Peroxide perils; dental therapists; test your knowledge

Dear member:

I was foaming at the mouth the other day. Not because I hang out with bats or was fulminating over the latest editorial in the Times. No, I was just doing my daily perio rinse. Like so many aging boomers experiencing bone lose, I'm suffering from receding gums and a host of related problems. Not surprisingly, my very capable dentist (who hadn't seen me in 3 years--my fault, not his) immediately put me through the ringer. Full bore scaling and planning, varnishes, and more; at home, lots of flossing, a new electric toothbrush, Waterpik, Fluoridex, MI Paste, the works. One part of my at-home regimen: rinsing with hydrogen peroxide. (My mouth, not my hair.) All in all, pretty standard, proven treatment.

So you can imagine his surprise when I waved a couple of studies at him about hydrogen peroxide (which mostly focused on bleaching) damaging dentin. Like most dentists, mine is pretty unflappable and generally way ahead of the researchers, but even he was intrigued. You might be, too. Check out Senior Editor Laird Harrison's compelling report.

Dental therapists: Are they qualified?

In last week's newsletter, I talked about the legions of Americans (100 million and counting) who lack dental care. The response of a health consortium serving the Alaskan Tribal population? Dental health aide therapists, who provide tribes with basic dental care, including fillings and some extractions. As you can imagine, Part I of this story was the most widely read piece last week. To get the rest of the story, seek out Part II to learn what these therapists actually do and how they're trained.

Making a Case

Along with our many fine features, news stories, and such, there's an annoyingly clever little feature in the upper right corner of DrB called "Case of the Week". Give it a spin and test your knowledge. This interactive quiz will present you with a puzzling case, ask you to exclude conditions, posit a diagnosis, and more. At the end, there's a tidy readout on the condition, treatment protocols, caveats, and handy references to check out. Click today and expand your knowledge!

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