Drinks Destroy Teeth. Every Sip is an Attack. | Alhambra Dentist

Fizzy drinks make fuzzy teeth! Keeping teeth healthy for a lifetime means preventing tooth decay and erosion. Tooth erosion is a newer phenomenon, and one that is preventable, according to the Indiana Dental Association, which provided the following information:

Erosion is the chemical loss of enamel due to acid. Acid is found primarily in soft drinks, sports drinks, juices and acidic foods. Acid reflux, vomiting and other illnesses that produce stomach acid in the mouth can also erode tooth enamel.

Enamel is the protective outer layer of teeth. Throughout the day, your enamel undergoes a continuous dissolving and repairing cycle. Milk, fluoride, water and fluoridated toothpastes can repair and build back the minerals essential to healthy teeth. Low pH beverages such as soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit juices and wine dissolve enamel. Sour candies can also erode enamel.

When acid continuously attacks teeth, they cannot repair themselves and will gradually begin to turn fuzzy and dissolve. Dentists consider every sip of a low pH drink an acid attack. Even one bottle of soda or sports drink sipped over hours can do extensive, irreversible damage to tooth enamel.

Decay is literally a soft spot in the enamel which penetrates the dentin, or a hole in the tooth. Decay is caused when the mouth’s bacteria react to sugar. The chemical interaction between bacteria and sugar produces acid. The acid-producing bacteria eat the enamel until a hole is made in the tooth, also known as a cavity. Preventing cavities involves brushing, flossing and keeping sugar to a minimum.

Acid attacks do the most damage when you are very thirsty or have a dry mouth. Saliva, your mouth’s natural defense shield, covers your teeth and provides some protection against acid attacks. When you’re dehydrated, you lack saliva and your teeth are more vulnerable to acid attacks.

Stop the continuous acid and sugar attack on your teeth by limiting the quantity of soft drinks and sports drinks. Instead, choose healthy drinks such as milk and water. Reduce the size of the drink and use a straw to draw the damaging liquid away from your teeth. Food consumed with acidic drinks can often help counteract acid attacks. Most important is to brush your teeth before bed to reduce bacteria and to help harden your enamel. Wait at least one hour after drinking an acidic drink to brush your teeth to allow your saliva to begin the repair process.

If you would like more information about the effects of acidic drinks, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

What Causes Loose Teeth and How to Save Them | Alhambra Dentist

A loose tooth in a child often signals an exciting rite of passage. Once a person reaches adolescence, however, a loose tooth is no longer a normal occurrence. Adults may be alarmed when they notice loose teeth. Adult teeth are permanent and designed to last a lifetime. Some causes of loose teeth in adults are harmless. Others require the care of a dental professional to save the tooth, remove it, or replace it with an implant or bridge.

Gum disease. Poor dental hygiene may cause a loose tooth. Also known as periodontitis, this stage of gum disease involves inflammation and infection of the gums, usually caused by poor dental hygiene habits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States report that half of the country’s adults aged 30 or older have gum disease.

When brushing and flossing efforts do not remove plaque, gum disease can develop. Plaque contains bacteria. It sticks to teeth and hardens over time until only a dental health professional can remove it. Hardened plaque, known as tartar, causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating gaps that can become infected. Over time, this process can break down the bone and tissue supporting the teeth, causing the teeth to become loose.

Other signs of gum disease include:

  • Gums that are tender, red, painful, or swollen
  • Gums that bleed when the teeth are brushed
  • Gum recession
  • Changes in the way the teeth fit together

Any signs of gum disease should be checked by a dentist as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment can prevent tooth loss.

Pregnancy. Raised levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy can affect the bones and tissues in the mouth. Having more of these hormones can alter the periodontium, which is the collection of bones and ligaments that support the teeth and keep them in place. When the periodontium is affected, one or more teeth may feel loose.

The changes to this part of the body will resolve after pregnancy, and they are not a cause for concern. However, anyone experiencing pain or loose teeth during pregnancy should see a dentist to rule out gum disease and other oral health problems. It is safe for pregnant people to have dental checkups, cleanings, and X-rays, according to the American Dental Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In fact, because of a possible link between gum disease and premature birth, pregnant women are encouraged to see dentists regularly.

Injury to the teeth. Injuries sustained because of contact sports may cause loose teeth. Healthy teeth are strong, but an impact from a blow to the face or a car accident, for example, can damage teeth and surrounding tissue. The result may be chipped or loose teeth.

Similarly, clenching the teeth during times of stress or grinding them at night can wear down the tissues and loosen the teeth. Many people are unaware of their clenching or grinding habits until they result in jaw pain. A dentist may be able to detect the problem before the teeth are permanently damaged. Anyone who suspects that an injury has damaged the teeth should see a dentist as soon as possible. Sports injuries, accidents, and falls, for example, can cause dental damage.

Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the bones to weaken and become porous. As a result, even minor bumps and impacts can lead to broken bones. While osteoporosis commonly affects the spine, hips, and wrists, it can also damage the bones in the jaw that support the teeth. If the jaw bones become less dense, the teeth may loosen and fall out. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the U.S. also report a possible link between bone loss and an increased risk of gum disease.

Certain medications used to treat osteoporosis can cause dental health problems, though this is uncommon. In rare cases, drugs called bisphosphonates, which help to treat bone loss, can lead to lose teeth. This is known as osteonecrosis of the jaw.

Authors of one study suggest that osteonecrosis rarely occurs in people who are taking bisphosphonates in pill form, but that the condition may develop in people who receive the medication intravenously. Trauma and surgical procedures, such as tooth extraction, can also cause osteonecrosis.

How to prevent teeth from coming loose:

Loose teeth cannot always be prevented, but a person can take steps to reduce the risk. Tips for tooth and gum health include:

  • Brushing the teeth thoroughly twice a day
  • Flossing once a day
  • Refraining from smoking
  • Attending dental checkups and cleanings as often as recommended
  • Wearing a properly fitted mouth guard while playing sports
  • Wearing a bite splint, when nighttime grinding or clenching is an issue
  • Asking a doctor about calcium and vitamin D supplementation to help prevent osteoporosis
  • Keeping diabetes under control, as diabetes is a risk factor for gum disease
  • Being aware of medications that may affect the teeth

Treatment options for a loose tooth:

A range of treatments can help, and the best option will depend on the cause of the looseness. Treatments include:

Splint loose teeth to firmer teeth.  Splinting means a way of stitching your teeth together with hidden wiring.  You have probably seen a retainer-type of wiring the back of the lower front teeth to prevent teeth from moving after braces. That’s what your dentist can do for your loose teeth.    In some select cases the loose teeth can be splinted together with crowns.

Scaling and root planing. This is a type of deep cleaning procedure that can treat and help to reverse gum disease.

Medications or mouth rinses. These can help infected gums to heal and combat bacteria in the mouth.

Surgery. The aim will be to remove inflamed gum tissue and bone that has been damaged by gum disease.

Bone grafts. These can help to rebuild bone lost to gum disease.

Soft tissue grafts. Also known as gum grafts, these can prevent further gum or tooth loss in people with gum disease.

Dental appliances, such as bite splints. These can reduce damage from grinding and may help the mouth to heal after dental surgery.

Treatment for diabetes. Appropriate treatment is important for dental health.

So, if you have loose teeth or suspect you might be prone to have them, see your dentist as soon as possible.  As the old saying goes, “A stitch in time saves nine.”  What we dentists can also say, “Splint your teeth in time, you will be fine.”

If you would like more information about loose teeth, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Marijuana Use May Lead to Gum Disease | Alhambra Dentist

Long-term marijuana use may lead to gum disease, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Marijuana (cannabis) is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.

According to a 2014 survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), as many as 22.2 million people used cannabis in the previous month.

Marijuana use is common among teenagers. NIDA reports that nearly 20% of 12th graders are currently using marijuana. Short term detrimental effects include feelings of fear, anxiety, delusions, psychosis and hallucinations.

In the context of prior research, marijuana use may raise the risk of accidents and injuries, bronchitis, cardiovascular problems, infectious disease, and poor mental health, according to authors of the JAMA article.

The JAMA 30-year study tracked 1037 individuals from 3 years old to when they turn 30. This study found “clear evidence of an adverse association with cannabis use – namely, periodontal disease”. This study was able to isolate risk factors associated with smoking cigarettes from those associated with marijuana use. The evidence regarding marijuana use include loss of bone that support the teeth. This loss is generally the main detrimental result of periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease is the major cause of the loss of teeth in adults. Nearly 50% of American adults 30 years of age or older have gum disease. Poor oral hygiene, smoking and diabetes are known causes of periodontal disease.

If you are using marijuana under the care of a medical provider, it is recommended that you see your dentist regularly to check for gum disease. Certainly, you should discuss with your dentist the additional ways you can prevent gum disease. This may consist of developing thorough (but gentle) hygiene habits, more frequent regular checkups and the proper use of hygiene aids, such as appropriate mouth rinses and flossing devices.

If you would like more information about the dental effects of marijuana use, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Ten Things Not to Put in Your Mouth | Alhambra Dentist

Everyone knows that certain things present high risk of harm when put into the mouth. Tobacco, raw meat, toys, gun barrels or your own foot are some well-known examples. Other not-recommended items are:

Toothbrush with too much toothpaste. This may keep you from seeing what you are brushing. Studies show that people who dry brush their teeth first, then brush again with toothpaste, have less gum bleeding and tartar than those who brush only with toothpaste. The overwhelming taste of the toothpaste may also cause a hastening of the teeth brushing routine.

Contact lenses. Cleaning or moistening your contact lenses by putting them in your mouth is not a good idea, because bacteria in the mouth can cause conjunctivitis.

Pencils, pens or pipes. Chewing on these items can cause both the wearing down of the teeth and invisible cracks or fissures to form in the enamel of the teeth. Under certain circumstances, these cracks or fissures can make it more likely for your teeth to crack or chip. TNJ (jaw joint) problems can be aggravated by chewing on foreign objects.

Tongue studs and lip or cheek rings. Puncture of the tongue can lead to excessive bleeding or infection, such as hepatitis. It’s amazing how many people with tongue studs or lip rings tell their dentists they hate Novocain shots.

Hot food followed by cold. Hot coffee or drinks followed immediately by an icy drink or ice cream can lead to cracks in your teeth. Dental enamel is highly mineralized and hard, when it is exposed to extremes in temperatures, tiny cracks may form on your teeth.

Metal nails. Holding nails in your mouth may be convenient, but a slip or fall can cause nails to puncture the lip or mouth.

Small (onilateral) partial dentures. Partial dentures or removable bridges that are not attachable to both sides of the mouth are small enough to be swallowed during sleep and can cause choking.

Aspirin on the gum. Because aspirin is so acidic, leaving an aspirin on your gum to relieve pain can end up leaving you in more discomfort. Aspirin can denude the surface of the gum and leave it extremely raw and sore.

Super glue to glue back a loose crown. Gluing back a loose crown with super glue or any other commercial glue may seem like a good self-help idea. But the strong chemicals in these glues can cause terrific toothaches and result in the entire tooth being dissolved by the glue in a very short time.

Ice, seeds, jawbreakers, etc. Chewing on hard items like these can fracture your teeth, especially if you already have large fillings in your teeth. Incidentally, restaurants and markets are generally fair about reimbursing you for the cost of restoring a tooth that broke from biting into a foreign object in your food. In either case, you must report it immediately to the restaurant or store manager. Then see your dentist as soon as possible. If it happened from food purchased at a market, you must show the manager the food item, the receipt, the foreign object and tooth fragments, if any. Then see your dentist for a brief report stating the cause and estimated cost for treatment.

If you would like more information about tooth damage, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Bad Bite & Bad Posture Related? | Alhambra Dentist

Can a better bite give you a better athletic performance?

Dental occlusion, or “your bite”, could be defined as contact between the top and bottom teeth when closing the mouth. Correction of the bite through orthodontic and other treatments leads to better dental health. It’s been known in the field of occlusion that malocclusion (bad bite) may be associated with neck, back and other postural problems. Lately, two new studies appear to further confirm this clinical hypothesis.

Two new studies, carried out in collaboration between the Department of Physiology at the University of Barcelona (Spain) and the University of Innsbruck (Austria), indicate a connection between a bad bite and poor posture.

“When there is a malocclusion, it is classified according to scientifically-established criteria. What is relevant in the study is that malocclusions have also been associated with different motor and physiological alterations,” explains Sonia Julià-Sánchez to Sinc, the main author of the studies and a researcher at the Catalan University.

Both studies, whose results have been published in Motor Control and Neuroscience Letters, provide conclusive data which show that postural control is improved -both in static and dynamic equilibrium- when different malocclusions are corrected by positioning the jaw in a neutral position.

It has been known that athletic performance can be enhanced through bite guards, as well as other means of bite correction. These studies further emphasize the role occlusion plays in the prevention of injuries such as sprains, strains and fractures caused by unexpected instability as fatigue increases and motor control capacity decreases.

“Therefore, it would be helpful for both the general population and athletes to consider correcting dental occlusions to improve postural control and thus prevent possible falls and instability due to a lack of motor system response,” adds Julià-Sánchez.

“Postural control is the result of a complex system that includes different sensory and motor elements arising from visual, somatosensory and vestibular information,” explains the expert.

Dr. Julià-Sánchez explains neurophysiological aspects of the phenomenon. There is a reciprocal influence between the trigeminal nerve and the vestibular nucleus – which are responsible for the masticatory function and balance control, respectively – as well as between the muscles of mastication and the neck.

This influence would explain why dental malocclusions negatively affect postural control. Up until now there was no conclusive research.

“The main problem stems from the fact that the majority of these studies had statically assessed balance under conditions of total stability, which in practice has little actual application in the control of posture while in action,” points out Julià-Sánchez.

The first study took into account the type of dental occlusion as well as whether there had been previous orthodontic treatment. The results showed that alterations in alignment of the teeth were related to poorer control of static balance.

The second study assessed the type of dental occlusion, control of posture and physical fatigue in order to analyze a possible relationship among these factors. The analysis demonstrated that balance improved when malocclusions were corrected, and that the latter had a greater impact on postural control when subjects were fatigued than when they were rested.

The take home lesson from these studies is that, no matter what age or occupation, malocclusion should be corrected.  This could at the least prevent falls and accidents.

So, see your dentist regularly and ask about your “bite”.

If you would like more information about the status of your bite, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Colorectal Cancer May Be Started and Accelerated by Oral Bacteria | Alhambra Dentist

Two recent studies suggest that a type of gut bacteria found in the mouth may trigger colorectal cancer by influencing the immune response and switching on cancer genes. The researchers believe their findings may lead to more timely and improved ways of diagnosing, preventing and treating colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of death from cancer among Americans. The culprit is called Fusobacteria, a type of bacteria in the mouth that is associated with periodontitis, more commonly called “gum disease”. This gum condition is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults.

These two studies were recently published in the Journal of Cell Host and Microbe. In the first study, the researchers determined the oral bacteria called Fusobacterium were found in benign tumors that later turned cancerous. Furthermore, in the mice model they found that Fusobacterium sped up tumor formation through the release of a type of immune cell called “myeloid cells”. The latter cells penetrate tumors and trigger inflammations that can lead to cancer. The researcher, Wendy S. Garrett, MD, PhD from the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center stated that, “Fusobacteria may provide not only a new way to group or describe colon cancers but also, more importantly, a new perspective on how to target pathways to halt tumor growth and spread.”

In the second study, another group of researchers found that Fusobacterium uses a molecule that lives on the surface of the bacterial cells. This molecule allows the bacteria to stick to the human cells and facilitates the invasion of the normal human cell. The molecule called Fusobacterium adhesion A (FadA) switches on genes that spur cancer growth, triggers inflammation in the human cancer cells. The end result may be cancer. The researchers also found that the FadA is much lower in normal patients. This report also said that they identified a compound that can stop the effects of FadA on cancer cells. Even better news is that FadA, according to author Yiping Han of Western Reserve University of School of Medicine, FadA is a “marker that can be used for the early diagnosis of colorectal cancer. Furthermore, FadA can be used to find “therapeutic targets to treat or prevent this common and debilitating disease.”

The conclusion to be drawn from these two studies, as far as dentistry is concerned, is the importance of dental hygiene and regular professional dental care. Keeping the mouth as clean as possible, following common sense instructions and seeing the dentist and the dental hygienist on a regular basis is the best way to prevent abnormal growth of “bad” bacteria, including the latest villain, Fusobacterium. Thus, it can be said that you have a lessened risk of colorectal cancer as well as other cancers if you keep your oral health in the optimal condition.

Also remember increased inflammation in the mouth may increase the inflammation index for the whole body. Abnormal inflammation in the body is associated with many diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, heart ailments and diabetes to name just a few. As the eyes are windows to the soul, the mouth is the same to the body.

If you would like more information about colorectal cancer, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Jowl Lines May Be Caused by Grinding Your Teeth (Bruxism) | Alhambra Dentist

There is a muscle that attaches the corners of our mouth to the border of the lower jaw.  It is called the “depressor anguli oris”. It is also called the “triangularis.” Triangularis is a muscle of facial expression. Specifically, it allows us to frown. It stands to reason if we frown a lot, we are likely to over-develop this muscle. The consequence is “jowl lines” that go at an angle from the corners of the mouth to the bottom of the lower jaw.

The bad news is that you don’t have to frown a lot to get jowl lines. You can get jowl lines just from unconsciously clenching and grinding your teeth. You would be doing something a lot of people do unconsciously during sleep, and even during the awake hours. This unconscious habit is called bruxism. According to the American Sleep Disorders Association, the prevalence of bruxism varies from 5 to 20 percent. The wide range is due to reporting something you are not, by definition, aware of. Your dentist can, with some confidence, diagnose you as having bruxism if you have obvious signs of excessive wear on your teeth that cannot be attributed to what you eat and chew. If you are told you have bruxism, don’t fight it. Excessive wear of your teeth is forensic evidence you are unconsciously doing it during the daytime, or you are doing it while you are in certain stages of sleep.

So, what do you do with habit? It needs to be changed. How? Your dentist can make you a specially-designed and calibrated oral appliance that gives you an ideal bite. This ideal bite will lessen the tendency to clench and grind. But to change the habit, you will need to wear this appliance 24 hours per day for at least 6 months, and often as long as two years. While you wear the appliance, you must remember to use it as a “biofeedback appliance” that will train your muscles not to clench and grind. Every time you bite into it, you will be able to tell you are doing so. After a period of time, the muscles will learn not to clench or grind. This is just like training your muscles to golf or play tennis. It takes practice.

The bite appliances are not obtrusive nor obviously visible, especially if your dentist makes it to fit over your lower teeth. The benefits would be that you won’t wear your teeth down and you won’t get “frown” or “jowl” lines in your face.

Seeing the dentist can give you good dental health, as well as save you from facelifts, botox injections or dermal fillers. Don’t forget your regular checkups.

If you would like more information about bruxism, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Controlling Gum Disease for Possible Cancer Prevention | Alhambra Dentist

A recent study lead by New York University of Dentistry and the New York University School of Medicine concluded that a lack of bacterial diversity in the mouth was identified in people with precancerous lesions that could precede stomach cancer. This is based on the fact that there is a healthy mix of a vast variety of bacteria living in beneficial coexistence in the oral cavity. When there is disease, certain bacterial groups take over the oral environment and, in the process, eliminate certain beneficial bacteria. This results in what’s called lack of “bacterial diversity”. Where this shrinkage of bacterial variety occurs, the findings of this study concludes that there are higher incidences of precancerous lesions that lead to stomach cancer. It is also theorized that restoration of the normal balance of bacteria in the mouth would lessen the risk of stomach cancer. These finding were published in the November 2017 issue of Journal of Periodontology.

The American Cancer Society estimated that 26,370 new cases of stomach or gastric cancer would be diagnosed in 2016, resulting in 10,703 deaths. Accumulating evidence suggests that chronic inflammation caused by oral bacterial infections may contribute to the development and progression of various types of cancer, including stomach cancer.

Although some risk factors – such as H. pylori colonization, cigarette smoking, and eating salt and preserved foods – have previously been confirmed to contribute to the development of stomach cancer, many new cases unrelated to these risk factors are diagnosed each year. Scientists have hypothesized that a group of pathogens may be responsible for causing periodontal disease and the resulting chronic systemic inflammation that may contribute to the development of gastric cancer.

This study assesses the association between periodontal pathogen colonization and the potential risk of developing precancerous lesions – including chronic atrophic gastritis, intestinal metaplasia, and dysplasia – that may predict stomach cancer.

The researchers studied 105 individuals scheduled to receive an upper endoscopy. After the endoscopic procedure and histopathologic evaluation, 35 people were diagnosed with precancerous lesions of gastric cancer and another 70 people of the same ages without precancerous lesions were included in the study as a control group.

The researchers concluded that the colonization of microbes (germs) and lack of bacterial diversity in the oral cavity are important factors that, when at higher or lower levels respectively, may contribute to an increased risk of developing precancerous gastric lesions.

So, it is critical not only to your oral health, but critical to your general health, to see your dentist regularly. Regular checkups will save your teeth and even save your life. ​

If you would like more information about cancer prevention, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Baby Teeth Showed Autism Associated with Lead and Other Heavy Metals | Alhambra Dentist

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 1 in 68 children in the United States have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Researchers have shown that autism may be caused by a complex reaction between environmental factors and genetics. Separating these causative factors has been particularly challenging. A new study by Manish Arora, Ph.D., a dentist and environmental scientist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, has shown a way to isolate genetics from environmental factors, using baby teeth of ASD children. This was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Previous studies that have investigated the relationship between toxic metals, essential nutrients, and the risk of having ASD; but these studies showed only metal concentrations in the bloodstream after ASD has developed. Information as to the level of toxic metal before ASD was diagnosed has been left to guesswork. This study reasoned that if pre-ASD toxic levels can be determined, then environmental exposure toxic metals may be statistically separated from genetic factors. .

The method used in this new study, however, manages to bypass many of these limitations. By looking at naturally-shed baby teeth, the researchers explain that they have access to information that goes as far back as a baby’s prenatal life. And by studying twins, Dr. Arora and colleagues were able to separate genetic influences from environmental ones.

To determine how much metal the babies’ bodies contained before and after birth, the researchers used lasers to analyze the growth rings on the dentine (root structure) of the baby teeth. Much like looking at the age of a tree by examining the rings on its trunk, scientists can determine the amount of lead in dentine layers during different stages of development of the tooth bud. By this means, the scientists were able to ascertain the level of exposure to lead at different stages of fetal development prior to birth.

Laser technology allowed the scientists to accurately extract specific layers of dentine, which is the substance that lies beneath the tooth enamel.

Cindy Lawler, Ph.D., head of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Genes, Environment, and Health Branch, explains the importance of using this scientific method for studying autism:

“We think autism begins very early, most likely in the womb, and research suggests that our environment can increase a child’s risk. But by the time children are diagnosed at age 3 or 4, it’s hard to go back and know what the moms were exposed to. With baby teeth, we can actually do that.”

To isolate genetic factors causing ASD, the scientists recruited 32 pairs of twins.  The scientists were able to compare the twin that developed ASD to the twin that did not. The study showed that the difference between the ASD twin and the normal twin was only the level of lead in the bloodstream.  Hence the conclusion is that heavy metals, or the body’s ability to process them, may affect ASD and that children with ASD had much higher levels of lead throughout their development. Finally, manganese and zinc were found to correlate with ASD as well. Children with ASD seemed to have less manganese and less zinc than children without, both pre- and postnatally.

Overall, the study suggests that either prenatal exposure to heavy metals, or the body’s ability to process them, may influence the chances of developing autism. Dr. Arora called the method “a window into our fetal life”. More extensive studies based on using baby teeth to look through this window are recommended by Dr. Arora.

Dr. Arora‘s study represents one of the numerous ways dental science impacts medical research. Dentists are working side by side with physicians and scientists to generate solutions to health problems.

If you would like more information about ASD, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Good News on the Opioid War Front | Alhambra Dentist

New Study Shows Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) in Combination are just as Effective as Narcotics.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse stated in March 2018 that “Every day, more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. The misuse of and addiction to opioids – including prescription pain relievers, heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl – is a serious national crisis that affects public health, as well as social and economic welfare.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year…”

There is good news on the war on opioids. It has been common in the U.S. to treat dental pain with a combination of acetaminophen and ibuprofen in lieu of opioids. A new study from an emergency department in New York tracking pain of the extremities further confirmed and extended the advocacy of this non-narcotic practice for the medical use.

This medical study was a randomized, controlled trial that compared the effectiveness of a combination of acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) with combinations of acetaminophen with various dosages of oxycodone or codeine.

416 patients participated in the study. For blinding purposes (so no one knows what he/she is taking), the combinations of medications were delivered in identical capsules. Pain was assessed on a scale of 0 – 10, with 0 representing no pain, and 10 being extreme pain. The reduction in pain score for the acetaminophen-ibuprofen group was 4.3 compared to 4.4, 3.9 and 4.2 in the groups who had taken oxycodone or codeine. The difference was determined to be statistically insignificant.

The authors concluded that, “For patients presenting to the ED [Emergency Department] with acute extremity pain, there were no statistically significant or clinically important differences in pain reduction at 2 hours among single-dose treatment with ibuprofen and acetaminophen or with 3 different opioid and acetaminophen combination analgesics,” and that “further research to assess adverse events and other dosing may be warranted.”

In other words, the non-narcotic group received the same degree of pain reduction as those groups who had received narcotics.

When you have need for pain pills, ask your physician (and your dentist, if appropriate) whether you can control pain with the acetaminophen-ibuprofen combination in lieu of taking opioids.

Do not exceed the recommended daily dosages nor take these non-opioid medications long-term without consultation with your doctor. Never take more than you need to control pain.

If you would like more information about the war on opioids, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.