Dr Joe's Blog

***SPAM*** Rise of fluoride-free toothpaste has dentists concerned

Jeff Donn, The Associated Press 
Published Tuesday, August 7, 2018 9:30AM EDT 
Last Updated Tuesday, August 7, 2018 1:38PM EDT - By drjoemiskin.com Ajax, Ontario

Dental health experts worry that more people are using toothpaste that skips the most important ingredient -- fluoride -- and leaves them at a greater risk of cavities.

Most toothpastes already contain fluoride. While health authorities recognize fluoride as a cavity blocker, the internet is dotted with claims, often from "natural" toothpaste marketers and alternative medicine advocates, that fluoride-free toothpaste also prevents cavities.

Dental authorities disagree.

That view was underscored this week by an article in the dental journal Gerodontology that reviewed the scientific literature on cavities. Its primary conclusion is that, without fluoride, oral hygiene efforts have "no impact" on cavity rates.

The idea that just brushing teeth doesn't stop cavities has largely been accepted among individual researchers for decades, but not always by the public. Dentists generally recommend fluoride for cavity fighting, but even some of them continue to believe that the mechanics of wiping your teeth clean of plaque also reduces cavities. The review findings, published Monday, gave pause to at least one dentist.

"It violates certain principles we've been taught and that we teach and that we believe," said Richard Niederman, a dentist and professor at New York University who saw an advance copy of the study and found the findings credible. "What it says to me is that the toothbrush is just a delivery system."

Few studies of the question have been carried out in recent years because the value of fluoride has been widely accepted for decades. In the review, University of Washington researchers looked for high-quality studies since 1950 and found just three. They were carried out in the U.S. and Great Britain and published from 1977 to 1981. They involved a total of 743 children aged 10 to 13 years who flossed and brushed for up to three years.

When the studies were evaluated statistically as a whole, there was no significant cavity reduction from simply brushing or flossing without fluoride.

Dentist J. Leslie Winston, oral care

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Province quickly reverses course on children's dental cleanings

Province quickly reverses course on children's dental cleanings

Earlier this month, the province of Nova Scotia said it would remove coverage for 'minor scaling'

Premier Stephen McNeil said Thursday the government will reverse a decision on MSI coverage for scaling for children under 15. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

The Nova Scotia government has quickly reversed a decision earlier this month that removed a type of dental cleaning coverage from thousands of families with young children. 

On July 12, the Department of Health and Wellness sent out an update to dentists saying it was immediately removing MSI coverage for "minor scaling" and polishing for children under the age of 15.

Scaling is done to scrape off plaque and tartar containing bacteria that is harmful to gums. 

Premier Stephen McNeil said Thursday he was unaware of the update on scaling until that morning. He blamed bureaucrats and said the decision will be reversed.

"They were attempting to make a clarification on a policy, that if you look across the country no other place was covering this as well. But that's not their decision. That's a decision for government, and that's a decision that comes to my table," he said.

"What was covered yesterday, what we paid for yesterday, will be paid for tomorrow."

Dental association directive

The reversal came just two days after the Nova Scotia Dental Association issued a directive to dentists telling them the cleanings would no longer be covered.

"It was unexpected to us today," said Dr. Nada Haidar, the president of the association. 

In a message posted Wednesday on its website, the association called scaling "an important part of preventing dental disease." 

"Dental plans do not always include coverage for sufficient scaling, and sometimes do not include any scaling at all," the association noted in its release.

Haidar said her association feels there is a problem with the billing code that covers children's scaling. However, the association's position is that the ability to bill MSI for scaling should be changed, not removed. 

Haidar said under the current MSI structure,

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Barrette forces Quebec's dental surgeons to remain in public plan

From Dr. Joe Miskin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
CTV Montreal 
Published Thursday, July 26, 2018 10:21AM EDT 
Last Updated Friday, July 27, 2018 7:27AM EDT

The Quebec government will force dentists to stay in the public system after they threatened to leave and not provide free services to children under 10 and those who receive social assistance.

This comes after a day of dueling between the two sides as dental surgeons followed through on threats Thursday morning, withdrawing from the public dental plan.

The president of the Association of Dental Surgeons of Quebec, Serge Langlois, filed the paperwork at 10 a.m., notifying the province of the union’s plans. Langlois met with media afterwards, presenting written testimony from 2,000 dentists who said they were ready to leave the public system should a contract not be reached soon.

Langlois said the tactic is necessary to show their intense displeasure with the government's latest offer.

"Our patients understand the dentists in this situation," he said. "They know we work hard when we treat children."

Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette pushed back in the afternoon, saying it wasn’t going to happen.

“We have the means to sign a decree at the government preventing that from happening, and the decree has already been signed,” he said.

Langlois fired back, saying, “I'm surprised, because he could have waited. He could have waited. He did it the first day. Nothing will change in a dental office for 30 days. We would prefer that Mr. Barrette negotiate with us instead of put in a special law.”

Barrette said the dentists could not eliminate these free services, which would deprive 620,000 Quebecers of free dental care, except in emergency situations.

“It is not the way things should go, to threaten citizens of this province to have their access to services cut,” said Barrette.

On Tuesday, the province’s dentists appealed to Premier Philippe Couillard to intervene in the contentious negotiations that have been ongoing since their agreement with the province expired in April, 2015. They blamed Health Minister Gaetan Barrette for the breakdown in talks, saying he had promoted an atmosphere

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Triclosan in toothpaste and 2000 other consumer products may increase colon cancer

By Tony Edwards, DrBicuspid.com editor in chief and Dr. Joe Miskin, Ajax at Miskin Dental

June 8, 2018 -- The effects of triclosan on human health should be urgently re-examined, according to the authors of a new preclinical study that found the chemical might increase the risk of colon cancer and other harmful consequences.

A low dose of triclosan exacerbated colitis-associated colon cancer and had other harmful effects in mice, according to researchers from the University of Massachusetts. They recommended that further research is needed to establish science-based policies for the regulation of this antimicrobial compound in consumer products. The study was published May 30 in Science Translational Medicine.

"These results, for the first time, suggest that triclosan could have adverse effects on gut health," senior author Guodong Zhang, PhD, said in a release from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Zhang is an assistant professor in the department of food science.

Antimicrobial additive

Triclosan is used as an antimicrobial additive in more than 2,000 consumer products, such as toothpastes, cosmetics, clothes, kitchenware, and toys. Some toothpastes contain 3,000 parts per million (ppm) of the chemical, according to the researchers.

Because of its ubiquity, exposure to triclosan is practically unavoidable in the U.S., but little is known about how ingestion affects human health. The researchers wanted to examine the effects and mechanisms of triclosan on colonic inflammation and colitis-associated colon cancer by starting with an animal model.

Zhang and colleagues conducted a randomized trial of eight different study protocols involving brief, low-level exposures to triclosan via the animals' diet. In all eight protocols, even brief exposure to the chemical at relatively low doses caused low-grade colonic inflammation, increased colitis, and exacerbated colitis-associated colon cancer in the mice.

"Together, these results highlight the need to reassess the effects of [triclosan] on human health and potentially update policies regulating the use of this widely used antimicrobial," they concluded.

Microbiome effects

The researchers noted that mice in the study were exposed to triclosan via diet or drinking water, which is different from how people ingest the chemical.

While they agreed that further research is needed,

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***SPAM*** Toothy squirrel saved

Toothy squirrel saved when Alberta rancher trims them

Bucky the squirrel had sprouted some bad teeth that threatened his survival

Bucky's teeth had grown so long they curled out of his mouth and around his cheeks. (Jannet Talbott/Facebook)A toothy squirrel named Bucky is once again fattening up on nuts after an Alberta woman trimmed his tusks.When Jannet Lee Talbott spotted the critter on the backyard bird feeder at her Barrhead horse ranch earlier this week, she couldn't believe her eyes.The squirrel's teeth had grown so long they curled out of his mouth and around his cheeks. "I saw this squirrel with this huge tooth coming out his mouth and it curled right around and it was dangerously close to its eye," said Talbot,. 

"And I thought, 'Oh my gosh. That's not good. I'm going to trap this guy and get that tooth fixed for him.'"

'He couldn't live much longer'

Squirrels have four front teeth that grow continuously throughout their lives. The teeth wear down naturally from the constant gnawing on nuts and bark.

But if the front incisors become damaged or uneven, the squirrel will struggle to keep them ground down and may develop huge fangs.

"He couldn't live much longer the way he was because he couldn't actually chew his food." 

Talbott had planned to set a live trap but managed to snatch the sabre-toothed creature by hand Tuesday afternoon while he was perched in her backyard.

When she looked inside the squirrel's mouth, she realized his dental crisis was much worse than she anticipated. 

"I had no idea how bad they were," Talbott said. "All of his incisors — upper and lower — were all overgrown and were curling inside of his mouth.

"His two upper incisors were curled inside his mouth and they could have easily continued to grow right through the roof of his mouth."

After watching some instructional videos on YouTube, Talbott — who has spent years tending to sick livestock on her farm — swaddled the surprisingly co-operative squirrel in a blanket, covered his eyes and got to work with

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