Friday, August 31, 2007

Discount dental services has announced an agreement with to offer discount dental services to baby boomers and older adults.

Visitors to can now link directly to more than 30 dental plans offering from 10% to 60% discounts on most dental procedures including checkups, cleanings, crowns, root canals, dentures, oral surgery and even cosmetic dentistry on select plans. As added incentive, visitors to save an extra 10% on any discount by using coupon code LAF10 when they join.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mini Dental Implants In Orthodontic Treatment

Los Angeles orthodontist Dr. Atoosa Nikaeen has concluded after several months of using mini dental implants that they tremendously improve orthodontic treatment results.
In addition to providing proper anchorage for aligning teeth, Nikaeen's innovative use of mini dental implants- also known as temporary anchorage devices, or TADs- in orthodontics is rendering some old standards of treatment- such as elastics and bulky head gear- unnecessary.

"All patients want good results from their orthodontic treatment," Nikaeen said. "I am willing to employ whatever means necessary to ensure my patients receive the best, safest and most successful treatment."
Anchorage control is fundamental to successfully align teeth during orthodontic treatment, Nikaeen said. Until mini implants, orthodontic tooth movement that once was accomplished through extraoral anchorage- devices such as head gear used outside the mouth- required cooperation from the patient by diligently and properly wearing the anchorage device.
"Not everyone is eager to wear head gear or elastics, because the appliances can be bulky and uncomfortable," Nikaeen said.
Using mini implants removes the responsibility from the patient and ensures the best possible results in treatment, she said.
The mini implants are not permanent. They simply provide temporary anchorage during orthodontic treatment. The implants are installed by Nikaeen or an oral surgeon and once the patient's braces are removed, the implants can be removed as well.
If you would like to learn more about mini implants and orthodontic treatment, visit Dr. Nikaeen's Web site:
About Dr. Atoosa Nikaeen_Dr. Nikaeen graduated with honors from dental school in 1993 and received a doctorate in dental surgery (DDS). She gained experience practicing general dentistry for several years before attending Columbia University School of Dentistry and Oral Surgeons in New York, where she earned her post-doctoral education in orthodontics and received an orthodontic specialty certificate.
In addition to running her practice, Dr. Nikaeen is a faculty member at the University of California in Los Angeles Orthodontic Department and teaches orthodontic residents.
Dr. Nikaeen's Los Angeles practice serves patients throughout Southern California, including Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.

Banning Amalgam = Costs Up by $8 Billion/ Year?

A study in the current issue of the journal Public Health Reports examines the potential economic impact of a ban or restriction on the use of dental amalgam, a material commonly used to fill cavities. The authors conclude that U.S. dental care costs would increase by up to $8.2 billion in the first year alone -- a staggering 10 percent of current dental expenditures -- if amalgam were no longer available as a treatment option.
Dental amalgam contains a mixture of metals, including mercury, which combine to form a stable alloy that dentists have used safely for over 150 years to fill cavities. Numerous peer-reviewed, scientific studies, including those published as recently as 2006 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, attest to amalgam's safety and efficacy, leading health experts to recommend its continued availability as an option for treating dental decay.
Dr. L. Jackson Brown, a dentist, economist, epidemiologist and former ADA managing vice president for health policy agrees, saying, "The dental community and public health dentists have long known that amalgam restorations are a vital component in the arsenal to manage dental disease. This study documents the large impact the absence of amalgam would have."
A small group of activists has for years called on state and federal governments to ban amalgam, claiming, with no credible scientific basis, that it causes systemic diseases. The ADA and numerous state, national and international health authorities oppose such proposals.
"Dental care would cost more, and untreated caries (dental decay) is likely to increase," said Dr. Brown. "Unfortunately, this impact would fall disproportionately on the disadvantaged populations."
The article, "Economic Impact of Regulating the Use of Amalgam Restorations," can be viewed on the American Dental Association's Web site at:

Saturday, August 18, 2007

PDA Encourages Back-to-School Dental Check-Ups

PDA Encourages Back-to-School Dental Check-Ups

As children head back to school, the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA)
encourages parents to make dental check-ups part of the back-to-school

Remember, it's just as important to examine the mouth as the rest of
the body. Tooth decay is a bacterial disease; it remains the most common,
chronic disease of children.

The statistics speak for themselves. More than half of all 5-9-year-old
children have at least one cavity. Cavities form when bacteria in the mouth
combine with sugary substances from foods and drinks. The bacteria then
produce acid that wears through the enamel and causes cavities. Dental
decay is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common
than hay fever.

While tooth decay and other dental problems can cause pain and
infection, they can also result in concentration problems in school, school
absences and problems eating and speaking. In fact, more than 51 million
school hours are lost each year due to dental-related illness. By making a
dental check-up part of your child's back-to-school routine you are helping
prevent tooth decay and other dental problems from occurring. Regular
visits to the dentist can also help detect dental problems in their early

PDA encourages parents to help promote good oral health by making sure
all children get regular dental check-ups every six months, brush twice a
day with fluoride toothpaste, floss once a day to help remove plaque stuck
between the teeth, eat a well-balanced diet and ensure that all health
examinations and necessary immunizations are completed in time for the new
school year.

Soldiers Provide Dental Treatment to Hondurans

U.S. military personnel are providing medical and dental services to residents in Honduras during a two-week medical readiness training exercise that kicked off Aug. 13.

Doctors, dentists and dental technicians from multiple military installations throughout the United States are being augmented by medical personnel assigned to Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, for the exercise.

"The main mission is to train," said Army Lt. Col. Manuel Marien, a pediatric dentist assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, who has performed this mission each of the past six years. "Every year, we come with residents and bring them for the training."

The benefits of conducting the medical training in a foreign country helps the doctors and technicians learn how to work in austere environments. Dentists and technicians are providing dental care to hundreds of Honduran children at the Catholic University Dental School in Tegucicalpa.

"When it comes to improvising, everybody learns. It's like tailgate dentistry," Lt. Col. Marien said. "For military doctors, they'll rarely see this. It's great training for them. If they're deployed to a remote area and they have to treat kids, now they'll know what to do."

The children first were given an educational class on the importance of brushing, flossing and good nutrition. From there, dental hygienists performed cleanings before the dentists began their work.

"There were lots of extractions, fillings and crowns," said Army Capt. Tom Stark, a pediatric dentist from Fort Irwin, Calif. "It's a very high-risk population due to the lack of education, poor diet and lack of fluoride in the water."

Because this was a first-time experience for him, Capt. Stark said he wasn't sure what to expect. "It's been a totally eye-opening experience, and some of the worst cases I've seen since I've been a dentist for the last five years."

Air Force Maj. Kim Christian, a dentist deployed to Soto Cano from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, said it was a very rewarding experience to be able to help the children who so desperately need dental care.

"We try to do as much as we can on each patient, depending on their needs and what they can tolerate," she said. "But once the problem is gone, a lot of the pain they have is gone too."

In exchange for the use of the dental school's facilities, Lt. Col. Marien provided teaching lectures to the dental students at the university during the exercise. Because Honduras doesn't have pediatric dentistry as a specialty, most of the students were very curious about it.

Dr. Ramses Montes, dean of the dental school, said it's a win-win situation for everyone involved.

"As a dental school, we can't work on the children because a lot of them don't have the money to be seen (by a dentist)," he said. "But the students talk and communicate with the military doctors and get information from them, (even though) some of the procedures are a little advanced and a higher knowledge level."

The team expects to see 200 to 300 patients during the two-week mission. Lt. Col. Marien said last year they saw 286 patients and completed more than 1,800 procedures during the exercise.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Whiplash May Produce Delayed Jaw Pain

One in three people exposed to whiplash trauma is at risk of developing delayed TMJ symptoms that may require treatment, according to research published in the August issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association.

Researchers at UmeƄ University, Sweden, studied short- and long-term temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and dysfunction in 60 patients in hospital emergency rooms directly after they were involved in a rear-end car collision and evaluated them again one year later.

According to the study, the incidence of new symptoms of TMJ pain, dysfunction or both between the initial examination and follow-up was five times higher in subjects than in uninjured control subjects. In the year between the two examinations, 7 percent of control subjects developed symptoms in the TMJ versus 34 percent of study subjects.

According to the American Dental Association, the TM joint is one of the most complex joints in the body. Located on each side of the head, these joints work together and can make many different movements, including a combination of rotating and translocational (gliding) action, used when chewing and speaking. Any problem that prevents this system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working together properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder.

When the patients reported having symptoms in the TMJ either before or after their accidents or both, the authors evaluated symptoms, including clicking, locking and TMJ pain. They also asked patients to rate their pain intensity and report the degree to which symptoms interfered with their daily lives, including sleep disturbances, use of pain relievers and the need to take sick leave.

“One in three people who are exposed to whiplash trauma, which induces neck symptoms, is at risk of developing delayed TMJ pain and dysfunction during the year after the accident,” the researchers concluded._

Delta Dental Has Largest Nationwide Networks

A new report shows that Delta Dental maintains the largest networks of dentists in the nation, a position the nation's largest dental benefit system has held for more than five decades. The report, generated by a third-party resource for data on providers and managed care networks to the healthcare industry, indicates that Delta Dental has over 7,500 more dentist locations than the next closest national competitor.

The Delta Dental Premier provider network offers more than 121,000 participating individual dentists in over 174,000 office locations nationwide. The Delta Dental PPO network includes over 60,000 individual dentists in more than 97,000 office locations. Both networks represent the largest in their respective classes, with three out of every four dentists in the nation participating in one or more of the Delta Dental networks.

"Having the largest networks of dentists in the nation is tremendously important because it means we can deliver maximum access and freedom of choice with minimal disruption or inconvenience to our 50 million subscribers," said Kim Volk, president and CEO of Delta Dental Plans Association. "Our networks represent a critical part of fulfilling our commitment to promoting good oral health by creating access to affordable dental care."

Delta Dental Premier offers a comprehensive package of benefits coupled with cost-saving managed care features and flexible plan designs. Delta Dental PPO provides enrollees a dual network advantage; they receive deeper discounts for seeking care from within the extensive PPO provider network, along with access to the largest network of any type in the nation, Delta Dental Premier, as a secondary safety net.

Enrollees in either program realize significant out-of-pocket savings from a "no balance billing" provision. Dentists in both the Delta Dental PPO and Delta Dental Premier networks accept negotiated fees as payment in full, and can't pass costs along to patients for any differences between submitted charges and the charges allowed under Delta Dental's contractual agreements. Enrollees seeking services from network dentists only have to pay deductibles and copayments required by their plans. Delta Dental attributes the size and strength of their networks to a number of factors. First, the 39 independently operating member companies that comprise the Delta Dental System allow for locally based recruitment and dentists relationships, even while all part of a single, uniform nationwide network.

From everyday operations to the highest levels of management, Delta Dental also employs more licensed dentists and dental professionals on staff than other dental carriers. This ensures that dentistry's needs and concerns are represented -- imperative to maintaining network credibility and stability.

In a recent nationwide survey, practicing dentists were asked their opinions about some of the nation's largest dental benefits carriers and to name those characteristics they appreciate most from these carriers. The study, conducted by independent research firm The Long Group concluded that Delta Dental outperformed other carriers in areas identified as most important to dentists such as customer service, claims processing and overall satisfaction.

"We work hard at developing and maintaining relationships with dentists, and it shows in our networks," said Volk. "They're more than just numbers to us -- they're partners in helping to advance solutions for great oral health."

Delta Dental Plans Association (, based in Oak Brook, IL, is a national network of independent not-for-profit dental service corporations. The Delta Dental system is the oldest and largest dental benefits carrier in the nation, specializing in providing dental benefits programs to 50 million Americans in more than 88,000 employee groups throughout the country.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Maybe oldest practicing dentist: 97

He was a child in World War I.
He has been through the horrors of the Holocaust, and then lived under Communist rule.
He became eligible for senior discounts more than three decades ago.
But Dr. Vladimir (Zeev) Lencovski is still open for business. The nearly 97-year-old is likely the world's oldest practicing dentist.
More than six decades after he began working in his native Romania, Lencovski continues to receive patients in his small central Jerusalem clinic, where he fills cavities and does root canal work.
"My hands do not shake and my legs are good so why not work?" he asks…

To see full article and picture:

Ways to Reduce Dental Anxiety

For some people, the fear of visiting a dentist outweighs the pain of a toothache. But putting off that visit almost invariably leads to more advanced oral health problems and lengthier, more complex procedures. What many people don't realize is that they can work with their dentists to learn about and implement anxiety- relieving strategies, according to Dental Health for Adults: A Guide to Protecting Your Teeth and Gums, a new report from Harvard Medical School.

The most direct approach is to be straightforward with your dentist and explore various strategies for pain reduction together. Improvements in techniques, medications, and equipment over the past 30 years mean much more comfortable visits than those you might recall from childhood.

Dental Health for Adults describes in detail both standard and novel treatments available for pain management, such as local and general anesthesia, anti-anxiety medications, and conscious sedation. The report also includes a lengthy discussion of alternative approaches to dealing with dental anxiety. These are some of the tips in the report:
-- Have your dentist agree on a "stop" signal so you can take a time-out
from the procedure.
-- Avoid caffeinated beverages before your visit, as they may make you
-- Listen to music on a portable music player before and during treatment.
-- Practice relaxation exercises and guided imagery techniques.
-- Get regular dental checkups, which help you build a good rapport with
your dentist and enable your dentist to catch problems early.

Edited by Hans-Peter Weber, D.M.D., Head of the Department of Restorative Dentistry at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, the 48-page Dental Health for Adults: A Guide to Protecting Your Teeth and Gums also covers:
-- dental basics
-- the relationship between oral health and general health
-- taking care of your teeth at home
-- dealing with emergencies
-- tooth replacements
-- braces for adults
-- cosmetic dentistry.

Dental Health for Adults: A Guide to Protecting Your Teeth and Gums is available for $16 from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School. Order it online at or by calling 1-877-649-9457 (toll free).

Monday, August 13, 2007

Reconstructive Dentist Makes Stars' Smiles Shine

Dr. Anthony Mobasser recently added American Idol judge Paula Abdul to his distinguished celebrity client list.

Dr. Mobasser's cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry services have been a staple among Hollywood elite for 27 years.

Abdul began her career as an L.A. Lakers cheerleader and choreographer in the early 1980s. She began a recording career and released her debut album in 1988. After several years of being off the celebrity radar screen, Abdul launched herself back into American living rooms as one of the three judges on the wildly popular talent search program American Idol.

Although Dr. Mobasser has a long list of celebrity clientele, he is not exclusively a celebrity dentist. Mobasser has treated thousands of patients in the Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica area throughout his distinguished career.

Whether it is porcelain veneers, reconstructive dentistry, dental implants or teeth whitening, Dr. Mobasser has the expertise to deliver top-notch treatment and lasting results that draw patients from around the world.

If you would like to learn more about the services provided by Dr. Mobasser, or you would like to speak to a professional about cosmetic or reconstructive dentistry, please call: (310) 550-0383; email us: (; or visit Dr. Mobasser's web site:

About Dr. Anthony Mobasser
Dr. Mobasser is regarded as the authority in aesthetic dentistry in Los Angeles. He is a pioneer of modern cosmetic dentistry and is one of the most experienced and qualified dentists in the world. His refined techniques have set a standard for cosmetic dentists. Dr. Mobasser holds degrees in mathematics and engineering from Cerritos College. He earned a biochemistry degree from University of California Los Angeles and completed his DMD degree at the University of Pennsylvania.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Teeth in an Hour Procedure

Dr. Sanderson, DMD, has announced that he is providing patients with Teeth in an Hour implants, making him the first dentist in Alabama to offer this service. Teeth in an Hour utilizes a new and innovative technology created by Nobel Biocare of Sweden, that allows patients to leave their dentist's office with dental implants, permanent or temporary crowns and bridge replacements that same day, after a short and easy procedure.

Performed in April, 2007, Dr. Sanderson - with the help of Dr. Holt Gray, a licensed Prosthodontist in practice with Dr. Sanderson, and Dr. Kevin Sims, an accredited Periodontist - implanted a full bottom set of prosthetic teeth during a minimally invasive, 90-minute surgery. The patient had been plagued all her life with tooth problems - being without her top teeth for eight years and bottom teeth for three. She had worn dentures, but the bottom set didn't work well and popped out easily, which is a common complaint. Teeth in an Hour procedures eliminated this problem.

The Teeth in an Hour procedure is available due to an evolving technology that uses digital images provided by CatScan 3 Dimensional Imaging, which are transferred to a computer. Using an I-Cat Cone Beam Scanner (limiting exposure to 20 seconds) 3-D images of the patient's jaw are captured and thoroughly examined and analyzed so that the doctor can begin the pre-treatment planning process. After the imaging is complete, Nobel Biocare then creates the titanium arch for the prosthetic teeth and a surgical tool identical to the patient's jaw to guide the placement of the implanted screws. The teeth are added onto the titanium bar in a laboratory. The procedure got approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004. Because the specialized software allows Dr. Sanderson the ability to do all treatment planning before surgery is even begun, the entire implant procedure can be done in about an hour. For more information about Teeth in an Hour, visit the Web site

About Dr. James Sanderson and Dr. Gray Holt_Drs. Sanderson and Gray received Doctor of Dental Medicine degrees from The University of Alabama School of Dentistry in Birmingham. They have also received advanced training in cosmetic, comprehensive, and laser assisted dentistry from multiple locations across the U.S. and have affiliations with the Academy of Laser Dentistry, the LD Pankey Alumni Association, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the American College of Prosthodontists, the Academy of Sports Dentistry, the Alabama Implant Study Group, and The Crown Council. Additionally, they have been fortunate to receive invitations to lecture and teach both locally and internationally. For more information about Drs. Sanderson and Gray's practice, visit their Web site at

Effects of Bone Drugs on Dental Health

The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) announced today the publication of a report that examines the link between a class of widely prescribed drugs used to strengthen bones and the disorder known as Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ). The report, authored by an international, multidisciplinary task force, was convened by the ASBMR to look at the possible association between ONJ, a deterioration of the jawbone, and a class of drugs known as bisphosphonates, which in recent years have been linked to the condition. According to the American Dental Association, some 23 million Americans take oral bisphosphonates for osteoporosis.

ONJ was first reported among cancer patients receiving high doses of bisphosphonate drugs as part of their treatment. The disorder typically appears as an area of exposed bone in the lower and upper jaw often developing after tooth extraction, mouth injury and dental surgery. Some cases occurred as a result of no known injury. "Although osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) is rare in people taking low dose oral bisphosphonates for osteoporosis, we need more research to identify the risk factors and determine if changing the dosing schedules of bisphosphonates could reduce the incidence of ONJ," stated Elizabeth Shane, M.D., co-chair of the task force and Immediate Past President of the ASBMR. "This new research agenda will help fill the considerable gaps in knowledge regarding this disorder and the recommendations will provide guidance for health care professionals in their care of patients currently on bisphosphonate therapy."

The ASBMR task force formed in July 2006 was an international, multidisciplinary group of experts in the field including representatives from the United States National Institutes of Health and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Both published and unpublished data on the occurrence of ONJ were examined, a case definition was determined and a future research agenda was recommended. The report reinforces that patients receiving higher doses of bisphosphonates appear to be at an increased risk for ONJ. However, the risk in patients taking oral bisphosphonate therapy is low.

A full report detailing the results can be viewed on the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research website (

Monday, August 6, 2007

Dentist Donates Dental Equipment to Haiti

Two dental clinics in impoverished Haiti will be beneficiaries of the relocation of Kevin G. Murphy & Associates.

Murphy, who has replaced much of his dental equipment with updated equipment, is donating his old equipment to Dr. Jim Taneyhill, a friend and fellow dentist.

Taneyhill, a Baldwin resident who practices in Bel Air, said he will direct the equipment to two clinics in Haiti..

Tooth decay is a huge problem because Haitians eat sugarcane and shred it with their teeth, Taneyhill said...

"Good equipment is hard to come by. But Kevin's stuff is in such good shape, I was confident I could get it down there and have it be useful," Taneyhill said.

He said Murphy's old equipment, including five dentist's chairs, would cost $75,000 to $100,000 to buy, and there's enough to equip five treatment rooms.

"It's amazingly generous of him to do this," Taneyhill said. "He could resell it on the secondary market..."

In the meantime, he, Murphy and Murphy's daughter, Megan, 17, will go to Haiti for 4-5 days in mid-August to treat patients there. They will carry as much small equipment as they are allowed to take on the plane in two suitcases apiece.

"I have to figure out the words for 'open' and 'this won't hurt too much,'" Murphy said.

See complete article:

Smile South Florida Cosmetic Dentistry

Smile South Florida Cosmetic Dentistry recently began offering Vizilite Plus® oral cancer screenings._

The practice began offering the screenings in June, in light of the fact that about 30,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States, said Dr. Charles Nottingham, a cosmetic dentist who is the senior partner of Smile South Florida Cosmetic Dentistry. When caught at its earliest stage, oral cancer can be cured relatively easily.

'We opted to begin conducting the ViziLite Plus® exam because it will help us identify abnormal tissue that might develop into oral cancer,- Nottingham said.

An annual ViziLite Plus® exam, in combination with a regular visual examination, provides a comprehensive oral screening procedure for patients at increased risk for oral cancer.
Although adults should be screened annually for oral cancer, Nottingham said, men older than age 40 who use tobacco products and drink more than one alcoholic beverage per day are at the highest risk of developing oral cancer.

'They certainly should consider the screening,- he said, adding, 'Anyone who uses tobacco products should be screened for oral cancer.-

The ViziLite Plus® exam is painless, fast and non-invasive, according to the company's Web site,

The ViziLite Plus® exam is performed immediately following a regular visual examination. The first step is to rinse with a cleansing solution. Then, the overhead lighting is dimmed and the dentist examines the mouth using ViziLite Plus®, a specially designed light technology. This light technology causes abnormalities that may not be seen by the naked eye to glow a bright white.

About Smile South Florida Cosmetic Dentistry

The dentists at Smile South Florida Cosmetic Dentistry have offices in Broward County and Boca Raton and serve patients from Boca Raton to Fort Lauderdale and Miami. In addition to being trained in the ViziLite Plus® oral cancer screening procedure, they specialize in porcelain veneers, dental implants and extreme makeovers.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Brushing: cell damage may help keep gums healthy

One way regular brushing may help keep gums firm and pink is, paradoxically, by tearing open cells, researchers have found.

Bristles wielded with even gentle force tear holes in the epithelial cells that line the gums and tongue, causing a momentary rupture, researchers at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta report in the cover article of the August issue of the Journal of Dental Research.

Tearing enables calcium, abundant in saliva, to move into the cells, triggering internal membranes to move up and patch the hole, says Dr. Katsuya Miyake, MCG cell biologist and the paper's co-first author. But in the seconds that repair takes, growth factors that promote growth of collagen, new cells and blood vessels leak out of injured cells.

Cell injury also turns on expression of the c-fos gene, an early-response gene often activated under stress that may be the first step in a response such as cell division or growth, says Dr. Paul L. McNeil, MCG cell biologist and corresponding author.

"It's very clear that brushing your teeth is a healthy thing to do; no one questions that brushing removes bacteria and that's probably its main function," Dr. McNeil says. "But we are thinking that there might be another positive aspect of brushing. Many tissues in our bodies respond to mechanical stress by adapting and getting stronger, like muscles. We think the gums may adapt to this mechanical stress by getting thicker and healthier. It's the no pain, no gain theory the same as exercising."

The research team, which also includes Dr. Kaori Amano, dental researcher, Kyorin University of Medicine in Japan, and Dr. James L. Borke, MCG physiologist, injected a fluorescent dye into the blood stream that can only get into torn cells. They then brushed the teeth, gums and tongue of rats with a modified electric toothbrush. "We saw lots of bright cells," says Dr. Miyake, co-director of the MCG Cell Imaging Core Facility.

"… (W)e suggest that, in addition to its well-know ability to remove bacteria and their harmful products from teeth, brushing may, by causing plasma membrane disruptions, lead to local cell-adaptive responses ultimately of benefit to gingival health," the researchers write.

"Viewing brushing from this novel context, as a direct physical stimulus that promotes gum health, opens up new avenues for research," Dr. McNeil says. One immediate area of interest is to identify chemical signals produced by wounded oral cavity cells that could promote gum health.

Moreover, the method and/or type of brush might strongly influence the extent of epithelial cell-wounding and subsequent liberation of factors that promote gum health, Dr. McNeil says.

Interestingly researchers found that brushing injures not only epithelial cells on the tongue's surface but muscle cells underneath as well. "The mechanical forces must have been transmitted through the intact epithelium to the muscle cells," says Dr. McNeil, director of the MCG Cell Imaging Core Facility. "It means our epithelium is tough and maintains a nice, resilient barrier but, not surprisingly, since it's not a hard surface, it transmits forces quite readily."

The gum, tongue and other surfaces in the oral cavity are covered with layers of epithelial cells that serve as a natural boundary between what goes in the mouth and the blood supply. As food digests, nutrients and other desirables move across the single layer of epithelial cells lining the gastrointestinal tract to get to the blood.