This Week in Perio
Dec. 8, 2010

Dental implant sector set to surge
The Wall Street Journal
Executives of large dental implant makers say their business will take a bigger bite of overall consumer spending next year, despite continued weakness in the global economy and stiff price competition from new entrants. Expansion rates of 5 percent are realistic for 2011, they say, while double-digit growth is possible in two years after consumers regain confidence, reversing a more than 6 percent drop that hurt the $18 billion dental industry in the downturn. During that time consumers have opted for cheaper replacements, such as bridges, as costs for implants can run between $500 to more than $10,000 depending on the size and material.More

FDA to revisit mercury-based fillings
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will revisit the issue of amalgam fillings that contain mercury, officials said. The FDA will take up the issue at a meeting of the dental-products panel of its medical devices advisory committee Dec. 14 to 15 in Maryland, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal reported. Dentists and many health experts say the mercury-based fillings are safe, but some consumers and scientists argue mercury can contribute to a host of health problems, including Alzheimer's. "I'm not surprised the FDA is looking at this because of the public outcry that has been going on for decades," said Holly Hruska of Frankfort, Ky.More

Senate passes bill to exempt doctors from FTC's Red Flags Rule
Healthcare IT News
The Senate has passed a bill that exempts doctors and other providers from the Federal Trade Commission's Red Flags Rule, which would have required them to develop and implement written identity theft prevention programs. The rule currently is scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 31. The House of Representatives is expected to pass the bill during the current legislative session. The Red Flags rule was developed under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, in which Congress directed the FTC and other agencies to develop regulations requiring "creditors" and "financial institutions" to address the risk of identity theft.More

Does vitamin D enhance periodontal health?
Vitamin D supplements can play a positive role in supporting and improving periodontal health in older adults and pregnant women, according to two new studies in the Journal of Periodontology. In 2009, researchers from Saint Louis University, Southern Illinois University and Washington University found that patients in periodontal maintenance programs taking vitamin D and calcium supplementation trended toward better periodontal health compared with patients not taking supplementation. And this is just one of many cross-sectional studies and secondary data analyses in the last few years that reached similar conclusions, according to Dr. Charles Hildebolt, study co-author and director of radiology at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University. (May require free registration to view article.)More

7 things your teeth say about your health
Some messages coming out of your mouth bypass the vocal chords. Turns out that your teeth, gums and surrounding tissues also have plenty to say about your overall health. "Your mouth is connected to the rest of your body," says Anthony Iacopino, dean of the University of Manitoba Faculty of Dentistry and a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. "What we see in the mouth can have a significant effect on other organ systems and processes in the body. And the reverse is also true: Things that are going on systemically in the body can manifest in the mouth."More

Small business advice: Keeping a reserve fund
Los Angeles Times
Q: How much cash should a small business set aside as a reserve fund?
A: Because economic recessions are cyclical, having an adequate capital reserve is imperative for small businesses. It's also important to hedge against seasonal downturns and family emergencies or health problems. Just as individuals are advised to save enough to meet personal expenses for three to six months, companies should do the same, said Jim Sharvin, a CPA in Torrance, Calif. "Put that savings in a money market fund or a short-term CD. Don't put it at risk at all," he said.More

Decline in dental benefits enrollment reported by NADP/DDPA
Marketwire via SYS-CON
National dental benefits enrollment for 2009 decreased 5.7 percent compared to 2008 enrollment, according to the NADP/DDPA 2010 Dental Benefits Enrollment Report. This is the first decline in dental enrollment since NADP began reporting dental benefits enrollment data in 1994. At year-end 2009, approximately 166 million Americans were covered by some form of dental benefit through group or individual plans. This is about 10 million fewer than year-end 2008 and represents 54 percent of the population of the United States. By contrast, enrollment from 2006 through 2008 grew in line with population growth holding steady at 57 percent of the U.S. population.More

Judge rejects health law challenge
The New York Times
For the second time in two months, a federal judge has upheld the constitutionality of the new health care law, ruling that the requirement that most Americans obtain medical coverage falls within Congress's authority to regulate interstate commerce. The judge, Norman K. Moon of Federal District Court, who sits in Lynchburg, Va., issued a 54-page ruling that granted the government's request to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Liberty University, the private Christian college founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell. In October, in a separate case, Judge George C. Steeh of Federal District Court in Detroit also upheld the law.More