Mouth Guards May Protect More than Just an Athlete’s Teeth

With this year’s Super Bowl right around the corner, most Americans have at least a little bit of football on the brain – if not for the championship match-up itself, the unveiling of new, often over-the-top ads throughout it.

But whether you watch it for the game or ads – or don’t watch it at all – one thing definitely remains true: When playing any kind of sport, protective gear is a must.

And it’s not just the obvious things like the helmets and shoulder pads, knee pads and shin guards. In fact, one crucial piece of protective gear may not be so noticeable but equally (if not more) important.

football tackleThe mouth guard.

And this is especially so when it comes to protecting against concussions. According to the National Safety Council, a child in the US is treated for a sports-related concussion every 3 minutes. As many as 3.8 million athletes suffer a concussion every year. Countless other cases go unreported and undiagnosed.

These mild blows or jolts to the head can have immediate effects, such as blackouts, nausea, and fatigue. More concerning are the potential long-term effects, including brain damage and even death.

Brain injuries cause more deaths than any other sports injury. In football, brain injuries account for 65% to 95% of all fatalities. Football injuries associated with the brain occur at the rate of one in every 5.5 games. In any given season, 10% of all college players and 20% of all high school players sustain brain injuries.

But as we’ve noted before, mouth guards may help prevent injury. They essentially function as a cushion between the teeth, protecting them but also absorbing some of the shock from impacts and stabilizing the head and neck.

This was shown again in a small but compelling study in Dental Traumatology, in which five male participants were fitted with custom-made mouth guards. A weighted pendulum was then positioned to strike their chins. The impact was monitored by sensors placed on the forehead and left jaw joint.

In all, the effects were measured under several conditions: mouth-open, light clenching, and maximum clenching without a mouth guard; and mouth-open and maximum clenching with the guard in place.

With or without clenching, the guard made a difference, reducing the impact of the pendulum blows – at least in the case of a small impact load.

This suggests that wearing a mouthguard and/or teeth-clenching might be effective for preventing concussion and TMJ fractures when subjected to higher impact forces. Furthermore, wearing a mouthguard in itself provided an impact reduction effect similar to the combination of teeth-clenching and wearing a mouthguard, which suggests that as long as players use a mouthguard, they do not have to continuously clench their teeth to obtain the protective effects if they receive a blow to the mandible.

While many sports have similar risks of trauma and blunt force to the face – from people or objects – many sports still don’t require gear that protects the mouth and jaw. You do see more voluntary use of wrap-around protective plates on baseball helmets in the wake of some high profile bean balls, but their use remains optional.

Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that baseball, along with basketball, has been associated with the greatest number of dental injuries. In football, mouth guards are mandatory.

But bear in mind: Not all mouth guards are created equal. Stock devices that are supposedly “ready to use” out of the box have been found to provide the least protection. “Boil and bite” guards are somewhat better, but they still tend not to fit as well, which reduces their protective ability.

As with their cousin, the night guard – worn during sleep to protect the teeth from the force of clenching and grinding – the best option is a custom-fit device made from a model of your teeth. It fits the mouth it was made for perfectly and, being thicker, too, offers a higher level of protection.

We’ll say it again: While an over-the-counter guard may be better than nothing, over the long haul, custom is the way to go.

Scared of the Dentist? Go for a Brisk Walk!

anxietyPlenty of folks get anxious around dental visits. It’s why we offer sedation options to patients who need them – so fear doesn’t have to stand in the way of getting the care they want or need.

But sedation is hardly the only option.

A new study in the journal Depression and Anxiety found that 30 minutes of walking at a moderate pace right before a dental appointment can significantly reduce stress and anxiety before, during, and after the visit. As Dr Bicuspid reported,

“In the present study, [moderate-intensity exercise] not only led to a significantly stronger reduction of dental anxiety during the anxiogenic challenge (dental procedure), but also to a decreased fear prior to the stressful situation,” the authors wrote. “The additional effect of [moderate-intensity exercise] on anticipatory fear in [dental phobia] is an important clinical finding of the current trial because both aspects of the phobic reaction are important barriers to seek treatment.”

This study monitored patients who scored high on the Dental Anxiety Scale and hadn’t seen a dentist for at least three years. Half of them walked for 30 minutes at a low-intensity treadmill pace; half walked at moderate-intensity. After one week, they switched paces.

Pain intensity was measured using a tool called the visual analog scale (VAS). You can see just how much lower the scores were with moderate-intensity exercise:

You might be wondering how the heck you can fit in 30 minutes of moderate cardio right before your appointment (doctor visits are often squeezed into already jam-packed days). But the good news is that even if you can’t exercise right before your appointment, you may still benefit from incorporating exercise into your daily routine.

For we know that exercise can help reduce anxiety in all settings, not just the dentist’s chair. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the impacts of exercise can be long lasting.

Science has also provided some evidence that physically active people have lower rates of anxiety and depression than sedentary people. Exercise may improve mental health by helping the brain cope better with stress. In one study, researchers found that those who got regular vigorous exercise were 25 percent less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder over the next five years.

And there’s another benefit to exercise: It appears to support good gum health, too. One key study out of Case Western Reserve “found that individuals who exercised, had healthy eating habits and maintained a normal weight were 40 percent less likely to develop periodontitis, a gum infection that can result in loss of teeth.” A contemporary study had even more startling results.

People who never smoked and took regular exercise were about 54% less likely to have periodontitis than people who never smoked but did not engage in physical activity. Rather surprisingly, the prevalence of periodontitis in former smokers was 74% lower for physically active than inactive individuals.

Better oral health and less anxiety plus all the other health benefits of exercise, physical and mental alike? What are you waiting for?

Image by Practical Cures

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Screening for Sleep Apnea – Helpful or Not?

nodding offThere’s a new report on sleep apnea in JAMA, and it has us a little…well, restless. We think it may send the wrong message and prevent people from getting the help they need to get a good night’s sleep.

The report sought to find if screening for obstructive sleep disorder (OSD) or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is effective. All in all, it said, there’s not enough evidence to suggest that it is.

“There is uncertainty about the accuracy or clinical utility of all potential screening tools,” wrote the group led by Daniel Jonas, MD, MPH, an associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

It’s estimated that over 18 million people have some form of obstructed sleep disorder, many of whom go undiagnosed. OSA itself has been linked to a number of serious health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. Hence, the recommendation that dentists and doctors screen their patients.

The current study reviewed 110 studies with more than 46,000 patients. The goal was threefold:

  1. To evaluate primary care-relevant evidence on screening adults for OSA.
  2. To evaluate test accuracy and treatment.
  3. To inform the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

While they found that multiple treatments for OSA were able to reduce AHI, Epworth Sleepiness Scale scores and blood pressure, they couldn’t establish if these reduced mortality or improved other health outcomes. But they did find evidence of a modest improvement in sleep-related quality of life.

Results based on insufficient evidence concern Susan Redline, MD, MPH, who noted in an editorial in the same issue of JAMA,

While the USPSTF found insufficient evidence on screening for OSA in asymptomatic adults, high priority should be given to additional studies that generate rigorous evidence that will serve to improve the recognition and treatment of OSA in the population and reduce its attendant morbidity. However, the current recommendations, if misinterpreted, could negatively influence public health if they are used to discourage direct questioning or deployment of short screening questionnaires for identifying patients at high risk for OSA. Encouraging patient and clinician discussion of relevant symptoms and signs of OSA is one way to help address early recognition.

We agree.

As we noted just a couple weeks ago, we dentists we are in a unique role to not only screen and treat patients with OSD, but we see the positive results in our patients. And we believe that even the “modest” improvements noted by the study are beneficial to overall health and well-being.

Image by andy wagstaffe

Alzheimer’s Drug May Solve the Puzzle of How to Regenerate Decayed Teeth

smileIf you’ve ever wished the dental drill would become a thing of the past, you’re not alone. Dentists have long pondered if, and how, decayed teeth could be regenerated, not just restored.

New research suggests one new approach that could soon use your teeth’s own cells to rebuild natural tooth structure. The key lies in stimulating the natural formation of reparative dentin by stimulating resident stem cells in the tooth pulp.

For the study, researchers treated biodegradable, clinically-approved collagen sponges with very low doses of an experimental Alzheimer’s drug called Tideglusib. They then placed the sponges on the damaged teeth of mice. As the biodegradable carrier sponge degraded slowly over time, a significant amount of dentin replaced it, leading to full, natural repair of the tooth.

This works because Tideglusib blocks the enzyme that usually stops dentin growth.

Lead author of the study, Professor Paul Sharpe from King’s College London said: “The simplicity of our approach makes it ideal as a clinical dental product for the natural treatment of large cavities, by providing both pulp protection and restoring dentine.

“In addition, using a drug that has already been tested in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease provides a real opportunity to get this dental treatment quickly into clinics.”

This is promising news – not only because most of us will need a tooth restored at one time or another, but because oral health is tied intrinsically to systematic health. Such a restoration would be truly biocompatible.

But just as natural teeth can fail, so can restored teeth. When decay compromises a tooth’s pulp chamber, it can jeopardize the tooth, ultimately leading to a root canal or extraction, both of which have been shown to further compromise overall health.

Certainly the ability to regenerate natural tooth structure offers a promising prognosis for long-term oral health. This is one area of research we’ll definitely be watching for new developments.

Image by Randall Wade (Rand) Grant

Acupuncture & Dentistry

acupuncture points on headWhen it comes to complementary medicine, acupuncture is often the first therapy people think of. After all, traditional Chinese acupuncture has a long and rich history – 2500 years, in fact.

Yet despite the test of time, the US has been slow to accept its benefits.

Those benefits certainly have a role to play in dental care, spelled out nicely in a 2014 literature review in the journal Medical Acupuncture.

Focusing on systematic reviews and research articles written in English, researchers plugged in key words specific to dentistry: acupuncture in dentistry, myofacial pain, temporomandibular disorders, xerostomia, dental pain and gag reflex.

As you may know, this Eastern practice uses specific points on the body’s energy highway – the meridian system – to stimulate the nervous system. This stimulation changes the way the nervous system processes pain signals and encourages the body to release its own painkillers, namely serotonin and endorphins.

And while technically, acupuncture means to “puncture with a needle,” stimulation can be achieved using a variety of techniques – for instance, moxibustion, electroacupuncture, acupressure, cupping, or microsystem acupuncture.

Whatever the technique, research shows that such stimulation

  • Normalizes physiologic functions.
  • Eases pain.
  • Modulates the limbic-para-limbic-neocortical network.
  • Increases local microcirculation.
  • Protects the body from infections.

Back in 1979, the World Health Organization endorsed acupuncture to treat just 43 symptoms. Less than two decades later, that list expanded to 64. By 2003, controlled trials had shown acupuncture to be effective in treating a number of dental conditions, including

  • Dental pain.
  • Dental anxiety and gag reflex.
  • TMJ/TMD.
  • TMJ clicking and locking.
  • Chronic muscle pain or spasm.
  • Atypical facial pain.
  • Headache/Migraine.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Nerve pain.
  • Paresthesia.

“In dentistry,” write the authors of the review,

the ability of acupuncture has been proven for managing various chronic orofacial disorders. There are numerous reports of randomized controlled trials on the analgesic effect of acupuncture for postoperative pain caused by various dental procedures and by other chronic disorders. According to the literature, acupuncture is more effective than a placebo or sham acupuncture.

Of course, as they say, more studies still need to be done. But we think it’s a good bet that, as an adjunct to good dental care, acupuncture offers promise as a nontoxic, safe alternative for treating dental symptoms with few, if any, side effects.

Image by Elizabeth Briel

With Sealants, BPA-free Matters

child at dentistPlaced well, sealants can help prevent cavities. On the surface then, it would appear the ADA’s recent “scientific” endorsement “BPA in dental sealants safe” makes sense. But it doesn’t.

Of the 12 sealants tested by the ADA’s Professional Product Review, all exposed children to BPA. But clearly that wasn’t a safety deal breaker. The ADA stands behind this industry research, insisting that

a 6-year old child is exposed to more BPA from food, drinks, sunscreen, shampoo, body wash and other cosmetics; and air and thermal paper, such as cash receipts, than from the amount that is in dental sealants.

The implication is that this makes exposure to BPA from dental sealants okay. It’s not.

As biological dentists, we know deeply the importance of using biocompatible dental materials. While there are some sealants that are BPA-free, many common materials aren’t. And that risk of BPA exposure is one we take seriously.

For one, it’s an endocrine disruptor. According to an independent scientific review in Endocrine Reviews,

It can stimulate rapid cellular responses at very low concentrations. According to a review on BPA, altered body weight, altered organization of the mammary gland, and cancers of the mammary gland and prostate; More than 40 of these studies examined doses less than the RfD (a reference dose). Many of these end points are in areas of current concern for human epidemiological trends. Indeed, it has been suggested that exposure to xenoestrogens such as BPA during early development may be a major contributing factor to the increased incidence of infertility, genital tract abnormalities, obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, infertility, and prostate and breast cancer observed in European and U.S. human populations over the last 50 years.

The ADA’s research indicated BPA exposure from sealants at 0.09 ng. That’s a minimal level, to be sure – especially when compared to the EPA established reference dose for exposure at 50,000 ng/kg body weight/day. So what’s the problem?

As the ADA indicates, children are exposed to BPA from multiple sources, making their daily exposure to BPA biocumulative. Each exposure adds up, including their exposure from sealants.

And, according to that paper in Endocrine Reviews, the EPA minimum exposure level for safety, may not provide immunity from BPA’s estrogenic side effects.

More than 150 published studies describe BPA effects in animals exposed to less than 50 mg/kg/day, including altered development of the male and female reproductive tracts, organization of sexually dimorphic circuits in the hypothalamus, onset of estrus cyclicity and earlier puberty.

Other research concurs:

There is substantial evidence from rodent studies indicating that early-life BPA exposures below the oral reference dose lead to increased susceptibility to mammary and prostate cancer.…BPA maybe anticipated to be a human carcinogen.

Not exactly what we want for our kids.

So while the ADAs scientists are technically right – it is a minimal exposure – the conclusion that sealants containing BPA are therefore safe is indefensible. It’s illogical. It does not follow from their own facts.

If your child’s dentist recommends sealants, ask for BPA-free options. As mentioned, they do exist.

Image by jason wilson

Replace a Tooth by Mimicking Your Body’s Nature

Dr. Masoud Attar & Dr. Hamid Shafie

Dr. Attar with dental implant expert Dr. Hamid Shafie at a recent seminar in San Francisco

As we say on our home page, perfection is our passion – which is perhaps the biggest reason why Dr. Attar consistently pursues additional training and education. You can’t achieve perfection without being a perpetual student.

In fact, there’s a quote well-known in dental circles, by a fellow named G.V. Black, who’s considered the father of operative dentistry: “The professional man has no right other than to be a continuous student.”

One of the most recent seminars Dr. Attar attended was in San Francisco and focused on replacing missing teeth with zirconia (ceramic) implants.

As a biological office, we constantly strive to use the most compatible materials for our patients. We know many of you have worked hard to eliminate metals from your mouth. We also believe when you’re looking for a way to replace your missing tooth, you shouldn’t have to compromise. While many offices place conventional metal alloy implants (usually titanium), we use only ceramic for the dental implants we place.

Here are 6 reasons why:

  1. Biocompatibility

    While any material placed in the body has the potential to react, zirconia appears to be very biocompatible for most patients. The firm bond that establishes itself between the bone and the ceramic implant is believed to be bio-inert. This means your body doesn’t react with an inflammatory response as it would with a foreign body.

    In contrast, research shows titanium-based implants both corrode and degrade, generating metallic debris. This debris may have harmful biological effects over time, including the development of renal hepatic injury and renal lesions.

    Additionally, an increasing number of individuals with titanium implants, dental or orthopedic, present with allergies, sensitivities and other skin and immune reactions that necessitate removing the implant from the body. These reactions happen over time with continued exposure to the metal. An allergy or reaction to a dental implant may cause pain, inflammation, infection, bone loss and implant removal. Material testing for implant materials should be considered, especially metals.

  2. Maintenance

    dental implant illustrationRegardless of the type of implant material you select, much attention should be giving to keeping the gum tissue around it clean. Like teeth, implants can fail if bacteria accumulate along the gum. To complicate the matter, tissue doesn’t attach to an implant in the same way it attaches to your natural teeth.

    But research indicates the lack of electric conductivity in ceramic implants makes it harder for bacteria to stick. This makes it easier to maintain healthy tissue with proper cleaning technique. And unlike a bridge, which can be hard to floss effectively, an implant, for all practical purposes, is like a tooth. You can, and should, floss like you do with your natural teeth.

  3. Meridian flow

    Because they’re biologically inert, zirconia implants may offer the best option for maintaining meridian flow from tooth to organ, and organ to tooth. This is especially important to those who employ the principles of acupuncture and pay particular attention to their body’s meridian flow and blockage.

    Not familiar with this concept? You can learn more about it here.

  4. Esthetics

    In contrast to titanium implants’ grey color, ceramic implants are white. This may not seem like a big deal because, let’s face it, they’re implanted in the gums. But in patients with gum tissue recession or thin gums, the grey cast of titanium can become visible. Ceramic implants, on the other hand, retain a natural look with no grey shadow or show through.

  5. Biomimicry in Design

    Ceramic implants have been optimally designed to mimic your natural tooth. Like your tooth, ceramic implants are a one-piece design. There’s no abutment connected with a fixation screw as you commonly see in titanium implant designs.

  6. Functionality

    When you’re looking at replacing a tooth, you want it to be successful. You don’t want to have to revisit this tooth again. To succeed, it must hold up with how you use your mouth, especially the forces of chewing. By creating the diameter and length to that of natural teeth, ceramic implants are foundationally tempered to withstand chewing force.

Any way you look at it – functionally, aesthetically, holistically – when opting for implants, ceramic is clearly the best option for mimicking your natural teeth.

Can We Talk Opioids?

opioid painkillersFor the first time ever, the CDC is advising doctors to follow a new protocol in prescribing opioid painkillers: “Go low and go slow.”

But it’s not just doctors who need advice. According to a JAMA study published earlier this year, dentists are among the leading prescribers of these drugs.

Reviewing data from 2,757,273 patients across the country, the authors found that 42% of patients filled an opioid prescription within a week of having a tooth extracted. Teens had the highest proportion of prescriptions filled at 61%, followed by young adults (age 18 to 24).

But that little script from big pharma can dull pain at a staggering risk: addiction and death by overdose. According to the CDC, in 2014 there were 18,893 prescription opioid deaths in the US, the highest number to date.

And the all too often sad reality is that addiction can begin with a dental procedure.

We could play smug and tell you that most biological dentists rarely issue a prescription for any pharmaceutical drugs, especially opioids. But dental prescriptions for opioids can be common after surgeries, and many of us do refer to oral surgeons who may prescribe them.

Pill, Pill, Whose Got My Pill?

While prescribing is part of the issue, so is what happens when someone fills the prescription. In a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers conducted a national survey of more than 1000 adults who had been prescribed opioids within the past year. As Dr. Bicuspid reported,

The survey found that 20.7% of adults have shared opioid medication with another person, most often to help the other person manage pain. Adults also shared medication because the other person could not afford opioid medication or did not have insurance.

Furthermore, more than half of participants had or expected to have leftover opioids, and nearly half of adults didn’t receive information about safe storage and proper medication disposal.

An earlier study found that, on average, pediatric patients prescribed opioids used only 42% of their medication. Of those with leftover drugs, only 6% of parents said they got rid of them.

Not disposing of unused prescription medication is a problem, because almost half of the patients had a sibling age 12 or older. These adolescents are at risk for drug abuse and addiction, and 90% of adults with substance abuse disorders started using drugs and alcohol before they turned 18, according to a presentation at the recent California Dental Association CDA Presents 2015 meeting.

Serving patients means open and honest conversations that empower you to understand what’s involved in any referral we give. And open and honest communication goes both ways. Many adults and teens who abuse or misuse prescription opioids get the medications from friends and family.

Generally, patients find their way to a biological office because they want to be involved in their own healthcare. But we can’t overlook the fact that teens receiving evaluations for extractions are here because their parents are. These teens need to know, directly from us, what they can expect post-extraction, including pain, and options for managing pain and pain medication responsibly.

Looked at holistically, opioid abuse is not just a prescribing problem. It’s a symptom of larger problems. And getting to the root cause will require all of us.

Image by frankieleon

A Crooked Smile Can Be More Than Just a Cosmetic Concern

crooked smileMany people have insecurities when it comes to their teeth. Some opt for cosmetic dentistry to get the aesthetics they desire. Others learn to embrace their difference.

In a recent post over at Bustle, one writer told her story of coming to acceptance.

Thanks to my tiny mouth, my teeth had a tendency to crowd and overlap. I also have a crossbite, which causes the right side of my teeth to land in my cheek and create the occasional sore and scar. Two of my adult teeth even started growing in before their respective baby teeth fell out. For a 10-year-old who already had huge body image issues, this only made life more difficult. My aunt’s rude comments about how I should get my snaggle teeth pulled out didn’t do much to better the situation. And my parents, seemingly unaware of the option to help me build a better and more loving relationship with myself, encouraged me to get braces because only then could I feel happy with how I looked.

So she saw an orthodontist. The doctor recommended a two-year course of braces and plastic surgery to even out her jaw. She writes,

The body negativity of the experience, plus the promise of plenty of headaches from the braces (I already had chronic migraines at the time), really made me think twice about my priorities. I was dissatisfied with my teeth, sure, but sealing that feeling with a permanent decision felt harmful to me, and made me begin to consider other ways to go about addressing my feelings.

That kind of process of discovery and movement toward self-acceptance is important. Just as important is weighing any potential treatment against your priorities, values, and goals. And a crooked smile is not necessarily an unhealthy smile.

Yet the mention of a crossbite and migraines raises an issue that the writer seems to overlook. While it’s true that orthodontics can increase the likelihood of headaches, so can a misaligned bite.

Few people have perfectly aligned teeth. Upper and lower jaws might be different sizes, causing distortion in the bite. Some teeth may crowd and overlap. Some may be crooked. Even dental restorations such as crowns and fillings can cause bite problems.

One common problem that can arise is temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD), or dysfunction of the TM joints, a/k/a the “hinge” that lets your mouth open and close. Add habits like clenching and grinding (bruxing), and you have a recipe for more than just headaches. There can be face, neck, shoulder, and back pain. There can be chronic dizziness. Ringing in the ears.

In our office, the doctors use a process called TruDenta to make a holistic assessment, beginning with your migraine and headache history. T-scan technology lets them detect imbalances in the jaw. Range of motion analysis and muscle testing help determine trigger points that may refer pain.

This helps them understand all the factors that may be contributing to your headaches so they can make a proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations. We may use oral appliances to take pressure off the jaw joints, help the jaw line up in a neutral position or reposition the tongue to sit more forward in the mouth. We may recommend herbs, nutritional supplements or homeopathics.

As ever, the best treatment is treatment customized to each patient’s unique oral health situation and needs. Sometimes the best treatment can be no treatment at all.

But if you’re experiencing migraines, chronic headaches, or other head pain, it’s worth consulting with a good dentist well-versed in these issues. Sometimes crooked teeth or a misaligned bite are about far more than just appearance.

Image by Mikal Marquez

A New Paste that “Heals Cavities”: Too Good to Be True?

pasteConsidering this post been shared more than 37,000 times on Facebook, you, too, may have heard about an “amazing” new dental paste from Japan that purports to “heal” cavities without drilling. Some folks hail it as a “miracle.”

Buzzwords like “new,” “amazing” and “miracle” hook us in. Who wouldn’t want to stop dental decay with a quick fix? But we should be careful that the desire for an alternative to the dental drill not disable our critical thinking when we hear claims that a product can heal cavities, remineralize decayed teeth, grow tooth enamel, allow teeth to self-repair.

For instance, read more closely and you’ll find that this new paste doesn’t promote true self-repair. It’s a synthetic enamel, and there are some important caveats to consider:

  • The paste must be applied by dentist because of its “chemicals.”
  • The paste works best on “microcaries.”
  • The treated tooth will become “whiter” than the natural tooth structure around it.

Dig a little deeper, and you also find that this product contains sodium fluoride in an acidic solution and 35% hydrogen peroxide. The acid dissolves the tooth on which it is applied so the fluoride can bond to the tooth.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know the concern over systemic effects of fluoride. As for the peroxide? Here’s some of what the material safety data sheet has to say:

Very hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant). Hazardous in case of skin contact (corrosive, permeator), of eye contact (corrosive), of ingestion, . Slightly hazardous in case of inhalation (lung sensitizer). Non-corrosive for lungs. Liquid or spray mist may produce tissue damage particularly on mucous membranes of eyes, mouth and respiratory tract. Skin contact may produce burns. Inhalation of the spray mist may produce severe irritation of respiratory tract, characterized by coughing, choking, or shortness of breath. Prolonged exposure may result in skin burns and ulcerations. Over-exposure by inhalation may cause respiratory irritation. Inflammation of the eye is characterized by redness, watering, and itching. Skin inflammation is characterized by itching, scaling, reddening, or, occasionally, blistering.

The deeper you look, the less wonderful the product sounds. It’s not even available yet and is in clinical trials in Japan only. More testing, says the dentist who developed the paste, is needed to prove its safety. At this time, there are no plans to run trials in the EU or US.

Besides, the truth is, when it comes to microcaries, effective home care – especially flossing with proper technique – can be enough to spur natural remineralization. More extensive decay, however, is a different issue…

Image via Dr. Kazue Yamagishi