Where is dental research taking us?

In lab tests, researchers at the University of Illinois found that Lipton black-tea extract inhibits the growth of bacteria associated with periodontal disease.

In lab tests, researchers at the University of Illinois found that Lipton black-tea extract inhibits the growth of bacteria associated with periodontal disease.

What direction is dental research taking? The summaries that follow will give you a quick look at this information. They are taken from research abstracts published in Perio Reports, Volume 13, No. 3. These papers were presented at the 2001 American Association for Dental Research meeting, and they can be found in the Journal of Dental Research, Volume 80, Special Issue, January 2001.

Pain and discomfort after surgery
Canadian researchers found private practice patients experienced substantial interference with daily routines, altered eating, interrupted sleep, swelling, pain, bruising and sensitivity during the first seven days after periodontal surgery. Matthews, D.; Hanscom, S., No. 292.

Collagen instead of grafts
Researchers at the University of Michigan used injectable collagen rather than tissue grafts to correct gingival depressions. During the first two weeks postop, patients who had received the injectable collagen reported significantly less pain, discomfort, or alteration in quality of life than patients who underwent traditional grafting procedures. Patient satisfaction may influence future treatment selection. Kukuk, M., Inglehart, M., Sarment, D., No. 300.

Black tea
In lab tests, researchers at the University of Illinois found that Lipton® black-tea extract inhibits growth of bacteria associated with periodontal disease. Wei, G., We, D., No. 304.

Breathsavers™ for bad breath
Zinc salts inhibit bacterial growth and bind to oral volatile sulfur compounds (VSC). Breathsavers™ contain Neeutrazin™, and zinc gluconate. When used by people with 12-hour plaque accumulation, VSC reductions of up to 75 percent were reported. Scheinbach, S.; Wei, G.; Wu, C.; Aji,K.; D'Amelia, R; No. 351.

Chlorhexidine wax
Researchers at the University of Michigan painted a 1 percent chlorhexidine wax on the occlusal surfaces of primary molars to prevent transfer of strep mutans to erupting permanent molars. This approach may be a simple means of shifting the oral micro flora toward a more favorable balance during eruption of permanent molars. Alaki, S., et al, No. 352.

Raspberry chlorhexidine
Flavors added to chlorhexidine can inhibit the bacterial activity. Researchers at the University of Iowa tested several flavors and found anhydrous raspberry the best choice as it allowed a 100 percent kill rate in lab tests. Research is continuing to develop raspberry chlorhexidine rinse and gel formulations. Sheppard, K., Marek, C., Olson, B., Drake, D., No. 357.

Carotid calcification
Panoramic radiographs can detect calcified carotid plaques. Researchers at the University of Louisville evaluated radiographs from 50 cancer patients and found 21 cases or 6.6 percent with carotid calcifications. Bone loss was analyzed in 14 people who still had their teeth. No association was found between carotid calcifications and bone loss. Beckstrom, B., et al., No. 382.

Fibromyalgia and TMD
Researchers at the University of Minnesota found fibromyalgia a predictor for progression of TMD chronic pain. Those with fibromyalgia as baseline were 4.7 times more likely to have an increase in TMD pain levels after 18 months. Carlson, P., et al, No. 398.

Bristle tips
Researchers at the University of South Carolina evaluated power and manual bristle tips after one, seven, 40, 60, and 120 days of use. They found that, over time, all bristle tips became more rounded. By the end of the study, bristles were either rounded or flat with rounded edges. Gellin, R., et al, No. 499.

Bacterial resistance
Subgingival bacterial samples from 200 patients with severe periodontal disease were tested to determine bacterial resistance. Researchers at Temple University found bacterial resistance to at least one periodontal pathogen in 85 percent of the group. These findings underscore the need for bacterial testing prior to antibiotic therapy. Rams, T.; Feik, D., No. 835.

Arestin™
Researchers at the University of North Carolina found Arestin (microencapsulated minocycline), placed after subgingival instrumentation, resulted in greater reduction in pocket depth than instrumentation alone. Smokers who received Arestin showed an additional half millimeter of pocket-depth reduction in pockets six millimeters or deeper, compared to using instrumentation alone. Williams, R., et al, No. 838.

Antifungal agent
Lab studies at State University of New York at Stony Brook found Periostat® (chemically modified, nonantibacterial tetracycline) effective against 10 Candida isolates from AIDS patients. Periostat may be an effective antifungal drug. Liu, Y., et al, No. 845.

Diabetics and Waterpik®
A 12-week study in diabetics with moderate to advanced periodontal disease demonstrated clinical improvements after ultrasonic scaling, root-planing, and regular oral hygiene. Half the 52 subjects also used a Waterpik twice daily. They showed even greater clinical healing and reductions in inflammatory cytokines. Almubarak, S., et al, No. 846.

Floss for stain
A new floss by Johnson & Johnson is coated with silica- impregnated wax to provide friction for stain removal. When flossing was done by a hygienist — 30 strokes on each interproximal surface — patients exhibited significant stain reduction: i.e., new floss, 37 percent; new tape, 26 percent; and the control tape, only 11 percent. Holland, J., et al, No. 1094.

DentinBloc®
Lab studies show DentinBloc forms calcium fluoride deposits within dentinal tubules and on the dentin surface. Blockage of dentinal tubules may reduce permeability of the dentin and explain sensitivity reduction associated with DentinBloc use. Gambogi, R., et al, No. 1401.

Sonographic probe
A noninvasive sonographic probe has been developed and initial human testing provided depths within the range of error expected with manual probing. This technology is similar to that used to measure fetal development. Water enters the sulcus and sound waves identify the epithelial attachment. This noninvasive diagnostic tool has the potential to recognize early signs of breakdown. Lynch, J., et al, No. 1461.

Smokers mouthwash
This mouthwash creates a bad taste when cigarettes are smoked, but not for food or drink. In a four-week test of 19 smokers, it demonstrated some clinical improvement, and a foul taste was reported when cigarettes were smoked. It is safe for oral tissues, and may be a deterrent to smoking. Kirkwood, K., et al, No. 1504.

BreathRx™ 2
Mouthrinse comparison found BreathRx 2 more effective in controlling oral malodor over four weeks than an essential-oil rinse, a chlorine-dioxide-plus zinc rinse, and a placebo rinse. Odor judges measured breath odors. All three mouthrinses were effective in a single use test when measured at two and four hours. Borden, L., et al, No.1510.

Rembrandt Breath Care™
A four-week study compared Rembrandt Breath Care Treatment and a placebo in 52 halitosis patients. The Rembrandt products resulted in less tongue-coating and less oral malodor. Andreana, S., et al, No. 1614.

Trisha E. O'Hehir, RDH, BS, is a senior consulting editor of RDH. She also is editor of Perio Reports, a newsletter for dental professionals that addresses periodontics. The Web site for Perio Reports is www.perioreports.com. She can be reached by phone at (800) 374-4290 and by e-mail at trisha@perioreports.com.

More in Periodontitis