Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Morning Drill: August 30, 2011

A collection of dentistry and health related links/comments for your day.

Flavored mouthguards attract athletes young and old
As a former professional soccer player and multisport athlete most of his life, Bruce Angus knows firsthand one of the biggest problems with mouthguards: They don't taste good.

"Anyone who has worn a mouthguard before, for sports or at night [to protect against bruxism], they know that it's not a great experience," Angus said. "People who use them complain they don't fit well, cause dry mouth, and have a plastic taste."

Even for sports in which mouthguards are required, many athletes balk at the thought of wearing them.

"The problem with mouthguards today is that because it is not a great experience, athletes often won't wear them," Angus said. "They shove them in their helmets, into their gloves -- and this is at all levels. The second the whistle blows, they want it out of their mouth."
Chocolate Good for the Heart and Brain
In a city renowned for its love of food, it is only fitting that researchers presented the results of a new study in Paris, France, showing that chocolate is good for the heart and brain. In a presentation at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) 2011 Congress, British investigators are reporting that individuals who ate the most chocolate had a 37% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 29% lower risk of stroke compared with individuals who ate the least amount of chocolate.

In the study, published online August 29, 2011 in BMJ to coincide with the ESC presentation, Dr Adriana Buitrago-Lopez (University of Cambridge, UK) and colleagues state: "Although overconsumption can have harmful effects, the existing studies generally agree on a potential beneficial association of chocolate consumption with a lower risk of cardiometabolic disorders. Our findings confirm this, and we found that higher levels of chocolate consumption might be associated with a one-third reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease."
Dentist disciplined over Botox allegations
Helaine Smith thought patients at her dentistry practices in Needham and West Roxbury would benefit if she began offering Botox treatments to smooth wrinkles and adjust smiles.

Smith, a 45-year-old Needham resident, was disciplined by the state Board of Registration in Dentistry last month on accusations of using botulinum toxin on patients, as well as for numerous more serious violations. She was the first dentist punished under a board policy enacted in January 2008 prohibiting the use of Botox by general dentists. She closed on the sale of both offices last week.

The board allows certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons, who receive training in the use of Botox and dermal fillers, to use the injections in the course of treatment for “disease, disfigurement, or disfunction.’’ But some take issue with the distinction, saying that general dentists are most qualified to administer the injections and may take continuing education courses to learn how.

“As a licensed dentist, I can do dangerous, life-threatening surgery in the oral cavity,’’ Smith said in a recent interview. “Botox is not life-threatening in any way.’’

The state began investigating Smith soon after she told The Boston Globe in March that she had been offering the service for about a year and had seen high demand.

Smith agreed in July to surrender her license for at least six months, dating from the March investigation. The agreement said she had advertised Botox services and provided them in her office. Despite signing that document, Smith contends she had never administered Botox to patients, though she planned to.

The state agreement outlines a long list of other alleged violations, including the failure by Smith to conduct weekly tests of sterilization equipment, correctly store dental instruments, provide necessary emergency medical equipment, or maintain proper records. In addition, Smith improperly prescribed controlled substances, kept inadequate records of patients receiving them, and administered sedation without a permit, the document said.

Smith said she felt bulldozed by the board, which is overseen by the Department of Public Health. She said she tried to fix the violations within days of the investigation.

But Jean Pontikas, director of the Division of Health Professions Licensure, said Smith’s violations were serious. Smith’s use of Botox was “a minor issue’’ that may have prompted only a cease and desist notice if it weren’t for the other infractions, she said.
For Women, Active Sex Life May Mean Better Aging
Sexual satisfaction in older women is associated with successful aging and a better quality of life, a new study finds.

Researchers looked at information gathered from over 1,200 San Diego women, aged 60 to 89, and found that satisfaction with overall sex life was reported by 67 percent of those aged 60 to 69; 60 percent of those aged 70 to 79; and 61 percent of those aged 80 to 89.

"Contrary to our earlier hypothesis, sexual satisfaction was not significantly associated with age," study co-author Wesley K. Thompson, an assistant professor of psychiatry with the Stein Institute for Research on Aging at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, said in a UCSD news release.

"Although the levels of sexual activity and functioning did vary significantly, depending on the woman's age, their perceived quality of life, successful aging and sexual satisfaction remained positive," he said.

The study is published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

"What this study tells us is that many older adults retain their ability to enjoy sex well into old age," Thompson said. "This is especially true of older adults who maintain a higher level of physical and mental health as they grow older. Furthermore, feeling satisfied with your sex life -- whatever your levels of sexual activity -- is closely related to your perceived quality of life."
Enjoy your morning!

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