Today's Dental News

Louisiana Doesn’t Have Enough Dentists

Louisiana has a dental shortage that can rival any other state in the United States.

The new report released by Pew Charitable Trusts showed that more than 24 percent of the state’s population is underserved by dentists. The dentist shortage in Louisiana is tied with Alabama, behind only Mississippi.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that around 42 percent of these dentists are older than 55.

The information came to light as the state Department of Health and Hospitals is reducing reimbursement rates to dentists that stem from Medicaid. Dentists say this will lower access to services.

But the DHH doesn’t believe this will have a major impact on dentists.

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Nasal Spray Could Benefit Dental Patients

Those anesthetic injections for dental procedures may become a thing of the past.

A new anesthetic nasal spray is currently undergoing clinical trials. If proven to be successful, it may be used instead of lidocaine injections.

The information from the study appeared on the Internet and will be published in the July issue of the Journal of Dental Research. The next phase of the trial included 45 adults and the final phase was concluded as the study was awaiting publication.

The second and third phases were considered successful and the spray may soon be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. It’s conceivable that the drug becomes available in the next year.

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New Blood Test May Revolutionize HPV Diagnosis

A new blood test may prove pivotal in oral cancer diagnosis.

This new test looks for antibodies in the human papilloma virus. These antibodies are associated with throat and mouth cancer and may eventually be used to pinpoint if the virus is present or not years before oral cancer would develop, according to the World Health Organization.

The WHO researchers proposed the idea that the blood test may give doctors the ability to screen for HPV, which would obviously lower the risk of developing oral cancer in the future.

The study appears in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Link May Exist Involving Tooth Loss, Memory Loss

If you have trouble remembering things, there may be a reason.

New research shows that tooth loss may cause people to have memory issues. The researchers determined that people with fewer natural teeth don’t have the same ability to recall events as people with a higher number of natural teeth.

The information appears in the online publication the European Journal of Oral Sciences and was conducted by research teams in Norway and Sweden.

These problems stem from fewer signals being sent to the hippocampus section of the brain, the part responsible for memory. The impulses are supposed to be stimulated by movement of the jaw and teeth, but aren’t in these cases of memory loss.

The logic of this theory makes sense because with fewer teeth, the teeth and jaw are not moving as often.

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How Effective is Mouthwash?

Mouthwash may not work as well as many studies claim.

A recent clinical study in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry analyzed this issue. It showed that mouthwash did slightly reduce the risk of gum disease.

To compile the data, 139 participants were divided into two groups. The first group was told to use mouthwash while the other group was given a placebo to gargle with. The results concluded that the group using mouthwash had better oral health than the group that used the placebo.

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