Don’t wait. Another reason to tackle gum disease pronto.

HIV-infected H9 T cell

Dental and medical researchers from Case Western Reserve University discovered that byproducts of bacteria in gum disease, called metabolic small chain fatty acid (SCFA), can work together to wake up HIV in dormant T-cells and cause the virus to replicate.

Their findings help explain why people with the HIV -infections and periodontal disease have higher levels of the virus in their saliva than HIV patients with healthy gums. For dental patients with HIV, it shows how important it is to treat bacterial infections in gum disease early.

“This interaction by SCFA and T-cells surprised co-investigators Fengchun Ye, assistant professor of biological sciences at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, and Jonathan Karn, director of the Center for Aids Research and professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology at Case Western Reserve’s medical school,” said Science Daily.

Their findings can be found in the article, “Short chain fatty acids potently induce latent HIV-1 in T-cells by activating P-TEFb and multiple histone modifications,” published in January 2015 in the journal Virology.


Lying through her teeth.


In the Steven Spielberg‘s 2002 film Catch Me If You Can, Leonardo DiCaprio portrays a criminal who before his 21st birthday worked as a doctor, a lawyer, and a co-pilot for a major airline using his powers of deception.

His character, loosely based on con artist Frank Abagnale Jr., did it all without the help of YouTube.

He never actually practiced medicine, though.

This week in Thailand, a 21-year-old woman arrested for illegally straightening people’s teeth has told police she learned her skills from the video-sharing website, according to 

Thararat Thaptimtae was arrested after police and public health officials raided a room in a dormitory after responding to complaints that its occupant had been providing illegal dental alignment for vocational students and other teenagers.

Thaweesak Sukkhasem reported police said Thararat, a former vocational student, confessed that she had never studied dentistry or worked at a dental clinic but charged her teenage customers between 800 and 1,200 baht (USD $25 and $37).

Abagnale Jr., who now helps the FBI catch fraudsters, forgers and embezzlers, said his crimes tallied $2.5 million, which today would be about $20 million.


Patriots and Melanie Sanches both made the cut.

Melanie Sanches, D15 and New England Patriots Cheerleader (Photo taken from Tufts University, School of Dental Medicine)

By Kelsi Matylewicz/ Social Media Intern, Benco Dental

Cheerleader or Dental Student? Melanie Sanches is both.

This fall, Melanie Sanches, a student in the Tufts Dental Clinic, will spend her time working with patients, learning from the practice coordinators and other faculty members, and preparing for life after graduation.

According to a story by Tufts Dental Medicine, when the New England Patriots (NFL Super Bowl XLIX contenders) play at Gillette Stadium this season, you’ll also find Melanie Sanches, Tufts Class of D2015, on the sidelines as a cheerleader.

Sanches competed in pageants and danced throughout her life, but this was her first attempt at being a cheerleader. Recruited in early May to the cheerleading team for the 2014 – 2015 season, she will be seen on the sidelines at all Patriots home games.

She was one of 28 women from among 320 applicants who made the cut after auditions. Pre-season training included a trip to Cancun to pose for a calendar shoot and that’s when she realized how much fun it was to be a part of that team.

Sanches planned to try out for the previous season, but cancelled when she found out that the auditions were the same day as the D15’s White Coat Ceremony.

Tryouts to be a cheerleader for a professional team are intense and very competitive. Several auditions and three rounds of cuts, culminated in an intensive two-week boot camp with fitness and physical training, choreography, public speaking exercises and promotional appearance training drills.

As of Jan. 18,  Sanches’ Patriots also made the cut – they’ll compete against the Seattle Seahawks Feb. 1 in the Big Game.

Stay tuned.

To read the full story about Melanie Sanches:

Houston’s time to shine

Field of Light, a dazzling art installation by internationally-acclaimed artist Bruce Munro is now on display along the Brown Promenade through  Feb. 22, 2015 and it is illuminated from 3 to 11 p.m. daily. The prime viewing hours of the exhibit are after dusk.

And shine it will for all visitors during The Star of the South Dental Meeting. Especially if a visit to Brown Promenade, after dusk, is on the itinerary.

Field of Light, a dazzling art installation by internationally-acclaimed Bruce Munro is on display along the Brown Promenade through  Feb. 22,  illuminated from 3 to 11 p.m. daily.

Munro originally conceived the idea in 1992 during a trip through the red desert of central Australia, when he sketched a landscape of illuminated stems that would wait like dormant seeds in a dry desert, to bloom at night. It has since been specifically re-imagined for sites across the globe, since 2004. The Discovery Green Field of Light comprises 4,500 radiant, frosted glass spheres atop slender stems connected by illuminated fiber optic. The spheres and stems wait quietly until dusk and then bloom with gentle rhythms of colored light as darkness falls over the park.


George R. Brown Convention Center will host the Star of the South Dental Meeting today through Jan. 24.

It is sure to inspire, along with the innovations in dentistry on display through Saturday at The Star of the South, when The Greater Houston Dental Society’s annual meeting brings dental professionals to the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Founded in 1904, The Greater Houston Dental Society (GHDS) is the fourth largest component society in the United States, with a current membership of over 1,600.

Don’t miss the Friday Night Star Party, which will begin as the Exhibit Hall closes and will be held in the back of the Exhibit Hall on Friday at 6 pm.

For more details involving registration, visit

For a sneak preview of Field of Light:

They’ve got the white stuff, baby.

Teeth whitening blue accelerator light, shown,  is part and parcel of the White Tooth  app.

(Photo courtesy

A number of photo editing apps, such as Pictr and FaceTune allow users to digitally makeover their  selfies and other images —   brighten their smiles, enhance their eyes, spray hair onto bald patches, even reshape their faces.

Makers of the White Tooth app take it one step further. They aim to give users the benefits of professional tooth bleaching at home.

According to a recent story in by @NidhiSubs, the free Android app (one for iPhone is due this month) created by Pearly Whites Express Teeth Whitening Center in Boston, turns your smartphone screen into a blue LED. When paired with a whitening agent — store-bought whitening strips or Pearly Whites gel — it promises to speed the process.

A 40-minute session (which, according to Pearly Whites founder Justin McFadden, will keep your teeth glistening for 90 days) costs $3.98.

Talk about full service: Clients can send pictures of their teeth to one of Pearly Whites Express’ smile technicians for a professional tooth shade check or ask questions via text.

Does McFadden’s app have the white stuff?

Read one first-person review at:

Find out the American Dental Association’s views on bleaching lights: