What Is A Toothache

What Is A Toothache

Many of us has experienced a toothache in our lifetime and for those of us who have, know it is a terrible experience and the toothache can drive you nuts. In the ancient days, before modern pain relief all sorts of crazy and not crazy remedies were used. An old wives tale toothachethat actually works is to chew on spices which sometimes can actually numb the area.

The science of a toothache

The innermost part of the tooth is the nerve chamber. In this hollow area of the tooth, the nerve sits. The nerve inside the tooth is attached to a larger nerve which inturn makes it’s way back into the brain. When that nerve is irritated, we can have tooth sensitivity or a toothache. Swelling or inflammation causes the area to be irritated through a series of chemical steps that the body uses and it secretes various inflammatory chemicals. These can be the cause of the pain in a toothache.

The main cause of dental pain is decay. Decay, a cavity is the hole made by bacteria eating through your tooth. As they make their way into the center of the tooth, the infection cause severe pain and swelling sometimes being noticeable even on the face.  Other reasons for a toothache can be trauma. If a tooth is suddenly jarred like by biting down hard on something or even chomping hard on your own teeth by getting hit on your jaw. There can also be fractures in the tooth that have not yet caused the tooth to break apart. These irritate the nerve causing a toothache.toothache

The main way to treat the toothache is by removing or eliminating the offending stimulus. So , dealing with the decay, or treating the fractured tooth will remove the pain

Ebola and Dentistry

Ebola and Dentistry

How Ebola and Dentistry affect each other is now a topic that must be thought about. With the recent outbreak of Ebola virus in West africa, we face the concern of a patient with Ebola possibly visiting the dentist. As such Ebola and Dentistry must be evaluated in terms of safety to patients and dental staff.Ebola and Dentistry

The Ebola Virus

This virus is part of a class of viruses called hemorrhagic fevers. Once it is acquired, the patient begins a rapid process of disease culminating in massive internal bleeding and bleeding from bodily orifices. It has a death rate of 50%-90%.  Until this present outbreak, Ebola appeared in remote parts of Africa , and it killed who it was able to but due to the  isolated area, it rarely spread. What makes this outbreak so dangerous is that it has now found its way to population centers and from there it can travel via an infected patient on a plane to other parts of the world. It is only transmitted by direct fluid exchange. Ie, blood, semen,sweat,saliva. It is not transmitted via the air.

Signs and Symptoms of Ebola

In any discussion of Ebola and Dentistry,, we need to understand the disease. The American Dental association in conjunction with the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) list the following.

The most common signs and symptoms of Ebola infection are:

  • fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F) and severe headache
  • muscle pain
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain or unexplained bleeding or bruising

Disease Transmission

The good news is that  Ebola and Dentistry have a small chance of interacting. The disease is non transmissible if there are no symptoms. Since it takes from 2-21 days Ebola and Dentistryfrom exposure to symptoms, we should first be asking patients who have the above symptoms  if they have recently been in West African nations. Most people with symptoms will be too sick to visit a dentist, making our expose unlikely. Universal precautions of gloves and proper sterilization methods renders the virus noninfective. So in summary,  Ebola and Dentistry can theoretically be a concern, but as of now, it is extremely minor.

healthy gums for a healthy heart, diabetes, and coronary heart disease

healthy gums

healthy gums

Benefits Of Flossing

Periodontal Care Cuts Admissions, Costs for Diabetes and CVD

Laird Harrison

March 21, 2014

Patients who get care for their periodontitis and have

healthy gums

 are less likely to require treatment for diabetes and cardiovascular disease or to have a preterm delivery, a new analysis of insurance company records shows.

The study supports the theory that treating periodontitis can improve other chronic diseases, lead author Marjorie Jeffcoat, DMD, toldMedscape Medical News. “The results are big,” said Dr. Jeffcoat, a professor of periodontics at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, who presented the findings on March 21 at the American Academy of Dental Research meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Researchers have long suspected a relationship between oral diseases and those in the rest of the body, but studies looking for an effect of periodontal treatments on systemic diseases have produced mixed results, she noted.

Reduced Costs for Chronic Disease With Periodontal Care and 

healthy gums

To shed more light on the question, Dr. Jeffcoat and colleagues looked at the records of Highmark Health, which offers medical insurance in its own name and dental insurance through its subsidiary, United Concordia.

They used 2005-2009 claims data to identify 338,891 people with evidence of periodontal disease, of whom 91,242 also had type 2 diabetes, 81,439 had rheumatoid arthritis, 13,007 had cerebral vascular disease, 8458 had coronary artery disease, and 8342 of whom were pregnant with their first child. They compared those who had periodontal treatment with those who did not.

They found that those who chose the care were less likely to be hospitalized for illness associated with type 2 diabetes, cerebral vascular disease, coronary artery disease, and complications associated with the preterm birth of their children.

Overall, the patients who received periodontal treatment cost the insurer significantly less in claims associated with their systemic conditions, the researchers found.

Those who got periodontal care were also less likely to make claims or be hospitalized for reasons associated with their rheumatoid arthritis, but the difference was not statistically significant for this outcome.

Mean Reductions in Costs and Hospitalizations With Periodontal Therapy

Systemic condition

Mean cost savings per subject/y ($)

Mean reduction in costs per subject/y (%)

P for cost reduction

Mean reduction in hospital admissions per 1000 subjects/y (%)

P for hospital-admission reduction

Type 2 diabetes



< .04


< .05




< .04


< .002




< .04


< .01







First pregnancy in period 2005-2009



< .001



CVD = cardiovascular disease

CAD = coronary artery disease

RA = rheumatoid arthritis

NS = not signification

NA = not applicable

“Cost is a good surrogate for whether or not the patient was sick,” said Dr. Jeffcoat. Periodontal treatments might ameliorate many systemic diseases because inflammation plays a secondary role in them, she suggested.

On the other hand, the treatment might not have a significant effect on rheumatoid arthritis because it’s primarily an inflammatory disease.

“Personally I feel – and I don’t have data to show it – that if you have an inflammatory disease you have so many inflammatory mediators going around that upping them or lowering them a little bit you’re not making a big effect in the outcome, whereas in a disease like diabetes, you are making a difference,” she said.

“And you are making a difference in cardiovascular diseases because they are not [primary] inflammatory diseases.”

No Proof of Cause and Effect but Good Dental Care Advised

But the study falls short of proving that periodontal treatment can improve systemic conditions, Elizabeth Seaquist, MD, president of medicine and science for the American Diabetes Association, toldMedscape Medical News.

“All we can tell from this abstract is that it’s an interesting association,” said Dr. Seaquist. “I don’t think we can say that there is necessarily a cause and effect.”

For example, people who get treatment for periodontal disease might be more likely to take care of their health in general, which could explain why they need less care for other conditions, she said.

But Dr. Jeffcoat stressed that she and her colleagues did their best to control for this. “Whatever you measure, if you measure visits to the doctor, hospitalizations, they are all virtually identical at baseline, between the groups that chose to be treated once they had a diagnosis of periodontal disease and those that didn’t,” she said. “So that would militate against a role of these as people who just aren’t taking care of themselves.”

Both researchers have previously undertaken randomized controlled trials in search of more incontrovertible evidence.

In a study published last year (JAMA.2013;310:2523-2532), Dr. Seaquist and colleagues from multiple centers randomly assigned 519 people with both type 2 diabetes and untreated chronic periodontitis to either receive periodontal treatment or not.

They found no difference between the groups in HbA1c, a key marker of glycemic control in diabetes.

On the other hand, in a previous study (BJOG. 2011;118: 250-256), Dr. Jeffcoat and colleagues randomly assigned 322 pregnant women with periodontal disease to either receive periodontal care or not. Those who were successfully treated for periodontitis had a much lower rate of preterm birth than the others.

Regardless of these discrepancies, Drs. Jeffcoat and Seaquist both agree that physicians treating patients with systemic conditions like diabetes should make sure those patients are getting good dental care.

Dr. Seaquist is a member of advisory committees/review panels for and has received research grants from United Concordia Companies. Dr. Jeffcoat has reported no relevant financial relationships.

American Association for Dental Research. Abstract 690, presented March 21, 2014.



Billions Worldwide Suffer from Major Tooth Decay

Billions Worldwide Suffer from Major Tooth Decay

May 30, 2013 — Billions of people across the globe are suffering from major untreated dental problems, according to a new report led by Professor Wagner Marcenes of Queen Mary, University of London, published in the Journal of Dental Research.tooth decay


Professor Marcenes of the Institute of Dentistry at Queen Mary led an international research team investigating oral health as part of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2010 study.

The report shows that oral conditions affect as many as 3.9bn people worldwide — over half the total population. Untreated tooth decay or cavities in permanent teeth — also known as dental caries — was the most common of all 291 major diseases and injuries assessed by the GBD 2010 study, affecting 35 per cent of the world population.

“There are close to 4bn people in the world who suffer from untreated oral health conditions and Tooth Decay that cause toothache and prevent them from eating and possibly sleeping properly, which is a disability,” comments Professor Marcenes. “This total does not even include small cavities or mild gum diseases, so we are facing serious problems in the population’s oral health.”

The GBD 2010 estimated that the disability associated with severe tooth loss was between those reported for moderate heart failure and moderate consequences of stroke.

Oral conditions accounted for an average health loss of 224 years per 100,000 people (years lived with disability or YLDs) — more than 25 out of 28 categories of cancer assessed in the GBD 2010 study.

tooth decayThe study found that the global burden of oral conditions is shifting from severe tooth loss towards severe periodontitis and Tooth Decay. It found that the global burden of oral diseases increased 20 per cent between 1990 and 2010, while a reduction of 0.5 per cent was observed for all conditions together. This increase was mainly due to population growth and ageing.

Professor Marcenes interprets this observed shift: “Tooth loss is often the final result when preventive or conservative treatments for tooth decay or gum disease fail or are unavailable. It is likely that current dental services are coping better to prevent tooth loss than in the past but major efforts are needed to prevent the occurrence and development of gum diseases and tooth decay. Ironically the longer a person keeps their teeth the greater the pressure on services to treat them.”

The largest increases in the burden of oral conditions were in Eastern (52 per cent), Central (51 per cent) and Sub-Saharan Africa, and Oceania (48 per cent).

The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study commenced in the spring of 2007 and was a major effort involving nearly 500 scientists carrying out a complete systematic assessment of global data on all diseases and injuries.

Professor Marcenes comments on tooth decay: “Our findings are set to shake up the setting of health priorities around the world, providing an unparalleled amount of up-to-date, comparable data on the diseases, risk factors, disabilities, and injuries facing populations.

“The findings of the GBD 2010 study highlighted that an urgent organized social response to oral health problems is needed. This must deal with a wide array of health care and public health priorities for action.”

Report is entitled: Global Burden of Oral Conditions 1990-2010: A Systematic Analysis

This article appeared in Sciencedaily.com

Pancreatic Cancer And Your Teeth

Recent studies have shown a link between Oral Hygiene and Pancreatic cancer.

We all know flossing is important to keep your mouth healthy. However, recent studies have found a much greater link between oral hygiene and general health. The debris and bacteria that lurk in between the teeth, an area that brushing does not reach, can have a great impact on your general health.

pancreatic cancer oral hygiene

Pancreatic cancer

Studies have shown that the inflamed and infected gums cause the bodies inflammatory system to kick in, causing a host of different actions and flooding the blood system with inflammatory hormones. We have seen how there is a relationship between periodontitis and heart disease, erectile dysfunction, prostatitis and other medical problems. Now the scientists see a connection between gum disease and pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is a very severe one. Almost 1/4 of the deaths from cancer in the US are from pancreatic cancer. It also  has a very poor prognosis. Even being discovered at stage 1, there is only a 25% 5 years success rate. while definitive causes for this cancer have not been clearly defined, smoking seems to be a major factor accounting for 30% of these tumors.

Flossing Benefits

Flossing has many benefits. Besides making your gums healthy it also plays a role in preventing bad breath. The American Diabetes association says that gums disease is a causative factor in diabetes and can certainly make the diabetic worse. Bacteria in the

Benefits Of Flossing

Benefits Of Flossing

mouth also can affect the respiratory system.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston surveyed more than 50,000 male health professionals (about half of them dentists) to determine who had periodontal disease, then followed them for 16 years; 216 eventually developed pancreatic cancer. After controlling for known risk factors like smoking, alcohol intake, and body weight, the researchers found that those with gum disease were 64 percent more likely to develop the cancer than those with healthy gums; those who had lost teeth because of severe gum disease had 2.7 times the risk. “Since the cancer is so highly fatal, it’s interesting to have a new risk factor to help us understand the disease better,” says study leader Dominique Michaud.


Archeology Uncovers oral bacteria and gum disease in the past


Gum Disease

An oral history

Teeth bacteria are the latest organisms to be studied through “ancient DNA” technology, which allows scientists to extract and amplify tiny traces of genetic material from specimens thousands of years old. The conclusions are bad news for modern oral health.gum disease

An international team led by Alan Cooper of the University of Adelaide extracted DNA from tartar (calcified dental plaque) from 34 north European skeletons, spread over 7,500 years, from the last hunter-gatherers, through the first farmers, to Bronze Age, medieval and modern times.

“Oral bacteria in modern man are markedly less diverse than historic populations, and this is thought to contribute to chronic gum disease, oral and other disease in post-industrial lifestyles,” says Cooper, in the journal Nature Genetics.

“The composition of oral bacteria changed markedly with the introduction of farming and again around 150 years ago,” he adds. “With the introduction of processed sugar and flour in the Industrial Revolution, we can see a dramatically decreased diversity in our oral bacteria, allowing domination by caries-causing strains and gum disease. The modern mouth basically exists in a permanent disease state.”


From the Financial Times April  5 ,2013



archeology and dentistry

Dental Archeology

This interesting article is about dental archeology ancient dentistry

A 6,500-year-old tooth packed with beeswax could represent the
earliest evidence of a dental filling, newly-published research has

Found in part of a human jaw excavated in a cave near Lonche,
Slovenia, the tooth is a left canine, thought to have belonged to a
man aged between 24 and 30.(dental archeology)

Research led by Federico Bernardini and Claudio Tuniz of the Abdus
Salam Centre for Theoretical Physics in Italy examined a vertical
crack in the tooth, which had been filled with a resinous substance.

Now analysis published in the journal PLOS ONE has revealed this to be
beeswax, possibly used to alleviate pain and sensitivity when chewing
on the broken tooth.

The team used a range of scientific techniques including 3-D
high-resolution x-rays, radiocarbon dating, and infrared spectroscopy,
to determine the age and composition of the filling. They suggested
that the wax may have had a therapeutic purpose, though they could not
rule out it being applied after the individual’s death.

‘This finding is perhaps the most ancient evidence of prehistoric
dentistry in Europe, and the earliest known direct example of
therapeutic-palliative dental filling so far,’ said Federico
Bernardini. ‘Bee products were used by prehistoric communities for
technological, artistic, and medical purposes, but it is thanks to the
Lonche finding that we can now imagine people doing dentistry in
Neolithic Europe.’


I hope you enjoyed this article on  dental archeology