Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Dental Download: April 18, 2014

This week, we learn about a new laser that could eliminate the use of drills in the dental office, discuss the need for better dental care for older Americans, and learn just how long a tooth can last. Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

The FDA approved a new laser, created by a Massachusetts-based dental technology company that could eliminate the use of needles and drills in common dental procedures such as fillings and shaving teeth to be fitted for crowns. The creator says that the laser eliminates the “fear factor” for patients, allowing them to better provide preventive dentistry.

A 2013 study found that 23 percent of older adults have not seen a dental provider in five years and 70 percent do not have dental insurance. Of those seniors without dental insurance, 70 percent could not pay for a major dental procedure. Oral Health America’s Wisdom Tooth Project was created to advocate for the oral health of older Americans and educate them on the importance of good oral health. Read more about DentaQuest CEO Fay Donohue’s discussion with Oral Health America on the issue of financing oral health care for older Americans here.

Dental disease is the most common chronic childhood disease, and is five times more common than asthma. This Q&A with a pediatric dentist at the University of Maryland provides information for parents and caregivers about proper oral hygiene for children and what to expect at dental checkups. For more tips on caringfor your child’s teeth, check out our Oral Health Library and our recent Q&A with Dr. Brian Novy on the best toothpaste for your teeth,

One curious reader asked and the New York Times answered: teeth can survive for many millennia. For example, in 1994, an expedition in Ethiopia found a tooth from a pre-human species that dated back 4.4 million years. The writer reports that the heavy mineralization and dense crystalline structure of tooth enamel make teethmore durable than bones.Make sure you are caring for your pearly whites- who knows where they’ll be in 4 million years!

Check out this University of North Georgia student rapping about good oral hygiene to the tune of “Ice Ice Baby.” He even reminds listeners to stay away from sugary treats. Our only recommendation: instead of telling listeners to brush “forcefully,” we suggest that they brush gently so that they do not damage their gums.