Wine and Fluoride and Other Findings

At the dental school’s annual student research fest, the science on display can be surprisingly down to earth

a scene from the poster session at Bates-Andrwws Day at the Tufts dental school

Since the 1930s, students at Tufts School of Dental Medicine have celebrated the importance of research to their profession at Bates-Andrews Day, named for two pioneering dental school professors, George Bates and Robert Andrews.

In recent years, students have participated in a robust research fair that fills the top two stories of the dental school tower on the Boston health sciences campus on the first Wednesday in March. This year’s event featured eighty student poster presentations, which tied 2016 for the most participants.

The research topics, of course, are aimed at dental students and faculty, who already have detailed knowledge of oral health. Among the projects that received awards were investigations of implantology, dental cements, oral cancer, veneers, facial paralysis, and fluoride varnishes.

But even someone without a passion for periodontology could find plenty of fascinating information. Here’s a sample of findings that could even be understood by the non-dentists in the crowd.

Drinking wine could be a way to get a small amount of extra fluoride. (But don’t stop brushing your teeth). Fluoride Concentrations in Massachusetts-Produced Wines, Ashley Mullaney, D19, and Ireni Barounis, D19.

There is a correlation between recurrent canker sores (one to two times a month) and the development of inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. Dentists who are aware of this could alert their patients and refer them to specialists. Canker Sores of the Gastrointestinal Track: A Literature Review.” Alex Joseph, D21.  

Mobile apps and social media sites are providing new avenues to collect data and for health-care professionals to communicate with the public. Analysis of Adult Dental Anxiety Using an Apple ResearchKit App, David Abazari, D19, and Temporomandibular Disorder on Reddit: A Patient’s Perspective Abstract, Michelle Ostrovsky D19.

Taking corticosteroids before third-molar (those pesky wisdom teeth) surgery—at an oral surgeon’s direction—may help reduce swelling afterward. Do Intraoperative Corticosteroids Reduce Post-Operative Facial Swelling? Mythilee Kugathasan, D20.

A relatively new method of finding cavities between children’s teeth, in which the youngsters wear bands for a few days to separate their teeth and make them easier to inspect, could be a more appealing alternative for parents who are hesitant about their children receiving X-rays. Parental Preference in Tooth Separation or Radiographs for Caries Detection. Amanjot Sarao, D20

Silver diamine fluoride, a substance that can stop cavities in their tracks—but leaves dark, discolored spots behind—has the potential to benefit the special-needs and geriatric populations, who disproportionately suffer from tooth decay. Silver Diamine Fluoride: A critical literature review for use with the geriatric and special needs patient. Anuja Chumble, and Rachel Snook, A14, residents in Advanced Education in General Dentistry.

Helene Ragovin can be reached at

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