This Week in Perio
April 7, 2010

Meet robot Hanako: The dental patient simulator
Three Japanese universities and robot maker Tmsuk have developed Hanako, a robotic dental patient who can behave like a human patient (to some extent). The robot, who is supposed to be female, can converse with doctors, discharge robotic saliva, sneeze, open and close her mouth, etc.More

OHA: Health care reform halts dental Medicaid cuts
The health care reform bill that President Barack Obama signed into law March 23 will stop further cuts to adult dental Medicaid benefits, according to Oral Health America. OHA issued a press release praising the bill, which also has been cheered by the American Dental Education Association and the Children's Dental Health Project, but booed by the ADA and the Academy of General Dentistry. The law expands eligibility for Medicaid, raising the threshold from 133 percent of the federal poverty level, meaning an additional 16 million people will be eligible for Medicaid coverage, according to OHA. (May require free registration to view article.)More

Officials stress need for pediatric dental care
Death by tooth decay, it's the story of 12-year-old Deamonte Driver whose family lost Medicaid coverage, and no dentist would help him. The infection spread to his brain. "The nurses called and said Monte is not responding; you need to get up there. And by the time I got up there, he was already gone," said Elise Driver in a 2007 interview. His death in 2007 struck a chord with the University of Maryland Dental School.More

Link between oral sex, mouth cancer discovered
Researchers from the Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education at England's University Hospital Coventry have discovered a possible link between oral sex and an increase in mouth cancer. The study, prepared by lead author Hisham Mehanna and published in the British Medical Journal, has discovered a link between the increase of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma and the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus.More

Will tomosynthesis enable panoramic bitewings?
Tomosynthesis -- a technique for producing slice images using conventional digital x-ray systems -- is not a new concept, but combining it with a dental panoramic imaging system to improve image quality regardless of patient positioning is. Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Hosei University and Showa University have been working with the PanoACT-1000 panoramic system, which incorporates a PC-1000 unit with a cadmium telluride detector and a digital signal-processing technique based on tomosynthesis. (May require free registration to view article.)More

Gum disease and diabetes
Patients who have peridontitis also could be at risk for another disease: type 2 diabetes. And it might be a good idea to screen people for diabetes during their dental visits for gum disease, says Dr. Sheila Strauss, a psychologist at the NYU Dental School, who has analyzed statistics of people with gum disease. "Ninety-three percent of people who have gum disease, but who indicated that they had never been told by a medical provider that they had diabetes, were in fact at risk for diabetes," she said.More

Mother's kiss can spread cavities to baby
When Rachel Sarah took her daughter in for her first dental checkup a few years ago, she got a surprise. Not only did her 24-month-old have two cavities in her baby teeth, the pediatric dentist suggested she might have "caught" them from her mother. "The dentist handed me this piece of paper that talked about saliva transfer," said Sarah, a 37-year-old writer from San Francisco. "It said not to share cups or utensils or food and said, 'No kissing your kid on the lips.' I was shocked."More

Will new health care law really help small businesses?
ABC News
President Obama on April 1 touted the small business tax credit in the health care law, even as company owners remain uncertain about what the sweeping changes really mean for them. In Portland, Maine, an energized Obama sold his health care law as "pro-jobs" and "pro-business," and one that would start to help small firms this year. "Starting now, small business owners that provide health care to their workers can sit down at the end of the week, look at their expenses, and begin calculating how much money they're going to save," the president said.More