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Kudos To A Pain-Free Dental Practice

Ordinarily, I’m wary of all things dental.  I had too many cavities as a child.  As a young man, I had a root canal done on the wrong tooth, followed immediately by the correct one.  My dental memories are a bit tainted.  Not an indictment of the entire profession so much as a kind of PPSD…post procedure stress disorder.

But when I moved to South Carolina, my wife and I found a wonderful general dentist in Dr. Ronald Moore, in Seneca, SC.  Rarely would I ascribe the words ‘painless dentistry’ to one of the practitioners of that esteemed profession.  But I have to give credit where credit is due.  His hygenists, and Dr. Moore, have all been the pinnacle of gentility.  Even my children aren’t afraid to go for cleanings.  And when I need anesthesia, well Dr. Moore is an artist with a needle.  Heck, if he were a tattoo artist, I’d think about it…

Sadly, when I was recently in his office for a crown, he felt that I first needed a root canal.  The very words inspire vague nausea and general panic.  From my own experience, ‘root canal’ is right up there with ‘waterboarding,’ ‘fingernail removal’ and ’shark attack.’ Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

Solar-Powered Toothbrush: No Toothpaste Required?

pmyw29jl.jpgResearchers at the University of Saskatchewan have developed a solar-powered toothbrush that doesn’t require toothpaste.

At the base of the brush is a solar panel, which transmits electrons to the top of the toothbrush through a lead wire. These electrons react with acid in the mouth, breaking down plaque without the help of toothpaste. It’s an advancement of a model described 15 years ago using a titanium dioxide rod which released electrons when illuminated.

The researchers are currently recruiting 120 teens to test the brush. The model is named Soladey-J3X and is manufactured by the Shiken company of Japan.

More from Saskatoon StarPhoenix: Solar toothbrush could make toothpaste obsolete…

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Teeth-Regenerating Gel May Mean No More Fillings

Although people are generally proud of their dental hygiene, undoubtedly many have had root canals that have been plugged using traditional fillings. The procedure is far from being everyone’s favorite pasttime, as only true masochists can enjoy having high speed drills working their teeth and hot glue guns filling them.

A team of French researchers has been working on a new approach that uses nanostructured and functionalized multilayered films to help regenerate teeth and fill in cavities with little pain but all the gain. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Brush Up On Heart Health

The British Medical Journal reported on a study of toothbrushing and found that people with poor oral hygiene had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack.

We’ve known for the last two decades that inflammation plays an important role in atherosclerosis. Markers of low-grade inflammation like C-reactive protein are also shown to be higher in heart disease.

The Scottish Health researchers looked at the general population and followed a large subset with questions about their oral health. They asked about frequency of dentist visits, toothbrushing, and controlled for many co-variables such as general activity, hypertension, smoking, height and weight. They also collected blood for studies of C-reactive protein as a marker of inflammation. They removed from the analysis participants who had no natural teeth (edentulous) and those with existing cardiovascular disease.

This elaborate and lengthy study showed that toothbrushing is associated with cardiovascular disease, and that subjects who brushed their teeth less than once a day had a 70 percent increase in heart disease compared with people who brushed twice a day. The inflammation that periodontal disease causes is directly related to increased C-reactive protein and increased heart attacks.

Leave it to the Scotts and the Brits to remind us to brush and floss every day.

REFERENCE: British Medical Journal, 2010; 340: c2451.

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Quote of the Day: Why It’s Good To Live In Our Time

Photo of a nice smile

Warning: a short, explanatory digression preceeds the quote of the day. 

In truth, I’ve never been a terribly political person – sure I care about “the issues” but I never really followed politics that closely. Never until I moved to DC. Because here in DC, politics follows YOU. You cannot escape it, you cannot outrun it, and you cannot ignore it. It’s discussed at the local eateries, it’s the driving force behind most social events, and politics (and/or government) is one of the major employers in the district. Escaping politics in DC is like avoiding Broadway on the Manhattan street map. At some point, you’re going to cross it.

So I’ve given in and given up. I’m going to hang with the gang here in as non-partisan a way as any Canadian can muster. You’ll notice occasional posts on policy issues and “inside the beltway” news and conversations in healthcare. I hope that some of you will like that, and the rest will stick with me long enough to get to my next post about important health issues like “flip flop foot” or “conversations at the spa.”

But I have to tell you, these political folks often have a terrific sense of humor. Please enjoy this interesting Q&A between the Archivist of the United States, Allen Weinstein, and conservative author Douglas Brinkley:

Weinstein: If you could choose to go back in time and live in any year in the history of the United States, which year would you choose?

Brinkley: I’d choose this year, 2008.

Weinstein: Why?

Brinkley: Dentistry

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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