Teach Your Dentists Well
A review of biting-edge electro-dentistry and other long-overdue advances in oral technology...
Robert A. Nelson
Plaque ... Remineralization ... Nanobubbles ... Ozone ... Halitosis ... Herbs ... Electro-Dentistry ... Tooth Regeneration ...
"Drill, Fill, & Bill" has been standard operating procedure in dental practice for the past century, supplemented by extractions and dentures. In the past few decades, we have also benefited from such novel wonderments as implants, restorations, invisible braces, mercury-free fillings, and teeth whitening.
Dozens more technologies presently under development promise to eliminate bad breath, prevent cavities, restore teeth with applications of mineral formulas, or even to grow new teeth from stem cells.
If, however, you were to ask your dentist about any of these inventions, it is a very safe bet that he or she would plead ignorance. Being burdened with debt while trying to get a life, few practitioners have the time to do research.
Don't hold your halitosis waiting for such marvels to become available. The tedious and costly process of discovery, development, safety testing, government approval, and marketing can take twenty years or more.
For example, scores of patents have been granted since the 1980s for various formulations that incorporate sodium pyrophosphate to dissolve the plaque that plagues our mouths. It did not become an ingredient in toothpaste until 2017.
Professor Alexander Rickard, et al. (Univ. of Michigan) discovered that the amino acid l-arginine destabilizes the biofilms that eventually morph into plaque, cavities, and periodontal disease. Arginine is being used already in some dental products for tooth sensitivity. If you can't wait for his US Patent Application 2011236508 to become a product, you can buy arginine online at eBay and do it yourself.
Future plaque formation and stains can be prevented by a novel product called KISSCare. It is a non-stick silicone dental coating seals and protects teeth and dentures for up to six months. Apply it with a swab or floss after having your teeth cleaned. KISSCare is available from WDR Scientific.
Remineralization toothpaste reached the marketplace several years ago as NovaMin, which uses calcium-sodium phosphosilicate bioglass to build a shell to protect teeth from further decay. GlaxoSmithKline bought NovaMin for $135 million in 2010. It is currently manufactured by GSK in the UK under the Sensodyne label, but for unknown reasons, it is not available in the USA.
Dr Kazue Yamagishi and her colleagues at the FAP Dental Institute, Tokyo, have developed a toothpaste formula of hydroxyapatite, hydrogen peroxide, and calcium phosphate which integrates with natural enamel to naturally refill cavities. In December 2016, Dr Yamagishi has announced that, "Despite having successfully produced our toothpaste in small quantities, we have faced some difficulties during mass-production due to the fact that the procedure requires more time than expected. Therefore, we would like to kindly ask you for your patience until we are able to complete the production."
If you can't wait, you can make your own using the description given in her US Patent Application US2005123490 ("Composition and Method for Prevention and Treatment of Dental Caries").
Another way to fight periodontal bone loss is described in Japanese patent JPH08133969 ("Alveolar Bone Resorption Inhibitor"): "This inhibitor contains calcium pantothate [ 0.001-20wt.% ]... The inhibitor has excellent action to inhibit alveolar bone resorption caused by the endotoxin of bacteria such as Porphyromonas gingivalis or Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans as a major cause of the periodontal diseases".
Professor Nigel Pitts (Dental Institute, King’s College, London) has perfected a method of "Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation" using ultrasound-driven iontophoresis to transport minerals into teeth to repair enamel.
Prof. Pitts says, “The way we treat teeth today is not ideal – when we repair a tooth by putting in a filling, that tooth enters a cycle of drilling and re-filling as, ultimately, each “repair” fails.
“Not only is our device kinder to the patient and better for their teeth, but it’s expected to be at least as cost-effective as current dental treatments. Along with fighting tooth decay, our device can also be used to whiten teeth.”
A firm called Reminova has been established in Perth, Scotland, to market the product.
Dr. Gerard Judd takes a much simpler approach to the problem of restoring enamel and preventing its loss. He advises us to brush the teeth with bar soap and to take daily supplements of calcium and vitamin D, plus monosodium phosphate. He explains his regimen in a free online book, "Good Teeth From Birth To Death" :
"Monosodium phosphate is the best supplement for phosphate since it is very pure and highly soluble in water. Simply take about 1/5 teaspoon (1 gram), dissolve it in 1 inch of water in less than a minute, then fill up the glass and drink it daily. This takes care of all the bones, teeth, DNA, RNA and at least 30 phosphate-containing enzymes..."
"To make teeth clean one brushes with any bar soap. Soap washes off in just 2 rinses. What about toothpastes? Glycerine in all tooth pastes is so sticky that it takes 27 washes to get it off. Teeth brushed with any toothpaste are coated with a film and cannot properly reenamelize... [ Plaque ] is prevented and eventually removed by brushing with bar soap.
"Taking calcium and phosphate in the diet results in reenamelization of the teeth, but only when they are clean. Bar soap does a perfect job in cleaning the surface..."
Obviously, if you choose take Dr Judd's advice, use soap that does not contain glycerine.
When Don Ho, Wayne Newton, and other crooners sang the praises of "Tiny Bubbles" in the 1960s, nanotechnology did not yet exist. Fifty years later, the song has been vindicated by nanobubbles, which possess unique properties with tremendous potential applications. Freshwater and saltwater fish can live together in it. Nanobubble water is 70% effective against cancer. It purifies water. And it treats gingivitis.
Jeng Soo Choi was granted USP 8821160 ("Nano Bubble Generating Nozzle and Oral Cleaning Device"). Similarly, Yoshiro Mano's US Patent Application 20100151043 ("Preparation for Sterilization or Disinfection of Tissue") uses nanobubble water "for therapeutic or prophylactic treatment of a periodontal disease". It's anybody's guess as to when it will become available to the unlavaged public.
Dental ozone was pioneered by Professor Edward Lynch (Queen's Dental Hospital and Belfast University, Ireland). Since it was introduced in 1998, ozone has proven itself to be extremely effective non-destructive method of dental practice. A 60-second treatment destroys all bacteria in the vicinity. It is a simple, quick, noninvasive, and painless procedure that saves time and money, and greatly reduces patients' anxiety. The efficacy of the HealOzone Dental Dental Device, which is manufactured in Germany, has been confirmed by several clinical studies.
Extensive bibliographies and downloadable research reports on the subject of ozone dentistry are available online at http://www.dentalozone.co.uk and http://www.kavo.com . These patents also pertain:
US6409508, US7172426, US2003143164, US6773610, US2005112525, US6267895, US2002127158, US5824243, US2002134736, DE19932570, DE3324939, WO2006014080, WO2005032393, WO02078663, WO02078644, WO9965533, WO9953966, WO9742924, WO9306948, WO02066079, EP0988834, EP1372572, JP9201374, JP3186257, JP2252460, JP1181869, JP63292961, JP63281656, JP63281655, JP 62047355, JP 11137580, JP 9000548, JP 2002253582, JP 2002248116, CN1594137, CN2707208, CN1778395, and KR 2004008011. They are available from that awesome maternity ward of invention known as the European Patent Office .
A similar approach has been developed by Professors Chunqi Jiang and Parish Sedghizadeh (Univ. So. Cal.); they zap teeth with 100 nanosecond pulses per millisecond using a non-thermal, room temperature plasma of atomic oxygen that instantly disrupts dental biofilms. Their patent application US2009143718 ("Plasma Treatment Probe") remains pending after 8 years, so don't expect to find it in your mouth any time soon unless you want to volunteer as a test subject.
The "Plasma Dental Brush", invented by Qingsong Yu, et al. (Univ. Missouri), has been developed by Nanova, Inc. A news release in 2011 stated that it could be available to dentists "as early as 2013". It was finally introduced at IDS 2017, where Nanova's Andrew Ritts described the instrument as "a low temperature non-equilibrium argon plasma that painlessly cleans and modifies the surface of teeth and improves bonding of fillings".
Stink Breath is caused by the gaseous emissions of the countless bacteria breeding in our maws, some of which are harmless, while other strains are problematic.
Mouthwash has only a small, brief effect against halitosis. In the considered opinion of Andrea Azcarate-Peril (Director, Microbiome Research Core, University of North Carolina), "Antibacterial mouthwashes are being overused to the point where they could be doing more harm than good. We are just too clean," she said.
Instead of killing bacteria with chemicals, John Tagg has exploited the probiotic effect of benign Streptococcus salivarius K12, one of the many denizens of our mouths. The K12 strain is used to repopulate the tongue surface and thus prevent the re-establishment of undesirable occupants. Tagg concludes that "probiotic bacterial strains originally sourced from the indigenous oral microbiotas of healthy humans may have potential application as adjuncts for the prevention and treatment of halitosis." Someday, perhaps...
Other researchers have invented vaccines and antibodies against the various bacteria which cause periodontal disease :
Patent WO2010107120 ("Antibody and Anti-periodontal Disease Composition Containing Antibody") describes "a chicken egg antibody, which is obtained from an avian egg having been immunized with an antigen that is a culture obtained by mixed-culturing two or more kinds of periodontal bacteria, is used as an anti-periodontal disease composition. The periodontal bacteria preferably comprise two or more kinds of bacteria selected from among Porphyromonas gingivalis, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, Tannerella forsythensis, Treponema denticola, Prevotella intermedia and Streptococcus gordonii."
USP 4454109 ("Method of Treating Periodontosis") treats patients with an inhibitory amount of an effector strain of Streptococcus sanguis, Strep. uberis or Actinomyces bovis.
USP 4661350 ("Dental Vaccine for Inhibiting Periodontitis") was granted for antigens isolated from the pili of Actinomyces viscosus, Act. naeslundii, Act. actinomycem comitans, and Bacteroides gingivalus.
Japanese patent JP2005306890 ("Method for Moderating Endotoxin of Periodontal Disease") utilizes lactoferrin-related proteins and amino acids to suppress adhesion of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Fusobacterium nucleatum, etc.
Similar methods are described in JP2005306890, JP2006131542, JP2006131542, JP3389556, JPH08176014, JPH04217626, JPH05132428, JPH0952846, JPH0952822, JPH0640869, CA1195613, DE4324859, EP1508335, etc.
Approximately 2,000 years ago, and probably much earlier, the people of Sudan ate the bitter tubers of Purple Nutsedge . When archaeologists analyzed the plaque on the teeth of skeletons in an ancient cemetery called Al Khiday 2, they found that less than 1% had cavities or any other signs of decay, thanks to the antibacterial properties of the weed.
Stephen Buckley, et al., reported in the journal PLOS ONE that "This plant is a good source of carbohydrates and has many useful medicinal and aromatic qualities, though today it is considered to be the world's most costly weed. Its ability to inhibit Streptococcus mutans may have contributed to the unexpectedly low level of caries found in the agricultural population."
Many herbs are used as breath sweeteners, and some also are effective against the causative bacteria. Dozens of traditional Chinese formulations include extracts of such plants as Chocolate snakeroot, purple giant hyssop, angelica, honeysuckle, hawthorn, licorice, mint, mulberry leaves, dandelion, agrimony, rehmannia root, bitter orange, loquat leaf, areca peel, magnolia bark, lotus leaves, nutmeg, ginger, clove, cinnamon, ginseng, greenbriar roots, kudzu flowers, Chinese perfume plant, kadsura stems, cinquefoil, orange peel, Enokitake mushroom, Shen Nong’s Herbal, wild ginger, cohosh, Dahurian angelica, balloon flower root, arrowroot, Japanese raisin tree, jujube, ginkgo leaves, gardenia, skullcap, prairie turnip, white tumbleweed, false daisy, peony, and Chinese prickly ash.
Dr. Robert O. Nara, D.D.S., promotes natural preventive care, and especially recommends the use of hyaluronic acid to protect and restore gums. He also offers PerioCleans Oral Cleansing Concentrate for brushing and rinsing. It contains extracts of echinacea purpurea, calendula, olive leaf, black walnut hulls, gotu kola, chamomile, blood root, green tea leaf, prickly ash bark, grapefruit seed, oils of peppermint, oregano, clove, thyme, folic acid, Coenzyme-Q10, aloe vera, and chlorophyll.
Wait, there's more! A patent-search yields about 100 treatments for pyorrhea, AKA periodontitis, the purulent inflammation of gums and alveolar pockets. The ingredients listed in those patents include the following vegetable substances, vitamins and minerals which are generally recognized as safe for unprescribed use:
Dried old orange peel, common rush, genus Thujopsis of the family cypress, methyl salicylate, L- menthol, shellac, hinokitiol, pine, lilac leaves, safflower extract, calcium hydrogenphosphate anhydrous salt (mineral name monetite), rock salt, calcium sulfate, hydroxyapatite, ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate, vitamin E, vitamin B6, glycyrrhizin, hinokitiol, papain, sodium bicarbonate, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, Superoxide dismutase, taurine, bivalent iron salt, egg white lsozyme, hydroxyapatite, green tea, black roasted eggplant, active carbon, povidone-iodine & potassium iodide, propolis, globeflower, and forsythia fruit.
Electrolysis has been used experimentally in various dental applications since the 1930s. The May 1932 issue of Modern Mechanix Magazine proclaimed, "Have Your Next Tooth Filled Electrically!". Several human generations later, that hopeful promise remains unfulfilled, and cavities are still being packed with amalgams,
Another variation of electro-dentistry is described in Chinese patent CN1054188 ("Electronic Method and Implement for Cleaning Teeth"), according to which, "Two electrodes are connected to a DC power supply for electrolytic cleaning. The dental protein deposit bearing positive charge is separated from the teeth. The mucosa of dental deposit is dissolved in water. The calcium in odontolith of calcium lactate is educed out from negative electrode. Thus, the teeth or artificial teeth are cleaned safely and effectively and the dental periphery is cleaned in large area. The implement includes periodontal cleaner, artificial teeth cleaner, etc."
Japanese patent JP2010275287 ("Method for Preventing Disease in Oral Cavity") electrically applies active carbon between gums and teeth to protect them from gingiva.
US Patent 8652645 ("Osteosynthesis with Nano-Silver") applies a coating of silver and titanium oxide by plasma electrolytic oxidation. The patent claims that "an Ag-TiO2 coating shows excellent properties in terms of antibacterial efficacy (even against multi-resistant strains), adhesion and biocompatibility. The life-time of an implant in a human body is increased."
Related patents include US3019787 ("Apparatus for Electrolytic Dental Desensitization"), US4495045 ("Electrolytic Dental Etching Apparatus"), and IT1251515 (Electrolytic Sterilisation of Infected Root Canals).
Beginning work in 1975, Zeev Davidovitch and Edward Korostoff ( Univ. Pennsylvania) used electrical stimulation to accelerate the migration of bone tissue by about 50%, thereby reducing the time required to wear braces. A 3-year clinical study with 60 patients began in 1980. Fast forward to 2017, and the method is not yet in use. See US Patent 4153060 ("Method and Apparatus for Electrically Enhanced Bone Growth and Tooth Movement") for the technical details.
By the time one reaches the age of 50, odds are that you have lost an average of 12 teeth out of 32 and now sport dentures or implants. The eventual future promises that "soon" we will be able to grow new teeth from stem cells on bone scaffolds, thanks to encouraging research in progress.
Paul Sharpe, a specialist in regenerative dentistry (Dental Institute of King's College, London), has developed a new procedure whereby stem cells are cultivated to form a bud which is inserted in the socket of a missing tooth. Within a few months, it matures into a fully formed tooth. Sharpe and his team set up a company, Odontis, to exploit the technology, and received £400,000 funding from the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts and the Wellcome Trust, but nothing more has emerged from their lab since 2004. Technical details of the method are described in Sharpe's patents : WO2006024856 ("Jaw Bone Augmentation using Tooth Primordium"), US7588936 ("Generating Teeth from Bone Marrow cells"), and US7497686 ("Bone Regeneration").
Professor Jeremy Mao, et al. (Columbia University Medical Center), also are developing a similar method, whereby the patient's somatic cells are collected and reprogrammed to generate a patient-specific IPS cell line. These are cultured to produce ameloblasts, odontoblasts, cementoblast and pulp cells which are recombined and transplanted onto a scaffold where it grows into a complete tooth in about nine weeks. The technique is patent pending ( US2014302111, "Compositions and Methods for Dental Tissue Regeneration"; US2014093481, "Production of Dentin, Cementum, and Enamel by Cells"; US2013022989, " Dental Stem Cell Programming", and US2011236977, "Dental Stem Cell Differentiation", etc.).
Ståle Lyngstadaas and his colleagues at the University of Oslo also promise to revolutionize dental surgery with their next-generation titanium oxide scaffold :
"With our new method, it’s sufficient to insert a small piece of synthetic bone-stimulating material into the bone. The artificial scaffolding is as strong as real bone and yet porous enough for bone tissue and blood vessels to grow into it and work as a reinforcement for the new bone...
"A lot of empty space is important. The cavities are sufficiently large to make space not only for bone cells, but also for blood vessels that can bring in nutrients and oxygen and remove waste products. One of the big problems with current materials is that they do not provide space for both bone tissue and blood vessels."
The technology is under development by Corticalis, which also produces "NuGel" to combat peri-implantitis, a site-specific infectious disease that causes inflammation in soft tissues, and bone loss around implants. According to the Corticalis website, "NuGel is a gel that debrides implanted implants on a nano-level. It effectively removes substantially all of the bacteria causing peri-implantis and thus greatly reduce the risk of peri-implantis due to bacteria. In addition to this, NuGel has an anti-inflammatory effect."
As described in the abstract of Corticalis' patent application (US2013115248, "Debridement Paste"), the invention "comprises optimally activated nanoparticles of TiO2, having a mean particle diameter (D50) of about 10-100 nm at a concentration between 0.5-500g/L, and H2O2, at a concentration of at the most 7.5% by volume, said composition being antibacterial, without causing microbial resistance, and anti-inflammatory, and wherein said composition further comprises solid microparticles, having a mean particle diameter (D50) of about 100-200 µm at a concentration between 0.5-300 g/L, for improved mechanical debridement and/or cleaning of rough surfaces in the oral cavity and/or on an implant."
In closing this review, This Writer suggests that you print a copy to give to your dentist the next time you visit. It will make for interesting conversation until your tongue goes numb with anesthesia, and it might motivate the doctor to investigate and invest in a dental ozone device or some other product described here.
About the Author : Robert A. Nelson is a 10th grade dropout with no credentials. He established Rex Research in 1982 to archive and disseminate information about suppressed, dormant, and emerging technologies, and he persists at the seemingly futile effort.