneumonia, COPD, or acute bronchitis, and the other half were healthy control subjects with no history of respiratory disease. Each participant underwent a comprehensive oral evaluation to measure periodontal health status.

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Canadians Head to Mexico for Dental Procedures

LOS ALGODONES, Mexico—When Bernardo Magana arrived in Los Algodones as a young dentist in 1969, he was the only dentist in town. Today this sun-drenched community of 4,000, just across the border from Yuma, Arizona, has what is likely the highest density of dentists in the world. There are more than 200 dental clinics in town and their nearly wall-to-wall billboards and barkers colorfully promote their services.

People flock to the town—nicknamed Molar City—from all across Canada and the United States for one reason only: The dental services are significantly cheaper than in their hometowns.

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Tongue Piercings Worse With Metal

While metal tongue studs may have more flash than piercings made of plastic, a mouthful of steel also harbors more bacteria, researchers report in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Adolescent Medicine.

The study is the latest addition to a slew of reports suggesting that metal tongue studs can cause infections, damage gums and chip teeth.

Physician Ines Kapferer of the Innsbruck Medical University in Austria and colleagues identified 68 women and 12 men, average age of 23 years, who had tongue piercings with studs inserted. The researchers examined tooth and gum health in each volunteer and removed the studs. The volunteers were then randomly assigned to get a new stud made of stainless steel, titanium, polypropylene (a plastic polymer) or polytetrafluorethylene (Teflon). After two weeks, the scientists removed those studs and took swabs of the tongue, the piercing canal and each stud itself.

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Bone-loss Medication Affects Dental Health

Since the 1990s, a class of drugs called bisphosphonates has been used to prevent the loss of bone mass—also known as osteoporosis. Although these drugs do a miraculous job of slowing one’s natural bone deterioration, they are associated with an undesirable side effect related to the teeth and jawbone.

Bone, like the rest of the body, undergoes constant turnover—much like our hair or skin. As we grow older, the process of bone breakdown outpaces bone formation, causing our bones to become more porous and fragile and prone to breakage.

The role of bisphosphonates is to slow down the process of bone breakdown. The most common brand-name drugs used for these conditions are: Fosamax, Bonivia, Bonefos, Aredia, Acronel, Actonel, Zometa, Aclasta, Didronel, Skelid, and Loron.

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US Marshals Seize Dental Devices From Florida Manufacturer

US Marshals, acting under a court order sought by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on Jan. 5 and 6, seized all dental devices from Rite-Dent Manufacturing Corporation, located in Hialeah, Fla.

The seizure of dentistry products valued at $208,910 follows an FDA inspection that found significant deficiencies in the company’s manufacturing processes that may affect the safety and effectiveness of the products.

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