Can a sinister-sounding dinosaur convince kids to brush their teeth?

“Cognitoys” is the name of these Internet-connected smart toys that learn and grow.

This little green dinosaur, created by Element Path,  is a new and interactive toy that communicates with children. Conversation happens through the powers of wireless communication and cloud computing. According to, when the dinosaur is asked “What’s on Mars?” it quickly answers “red dirt and Martians.”

To satisfy children’s boundless curiosity, the toy draws on the considerable knowledge of IBM’s supercomputer Watson. “It can hold simple conversations with children, and as the child uses the toy, the toy learns about the child,” said developer J.P. Benini, co-founder of New York company Elemental Path.

A parent can program a child’s bedtime and a reminder for nightly routines as well, which might result in the dinosaur saying “Aaah, I’m tired. Have you brushed your teeth?”

In addition to telling jokes and creating rhymes, the toy can offer spelling and mathematical exercises. This toy is so advanced that is remembers a child’s favorite food, sport, or color. The toy then uses this information in different learning exercises.

“It actually grows with a child, it understands what vocabulary level they’re at… so the toy can actually educate them and challenge them over time” said developer J.P. Benini, co-founder of New York company Elemental Path.

The company plans to sell English-language Cognitoys online from mid-November for $99 each, and other characters are set to follow.

To read more:

Will it be a money-saving Monday? Perhaps if the ADA #newdentistblog has a say.

One new dentist trimmed $80,000 from his student loans by treating patients at a nonprofit clinic in an underserved and rural area for four years.

Thanks to a state-based financial aid program, Dr. Timothy Oh, of Ellsworth, Maine, who graduated from dental school in 2008, was able to reduce the more than $300,000 he owed in student debt.

He shares insight on the FAME program with, along with his experience with consolidating federal loans for convenience sake. One loan, one loan servicer, one payment and one place to file forms not only provides convenience, but also also allows borrowers to convert former nondirect loans to direct loans which are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

The American Dental Association blog reviews the possible drawbacks with loan consolidation (a 60-90 day process, potential for a slightly higher interest rate and loss of grace periods on loans) and reviews the pros and cons of refinancing as well, in the blog.

Federal options for loan repayment assistance, often in exchange for services in a health care shortage area, include programs sponsored by the Army, Navy, Air Force, Veteran Affairs, U.S. Public Health Service, National Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service and more.

Read more at:

Why dye eggs when you can color bacteria?

California dentists Dr. Scott Thompson and Dr. Jennifer Ryan suggest another fun use for the food coloring box in your kitchen: painting or licking a few drops around your teeth to color bacteria.

At their practice, dentists use disclosing solution, “the pink stuff”, as a simple way to demonstrate bacteria on the teeth by making them visible. Food and vegetable dye works the same way.

By painting or licking a couple drops around your teeth (green might be fun!), then rinsing and swishing and spitting out, you can color bacteria. Then with a mirror in a well lighted place, take a look.

With  your toothbrush, see what it takes to get the places clean that you missed the last time you brushed your teeth. Surprise! Bacteria come off very easily.

According to Dr. Thompson’s blog Winning with Smiles, the reason that people continue to have cavities is not because bacteria are difficult to get off the teeth. It is because most people don’t know where their toothbrush has been missing those spots.

What are you waiting for? Get coloring… and brushing!

One Connecticut dentist suggests his peers can help patients with celiac disease

A dentist with two good reasons to investigate celiac disease (CD) — his wife and daughter — conducted a study that was published in 2009. Today he speaks around the country, sharing his findings with other dental professionals.

Dr. Ted Malahias said CD is not an allergy to gluten. Rather, “it is an autoimmune disorder that causes villous atrophy in the small intestine when ingested gluten produces an immune response that doesn’t attack the gluten, but instead attacks the intestine.”

Symptoms: diarrhea, intestinal bloating, and cramps, are often the first responses to gluten ingestion. Other symptoms can include irritability and weight loss as the body’s nutrient uptake system fails.

According to research  from 1989, people with CD have a higher risk of developing oral cancer if they are not on a gluten-free diet.

How does Dr. Malahias suggest dentists help their patients?

If dental professionals know more about celiac disease, and how this illness affects the entire person, including the mouth, they can help in its early detection, and possibly help their patients avoid years of suffering.

Findings from the research he initiated (which was published in the Journal of Gastroenterology in 2009):

1. CD is highly associated with dental enamel defects in childhood.
2. There is an association between CD and aphthous ulcers.

“Because we see the tissue and we see the health of the tissue, we can advise patients to go see their physicians,” he said. “[Dentists] can’t diagnose celiac disease, and you can’t say everyone with dental enamel defects has celiac, but you should at least think about it,” he told Christopher Friesen in a recent interview with

He said their clinical suspicions may be the first step in directing patients to physicians who can properly diagnose, or rule out, CD.

According to the story, CD does not discriminate and occurs on all continents, and among all racial, cultural, and age groups.  Stress, pregnancy, surgery, or even infections may bring about severe symptoms.

Dr. Malahias’s complete study and more information on celiac disease and the dental patient can be found on his office’s website at




Chchchchanges. Some musicians say yes to new teeth. Others, not so much.

By Alison Majikes/Special to

The artist who in the past created a tooth pendant and the sculpture “Tooth Nuckles” recently received notoriety for a replica of one musical icon’s imperfect smile.

Recently interviewed by, artist Jessine Hein, a German painter and sculptor, made a reproduction of singer

Artist Jessine Hein wearing a tooth mask. (Courtesy Jessine Hein)

Artist Jessine Hein wearing a tooth mask. (Courtesy Jessine Hein)

David Bowie’s natural teeth.

Bowie underwent cosmetic dental treatment in the early 1990s, and the artist said she was “nostalgically longing back to Bowie’s old teeth”.

The famous rocker, who got a new set of pearly whites over 20 years ago, isn’t the first artist to upgrade his teeth for the sake of appearance.

According to an article on Buzzfeed, when Bowie underwent his procedure, he joined the ranks of many other artists who did the same, like Celine Dion, Leann Rimes, Miley Cyrus and Gwen Stefani (who famously sported braces back in early years of her No Doubt fame).

But not every artist will willingly change their teeth to please others.

Freddie Mercury, the late frontman of “Queen”, famously never changed the appearance of his teeth for the fear that it would alter the unique sound of his voice.

In an article on in 2010, Rudi Dolezal, the director of the film Freddie Mercury: The Untold Story said, “”We all know that Freddie Mercury had very strange teeth and we would all ask ourselves, ‘A guy who was that rich, why didn’t he change his teeth?’ He was very afraid that if he changed his teeth that his particular sound of [his voice] would go away. So he was more concerned with his voice than his looks, and I think that says a lot about the man.”

To read more about Bowie’s teeth and Hein: