Thursday, March 28, 2024

Possible New Oral Cancer Detection...

Did you know when you have your routine dental examination, your dentist examines your gums, and teeth and also checks for oral cancer?

Typically your dentist will check the inside of your mouth for any mouth sores and palpate the tissue inside the mouth checking for any lumps. Some dentists may even go a step further and check the throat and neck.

However, in the future, there may be a new way to diagnose oral cancer. 

In an article by Dr. Bicuspids Melissa Busch, the University of Birmingham in the U.K. is in the works of developing a lollipop that could aid in diagnosing oral cancer! See the full article below.

"Instead of getting a lollipop for good behavior at a dental appointment, clinicians may hand them out and ask for patients to hand them back so they can be tested for mouth cancer, according to the University of Birmingham in the U.K.

The school will use a smart hydrogel to develop a prototype flavored lollipop that could aid in diagnosing mouth cancer. Cancer Research UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) have awarded a three-year 350,000-pound grant ($442,347 U.S.) to fund the research, according to a university press release dated March 21.

"This project is an exciting first step towards an entirely new way to identify mouth cancers earlier," Dr. Iain Foulkes, executive director of research and innovation at Cancer Research UK, said in the press release.

Currently, a mouth cancer diagnosis requires biopsies and nasoendoscopies. However, the procedure is invasive, time-consuming, and requires an endoscopist. In addition to these factors, these tests are unpleasant for patients.

A hydrogel functions like fishing nets. It absorbs lots of water while catching larger molecules like proteins and the "net" can be opened, releasing larger molecules for analysis.

Therefore, to test for cancer, a patient would suck on a lollipop, transferring their saliva to the hydrogel. The proteins caught in the hydrogel lollipop can be blasted with a ultraviolet light, and the liquid can be analyzed for saliva proteins that are indicators of the early stages of mouth cancer, according to the release.

"We're hoping that we can be the first to make a device which is much kinder for diagnosing mouth cancer for patients," Dr.  Ruchi Gupta, associate professor of biosensors at the university, said in the press release."

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

You Should Never Ignore Dental Pain - Even When You Wear Dentures or Have a Bridge

  I recently heard about someone who went to the dentist with severe pain in the area of her bridge. This pain had been present for a couple years but only when she chewed, so she didn't think much of it. Eventually it got worse and worse until the pain was unbearable, she was sick, her face was swollen and she couldn't eat.

As it turned out, for 2 years the bridge was actually broken. There was decay in a tooth underneath it allowing for trapped food to get in, which led to a major infection. This made her really sick.
After almost 3 hours in the dentist chair and some oral surgery, they finally got her taken care of and had a new bridge on its way to her.

Just because a crown, implant or bridge is not "real" per-say, doesn't mean that it should be ignored! If something goes wrong, it should be treated and maintained just like a real tooth at all times.

If you have questions as to how to properly care for your bridge, be sure to consult with your dentist.

Keep Smiling!

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Is it Possible to Regenerate Receding Gums?

The quick answer is no. There are many theories out there that suggest you can repair and regrow gums once they have receded.  You can find almost anything on the internet. Unfortunately, once your gums have pulled back from your teeth, there is no magic that will help to grow them back. What you can do, however, is to see a dentist regularly to have your teeth cleaned in order to prevent further gum loss and loose teeth.  It is never too late for preventive treatment. 

Don't fall for gimmicks and false promises.  So many people do!  If you notice that your gums are receding or if you have redness, swelling and pain in the gums around your teeth or chronic bad breath, see your dentist immediately for treatment to prevent further deterioration.  

Keep Smiling!  

Friday, March 15, 2024

Type 2 Diabetes & Mouthwash

 Do you have type 2 diabetes? If so, check out this article by Dr. Bicuspid's Ava Barros.

"Gargling with mouthwash may hold significant promise in mitigating the incidence of periodontitis, as well as managing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), according to a study published in Scientific Reports.   

Additionally, younger patients and those with higher initial levels of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) experienced notable decreases in their HbA1c and oral bacterial species levels after rinsing with mouthwash, the authors wrote.  

"Patients with T2DM complicated by periodontitis have more red complex species, and poor glycemic control is thought to be associated with increased levels of red complex species in the oral cavity," wrote the authors, led by Dr. Saaya Matayoshi of Osaka University in Japan, (Sci Rep, February 2, 2024, Vol. 14, 2777).  

The research team investigated how using mouthwash affects the levels of certain harmful bacteria known as red complex series, like Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis), Treponema denticola (T. denticola), and Tannerella forsythia (T. forsythia), as well as HbA1c levels in patients with T2DM, the authors wrote.  

A total of 173 patients were first asked to gargle with water for six months followed by six months of gargling with a mouthwash containing chlorhexidine gluconate. During each visit to the clinic, the team collected saliva samples and extracted bacterial DNA to detect the presence of these harmful bacteria using a polymerase chain reaction lab technique. Furthermore, HbA1c levels were measured using a blood sample to understand the impact of mouthwash gargling on blood sugar control, they wrote. 

They found that younger patients or males who gargled with mouthwash experienced a significant decrease in the number of red complex series. Additionally, among younger patients or those with higher initial HbA1c levels, gargling with mouthwash led to a significant reduction in HbA1c levels, they wrote.

The study, however, had limitations. Different patients showed various trends in the change of bacteria and blood sugar control as they gargled with mouthwash potentially due to individual differences, including having other systemic diseases, taking certain medications, and periodontal status, they wrote.

"In summary, T2DM patients can decrease red complex species by gargling with mouthwash two or three times a day, leading to possible improvement in glycemic control, especially in younger patients," Matayoshi et al wrote."

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Drinking Coffee May Reduce Risk of Oral Cancer

 t's quite possible! Although this idea is still being researched and is yet to be confirmed, the study appears to be promising. 

A brief on oral cancer:

People who use tobacco or alcohol are naturally at a higher risk of developing oral/pharyngeal or mouth cancer. People who have HPV (human papillomavirus) are also at a high risk as recent studies have shown. Oral cancer is difficult to detect in its early stages due to the fact that the symptoms can easily be mistaken as something else.  Common symptoms include mouth sores that don't seem to heal, or pain that will not go away.

Where coffee comes in:

There have been many studies over the years linking coffee to a reduced risk of mouth cancer.  The study which brings us here today actually began in 1982.  Nearly 1 million people took part, submitting their health and lifestyle information, including their tea and coffee intake.  When the study began, all participants were cancer free.  After nearly 30 years of monitoring and follow up, the results of the study were astonishing.  Out of the near million people who participated, 868 people died from oral/pharyngeal or mouth cancer.  When the relation to these deaths with coffee and tea consumption was analyzed, it was found that participants who reported drinking 4 or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a 49% reduced risk of death from oral cancer than those who reported drinking less or only having an occasional cup.  Gender, alcohol and tobacco were not a factor.  The link to decaffeinated coffee was insignificant and the link to tea drinkers was non-existent.

What that means now:

While we would all love to believe that coffee is the cure for oral cancer, unfortunately, more research needs to be done.  There are many factors that would need to be considered before they can determine coffee as a guaranteed treatment.  There are also many other types of cancers, this study only focused on one.  So, for now, myself and my fellow coffee drinkers can simply feel a little bit better about our consumption.  As more research and studies unfold, however, I imagine we can expect to see a breakthrough on this idea soon.

Until then, Cheers to coffee!

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Dental Check-Ups!

How often do you see your dentist for a routine dental check-up? Most people go every six months, but did you know that your dental health will determine when you will be asked to come back for another check-up?

For me personally, it's best that I get a dental check-up and cleaning every 4 months!

Here are some frequent questions about check-ups!

Why do we need dental check-ups?

Dental check-ups are very important to our dental health, the dentist will do an examination of your mouth and detect any occurring problems you might have. Leaving any problems untreated will cause major problems in the future.

What does a dental check-up include?

During the visit, your dentist will:
  1. Examine your mouth (teeth and gums).
  2. Ask questions about your dental health, and see if you are having any problems.
  3. Give you advice for a healthy mouth.
  4. Tell you when they want you back.

What about dental treatments?

Once you have had your check-up, you may receive a treatment plan. A treatment plan is an outline of what procedures you may need to do. *Remember this is not set in stone, this is to show you what should be done to prevent any further problems that could occur.*

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Digital X-rays Offer Many Advantages

 Technology is such a wonderful thing!  We've definitely come a long way in the advancement of diagnostics and diagnostic tools in both the medical field and the dental field.  Some may ask what the benefit is of digital x-rays vs. traditional x-rays.  Well, in terms of preventive care,  the difference is huge!  The following are some points of interest regarding digital x-ray machines.

     ~ The images produced by a digital machine are a much higher quality.
     ~ The images can be adjusted so that the doctor can see imperfections in the teeth early in            
         the diagnostic process.
     ~ There is significantly less radiation with a digital x-ray, which limits your exposure.
     ~ There is no chemical developer involved .
     ~  The images can be transferred from one office to another via email, saving time for the                             doctor and the patient.

On the flip side,  the only real negative aspect to this is the cost of the machine, which falls on the dentist. A digital x-ray machine is very expensive.  Consequently, many practitioners do not have them available as yet.  More and more, however,  it is becoming a regular fixture in dental offices throughout the US.  Ask your dentist if digital x-rays are part of their routine.  It's a better option all the way around!

Keep Smiling!!!