Today's Dental News

Genetic Link for Tooth Decay

A study in the Journal of Dental Research examined families’ biological samples and demographic data and clinically assessed the health of their mouth, including the amount of dental decay.

There are numerous known factors that cause tooth decay, including the bacteria in the mouth, dental care routines, diet, the structure of the teeth, fluoride, salivary flow and the makeup of saliva. But now it seems that we should consider our taste genes, too.

Previous studies have considered the influence of genetics on taste preference and dietary habits. Taste Genes Associated with Dental Caries (published in the Journal of Dental Research) takes that discussion one step further, suggesting that genetic variation in taste pathway genes could be connected with an individual’s risk of suffering from tooth decay.

Read more: Genetic Link for Tooth Decay


Trick to Choosing the Best Halloween Treats

When it comes to Halloween candy, even if it’s costumed as a healthier choice (think chocolate-covered granola bars), nutrition experts say: Boooooo.

“The bottom line is that no candy is good for you,” says registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, author of The Flexitarian Diet. “I don’t care if it has one extra gram of fiber or protein. What we’re talking about is indulgence, enjoyment, and empty calories. Enjoy the gluttony of the season, but maybe not for too long—just for a couple days or a week.”

Still, not all candies are equally bad. A snack-size Reese’s Caramel Cup will cost you 100 calories, compared to 25 for a pack of Smarties. Sugar-free gum (no, it won’t make you popular) protects against tooth decay, while hard and sticky candies increase that risk. And Skittles and Caramel Twix have more sugar than Milky Way and Baby Ruth bars.

Read more: Trick to Choosing the Best Halloween Treats


Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids May Lower Incidence of Gum Disease

Periodontitis, a common inflammatory disease in which gum tissue separates from teeth, leads to accumulation of bacteria and potential bone and tooth loss. Although traditional treatments concentrate on the bacterial infection, more recent strategies target the inflammatory response. In an article in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers from Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health found that dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) like fish oil, known to have anti-inflammatory properties, shows promise for the effective treatment and prevention of periodontitis.

Read more: Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids May Lower Incidence of Gum Disease


Halloween Candy, Frequency, Not Amount, Raises Cavity Risk

Halloween can present a very scary time of year for any parent concerned about their child’s oral health, since kids will probably come home with that big haul of candy from trick or treating. But should you let them immediately gorge themselves on the candy and get it out of their system?

Temple University pediatric dentist Mark Helpin thinks that might not be such a bad idea.

“The frequency of eating candy, and other refined carbohydrates, and their stickiness, are big factors in creating the risk of caries (cavities),” he said.

Eating carbohydrates can change the pH balance of the mouth, making it more acidic, which can increase the risk of cavities. Each time candy is eaten, the acid environment in the mouth can take up to an hour to dissipate.

Read more: Halloween Candy, Frequency, Not Amount, Raises Cavity Risk


Giant Tigerfish with Razor-Sharp Teeth Caught by British Angler

A British angler has caught one of the most ferocious fish ever encountered.

Jeremy Wade reeled in the prehistoric looking monster on a fishing expedition to the River Congo.

The goliath tigerfish is one of the most fearsome freshwater fish in the world and are said to be much bigger and deadlier versions of the piranha.

It has 32 teeth that are of similar size to those of a great white shark and has been known to attack humans and even crocodiles before.

It has only ever been caught by a handful of fishermen due to the danger it poses and the fact its habitat is notoriously hard to reach.

Wade, from Bath, Somerset, England, took extra care when reeling in this specimen, which weighed more than 100 lbs and was 5 ft long.

Read more: Giant Tigerfish with Razor-Sharp Teeth Caught by British Angler


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