Archive for March 2016

DIY Dentistry Considered As Dangerous As DIY LASIK Eye Surgery.

As coverage continues of a student at the New Jersey Institute of Technology who used a 3D printer and laser scanner to “create plastic aligners to improve his smile,” the Washington Post (3/30, Mcfarland) reports that orthodontists are warning “that the amateur’s methods were risky” and could result in more expensive professional help being needed. Hera Kim-Berman, director of graduate orthodontics at the University of Michigan, called the student’s approach to straightening his teeth “very dangerous,” saying, “He’s done a tremendous disservice to many people who look at this and think they can possibly do it.” Brent E. Larson, a director of orthodontics at the University of Minnesota’s dental school, compared the risks involved with the student’s method to those of performing one’s own LASIK surgery, saying that although there’s “a more obvious risk to the health of your eye” with DIY LASIK surgery, DIY dentistry involves “the same sort of risk.”

Hormonal Changes May Affect A Woman’s Oral Health.

The Huffington Post (3/28, Mango) “The Blog” carries an article originally appearing on the Health website discussing how fluctuations in hormone levels may impact a woman’s oral health. An OB/GYN in New York City said, “A surge in the female hormones estrogen and progesterone causes an increase in blood flow to the gums, and a decrease in the way that we can fight off plaque and other toxins.” This can occur during pregnancy, for example, and other times hormone levels change, the article states. The OB/GYN advised daily brushing and flossing, regular dental visits, and limiting consumption of sugar and carbohydrates to promote dental health. provides additional information on pregnancy gingivitis and other topics related to pregnancy and dental health.

Consumer Reports Provides 10 Tips For Affordable Dental Care.

The Washington Post (3/28) carries a Consumer Reports article providing 10 tips for saving on dental care costs. Consumer Reports recommends, for example, that people enroll in dental coverage through their employer if it is available and ensure dental health through preventive care.

Taking Steps To Promote Oral Health Encouraged For People With Diabetes.

In its “Oral Care — Secret Key to Diabetes Success” blog, Diabetes Self-Management (3/23, Spero) stated that “caring for your mouth helps your diabetes,” adding research suggests that having healthier gums and treating gum disease may help people with diabetes. After listing symptoms of gum disease, the article provides dental hygiene tips, noting “the American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, and flossing once a day.” The article also encouraged readers to avoid foods that damage teeth, as listed by the ADA. provides additional information on diabetes and teeth.

TIME Considers Benefits Of Using Mouthwash.

Citing ADA spokesperson Dr. Matt Messina extensively, TIME (3/23, Heid) considers whether using mouthwash is a safe and effective step in a person’s dental care routine. “I like to say mouthwash is an addition to proper oral hygiene, not a substitute,” said Dr. Messina. While mouthwash use does not replace daily brushing or a twice-yearly dentist visit, it may help freshen your breath, and in most cases is safe, he says. Dr. Messina said concerning antiseptic or antibacterial mouth rinses, for those with “periodontal disease or some harmful types of mouth bacteria, an antibacterial rinse could help kill the bacteria that cause the disease,” although he advises speaking with a dentist first. Dr. Messina adds, “You don’t need mouthwash, but if you enjoy it, or you have bad breath and feel it helps, then there’s no substantiated risks to rinsing once or twice a day.” provides additional information on mouthwashes. In addition, multiple mouthrinses have the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Proper Dental Hygiene Tips Provided.

The Toronto (CAN) Sun (3/22, Richard) provides tips to ensure dental health, recommending, for example, that in addition to regular brushing and flossing, people limit sugar consumption and late night snacking, avoid chewing ice and using teeth as tools, and wear a mouthguard during sports. provides additional information on habits that can harm teeth.

Video-Based Intervention May Help Dental Patients Overcome Anxiety, Trial Suggests.

The Washington Post (3/21, Szokan) reports that many adults in the United States suffer from dental anxiety, with some avoiding dental care as a result. The article states that avoiding dental care may result in dental caries, halitosis, and periodontal disease, while “decayed or missing teeth have a negative effect on self-esteem and employability.” According to the article, in the March issue of Monitor on Psychology, the American Psychological Association’s magazine, Rebecca A. Clay discusses techniques to help patients overcome dental anxiety, including “cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation therapy, medication, acupuncture, hypnosis, musical distraction and gradual exposure to certain elements of a procedure, such as injections.” Dr. Richard Heimberg, a psychology professor at Temple University, noted in Clay’s article that few dental practices have psychologists on staff, so his anxiety clinic developed a video-based “dental anxiety intervention” to help prepare patients for procedures. In a “trial of 151 patients with high dental anxiety or phobias, Heimberg’s team found that the intervention significantly reduced fears,” the article reports. provides additional tips for addressing dental anxiety.

Antibiotic Prophylaxis Indicated Prior To Dental Treatment For Select Patients.

Consumer Reports (3/18, Carr) reported that “new guidelines call for fewer people to get antibiotics before a dental procedure.” The article noted that updated “treatment guidelines for dentists (3/20) now advise antibiotics before dental procedures for only a few types of patients such as those with artificial heart valves, a history that includes a heart infection, or who were born with certain serious heart defects.” The article added that this means antibiotics are not indicated for most patients prior to dental work. provides additional information on antibiotic prophylaxis for heart patients. Additional information on antibiotic prophylaxis for dental patients with prosthetic joints and orthopedic implants is also available at, which notes, “The American Dental Association has found it is no longer necessary for most dental patients with orthopedic implants to have antibiotic prophylaxis to prevent infection.”

Adults Encouraged To Ask Dentists About Fluoride Treatments.

Lifehacker (3/16, Skwarecki) states that in addition to children, adults may benefit from fluoride treatment, noting the American Dental Association states fluoride treatments can help patients who have a “moderate-to-high risk” of developing tooth decay. According to the article, some risk factors for caries development include having active caries, a sugary diet, and taking medications that reduce saliva production. The article recommends speaking with a dentist to determine if a fluoride treatment would be beneficial.

        Additional information on fluoride is available at


Coffee, Tea, Red Wine Among Major Teeth-Staining Culprits.

Yahoo! News provided a list of 15 foods and beverages that can stain teeth, including berries, coffee, tea, red wine, curry, hard candies, tomato sauce, cherry juice, soda, balsamic vinegar, beets, popsicles, sports drinks, grapes, and lemons. According to the article, coffee, tea, and red wine, for example, contain tannins that can contribute to staining and discoloration, and many of the items on the list are also acidic, which can erode the enamel on teeth. “You really want to minimize your teeth’s exposure to acidic foods. The acid will eat away at your teeth,” said Dr. Kim Harms, spokesperson for the American Dental Association. “Make sure you’re brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using fluoride,” Dr. Harms said. “Fluoride strengthens your teeth against those acid attacks caused by eating.” provides additional information on what causes teeth to change color.

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