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Cake, Cranberry, Pie and Wine……

By | Dental News, News

Thanksgiving Dinner Can Be a Real Food Fight

Thanksgiving“If you’re lucky, it will all be kisses and hugs around the Thanksgiving dinner table, with friends and family near and dear gathered about, and puppies at your feet waiting for table scraps.  But peace won’t reign within the confines of the oral cavity, where Streptococcus Mutans and other harmful bacteria will await their own holiday feast.  Your meal will enable Streptococcus Mutans to launch one of it’s biggest assaults of the year on your tooth enamel.”  – University of Rochester Medical Center

Streptococcus Mutans form the sticky white gunk along our teeth known as plaque.  Plaque is made up of Glucans that are teeming with bacteria, it covers our teeth and  munches on sugar thriving in it’s warm safe place.

Hyun “Michel” Koo – a dentist turned food scientist and microbiologist is exploring the destructive power of Streptococcus Mutans and scouring foods and natural substances to harness their ability to prevent cavities.  Koo, is studying cranberries as a potential ally in the fight against S. Mutans.  “Koo has discovered that compounds within the cranberry disrupt enzymes known as glucosyltransferases that bacteria use to build glucans.  Without its glucans, S. Mutans and other bad bacteria in plaque becomes vulnerable.”

“Natural substances offer tremendous possibilities for stopping tooth decay.  Maintaining the natural balance of resident flora in the oral cavity is important for keeping opportunistic pathoges in check.” said Koo

To read more about Koo’s  study click HERE

Choosing A Dentist

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What To Look For When Choosing A Dentist –

James McElveen DDS | Shannon Sisk RDH | Lisa Lundquist RDH

The ADA (American Dental Association) suggests the following:

  1. Ask family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers for their recommendations
  2. Ask your family doctor or local pharmacist
  3. If you’re moving, ask your current dentist to make a recommendation
  4. Contact your local or state dental society.  The ADA provides a list of local and state dental societies on its website,

Since you and your dentist will be long-term oral health care partners, you should find someone you are comfortable with.  Consider asking the following questions:

  1. What are the office hours?
  2. Is the office easy to get to?
  3. Where was the dentist educated and trained?
  4. What’s the dentist’s approach to preventive care?
  5. How often does the dentist attend conferences and continuing education workshops?
  6. What is the protocol for handling emergency patients outside of office hours?
  7. Does the dentist offer any type of “Dental Health Plan”?
  8. What is the office policy on missed appointments?

Look to see if the dentist office is clean and neat, and that the office staff is welcoming and willing to answer your questions.

Remember, that it’s your decision.  Go with the dentist that best suits your needs.

Pregnancy and Periodontal Health

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periodontal disease | pregnancyThe American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and The European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) are urging pregnant women to maintain their periodontal health

Periodontal disease is a chronic, bacteria-induced, inflammatory condition that attacks the gum tissue and if left untreated can attack the bone.  Gum disease (periodontal disease) can not only lead to tooth loss, but also systemic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  Research suggests that women with periodontal disease may be more likely to deliver babies prematurely or with low-birth weight.  Babies with a low birth weight (less than 5.5 pounds) may be at risk of long-term health problems and/or learning disabilities.  Babies born pre-term may be at risk of developing respiratory problems, vision and hearing loss, or feeding and digestive problems.

The President of the AAP, warns that “Tenderness, redness, or swollen gums are a few indications of periodontal disease.  Other symptoms include gums that bleed with toothbrushing or eating, gums that are pulling away from the teeth, bad breath, and loose teeth.  These signs, especially during pregnancy, should not be ignored and may require treatment from a dental professional.”

If a pregnant women has periodontal disease, the AAP and EFP released clinical recommendations stating that non-surgical periodontal therapy is safe for pregnant women and can result in improved periodontal health.  In addition, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently released a statement encouraging pregnant women to sustain their oral health and recommended regular dental cleanings during pregnancy.

“Routine brushing and flossing, and seeing a periodontist, dentist, or dental hygienist for a comprehensive periodontal evaluation during pregnancy may decrease the chance of adverse pregnancy complications.  It is important for expectant mothers to monitor their periodontal health and to have a conversation with their periodontist or dentist about the most appropriate care.  By maintaining your periodontal health, you are not only supporting your overall health, but also helping to ensure a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby.” said The President of the AAP.




HPV | Gum Disease

HPV Linked To Poor Oral Health

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HPV infection is a main cause of throat cancer and may be linked to gum disease.

HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is a virus that affects areas of the throat, mouth, feet, fingers, nails, anus and cervix – areas of the skin and the mucus membranes that line the body.  HPV is divided into two types – low-risk HPV (not cancer causing, but cause benign tumors and warts in the oral cavity) and high-risk HPV (can cause throat cancer).  Studies show that 40-80% of oropharyngeal cancers (throat cancer) is caused by HPV infection.

Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston analyzed HPV data from the NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) carried out by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).  For the study, 3,439 participants were chosen based on their oral health data and the presence or absence of 19 low-risk HPV types, and 18 high-risk HPV types.  The findings showed that the participants who reported bad oral health had a 56% higher risk of developing oral HPV infection.  The participants with gum disease showed a 51% higher risk of oral HPV infection, and those with dental problems showed a 28% higher risk.

“Poor oral health is a new independent risk factor for oral HPV infection and, to our knowledge, this is the first study to examine this association.  The good news is, this risk factor is modifiable.  By maintaining good oral hygiene and good oral health, one can prevent HPV infection and subsequent HPV-related cancers.” Thanh Cong Bui, postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Public Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

It is always important to maintain good oral health.  Here are a few reminders on dental care from the Mayo Clinic:

  1. Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  2. Use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush that fits your mouth confortably, and consider using an electric toothbrush – this can reduce plaque and gum disease.
  3. Practice good technique – remember to brush the outside, inside and chewing surfaces of your teeth, as well as your tongue.
  4. Keep your toothbrush clean – always rinse it with water after brushing, store in an upright position and allow it to air dry before using it again.
  5. replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every 3 to 4 months.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your oral health, phone Dr. James McElveen at 208-788-4591


Tooth Decay

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Tooth Decay
Tooth decay, known formally as dental caries, has been a serious health problem for all nations since time immemorial. For centuries, tooth decay was thought to be the handiwork of an elusive and, in some cultures, evil tooth worm that gnawed holes into the white, highly mineralized enamel and left all those in its wake in pain. But superstition has yielded to science and its explanation that certain oral bacteria discharge mineral-eroding acid onto the enamel, starting the gradual process of decay. Over the last several decades, dental researchers have made tremendous progress in defining and learning to thwart the decay process. This work has involved the three-pronged strategy of discovery, innovation, and prevention – and produced one of the major public health success stories of the 20th century.


  • Few people were spared the ordeal of losing teeth, often early in life. The combination of tooth decay and periodontal diseases left 17 million people age 45 and older — about three out of 10 Americans — with none of their natural teeth.  In fact, the most common cause of WWII draft rejection was too few teeth because of tooth decay.  Until the 1970s, the cause of tooth decay continued to be a subject of debate, with some believing dietary deficiencies were the culprit and others focusing on oral bacteria. This uncertainty made effective prevention strategies difficult, if not impossible, to create. Moreover, brushing one’s teeth each day was a fairly recent hygienic step forward in dental care, reportedly popularized by returning soldiers from World War II.
  • The NIH completed the first water fluoridation study that established the benefits of fluoride in fighting tooth decay.  Several years would pass before fluoride, the mainstay of modern prevention strategies, would become a common ingredient in water, toothpaste, and other products.

Tooth decay was considered an irreversible disease process — once a cavity started, the only remedy was to drill out the decay and fill the tooth with a restorative material.

  • Tooth decay is no longer the national epidemic it was a few generations ago. Millions of American children now have little or no decay, and total tooth loss or edentulism is now much less common. Without research progress in the fight against dental caries and periodontal diseases, there would be an additional 18.6 million Americans age 45 and older with none of their natural teeth.
  • Prevention is now the mantra in American dentistry. In addition to improved products to fight tooth decay, more people benefit from preventive dentistry, including the use of fluorides and dental sealants to prevent decay.  Compared to previous years, these techniques have made it possible for millions more people to keep their natural teeth for a lifetime.  It is estimated that from 1979 through 1989 alone, the American public saved more than $39 billion in dental expenditures due to the power of prevention. Since the 1950s, the total federal investment in NIH-funded oral health research has saved the American public at least $3 for every $1 invested.


  • New technologies will further prevent tooth decay. Research is underway to develop powerful imaging tools that can detect the earliest demineralization of tooth enamel. These tools will allow the application of special solutions to remineralize the tooth and reverse early decay.
  • Examples of NIH research projects funded in 2010 include “Development of high performance, caries-inhibiting dental nano-materials” and “Enamel mineral formation during murine odontogenesis.”
  • Advances in DNA sequencing produced vast gene databases for many of the bacteria that cause tooth decay. These bacterial blueprints now allow scientists to identify specific genes essential to the decay process, and it may be possible in the future to directly target these genes and inactivate the ability of these bacteria to cause decay.
  • The bacteria that cause tooth decay live in complex communities called biofilms. Great strides have been made in learning how the bacteria communicate with one another within this biofilm. By jamming the communication signals among the bacteria, it may be possible one day to disrupt the biofilm and end the threat of tooth decay.
  • While research has had a profound effect in reducing tooth decay, the scientific benefits have not always reached our nation’s poor and underserved who bear a disproportionate burden of dental diseases. Efforts will continue to promote prevention and help all Americans keep their teeth for a lifetime.
dental care for pregnancy

Dental Tips for Pregnancy

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dental care for pregnancy(HealthDay News) — Regular dental checkups and proper daily hygiene are important during pregnancy.

The American Dental Association (ADA) offers these suggestions for pregnant women:

  • Use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth at least twice daily. Floss teeth at least once daily, as well.
  • Eat healthy, nutritious foods and keep snacking on sugary or fatty foods to a minimum.
  • Get regular dental checkups.
  • Talk to your dentist about using an antimicrobial mouth rinse.
  • Discuss any problems with your dentist, such as gums that bleed, swell or become red.
  • If you have morning sickness, rinse your mouth with a mixture of one teaspoon of baking soda and water. Avoid brushing just after vomiting to prevent contact of more stomach acids with the teeth.

Coconut Oil May Combat Tooth Decay

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tooth decay and coconut oilDigested coconut oil is able to attack the bacteria that cause tooth decay. It is a natural antibiotic that could be incorporated into commercial dental care products, say scientists presenting their work at the Society for General Microbiology’s Autumn Conference at the University of Warwick.

The team from the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland tested the antibacterial action of coconut oil in its natural state and coconut oil that had been treated with enzymes, in a process similar to digestion. The oils were tested against strains of Streptococcus bacteria which are common inhabitants of the mouth. They found that enzyme-modified coconut oil strongly inhibited the growth of most strains of Streptococcus bacteria includingStreptococcus mutans – an acid-producing bacterium that is a major cause of tooth decay.

Many previous studies have shown that partially digested foodstuffs are active against micro-organisms. Earlier work on enzyme-modified milk showed that it was able to reduce the binding of S. mutans to tooth enamel, which prompted the group to investigate the effect of other enzyme-modified foods on bacteria.

Further work will examine how coconut oil interacts with Streptococcus bacteria at the molecular level and which other strains of harmful bacteria and yeasts it is active against. Additional testing by the group at the Athlone Institute of Technology found that enzyme-modified coconut oil was also harmful to the yeast Candida albicans that can cause thrush.

The researchers suggest that enzyme-modified coconut oil has potential as a marketable antimicrobial which could be of particular interest to the oral healthcare industry. Dr Damien Brady who is leading the research said, “Dental caries is a commonly overlooked health problem affecting 60-90% of children and the majority of adults in industrialized countries. Incorporating enzyme-modified coconut oil into dental hygiene products would be an attractive alternative to chemical additives, particularly as it works at relatively low concentrations. Also, with increasing antibiotic resistance, it is important that we turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection.”

The work also contributes to our understanding of antibacterial activity in the human gut. “Our data suggests that products of human digestion show antimicrobial activity. This could have implications for how bacteria colonize the cells lining the digestive tract and for overall gut health,” explained Dr Brady. “Our research has shown that digested milk protein not only reduced the adherence of harmful bacteria to human intestinal cells but also prevented some of them from gaining entrance into the cell. We are currently researching coconut oil and other enzyme-modified foodstuffs to identify how they interfere with the way bacteria cause illness and disease,” he said.

article from: Medical News Today


Why Toothpaste Makes Orange Juice Taste Bitter

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ToothpasteWhy do foods taste different after brushing your teeth?

From Medical News Today:

What is it about toothpaste that transforms the sweet flavor of orange juice into something so bitter? For the solution to that mysterious sensory phenomenon – in colorful, animated detail – check the latest episode of the American Chemical Society’s award-winning Bytesize Science video series at  (Video also below)

The video, from the world’s largest scientific society, explains that the mainstay ingredients in toothpaste include a detergent called sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS for short. When you brush your teeth, SLS produces the foamy suds and gives toothpaste its distinct mouth-feel. SLS also influences the way your personal, powerful chemical sensor tastes food.

That sensor is your mouth, with its 10,000 individual taste buds. Each consists of scores of receptor cells that respond to the basic tastes. Those are sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami (a pleasant, brothy or meaty flavor). Nerves carry the resulting signals to the brain, which registers tastes. How does SLS affect your sense of taste? For the answer:


Read Article in MNT Here

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Tooth Regeneration and Stem Cell Study

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Clues To Tooth Regeneration Provided By Alligator Stem Cell Study

From: Medical News Today

dentist in hailey idahoAlligators may help scientists learn how to stimulate tooth regeneration in people, according to new research led by the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

For the first time, a global team of researchers led by USC pathology Professor Cheng-Ming Chuong, M.D., Ph.D., has uncovered unique cellular and molecular mechanisms behind tooth renewal in American alligators. Their study, titled “Specialized stem cell niche enables repetitive renewal of alligator teeth,” appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the official journal of the United States National Academy of Sciences.

“Humans naturally only have two sets of teeth – baby teeth and adult teeth,” said Chuong. “Ultimately, we want to identify stem cells that can be used as a resource to stimulate tooth renewal in adult humans who have lost teeth. But, to do that, we must first understand how they renew in other animals and why they stop in people.”

Whereas most vertebrates can replace teeth throughout their lives, human teeth are naturally replaced only once, despite the lingering presence of a band of epithelial tissue called the dental lamina, which is crucial to tooth development. Because alligators have well-organized teeth with similar form and structure as mammalian teeth and are capable of lifelong tooth renewal, the authors reasoned that they might serve as models for mammalian tooth replacement.

“Alligator teeth are implanted in sockets of the dental bone, like human teeth,” said Ping Wu, Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology at the Keck School of Medicine and first author of the study. “They have 80 teeth, each of which can be replaced up to 50 times over their lifetime, making them the ideal model for comparison to human teeth.”

Using microscopic imaging techniques, the researchers found that each alligator tooth is a complex unit of three components – a functional tooth, a replacement tooth, and the dental lamina – in different developmental stages. The tooth units are structured to enable a smooth transition from dislodgement of the functional, mature tooth to replacement with the new tooth. Identifying three developmental phases for each tooth unit, the researchers conclude that the alligator dental laminae contain what appear to be stem cells from which new replacement teeth develop.

“Stem cells divide more slowly than other cells,” said co-author Randall B. Widelitz, Ph.D., associate professor of pathology at the Keck School of Medicine. “The cells in the alligator’s dental lamina behaved like we would expect stem cells to behave. In the future, we hope to isolate those cells from the dental lamina to see whether we can use them to regenerate teeth in the lab.”

The researchers also intend to learn what molecular networks are involved in repetitive renewal and hope to apply the principles to regenerative medicine in the future.

The authors also report novel cellular mechanisms by which the tooth unit develops in the embryo and molecular signaling that speeds growth of replacement teeth when functional teeth are lost prematurely.