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Signs of acid erosion common on children’s teeth
Adapted for Clínica Gadea Ramírez

Acid erosion on teeth caused by too many sugary foods is putting many children in urgent need of dental treatment, according to a new report.

A study by Sensodyne found that 79 per cent of dentists see the effects of acid erosion on young people’s teeth every week.

The acid erosion is caused by a number of everyday substances, including fizzy drinks and even fruit.

Experts estimate that nearly one in three 12-year-olds and as many as 53 per cent of five-year-olds are suffering from tooth surface loss.

And the problem could be put down to parents’ lack of knowledge about what foods might be causing the problems.

Some 94 per cent of moms and dads said they did not know that acidic foods could cause problems for their children’s teeth, while a significant number did not even know what foods are acidic.

Professor Jimmy Steele of the School of Dental Sciences at the University of Newcastle advises: “Adult teeth generally start to appear when children are six years old and need to last a lifetime, so protection from an early age is key.

“Whilst children should not be discouraged from consuming acidic food and drinks, it is important for parents to be aware of the issue to ensure they take small steps to minimise the risk to their children’s teeth.”

Women with many offspring at risk of tooth loss
Adapted for Clínica Gadea Ramírez

Women with many children are advised to seek regular dental treatment as it appears they may be at greater risk of tooth loss than other women.

A new study by scientists at New York University analysed data on 2,635 white and black women between the ages of 18 and 64, all of whom had given birth at least once.

Analysis revealed that women with the most children were more likely to have missing teeth than those with only one child, highlighting the importance for mothers of obtaining regular dental treatment.

Commenting on the findings, which are published in the American Journal of Public Health, Dr Stefanie Russell, assistant professor of epidemiology & health promotion, said: “This is the first time we’ve seen a connection between pregnancy and tooth loss affecting women at all socioeconomic levels in a large, heterogeneous sample.

“It is clear that women with multiple children need to be especially vigilant about their oral health.”

The link is thought to be due to a number of factors, including the heightened risk of gingivitis (gum inflammation) during pregnancy, financial constraints preventing mothers from seeking private dental treatment, and a lack of time for personal care while children are young.

New Molecular Tag IDs Bone and Tooth Minerals
Adapted for Clínica Gadea Ramírez from “Medical News Today”

Enlisting an army of plant viruses to their cause, materials researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have identified a small biomolecule that binds specifically to one of the key crystal structures of the body – the calcium compound that is the basic building block of teeth and bone. With refinements, the researchers say, the new molecule can be a highly discriminating probe for a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic applications related to bones and teeth.

Although they have somewhat different mechanical properties, the major structural component of both teeth and bones is a crystalline compound of calcium phosphate called hydroxyapatite. Subtle variations in the way the crystal forms account for the differences. Identifying and monitoring the formation of this particular crystal is of paramount importance to biomedical researchers working on a variety of problems including the remineralization of teeth to repair decay damage, the integration of prosthetic joints and tissue-engineered bone materials for joint and bone replacement, and cell-based therapies to regrow bone tissue.

To date, however, there is no specific, practical method to spot the formation of hydroxyapatite in living systems or tissue samples. Materials scientists can identify the crystal structure with high reliability by the pattern it makes scattering X rays, but it’s a complex procedure, requires fairly pure samples and certainly can’t be used on living systems. There are some widely used chemical assays – the von Kossa assay, for example – but these also are destructive tests, and more importantly they really test simply for the presence of the elements calcium or phosphorus. They can’t distinguish, for example, between deposits of amorphous calcium phosphate – a precursor – and the hydroxyapatite crystal.

To find a more specific, less destructive probe, the NIST team used a relatively new technique called “phage display” that can rapidly create and screen huge numbers of biomolecules for specific interactions.

The End Of The Dentist Drill?
Adapted for Clínica Gadea Ramírez from “scientificblogging.com”

A new technology that spots tooth decay almost as soon as it’s begun promises to reduce the need for drilling and filling, writes Patrick Walter in SCI’s Chemistry & Industry (C&I) magazine.

Drilling is one of the top dental phobias and puts thousands of people off visiting their dentist every year.

The new technology, which may be available in dental surgeries in five years from now, is based on Raman spectroscopy most commonly used to distinguish between different chemicals by identifying each molecule’s unique fingerprint. It detects decay simply and painlessly by pointing a tiny optical fibre at the tooth to check on its health.

A preliminary study at King’s College London, where the technique is being developed, found that chemical changes in the tooth could be detected by analysing how light is scattered when a laser is fired at the tooth. Researchers were able to tell healthy teeth from carious teeth because bacteria, responsible for the decay, scatter light in a different way to healthy teeth. The results were presented at Microscience 2008.

Frances Downey, a PhD student working on developing the technique at King’s College London, said: “The earlier you spot decay the better as you can remineralise the area so there is no cavitation and therefore no need for a filling”.

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