Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Morning Drill: January 12, 2012

Good Morning!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

New toothpaste substitutes cocoa extract for fluoride
A New Orleans start-up has developed a toothpaste that uses a naturally occurring compound found in cocoa instead of fluoride to help strengthen teeth.

Theodent relies on Rennou, a proprietary blend of a cocoa extract and other minerals that work together to strengthen teeth. The extract is a white crystalline powder with a chemical makeup similar to caffeine, according to Arman Sadeghpour, PhD, Theodent president and CEO.

"Theodent is more effective at strengthening enamel than fluoride," he said in an interview with "More and more people are shying away from fluoride due to concerns about toxicity."

Theodent Classic ($9.99) hit store shelves at Whole Foods Markets last week. Theodent 300, an extra-strength and luxury version ($99.99) for supersensitive teeth, will be marketed to select cosmetic dentists and medical professionals, according to the company.

Indianapolis dentist faces Medicaid fraud charges

An Indianapolis dentist faces Medicaid fraud charges for allegedly billing the state for unnecessary dental work.

Arnel J. Gallanosa was charged Wednesday with 10 counts of Medicaid fraud, five counts of theft and three counts of conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud. He declined to comment on the allegations.

A court affidavit alleges Gallanosa offered patients money for accepting free dental work, then billed Indiana's Medicaid program.

In one instance, Gallanosa allegedly paid a man who recruited three dental patients from an Indianapolis mental health facility. Prosecutors say the same day he removed 33 teeth from the three patients.

Marijuana Smoke Not as Damaging to Lungs as Cigarette Smoke, Study Suggests

Using marijuana carries legal risks, but the consequences of occasionally lighting up do not include long-term loss of lung function, according to a new study in the Jan. 11, 2012, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. In 2009, 16.7 million Americans ages 12 and older reported using marijuana at least once in the month prior to being surveyed. In addition, since 1996, 16 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized the medical use of marijuana to help manage the symptoms of many diseases, including cancer, AIDS and glaucoma.

"With marijuana use increasing and large numbers of people who have been and continue to be exposed, knowing whether it causes lasting damage to lung function is important for public-health messaging and medical use of marijuana," says the study's senior author, University of Alabama at Birmingham associate professor Stefan Kertesz, M.D.

Kertesz, of the UAB Division of Preventive Medicine and the Center for Surgical, Medical and Acute Care Research and Transitions at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Birmingham, says it's long been known that marijuana smoke has many irritant chemicals found in tobacco smoke and can cause lung irritation, wheezing and cough immediately after use; however, the research on long-term effects on lung function have inconsistencies.

Orange Juice Prices Are Climbing Because of a Contamination Fear

Orange juice concentrate futures are shooting up right now, thanks to news that traces of a fungicide banned in the United States was detected in juice from a brand the FDA didn't name. The Journal reports, "January-delivery orange juice on ICE Futures U.S. surged 9.3 percent to $2.12 per pound, the highest price since November 1977," which if we recall correctly from Trading Places, means someone should check on the Duke brothers. The chemical at the center of the orange juice price spike, called carbendazim, is used in Brazil, which exports to the United States, and while the amount found in the juice is miniscule at 35 parts per billion, news that the FDA would increase its testing sparked a market rally that has pushed up the price of orange juice concentrate to its highest level in more than 34 years.

Enjoy your morning!

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