Author Archives: c@tHyAdMIN


We have boxes for Operation Christmas Child here! If you would like to participate in this fun and meaningful way to encourage children in other countries at Christmas time, swing by and grab a box. Fill it up with guidance from the instructions enclosed. Return it to us by NOVEMBER 13!

E-Cigarettes causing problems

It is commonly known among dentists and dental hygienists that patients who smoke are at higher risk for mouth cancers of all type than patients who don’t. But what is the impact of smoking e-cigarettes?

The American Dental Association this week announced new research results that show e-cigarettes are having negative health consequences and that vaping is causing more people to start a real smoking habit rather than quitting.

When they first emerged in 2004, e-cigarettes were promoted as a “healthier” alternative to traditional cigarettes for those who wanted the feeling of smoking tobacco without the harmful side effects. However, new studies are showing that burning vapors from the e-cigarette cause cells to release proteins which stress cells, leading to damage that could lead to various oral diseases. Another study shows that artificial e-cigarette flavors, especially cinnamon and vanilla, have a toxic effect on white blood cells.

Meanwhile, a study released on March 14, 2018, showed that in 2015, while 2,070 smokers in the US quit smoking with the help of e-cigarettes, another 168,000 adolescents who had never smoked began smoking after first trying e-cigarettes. The authors suggest that fruit flavors have created a draw for younger users. It is worth noting that the FDA has not approved e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid.

More details about the above noted research can be found on the ADA website and at the ADA Foundation.

–Courtesy of the ADA NEWS March 16, 2018


Charcoal is the latest rage, but is it good for your mouth?
by Mark A. Penshorn, DDS, Schertz Dentist

Recently there have been many advertisements and testimonials advocating the use of charcoal and charcoal-based toothpastes. In response, a large review of international scientific literature has been published. Here’s what it found:
*None of the 50 different toothpastes that were identified had any references for any clinical trials of effectiveness or toxicity and none displayed the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.
*No scientific support was found in any of the literature for charcoal providing any detoxification benefits to the teeth or oral mucosa.
*There were no reports that confirmed the claim made by 22 of the 50 vendors that charcoal based oral products unambiguously promoted antibacterial properties.
*The authors (noted below) conclude that
1. formal studies should be conducted to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy and safety of charcoal-based toothpastes and
2. claims of benefits are currently unproven.
3. there may actually be health risks associated with some of the 15 poly-aromatic hydrocarbons found in charcoal as well as other ingredients in some of the toothpastes.

In my opinion, patients should not begin ingesting charcoal or using it as a dental paste until further studies regarding its toxicity are completed.
Mark A. Penshorn, DDS October 2017

(Reference: John A. Brooks, DDS, Nasir Bushirelahi, PhD, Mark A Reynolds, DDS, PhD
“Journal of the American Dental Association”, September 2017, pg 148)

Beverages matter …

The New York Times (5/1 Bakalar) reports that “Substituting just one serving a day of water or unsweetened tea or coffee for one serving of a sugar-sweetened soft drink or dairy beverage can significantly reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes” according to a study published online in the journal Diabetologia.

The Los Angeles Times (5/1 Healy) “Science Now ” blog reports that after tracking the consumption habits of more than 25,000 Britons (ages 40-79) over about 11 years, researchers found that “drinking sugar-sweetened milk products was an even more powerful driver of diabetes; compared with those who drank one such beverage daily, people who drank water, coffee or tea instead were on average 20%-25% less likely to develop diabetes.”

Locally, the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging (SALSA) gathered data on health status and lifestyles of 749 European-American and Mexican-American elders for more than 9 years. In participants over age 65 who reported that they did not consume any diet sodas, waist circumference increased less than 1 inch on average during these 9 years. In those who reported occasional consumption of less than one diet soda a day, waist circumference increased almost 2 inches. And among those who consumed diet sodas every day or more than once a day over the study period, waist circumference increased over 3 inches. “Even when you adjust for (other factors) you have this independent effect of diet soda consumption on waist circumference change over time,” said Helen Hazuda, Ph.D., who led the study.

To Floss or Not to Floss…?

by Mark A. Penshorn, DDS
Schertz, Texas

In response to the social media conversation regarding the effectiveness of flossing, I have several comments:

The effectiveness of flossing has “never been researched” because the visual evidence is so overwhelming for those of us who look at teeth every day, it was unnecessary to research, in my opinion. Why would you need a study to see if sweeping a floor with a broom actually moved dirt around and got the floor cleaner? You don’t need a study to see this. Everyone who has ever swept a dirty floor knows this works. And while some are better sweepers than others, and some brooms more effective on some floors than others, the statement that “sweeping the floor with a broom gets it cleaner” is a verifiable statement of the obvious.

Flossing has a visible effect on the surface of the tooth. Dentists and hygienists can see with our eyes if someone has used floss between their teeth or not. Floss used correctly removes the residual food debris from between the teeth down to the intersection of the gum where the toothbrush doesn’t reach. This takes away the opportunity for sugars to create spots of decay which turn into “cavities.” Many, many patients end up with decay between their teeth because they don’t floss.

Importantly, we can also see gum inflammation go away within days of flossing. If a patient will floss for 4-7 days, both the patient and the dentist will be able to see a noticeable difference in the condition of the gums after those few days. I have had numerous patients improve their dental health simply by beginning a regular flossing habit.

Realize that 40% of any tooth’s surface area is the area facing another tooth where the brush can’t reach. Not flossing is like only brushing half of your mouth. So you get to choose: a half-clean, smelly mouth or a completely clean one?

I will continue to floss and tell my patients to do the same.