The ADA does not officially support the use of activated charcoal products in dentistry. A fad these days is the use of charcoal for whitening. Some people are even brushing their teeth with charcoal. Many brands claim that activated charcoal results in whiter teeth. Does it actually work? Is the water-charcoal slurry mixture worth it?
The Oral Health Foundation in the UK says there is no research or evidence to support the claims by activated charcoal products. In addition, many of the charcoal toothpastes contain less than the 1,250 to 1,500 parts per million of fluoride needed to actively protect teeth from tooth decay. Some of the products can be overly abrasive and can wear away the enamel on teeth. The roughened enamel can make it easier for bacteria to stick to the surface of teeth.
The bottom line is that there isn't any proof that charcoal is safe and effective for your teeth. Until we learn more, stick to the products your dentist recommends.
Dr. Gary Pearl proudly announces the joining of his son, Dr. Scott Pearl, to the Pearl Dental Care team in Hamden. Dr. Pearl attended dental school at UConn School of Dental Medicine and completed his residency training at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY. While patients may have seen Dr. Pearl around the office since he was a child performing such tasks as filing charts, gardening, or doing computer work, he will now be providing dental care to children and adults full-time. Congratulations to Dr. Pearl in this exciting time!
For more information about Dr. Pearl click here.
A recent study published in the Journal of Oral Microbiology examined the effect of the bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis on conception in women. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study, severe chronic periodontitis is the sixth most common medical condition. Periodontal disease has been associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, and premature birth. The systemic effects may be related to bacterial lipolysaccharide (LPS) and a pro-inflammatory state. The gram-negative bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans have been implicated in periodontal disease and systemic disease.
Infection and inflammation are related to fertility due to an affect on the ovary, uterus, embryo, and implantation. Another study has associated periodontal disease and endometriosis. Periodontal disease and infertility share common risk factors including age, obesity, and smoking, but the association needs further clarification.
An observational study was performed in a prospective setting with a cohort of young women trying to get pregnant. The mean age was 29.2 years with a range from 19-42 years from Finland. The main finding of the study was that detection of P. gingivalis in saliva and elevated salivary antibodies against this bacteria resulted in a significantly increased risk for unsuccessful conception. The results were independent of age, smoking status, socioeconomic status, and previous deliveries. P. gingivalis very well may delay conception or at least be a marker of this association.
A recent article was published in The New York Times which tells the story of the letters the founder of WM. Wrigley Jr. Co. wrote to young children to entice them to chew gum. William Wrigley Jr., the founder of the Wrigley Company, wrote direct letters to every child he could find turning 2.. "In the early 1900s, he actually shipped free sticks of gum to every address in the U.S. phone book, and that is thought to be the first national direct marketing campaign." Wrigley often mailed sticks of Juicy Fruit, Wrigley's oldest product, glued to his letters. Juicy Fruit was created in 1893 a few months before Spearmint.
Wrigley writes that chewing gum is good exercise for children's teeth. The irony is that Wrigley chewing gum contained sugar which promoted dental cavities. There is no evidence to support that chewing gum in the 1920's or 1930's had any beneficial effect on children's teeth due to any ingredient in the gum. But maybe people knew that the extra saliva produced from chewing gum and the gum rubbing across the teeth had beneficial cleansing effects. The American Academy of Pediatrics now considers gum a choking hazard for children younger than age 5.
Interestingly, the recipient of the above letter, Henry Trombley, grew up to be a dental technician, making dental crowns and bridges.
Does swallowed gum stay in your stomach for seven years?
No, while the digestive system is unable to break down the synthetic gum base, the gum moves through the intestines and passed into the stool normally.
Let's say you have a dental emergency. Do you go to the hospital or to Pearl Dental Care? Where you go for treatment will depend on the type of emergency and where the problem area is. Accidents such as jaw fractures, major lacerations to the face, trouble breathing or swallowing, or jaw dislocation require immediate attention at a hospital emergency department. For dental emergencies involving broken teeth, missing teeth, abscess, oral wounds, or other emergencies that are not considered life-threatening you should see your dentist for immediate care.
There are several situations the American Dental Association recommends patients become familiar with.
All-new technology at Pearl Dental Care is the CEREC SpeedFire oven. Why are we so excited about this machine? It allows for the fabrication of super strong Zirconia crowns in one office visit. Zirconia crowns are the strongest tooth colored all-ceramic crowns on the market. Previously, these types of crowns could only be made by an outside dental lab. After scanning your tooth with the 3D scanner, the crown is milled with our CAD/CAM machine. Zirconia needs a final sintering so the crown is then placed in the SpeedFire oven for 10-15 minutes. Here are some of the advantages of single visit Zirconia restorations-
Bicycling Magazine recently published an article listing 20 easy ways to help your heart. Some of the recommendations include eating calcium rich foods, filling up on antioxidants, and treating high blood pressure. Number 8 on the list is "Go to the dentist."
The tip references a Taiwanese research study which showed that people who had their teeth cleaned twice per year for the past 2 years had a 24% lower risk of heart attack and a 13% lower risk of stroke compared with people who did not have a cleaning. Professional cleanings reduce inflammation and bacteria in the mouth, which lowers inflammation in other areas of the body such as the blood vessels.
According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, genetics may increase your chances of getting cavities and even inheriting a sweet tooth. Some patients with average to poor oral hygiene rarely if ever get cavities. Other patients with diligent home care who floss and brush regularly are often told by their dentist that they have cavities. Dr. Michael Glick, a professor at the School of Dental Medicine at the University at Buffalo and editor in chief of the Journal of the American Dental Association, explains how genetics may increase your chances of getting cavities in baby teeth by up to 64%. Genetics affect the way tooth enamel is formed. Different variants of enamel may be better or worse at resisting acid erosion.
Dr. Glick says "(i)t's hard to separate a high-sugar diet that will predispose one to develop cavities from a genetic predisposition." Community trends in cavities are usually a result of dietary habits but current research is nevertheless showing a genetic component.
Even if someone is genetically susceptible to cavities, the fact remains that you need sugar in your diet to get a cavity. You cannot get a cavity without sugar. Avoiding sugar products that cling to teeth is the best preventative measure you can take. If you think you are more susceptible to cavities make sure you follow hygiene recommendations- brush twice a day, floss regularly, rinse with mouth wash, and see a dentist at least twice a year. "Don’t sweat the genetics, he says. “See your dentist often, brush regularly and get your cavities filled quickly,” whether your parents had lots of cavities or not."
You and your dentist have a range of options for relieving dental pain. It's most important to determine the cause of the pain and if any treatment is necessary. This blog post will discuss medications that are available for mitigating dental pain. When choosing a pain medication you might consider:
OTC (over the counter) drugs are medications that you can buy at a pharmacy without a prescription. The two general types of OTC pain relievers are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Examples of NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil of Motrin), naproxen (Aleve or Naprosyn), and aspirin. Some of these drugs have different maximum dosages and indications. Research has shown that NSAIDs are just as effective as narcotics for relieving most dental pain.
People with asthma, kidney disease, and gastric ulcers should not use NSAIDs. In addition, patients on blood thinners should not use NSAIDs. For these patients Tylenol is a better choice.
Prescription drugs include higher dosage NSAIDs and narcotics. For nearly all patients, a higher dosage NSAID works just as well if not better than narcotics and has less side effects. Narcotics are often combined with an OTC medication. For instance Vicodin is a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Narcotics can make people sleepy and there is a risk for addiction, so NSAIDs or Tylenol are usually a better initial choice. .
Taking Prescription Drugs Safely
Take your medication exactly as directed. Remember, it is for your use only. It can be harmful or fatal when used by someone else. Make sure you tell your dentist if you are taking other medications (even OTC medications) because some combinations can be dangerous.
Talking To Your Dentist About Pain Medication
When you talk to your dentist about pain relief make sure you tell him or her about your past history with pain, past use of OTC and prescription pain medications, and your full medical history. Are there certain drugs that made you feel poorly? Are there certain drugs you know you can't take? Be sure to ask questions about when to take your pain medication (for example, whether you should take the medication after a meal).
If you find that the medication is not improving your pain, call your dentist. Since there are so many pain medications available today, he or she will be able to recommend a different option.
In the past several months there has been a lot of chatter about the benefits of flossing. An Associated Press report stated that flossing does not add any benefit over brushing. Many people are confused and skeptical about what is being reported. The main point from the Associated Press report is that since there is no randomized control trial (RCT) to prove the benefits of flossing, then we shouldn't floss. RCT's are the gold standard in scientific study. However, it's unethical to enroll subjects in an exerpiment where half of the subjects are instructed not to floss- for potentially years.
The truth is that dentists every day see the benefits of flossing. In fact, when performing crown, bridge, and filling procedures, we almost always use floss to check contacts and clean under the gums. We do this because flossing works. Floss cleans debris and bacteria where a toothbrush can't reach. There are other interdental cleaning tools on the market such as proxy brushes and wood picks. These work similarly as floss and can often be used in place of floss. An RCT isn't necessary to prove the benefits of flossing because the benefits are obvious!
For the people who hate to floss and finally thought they could no longer feel guilty about not flossing, we're sorry! We really love the WaterPik. It's fun to use and a great flossing alternative.