The DMD Check-Up: Doctors Disagree About Benefits of E-Cigarettes

September 2, 2016
Greg Kelly

Some doctors believe that e-cigarettes don’t actually help you quit smoking. That tops this week’s DMD Check-Up. Other top news stories include, a Wright State professor studies ancient teeth to learn more about human interaction, not taking care of your teeth can affect your heart, and more.

Doctors' Advices on E-Cigarettes Vary (EurekAlert!)

“Whether you want to know about the safety of the devices or how to use them to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes, doctors range greatly in their responses to patients,” according to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Still, some 54% of doctors see them as “a potential tool” to help quit smoking.

Poor Dental Health Tied to Heart Disease (ScienceNordic)

More scientific evidence that poor oral health can lead to serious heart disease: “In a new study published in the Journal of Dental Research, Finnish researchers found a link between infections in the root tips of teeth and coronary disease.”

Professor Studies Dead People's Teeth (Phys.org)

For Wright State anthropologist Amy Hubbard, teeth tell stories about the lifestyle, family and cultural influences of earlier generations. Her research looks at what ancient DNA and tooth features can tell about the movements and interactions between past peoples. Much of this research challenges old ways of approaching such studies, which can be unpopular.

Bacteria in Smokeless Tobacco May Be a Health Concern (EurekAlert!)

Dentists be alert: “Several species of bacteria found in smokeless tobacco products have been associated with opportunistic infections, according to findings in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Bacillus licheniformis and Bacillus pumilus could potentially cause inflammation of the lungs, as well as opportunistic infections.”

To Curb Antibiotic Use Researchers Study Dentists (St. Louis Public Radio)

“Research underway at Washington University is seeking to reduce antibiotic use by focusing on a prescriber who doesn’t get too much attention: the local dentist. Patients need to see their dentist regularly to avoid infections in the first place. At the same time, the ADA needs to develop better guidelines for when antibiotics are appropriate.”

How More Kids Could Avoid the Dentist’s Drill (Five Thirty Eight)

One the nation’s more influential public policy websites makes the case for the expanded use of dental sealants to save the teeth of America’s youth. However, “research suggests that dentists don’t always agree, particularly when it comes to the recommendation that initial signs of tooth decay can be safely treated with sealants.”

Surprisingly Little Evidence for the Accepted Wisdom About Teeth (New York Times)

A wise pediatrics professor offers up a compelling essay on the state of oral healthcare: “There are things we can do to prevent cavities and preserve our oral health. We should focus on those things. We should study the things we debate. But we should also be willing to admit that some of the things we do make no difference at all, and perhaps, should be reconsidered.”

Researchers Get Help from the Tooth Fairy (The Bulletin)

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego “are using discarded baby teeth to jump-start research into autism, Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders that have proven notoriously difficult to study. By soliciting baby teeth from affected patients, they can access patient-specific cells that can be manipulated and studied in the lab, and get a record of what individuals were exposed to dating back to before they were born.”

Promoting Improved Oral Health Among Hispanics (NYU.edu)

The NYU College of Dentistry will increase its promotion of awareness of the importance of oral health among US-based Hispanics, who are experiencing increased oral health care needs. The school’s new partnership with Univision will enable it to more broadly share expertise among Hispanics—the fastest growing segment of the American population.