News Get a Filling or Print A New Smile? Share Tweet Published 3 weeks ago on 27th February 2018 By Horizon The EU Research and Innovation Magazine Twinges. Painful teeth. About one in 10 people suffer from dental sensitivity caused by worn enamel. But rather than providing short-term solutions like special toothpastes or fillings, new techniques could print whole new layers of enamel onto teeth – or even stimulate the body to grow new ones. Dr Antonios Anastasiou wants to be able to print you a new tooth. He’s not there yet, but a collaboration of material scientists, laser engineers and clinicians at the University of Leeds in the UK, have reached an important milestone along the way. They can print new layers of enamel onto the surface of teeth, preventing the exposure of tiny holes called dentine tubules, that can cause wincing sensitivity to hot and cold as well as become breeding grounds for the bacteria that cause cavities. Right now, the materials that dentists use to repair enamel can’t provide more than a temporary fix. They fade with time and leave voids that bacteria can get to. The technology being explored by Dr Anastasiou should overcome these problems. “We use a material similar to the natural mineral of teeth like hydroxyapatite or some other type of calcium phosphate,” Dr Anastasiou explained. That new material can be printed onto teeth using a femtosecond laser, which heats up small iron oxide nanoparticles in the material to bond it to the existing dental surface. The small heating area avoids damaging the surrounding tooth. They can also add cerium and other exotic elements to the mix to give the new material antibacterial properties. “What we are doing is figuring out how to prevent bacteria from colonising the surface.” – Dr Antonios Anastasiou, University of Leeds, UK “Not only can we restore enamel with a material similar to the original mineral of teeth, we can also improve it. What we are doing is figuring out how to prevent bacteria from colonising the surface,” said Dr Anastasiou. His solution is also longer lasting. While current restoration materials like resins can shrink over time or with temperature, his material does not. It is also a material that makes it easy for gums to reattach to, helping to prevent an infection of the gums around the mouth known as periodontitis. Right now, the technique is being trialled as an appliance in dental schools to make sure that there are no long-term side effects and that it can hold up to the rigours of daily life. “Some patients have it in their mouth and are taking care of it, brushing it, and having it on during eating. If these tests are positive then we can go on to clinical studies,” he said. Sensitivity Ultimately, the printed enamel could be out in the marketplace in about five years and could help those who suffer from worn enamel enjoy hot and cold drinks without sensitivity. “One of our professors said that he got into the research because he wanted to enjoy his whisky with ice,” Dr Anastatiou joked. Printing tooth repairs is one thing, but what if your body could be stimulated to regrow a tooth that is lost or damaged? That’s the aim of Dr Igor Adameyko from the Medical University of Vienna, Austria, who is trying to uncover the secret of how to induce the formation of new teeth using stem cells. But to do that, he first needed a map. “For a long time, nobody knew how many cell types and subtypes live in teeth. This knowledge is essential to understand how this organ is developing, growing, and maintaining itself,” said Dr Adameyko. To undertake such a cell census, he used a process known as single-cell transcriptomics. This new method can break down cells one by one, measuring the RNA – a key molecule similar to DNA that controls which genetic instructions are put into action – of thousands of cells at the same time. By examining the RNA blueprint of a cell, researchers can figure out what its type and function is. Through that painstaking process, the team has built up an atlas of all the cell types that live in teeth which have also helped him understand how different types of cells interact. ‘Cells exchange signals and these are not some kind of ethereal signals, but quite material. Molecules are made and secreted, and some cells have receptors that can bind to these molecules. We can actually see these pairs in the data set and predict these interactions,’ he said. Glial cells Armed with that knowledge, his team has honed in on what controls the life and death of a tooth, as well as what controls the conversion of cells known as glial cells, a type of cell that surrounds and insulates neurons, into dental stem cells that can grow teeth. Teeth originate from two different types of embryonic tissue – epithelia, which generates cells producing enamel, and mesenchyme which can become bone or the living tissue inside the tooth which is called dental pulp. Dr Adameyko and his team have also been investigating dental development and regeneration in mice, whose teeth grow throughout their lives because they feed on hard food. Using special chemical manipulation they made the mice’s teeth transparent and watched what happened to the tracked glial cells. Such knowledge could help the team figure out how to activate glial cells to convert into new stem cells in humans, to grow new roots for regenerating live teeth or crafting a new nerve for a dental implant. “If this exists in human teeth, by doing this we will be able to find some molecules that strengthen the tooth’s reparative response,” Dr Adameyko said. Related Topics: Up Next Can This Type of Protein Affect The Movement of Teeth? Don't Miss What Are The Appropriate Guidelines For Fluoride Intake? Continue Reading You may like News Losing Teeth During Middle Age Linked To An Increased Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease Published 11 hours ago on 22nd March 2018 By American Heart Association Losing two or more teeth in middle age is associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention | Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2018, a premier global exchange of the latest advances in population-based cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians. Studies have shown that dental health problems, such as periodontal disease and tooth loss, are related to inflammation, diabetes, smoking and consuming less healthy diets, according to study author Lu Qi, M.D., Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at Tulane University in New Orleans. “Previous research has also found that dental health issues are associated with elevated risk of cardiovascular disease,” Qi said. “However, most of that research looked at cumulative tooth loss over a lifetime, which often includes teeth lost in childhood due to cavities, trauma and orthodontics. Tooth loss in middle age is more likely related to inflammation, but it hasn’t been clear how this later-in-life tooth loss might influence cardiovascular disease risk.” In a collaborative research effort between Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Qi and colleagues analyzed the impact of tooth loss in large studies of adults, aged 45 to 69 years, in which participants had reported on the numbers of natural teeth they had, then in a follow-up questionnaire, reported recent tooth loss. Adults in this analysis didn’t have cardiovascular disease when the studies began. The researchers prospectively studied the occurrence of tooth loss during an eight-year period and followed an incidence of cardiovascular disease among people with no tooth loss, one tooth lost and two or more teeth lost over 12-18 years. They found: Among the adults with 25 to 32 natural teeth at the study’s start, those who lost two or more teeth had a 23 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease, compared to those with no tooth loss. The increased risk occurred regardless of reported diet quality, physical activity, body weight and other cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. There wasn’t a notable increase in cardiovascular disease risk among those who reported losing one tooth during the study period. Cardiovascular disease risk among all the participants (regardless of the number of natural teeth at the study’s start) increased 16 percent among those losing two or more teeth during the study period, compared to those who didn’t lose any teeth. Adults with less than 17 natural teeth, versus 25 to 32, at the study’s start, were 25 percent more likely to have cardiovascular disease. “In addition to other established associations between dental health and risk of disease, our findings suggest that middle-aged adults who have lost two or more teeth in recent past could be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease,” Qi said. “That’s regardless of the number of natural teeth a person has as a middle-aged adult, or whether they have traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as poor diet or high blood pressure.” Armed with the knowledge that tooth loss in middle age can signal elevated cardiovascular disease risk, adults can take steps to reduce the increased risk early on, he said. A limitation of the study was that participants self-reported tooth loss, which could lead to misclassification in the study, according to Qi. Continue Reading News Children’s Use of Non-Dental Services for Oral Pain Costing The NHS £2.3m a year Published 7 days ago on 16th March 2018 By Queen Mary University of London The study of more than half of all of the pharmacies in London and nearly 7,000 parents finds that most pharmacy visits for children’s pain medications in London are to treat oral pain. Lead researcher Dr Vanessa Muirhead from Queen Mary’s Institute of Dentistry said: “The fact that only 30 per cent of children with oral pain had seen a dentist before going to a pharmacy highlights a concerning underuse of dental services. “Children with oral pain need to see a dentist for a definitive diagnosis and to treat any tooth decay. Not treating a decayed tooth can result in more pain, abscesses and possible damage to children’s permanent teeth. “These children had not only failed to see a dentist before their pharmacy visit; they had seen GPs and a range of other health professionals outside dentistry. This inappropriate and overuse of multiple health services including A&E is costing the NHS a substantial amount of money at a time when reducing waste is a government priority.” Nearly one in ten children had signs of a dental emergency Previous research has found that the main cause of planned hospital admissions for children aged 5-9 years is to have their decayed teeth extracted under general anaesthesia. Meanwhile, a quarter of five-year-olds in England still have tooth decay in their baby teeth and approximately one in five 12-year-olds have tooth decay in their adult teeth. Only 58 per cent of children in England and 49 per cent of children in London had visited a dentist in 2016, even though dental care is free in the UK for under 18s and national guidelines recommend dental visits at least every year for children. In this latest study, published in BMJ Open and jointly funded by Healthy London Partnership and NHS England London Region, 951 pharmacies collected information from 6,915 parents seeking pain medications for their children in November 2016 – January 2017, and found that:Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of parents seeking pain medications for their children were doing so to relieve their children’s oral pain. Only 30 per cent of children with oral pain had seen a dentist before the pharmacy visit while 28 per cent had seen between one and four different health professionals (including GPs, health visitors, school nurses and A&E departments – GPs being the most common). Nearly one in ten children had signs and symptoms indicating a dental emergency and community pharmacy staff signposted them to emergency services. The cost to the NHS of children contacting health professionals outside dentistry over the period was £36,573 (an annual cost of £373,288). Replicating these findings across all pharmacies in England could mean that the NHS spends an estimated £2.3 million annually when children with oral pain inappropriately use multiple health services. 41 per cent of the children had toothache; 20 per cent had pain from a newly erupting tooth and 15 per cent had a painful mouth ulcer. Saturdays and Sundays were the peak days for parents to visit pharmacies for pain medication for children’s oral pain. This could partly explain why some parents had not seen a dentist due to limited urgent dental care services over the weekend. GPs, pharmacists and dentists need to talk to each other Dr Muirhead added: “We need to develop integrated systems and referral processes where GPs, community pharmacists and dentists talk to each other to make sure that children with toothache see a dentist as soon as possible for treatment. We also need better training for community pharmacy staff giving parents advice and look at how dentists manage children who have toothache.” The researchers also highlight the need to work towards preventing tooth decay from occurring in the first place. This includes rolling out Scotland’s Childsmile programme more widely, where fluoride toothpaste is distributed to all pre-school children, all nurseries have supervised toothbrushing every day and early years’ settings have healthy low sugar meals and snacks. The study limitations include the extrapolation of cost estimations which contained several assumptions. The researchers also possibly underestimated the number of children with oral pain in London because only community pharmacies were used as a means of identifying children and parents. Continue Reading News Our Ancestors Had The Same Dental Problems Like Us – Even Without The Sweets! Published 1 week ago on 15th March 2018 By The Conversation Dental erosion is one of the most common tooth problems in the world today. Fizzy drinks, fruit juice, wine, and other acidic food and drink are usually to blame, although perhaps surprisingly the way we clean our teeth also plays a role. This all makes it sound like a rather modern issue. But research suggests actually humans have been suffering dental erosion for millions of years. My colleagues and I have discovered dental lesions remarkably similar to those caused by modern erosion on two 2.5m-year-old front teeth from one of our extinct ancestors. This adds to the evidence that prehistoric humans and their predecessors suffered surprisingly similar dental problems to ourselves, despite our very different diets. Dental erosion can affect all dental tissue and typically leaves shallow, shiny, lesions in the enamel and root surface. If you brush your teeth too vigorously you can weaken dental tissue, which over time allows acidic foods and drinks to create deep holes known as non-carious cervical lesions (NCCLs). We found such lesions on the fossilised teeth from a human ancestor species Australopithecus africanus. Given the lesions’ size and position, this individual would likely have had toothache or sensitivity. So why did this prehistoric hominin have tooth problems that look indistinguishable from that caused by drinking large volumes of fizzy drinks today? The answer may come back to another unlikely parallel. Erosive wear today is often also associated with aggressive tooth brushing. Australopithecus africanus probably experienced similar dental abrasion from eating tough and fibrous foods. For lesions to form, they would still have needed a diet high in acidic foods. Instead of fizzy drinks, this probably came in the form of citrus fruits and acidic vegetables. For example, tubers (potatoes and the like) are tough to eat and some can be surprisingly acidic, so they could have been a cause of the lesions. Dental erosion is extremely rare in the fossil record, although this might be because researchers haven’t thought to look for evidence of it until now. But another type of problem, carious lesions or cavities, has been found more often in fossilised teeth. Cavities are the most common cause of toothache today and are caused by consuming starchy or sugary food and drink including grains. They are often considered a relatively modern problem linked to the fact that the invention of farming introduced large amounts of carbohydrates, and more recently refined sugar, to our diets. But recent research suggests this is not the case. In fact, cavities have now been found in tooth fossils from nearly every prehistoric hominin species studied. They were probably caused by eating certain fruits and vegetation as well as honey. These lesions were often severe, as in the case of cavities found on the teeth of the newly discovered species, Homo naledi. In fact, these cavities were so deep they probably took years to form and would almost certainly have caused serious toothache. Dental Abrasion Another striking type of dental wear is also more common in the fossil record, and again we can guess how and why it was created by looking at the teeth of people alive today. This process, called dental abrasion, is caused by repeatedly rubbing or holding a hard item against a tooth. It could come from biting your nails, smoking a pipe or holding a sewing needle between your teeth. These activities usually take years to form noticeable notches and grooves, so when we find such holes in fossilised teeth they offer fascinating insights into behaviour and culture. The best examples of this type of prehistoric dental wear are “toothpick grooves”, thought to be caused by repeatedly placing an object in the mouth, usually in the gaps between the back teeth. The presence of microscopic scratches around these grooves suggests they are examples of prehistoric dental hygiene, where the individual has used stick or other implements used to dislodge food. Some of these grooves are found on the same teeth as cavities and other dental problems, suggesting they may also be evidence of people trying to relieve their toothache. These lesions have been found in a variety of hominin species, including prehistoric humans and Neanderthals, but only in the species most closely related to us, not our older ancestors. This might mean this tooth wear is the result of more complex behaviour from species with larger brains. But more likely it’s a consequence of different diets and cultural habits. What we do know for sure is that the complex and severe dental problems we often associate with a modern diet of processed foods and refined sugars actually existed far back into our ancestry, although less frequently. Further research will likely show that lesions were more common than previously thought in our ancestors, and ultimately will provide more information into the diet and cultural practices of our distant fossil relatives. Continue Reading InstagramInstagram has returned invalid data.Follow Us!Latest Posts News11 hours ago Losing Teeth During Middle Age Linked To An Increased Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease Losing two or more teeth in middle age is associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, according to preliminary research presented... News7 days ago Children’s Use of Non-Dental Services for Oral Pain Costing The NHS £2.3m a year The study of more than half of all of the pharmacies in London and nearly 7,000 parents finds that most... 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