Thursday, October 22, 2015

Using Teeth to Repair Eyes

Use your teeth to repair a scratched cornea?  It's possible, according to a new procedure that actually uses wisdom teeth to create corneal stem cells.

Photo from
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have successfully taken stem cells from the dental pulp of wisdom teeth and turned them into cornea cells. Scientists hope that this technique can soon be used to repair corneal scarring due to infection or injury, and may lead to a new source of corneal transplant tissue made from the patient's own cells.

Corneal blindness affects millions of people worldwide, and is usually treated by transplanting donated corneas.  However, shortages of donor tissue and problems with tissue rejection make alternative sources of corneal tissue extremely exciting.

In the Pittsburgh research, scientists obtained ordinary human wisdom tooth dental pulp and engineered the pulp stem cells into corneal stromal cells called "keratocytes."  The team then injected the keratocytes into the corneas of healthy mice, where they integrated without any signs of rejection.

The next stage of the study will determine whether this technique actually works to correct corneal scarring in animals.  This is yet another groundbreaking development involving amazing teeth.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fewer Teeth May Mean Fewer Memories

Do you have trouble remembering things?  It may be the result of tooth loss.

Image result for What did I come in here forNew research just published in the European Journal of Oral Sciences points to a link between tooth loss and subsequent memory issues.  The problem may come from fewer signals being sent to the "hippocampus" section of the brain -- the part responsible for memory. The hippocampus is stimulated by movement of the jaw and teeth. But, when teeth are missing these movements are impeded, and that can adversely affect memory.

According to the study, people who have most of their own teeth are 4% more likely to have a better memory than those who are missing teeth.

The bottom line:  keeping teeth and gums healthy can also mean a healthy memory!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dentists May Be The First Line Against Measles

Thanks to vaccines and a diligent medical community, diseases such as polio and tuberculosis aren't really a worry.  However, one infectious disease remains a problem worldwide (including pockets of the United States):  measles.
Key to preventing the spread of measles is detecting the illness early. This is where a dentist can be lifesaving.  That's because the first signs of measles occur typically in the head and neck region -- and in the oral cavity.

Oral lesions called Koplik spots (clustered, white sores opposite the lower molars), may be the very first indication that a person has the measles.  These oral spots appear several days before the more commonly-recognized red "measles rash" develops.

In years past, measles was rare, and looking for symptoms during a dental exam wasn't routine.  But, according to Dr. Catherine Flaitz, a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, times have definitely changed.

"All of a sudden, this viral infection has resurfaced," says Dr. Flaitz. "In the past, we educated our students about this disease with the caveat that it is unlikely they will diagnose a case among their patients.  And now with this lack of universal vaccination, we're beginning to see these oral manifestations present themselves again." 

In fact, after the recent Disneyland measles outbreak, dentists are now called upon to be "vigilant," for signs of this serious disease.


Monday, September 21, 2015


In a campaign to reduce worldwide rates of obesity and tooth decay, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults and children reduce their daily intake of "free sugars" to less than 10% of their total energy intake.  Taking it a step further, for real health benefits, WHO suggests capping sugar consumption at no more than six teaspoons per day.

What are free sugars?  They are the sugars known as glucose, fructose, sucrose and table sugars that are added to processed foods, as well as the sugars that occur naturally in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.  (The free sugars found in fresh fruits, vegetables and milk don't count as unhealthy.)  Too many free sugars in a diet can result in obesity, and can be harmful to oral health, often leading to gum disease and tooth decay.

Unfortunately, cutting back on free sugars is easier said than done. Much of the sugars consumed today actually are hidden in processed foods that aren't typically considered "sweets."  Just one tablespoon of ketchup, for example, contains a full teaspoon of sugar.  Slathering ketchup on a burger and washing it down with a can of non-diet soda can result in consuming about two days' recommended sugar intake in just one meal!

The best advice:  read labels.  Six teaspoons of sugar is equivalent to 30 grams.  Be on the lookout for non-sweet foods that may still contain lots of sugar.  Keep the sugar in check, brush and floss daily, and your bathroom scale, and oral health, will thank you.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Skip The Sugary Drinks

As summer sports activities heat up, so do thirsts.  But before reaching for a sports or energy drink, consider the harm it may be doing to teeth.  That’s because the average 32-ounce sports drink contains as much as 14 teaspoons of sugar -- about ¼ cup!

Drinking liquids that contain so  much sugar can be extremely harmful to teeth.  Sugar is the food source on which oral bacteria feeds.

Serious athletes who engage in long and strenuous workouts may need to rehydrate with an energy or sports drink that contains sodium and carbohydrates, which help the body retain fluids.  But, there are lower-sugar products on the market that will meet most athletes’ needs.

But, for most of us who do less intense activities, such as walking or a leisurely game of tennis, plain and simple water should handle most rehydration needs.  Water is not only healthful to the body overall, it also actually helps wash away the bacteria that naturally builds up in the mouth.

The bottom line:  get out there and play -- but refresh wisely!

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Salute To The American Dental Association

In 1859, 26 dentists met at Niagara Falls and started the American Dental Association (ADA).

In 1908, the ADA published its first dental health education pamphlet, which recommended brushing at least two times a day, regular flossing, and twice yearly dental check ups.

Today, the ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing more than 157,000 dentist members, and is the leading source of oral health related information for dentists and their patients.

Wilmette Dental has been providing dental care at the 4th and Linden location for over 35 years.  We wish to thank you for your trust and confidence, and the opportunity to help you and your family achieve a healthy smile, which will last a lifetime. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact any of our dental team directly at

Monday, May 4, 2015

Toothpicks Go WAY Back

Imagine a stone-age human dining on a delicious meal of mastodon, and then cleaning his teeth with a toothpick.

Strange -- but likely true. Ancient humans, it seems, were using ordinary toothpicks nearly 1.8 million years ago, according to findings by European researchers.

Paleoanthropologists from Switzerland, Finland and the Republic of Georgia studied the mandibles (lower jaws) of early humans from the famed Dmanisi archeological site in Georgia,  one of the biggest collections of early human remains in the world, and found evidence of  periodontal disease caused by repeated use of what is described as “an early toothpick.”

The study revealed that some jaws had small, cylinder-shaped lesions in the area between the tooth area and the gum. When researchers inserted a toothpick into the area, it went through the space.

Based on that and other findings of wear, scientists believe that this is the first clear evidence of toothpick-related local periodontal problems (as well as proof that there can be too much of a good thing -- be careful with toothpicks).

 If you are looking for a dental practice with deep roots in -- and a long history on -- Chicago's North Shore, Wilmette Dental  is accepting new patients.  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at

Monday, April 27, 2015

Amazing Facts...

·        The Statue of Liberty’s mouth is 3 feet wide
·        A sneeze speeds out of the mouth at over 600 mph
·        If you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 35% of your tooth surfaces
·        If you're right handed, you will chew your food on your right side. If you're left handed, you will tend to chew your food on your left side

·        The second most common disease in the United States is tooth decay. The first is the common cold

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact any of our dental team directly at

Monday, April 20, 2015

Amazing Tongue Facts!

A human tongue contains eight muscles.

The tongue has five elements of taste perception: salty, sour, bitter, sweet, savory. All five can be tasted on all parts of the tongue.

The human tongue has on average 3,000 to 10,000 taste buds.

The taste buds on our tongue cannot taste food until saliva has moistened it.

On average, women have shorter tongues than men.

The blue whale has the largest tongue of all animals -- a blue whale tongue weighs about 2.7 metric tons!

A dog’s tongue actually increases in size as the dog exercises due to greater blood flow, and moisture on the tongue works to cool the dog.

In America, it’s considered rude to stick out your tongue at someone. In Tibet, however, it’s considered a greeting.

Whether or not you are currently a Wilmette Dental patient, we invite you to follow us on Facebook by going to and clicking “Like”.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Science Sides With Coffee And Red Wine Lovers

Just in time for holiday parties comes good dental news about coffee and red wine.

In the fight against periodontal disease, coffee may be a great tool. Researchers at Boston University have determined that coffee and its antioxidants may actually have protective effects against periodontal disease. More research needs to be conducted, but for those who love their “cuppa joe,” coffee looks promising as a healthful indulgence.

Wine enthusiasts may also smile thanks to a study done recently by Spanish and Swiss scientists that points to red wine as having antimicrobial effects on oral bacteria. The findings suggest that a little red wine may be good for teeth by being bad news for oral bacteria.

Moreover, the study results could lead to the development of natural products made from grape seed extracts that will help fight dental decay.

If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, please consider Wilmette Dental, a North Shore tradition in family dentistry for more than 40 years.  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Healthy Mouth Is Good For The Body

The links between good oral health and a healthy body continue to grow in number. Here are just a few of the latest findings:

Colorectal Cancers: Researchers say they have uncovered an oral bacteria that can set off a chain reaction leading to cancers of the bowel. Called fusobacteria, this microbe can cause an overactive immune response that may actually turn on cancer growth genes

Scientists hope that the identification of fusobacteria may lead to earlier detection and perhaps ways to combat the disease by eliminating the bacteria.

Oral Cancers: Chronic gum disease  may leave the mouth more susceptible to cancers of the mouth, head and neck. In several studies, patients whose gum disease had no or minimal treatment were shown to have a higher risk of developing such cancers.

Dementia: Poor oral care or the presence of gum disease may lead to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Researchers reported that elderly folks who brushed their teeth less than once a day were up to 65% more likely to develop dementia than those who brushed regularly.  Studies have also shown that people with Alzheimer’s have more gum disease-related bacteria in their brains than people without Alzheimer’s.

If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, Wilmette Dental is accepting new patients.  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Kids' Korner

"el Ratón de los Dientes" (The Tooth Mouse)

In America, as in many other parts of the world, when a child loses a tooth, the Tooth Fairy comes to collect it and leaves money in its place.  However, in Hispanic countries, there is a much different tradition.  There, a tooth is collected by a little mouse named Raton Perez who exchanges it for a gift.

It all started in 1894 when a Spanish priest told of a special mouse named Perez who lived in a box of cookies.  Perez would escape through the pipes of the city and into the bedrooms of children who had lost their teeth where he would exchange them for gifts.

Interestingly, while many Hispanic countries use a similar mouse, his methods vary. For example, children in Argentina don’t put their teeth under their pillow, but in a glass of water.  It seems that little Perez gets thirsty and the children are putting a drink out for him.

Whether or not you are currently a Wilmette Dental patient, we invite you to follow us on Facebook by going to and clicking “Like”.