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The DMD Check-Up: Infection Outbreak from Water at Dentists' Offices


Here's our weekly look at the top dentistry-related news from around the web.

Patients are recovering from bacterial infections contracted at Children’s Dental Group in Anaheim, CA. That story tops this week’s DMD Check-Up. Also making the list: scientists identify 41 potential disease-causing genes and scientists have found that having straight teeth can improve your balance.

Infection Outbreak from Water at Dentists’ Offices (NPR.org)

“California state health officials say that nearly two dozen children who received so-called baby root canals, or pulpotomies, are thought to have developed dangerous bacterial infections. Dental unit waterlines are very good at growing bacteria,” explains a University of Texas dentistry professor.

Scientists identify Gum Disease Genes (Eurek Alert)

Researchers at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine have identified 41 master regulator genes that may cause periodontal disease. The study was the first of its kind to employ genome-wide reverse engineering to identify the gene pathways that contribute to periodontitis.

Straight Teeth Improves Balance (Daily Mail)

“Scientists have found that having straight teeth has a beneficial side-effect: it improves our sense of balance and posture. People with “overbites” or “underbites,” crowded teeth or wonky teeth are more wobbly on their feet,” according to a new study recently published in Neuroscience Letters.

New Imaging Method May Help Dentists Treat Cavities Much Earlier (Phys.org)

“New research published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics describes a method enabling much earlier detection of tooth decay using inexpensive long-wavelength infrared imaging.” Scientists in Canada are calling it the “first step toward translation of thermophotonic lock-in imaging to dentistry as an early caries detection technology.”

Make Eyes at Your Dentist—It’s Normal! (Slate)

Interesting report: “Lying helpless in a reclining chair, the best a patient can do to make the too-intimate experience less awkward is close her eyes until it’s over. Shutting your lids until the rinse-and-spit command is the normal thing to do. Or is it?”

Better Oral Hygiene May Slow Cognitive Decline in Seniors (Bel Marra Health)

“British researchers have found that periodontitis, a common ailment older people, can become even more prevalent among those with Alzheimer’s due to lagging oral hygiene. Higher levels of antibodies to periodontal bacteria increase inflammation throughout the body, raising the risk of dementia.”

Dentists to Test Blood Pressure Under New Program (Baltimore Sun)

“Maryland is among six states that will share in a $3 million federal grant to develop a pilot program that uses dentists to check patients’ blood pressure,” according to this news report. Heart disease is the state and nation’s biggest killers, and the effort is among many created to reach those with undiagnosed hypertension.”

“Dentistry is a Lifetime Learning Process” (ADA.org)

Here’s a Q & A with the new president of the American Dental Association. Dr. Gary L. Roberts from Louisiana is the ADA’s 153rd leader. The best dentists “will spend the rest of your life learning techniques and better ways to treat your patients.”

Raise Cigarette Buying Age to 21 Says Top Medical Group (Cantech Letter)

Do dentists agree? Representatives of the nation’s leading pulmonary medical society are calling for the cigarette-buying age to be raised from 18 to 21 nationwide. “Earlier age of tobacco use initiation is associated with lower rates of smoking cessation,” says the American Thoracic Society's Tobacco 21 campaign.

Exploring New Ways to Prevent Child Tooth Decay (Bite Magazine)

Australian oral health professionals recently talked about the latest research in early childhood oral health and innovations in prevention and treatment. “One team is currently investigating the use of compounds that act as prebiotics in the mouth, encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria that keep disease-causing bacteria in balance.”

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