Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Posts Tagged ‘teeth

Crunching Candy, Ice-Cubes Crumples Teeth

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By James Gaffney

Mature Life Features

     Using your teeth to rip off clothes tags or crack open nuts or crunch ice and hard candy can wear down and weaken the surface of your enamel.
     Over time, these habits can chip the enamel or break a tooth at the gum line, said Dr. David McFadden, a Harvard Medical School associate professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery.
     Enamel protects the core of each tooth from the pressure and attrition of chewing as well as from invasive bacteria. Even though it is the hardest substance in your body, it can still incur damage.
     “When you chew food, pressure is equally distributed over the entire surface area of your mouth,” said McFadden. “But the force drastically increases when the focal point is concentrated on a
small surface area, as is the case when you eat hard candy.”
     While you shouldn’t forget to brush and floss to maintain dental health, McFadden suggests
chewing not chomping to preserve your teeth from undue pressure.
Mature Life Features, Copyright 2002

Written by Cecil Scaglione

September 21, 2011 at 12:05 am

Posted in Health

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Cavities? All in Your Genes

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By James Gaffney

Mature Life Features

Imagine a visit to the dentist where cavities and gum disease can be prevented by using gene therapy. Imagine your dentist being able to repair or regenerate your teeth using your own DNA. Such a future is not far away, predicts Harold C. Slavkin, dean at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry.

According to Slavkin, dentistry will rapidly evolve from dependency on mechanical and surgical solutions for treating disease to “bio” solutions, in which conditions are treated at a molecular level. For example, instead of using fillings to repair cavities, a dentist will some day modify the specific bacteria in a person that cause dental disease in the first place. A simple swab from inside the mouth will provide enough DNA to develop individualized dental treatments in the future.

“The mouth is a portal to the body,” said Slavkin. “Many systemic diseases and disorders manifest themselves in the mouth.” Several thousand structural and/or regulatory genes are required for the development and maintenance of oral, dental, and craniofacial cells, tissues and structure, said Slavkin. Variances within these multiple genes can lead to disease or disorders.

Future DNA-based oral diagnoses will certainly aid children who are born with genetic mutations that are not apparent at birth but show up during later stages of development, according to Slavkin. For instance, a gene mutation responsible for a rare disease called Papillon-Levere syndrome often causes children to lose all of their baby teeth by the age of four and all of their adult teeth by the age of 14 due to an abnormal inflammatory response to oral infections. In the future, using the child’s DNA sample to provide early identification of this syndrome, dentists would be able to intervene with bio-solutions before the teeth are lost.

“The interface between the human genome, information technology, and biotechnology will direct the future treatment of oral health in this new century,” said Slavkin.

Mature Life Features Copyright 2003

Written by Cecil Scaglione

August 31, 2011 at 9:29 pm