Category Archives: In The Media

Could chewing gum help dectect infections in implants?

gumThe newest addition to your dentist’s grab bag of goodies might soon be gum. European scientists describe the development of a chewing gum that detects oral infections Tuesday in Nature Communications. The tech could prove particularly useful for diseases that present with minimal to no symptoms.
“It’s a great screening tool to help people test their health status easily,” Lorenz Meinel, a pharmacist at the University of Würzburg in Germany and senior author of the study, said.
From cavities to gingivitis, oral infections are widespread — 15 to 20 percent of middle-aged adults have gum disease — especially for people with dental implants. Dental implants stabilize crowns, dentures and bridges. While useful for the 30 percent of people over age 65 without teeth, the implants can become infected with bacteria and cause peri-implant disease. Constant prescription of antibiotics could be used for treatment, but Meinel said the tactic is impractical because peri-implant disease develops over a long timeframe (5 to 10 years). So he pivoted to the underlying problem. People do not often sense pain with dental implants, so infected gums go unnoticed. Meinel needed an alternative way to get patients to sense their illness. Luckily, a mouth comes with one of the best detectors on the planet: the tongue.

The tongue is highly sensitive to taste, and a vigilant monitor of your mouth’s chemistry. With this in mind, Meinel and his team designed a disease-sensing gum that capitalized on taste as its readout.
The taste alarm in the gum is a compound called denatonium — the most bitter substance known. As an evolutionary signpost for poisons, people are particularly sensitive to bitterness. The denatonium is diluted in the gum, but is still awfully bitter, Meinel said.
The researchers attached this denatonium to a biological tripwire — a molecule that gets chopped up by enzymes in the saliva of patients with peri-implant disease.
In healthy saliva, the biological sensor and denatonium are tasteless and do not dissolve. But, if peri-implant disease enzymes are present in the saliva, they chew away the sensor and expose the denatonium and bitter flavor.
To test its effectiveness, Meinel and his team mixed their sensor with saliva from people with peri-implant disease or saliva from asymptomatic patients with at least one dental implant. After only five minutes, peri-implant disease saliva released nearly three times more bitter compound than spit from healthy subjects did.
The researchers tested the bitterness of their chewing gum to see how folks might tolerate the taste. Rather than submit patients to a gross tasting excursion, the team measured the bitterness released by their chewing gum with an electronic tongue. This instrument senses sour, salty, umami and bitter flavors with electronic taste buds and measures the intensity of those flavors too. The researchers found the bitterness released by their chewing gum sensor was less than half (40 percent) that of denatonium alone.
Meinel and his team plan to try the gum in real people soon, but in the meantime, they are working on gum-based sensors for other infections, including ones to distinguish strep throat from sore throats caused by the flu.

 

And the winner is…..

We were so excited to present Betty S. with her fabulous gift for referring her family and friends to our practice  Betty will get dinner at the Inn at Little Washington as well as a nights stay at The Middleton Inn.

As always we appreciate your referrals of family and friends as we grow our practice.  We love sharing our passion for great service and continued dental health for all!  Be on the look out for our next program starting in June…you won’t want to miss it!

DSCN0421 DSCN0423

“American Health Front!” TV Show

I was very flattered recently when the Medical Media Group (a production company for medical programming) asked me to participate in their television special, “AMERICAN HEALTH FRONT!” .  The show is America’s leading independent medical news television program entertaining and educating viewers in markets all across America.

 I was asked to be the cosmetic dentistry expert for our Washington regional area in a show that aired on Saturday July 8, 2006 on our ABC Channel affiliate.  Custom produced for each market, “AMERICAN HEALTH FRONT!” explains important advances in medical and dental technique and technology and introduces viewers to acknowledged specialists in their community.  In my show segment, I discussed the advances in cosmetic dentistry and how we can design a new smile for a patient using porcelain veneers.  I was able to present several patients from my practice and show “before and after” photos of their new smiles.

As I later learned, “AMERICAN HEALTH FRONT!” has helped health care consumers nationwide get the kind of vital, up-to-date information that could really make a difference in their lives.  Each of the program’s news reports focus on what’s new and more effective in the fascinating and ever-changing world of medicine and dentistry. 

 I am honored to have been a guest expert on the show and have received great feedback from my patients who tuned in to see me.   Keep an eye on the website as we will post  a copy of the show soon for all to view.