Dr Mark O'Donnell B.D.S
Monday - Thursday
Tuesday and Friday mornings
Fruit juices and smoothies have 'unacceptably high' sugar content
The next time you offer your children a healthy smoothie instead of a fizzy drink, you may want to remember that it could contain half of a child's recommended daily sugar intake. Research published in the online journal BMJ Open describes the sugar content of fruit drinks, juices and smoothies as "unacceptably high".
Even 100% fruit juice is not as innocent as it seems. Researchers from the University of Liverpool and the University of London in the UK assessed the sugar content per 100ml of juice drinks using information from the pack label.
They checked the amount of "free" sugars in 203 standard portion sizes (200ml) of UK products. Free sugars include glucose, fructose, sucrose and table sugar, which are added by the producer, as well as naturally occurring sugars in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates. Although fructose occurs naturally in fruit, when consumed as a drink, it can cause tooth decay. The average sugar content in the drinks surveyed was 7g/100ml, or around 1.5tsps. It was significantly higher in pure fruit juices and smoothies.
The average sugar content of the 21 pure fruit juices in the survey was as high as 10.7g/100ml or just over 2tsps, and in the 24 smoothies, it was up to 13g/100ml, or just over 2.5tsps. Over 40% of all the products contained 19g, or around 4tsps, of free sugars, the maximum daily amount recommended for children.
Gum disease may worsen cognitive decline for Alzheimer's patients
New research from the Dental Institute at King's College London suggests that gum disease may speed up cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients. Dr Mark Ide and colleagues looked at whether gum disease may impact the severity of cognitive decline among people with Alzheimer's.
The team enrolled 59 participants with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease to their study, and 52 of these participants were followed for an average of six months. At the beginning and end of the follow-up period, the dental health of the subjects was assessed by a dental hygienist, and the researchers took blood samples from the participants and assessed them for inflammatory markers.
Compared with participants who did not have gum disease at study baseline, those who did were found to have a six-fold increase in the rate of cognitive decline during the six-month follow-up period. Based on their findings the team suggests that gum disease may increase the rate of cognitive decline by increasing the body's inflammatory response.
"A number of studies have shown that having few teeth, possibly as a consequence of earlier gum disease, is associated with a greater risk of developing dementia," says Dr Ide. He added: "We also believe, based on various research findings, that the presence of teeth with active gum disease results in higher body-wide levels of the sorts of inflammatory molecules which have also been associated with an elevated risk of other outcomes such as cognitive decline or cardiovascular disease. Research has suggested that effective gum treatment can reduce the levels of these molecules closer to that seen in a healthy state".
New research identifies role of tiny bubbles in teeth cleaning
Research into the science behind ultrasonic scalers, used by dental professionals to remove built up plaque, has identified that the formation of tiny bubbles around the head is key to the cleaning process.
The bubble formation of water around the head of the scaler was observed using high-speed cameras. Scalers of differing power, and head shape, were used and compared to quantify the patterns of cavitation.
The team believes that the methods developed in the study will help to test new instrument designs with the aim of designing ultrasonic scalers that operate without touching the tooth surface.
Professor Damien Walmsley, from the School of Dentistry at the University of Birmingham, explained: “Removing dental plaque and calculus, that is the build-up of what we know as tartar or hard plaque, is a big part of maintaining oral health and a regular occurrence in dental check-ups. These findings will help us to understand how to make the tools as effective as possible”.
The team was not only able to show that cavitation occurred at the free end of the tip, but that it increases with power, and the area and width of the cavitation cloud varies for different shaped tips.
Nina Vyas, lead author of the paper from the University of Birmingham, said: “Other studies we have done, using electron microscopy, have shown that removal of plaque biofilm is increased when cavitation is increased. Putting the pieces together, we can therefore say that altering the shape and power of these commonly used tools make them more effective, and hopefully, pain free”.
More dental patients could be spared the drill with new diagnostic liquid
The days of the dreaded dental drill-and-fill as the standard solution for tooth decay may be numbered if a discovery by a Creighton University School of Dentistry professor continues to advance.
Douglas Benn DDS PhD has created a simple diagnostic liquid solution that can be applied to the surface of a patient's teeth prior to a dental X-ray and which will help show dentists whether a tooth has cavitated decay or is pre cavity. The diagnostic liquid will help dentists to more readily see cavitated decay on a standard X-ray, and will also allow the dentist to use recently developed topical products to arrest tooth decay at an early stage, thereby preserving healthy tooth structure and utilising a simple, pain-free method of detection and treatment, without anaesthesia or drilling.
Dental caries – otherwise known as tooth decay – is the most common infection in the world and probably the one producing the most anxiety in potential dental patients. Caries goes through two stages: an initial non-cavitated state where decay can stop and no filling is needed, and a later cavitated state where a filling is often needed to stop decay from progressing. Currently, dentists do not have a test to determine the difference between the two states, and this leads to the standard treatment: a drilling and a filling. But decay doesn't automatically mean a cavity, and the filling cure can often be more trouble than it's worth.