This Week in Perio
July 20, 2011

Millions in US lack access to dentists
WebMD
Fewer than half of Americans see a dentist each year and millions live in areas where access to dental care is severely limited, a new analysis from the health policy group Institute of Medicine finds. A severe shortage of dentists, especially those serving rural and minority groups, is contributing to the "persistent and systemic" barriers to oral health care, the report noted.More

Science with real bite: Full set of teeth grown in lab
Mail Online
Scientists have grown fully formed teeth from stem cells. The artificial teeth looked like the real thing, were sensitive to pain and could chew food. The breakthrough was made on mice but could pave the way for those who lose teeth to decay or injury being able to "grow" replacements. The researchers harnessed the power of stem cells — "master cells" that have the potential to be used to grow any part of the body — to generate teeth. Two types of stem cell which between them contain all the instructions for making teeth were mixed together and grown in the lab in a mixture of chemicals and vitamins that started their transformation. After five days, they had formed a tiny tooth bud. The fledgling tooth was then placed in a tailor-made plastic box deep inside a mouse's body, where over the next 60 days it grew to form a full tooth.More

Tooth-loss risk quantified in post-menopausal women
Medical News Today
A study of more than 1,000 post-menopausal women indicates that around 1 in 4 are likely to suffer tooth loss over a five-year period, and the risk increases to nearly 90 percent if other risk factors are present, especially diabetes and if they smoke. The American based study found that 293 post-menopausal women out of 1,021 (28.7 per cent) had suffered from tooth loss over the five-year study period. Previous studies have potentially linked the menopause to tooth loss because of factors such as bone loss and estrogen deficiency. The impact of the menopause may go some way to explain why women more often suffer from tooth loss, despite generally having better oral health than men.More

Higher US Medicaid payments to dentists associated with increased rate of dental care among children
ScienceDaily
Children and adolescents from states that had higher Medicaid payment levels to dentists between 2000 and 2008 were more likely to receive dental care, although children covered by Medicaid received dental care less often than children with private insurance, according to a study in the July 13 issue of JAMA. According to background information in the article, more than one-third of children are covered by public health insurance, primarily Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. Coverage of dental care for children and adolescents covered by Medicaid and CHIP is required, although states have wide latitude in setting payment rates for providers including dentists, with these rates varying greatly by state. Medicaid recipients may not be able to access dental care if dentists decline to participate in Medicaid because of low payment levels or other reasons. Little is known about the effect of state dental fees on participation of dentists in the Medicaid program.More

Dental implants: What do dentists charge?
The Wealthy Dentist
In this survey, dentists were asked what was the average cost for dental implants. Dentists reported an average of $1,559 from a general dentist and $1,853 from a specialist.More

Why oral health leads to overall health
The Huffington Post
You can tell a lot about people by their mouths. Beyond the personality and charisma that shines through a gleaming white smile, important clues to your overall health can be found in the details of your teeth, gums, and even tongue, which is why putting off that next visit to the dentist can be costly not only to your wallet, but also to your heart and other vital organs. Recent studies suggest that two common items may be powerful weapons against heart disease and stroke: a toothbrush and dental floss. Research indicates that those plagued with plaque on their teeth also might have worries about plaque in their arteries.More

Can dentists identify undiagnosed diabetes and prediabetes?
EmaxHealth
The next time your dentist says "open wide," he or she may find something more than cavities. A Columbia University College of Dental Medicine study reports that the presence of two common dental conditions provides a way for dentists to identify undiagnosed prediabetes and diabetes.More

Did you know there's a wrong time to brush your teeth?
WTOP-FM
Did you know there's actually a wrong time to brush your teeth? Brushing right after you have acidic foods or carbonated drinks can can lead to erosion of tooth enamel. It's recommended you rinse right away, but wait an hour to brush.More

How to select the best dentist
Dental Health Magazine
Dentistry is a field that scares off quite a few people, especially those who struggle with dental anxiety. Many patients do suffer from dental phobia exactly because of a very bad experience at the dentist's. All it takes is one dental treatment gone wrong with the patient suffering in pain for months, and having to go through several dental surgeries, and the respective patient does not want to hear even the word "dentist" again. This is why it is very important to find yourself a very skilled and highly professional dentist who has dealt successfully with a vast clientele in the past. When you are searching for the best dentist out there, it is a good idea to ask for suggestions from family members, friends or acquaintances.More