Science + History = A Dose of Fun


As dental professionals in a science-based field, sharing knowledge with patients is serious business.

Shared laughter – a dose of humor – can be equally important, in the right setting. One educator – Steven Austad, Chair of the Biology Department at the University of Alabama, did just that in a recent column for

Austad, whose bio describes him as  enjoying “enjoys nothing more than communicating how science works to the general public” recently created a point system to help you calculate the “Snake Oil Score” for your favorite “natural” supplement.


World exhibition building in Chicago – United States 1893 / vintage illustration from Brockhaus Konversations-Lexikon 1908

In his public service message, the former newspaper reporter, Hollywood wild animal trainer and New York City cab driver, who now spends his days as a research scientist, invoked some history: the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Clark Stanley’s Snake Oil Liniment, and the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906.

Find out how he put it all together in his column and take his quiz:

Honey, I shrunk the bacteria.

Glandular cells show honeycomb appearance view in microscopy.

Guaranteed that’s not a quote you’ll hear from Benco Dental MarComm Manager Rachel Pugh.

In a recent installment of SciShow, Honey: Bacteria’s Worst Enemy, host Hank Green explained why some hospitals harness (purified and standardized) honey’s powers for good.

Meanwhile, one dental industry marketer would prefer a bunch of honeymakers vacate her home.

“I can hear them if I put my ear to the chimney, it’s creepy. Sounds like a horror flick,” said the Pennsylvania resident. (Think 1978 classic The Swarm, or Candyman, as opposed to Jerry shutterstock_10994104Seinfeld’s Bee Movie.)

Some might say, “What’s all the buzz about?”

As did Pugh, more than a month ago when she discovered numerous tiny bee corpses in her living room and narrowed the source to bees producing honey in the Shavertown chimney.

A parent to six rescue cats, and friend to all things furry, this 21-year vegetarian hoped for a solution that would do no harm.

Anyone who saw fuschia and blue smoke pouring from Pugh’s chimney in early July might have suspected a holiday party. But her Purple Haze was hardly the variety Jimi Hendrix saluted in his song.

Instead, on the advice of a local beekeeper,the creative homeowner aimed to gain independence from unwanted guests using seasonal smoke bombs.

Of the colorful eviction notice, Pugh said, “It was my attempt to safely ask the bees to relocate.”

Freedom did not ring, so Pugh (who never uses her fireplace) planned to adjust to a life of peace with a few hundred new hivemates.

This morning, while conducting the weekly carcass cleanup, she tried a last minute palm sweep of the vicinity, in addition to her usual whisk broom effort.

One lone bee, still alive and woozy, put up a sting.

“They’re taking over. There’s an army of them,” Pugh said on the honey house status.

A quick call to the beek has her planning next steps, which include an upcoming wood pellet burn to create a “24-hour smoldering effect”.

This master marketer noted that she also issued a firm directive, queen to queen: “You need to leave.” promises to keep you updated on Pugh’s progress.

We’re also wondering if it’s become a bit of a grudge match.

In an interview today, an innocent query as to her history with bees prompted Pugh to divulge a decades-earlier insect altercation.

“In the mid-1980s honeybees got into my father’s chimney and we were all stung,” said Pugh.

Allow that image to crystallize for a moment.










Pokémon Go(es) to the dentist? Not quite, but in the future, anything is possible.


The technology behind Pokémon Go, called “augmented reality,” where computer-generated aspects (images, sound) are layered over the world around us, sparks with potential.

A recent article by  of the Association of Health Care Journalists touched on possible health care applications that could occur:


“Pokémon Go could serve as a gateway for widespread adoption of other augmented reality applications. Think about how Skype and FaceTime have helped doctor visits via computer screen (telehealth) gain public acceptance.
If augmented reality can expand our relationship to information – and health care is an information-based sector – then it could dramatically alter the health care landscape.
Clinical decision making, accessing and interpreting medical records, motivation for physical therapy, hospital workflow efficiencies, medical school/residency training and giving laboratory tests are just a few examples of areas ripe for augmented reality applications.
Augmented reality also could help architects design more patient-centered hospitals and health centers. It could enhance patient education and experience across the care continuum – in the hospital, at discharge and through home health support.”

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Photo courtesy VR Dentist – A Dental App, by Trendyworks LLC Medical.

Vesely noted that MedPage Today lists examples of companies already integrating augmented reality into their health care applications, including  VR Dentist, a dental app that uses virtual and augmented reality for educational purposes.

With VR Dentist,  users can Zoom and Rotate the 3d model (shown at right) of the oral cavity, a pen tool allows teachers to draw or pin specific parts. There’s even a quiz feature that allows uses to play a virtual reality game, naming parts of the model.

Read Vesely’s full article at:

For the ins and outs of Pokemon Go by , visit:


Spoiler alert: Friday buzzkill ahead. But it’s because we care.


“Does it really matter if I floss?” ranks up there with “How much can one soda a day really hurt me?” and “Is choosing a doughnut for breakfast each day really going to tip the scale?” in terms of questions to ponder.

While the answers to these burning queries probably won’t impact the world at large (unless you’re actually the person who is researching a cure for cancer or brokering peace agreements for the United Nations) they will most certainly affect you.

No bones about it, though, the answers to all three: Yes, Quite a bit, and Yes, will certainly make a difference to your personal life and health. Here’s the skinny:

  •   FLOSSING ONCE A DAY? WHY NOT TWICE? gets to the root of the question in their  July 21 feature Here’s How Bad it Really is to Never Floss :

For starters, just going a couple of days without doing it will cause plaque build-up. Over time, that plaque hardens into tartar, which can only be removed at the dentist. If you think brushing your teeth and rinsing will get rid of all the plaque before it turns into tartar, here’s the cold hard truth: it doesn’t. According to Dr. Timothy Chase, a cosmetic dentist and practicing partner at SmilesNY, the brushing/mouthwash combo is only doing half the job.

“The bacteria that cause cavities and gum infection hide in the area between teeth and in the pockets under the gums—the only way to get them out is with dental floss,” he says. “Never flossing will eventually lead to cavities between the teeth and gum disease in most people.”

Still not convinced? Reporter  figured you might not be, so she also spoke with an expert at Columbia University College of Dentistry who shared the serious side of gum disease, another possible result of forgetting to floss.  Tooth loss, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes – all have links to gum disease.
Read the full story at:

  • TINY BUBBLES, BIG EFFECTS. Regarding  negative effects of soda on the body, the evidence gathered from increased research speaks volumes. According to, “Your health will drastically improve once you begin replacing your daily Coke or Mountain Dew with water. Pretty much every organ will benefit from quitting soda.”
    The report discusses a 2012 Harvard University study that found participants who drank the most soda were 20 percent more likely to have a heart attack.
    Not convinced? Another study found “that long-term consumption of sugar could lead to impaired learning, memory, and behavioral plasticity.”
    Soda’s corrosive effects in your mouth, according to results of a 2013 study, are enough to make your teeth chatter:
    Bladder, bones, kidney, reproductive organs – all face serious risk from drinking the carbonated sugar. Read the details at:

  • DO NOT DOUGHNUT DAILY. I REPEAT: DO NOT DOUGHNUT DAILY. Everybody loves Munchkins® now and then or a Krispy Kreme Original Glazed®. As a treat now and then, sure. But talks about the realities of weight gain from just one daily doughnut:

    “Even a single doughnut a day can lead to significant weight gain over time. A Krispy Kreme raspberry-filled jam doughnut contains 300 calories, while a chocolate iced doughnut contains 350 calories. According to website Family Doctor, 3,500 calories equal one pound. If you add a doughnut a day to your regular diet and don’t exercise the calories off or cut down on calories elsewhere, you will gain about one extra pound every 10 days.”

    Need further facts:

If this MolarMuse killed your Friday buzz, apologies all around. But your smile and health are worth it.



Mark your calendar for August 6. It’s a tea party you won’t want to miss.


“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

All things will seem possible when you network, learn and become inspired by Dr. Carol


Event host ADA President Dr. Carol Summerhays

Summerhays at her home next month.

The American Dental Association will host its 2nd Annual Women in Leadership Conference in the form of an Afternoon Tea Party on Saturday, August 6, with Dr. Summerhays graciously opening her home for the special engagement.

Still haven’t signed up for this Saturday treat?

Mindfulness, Mentorship and Why You Matter!  by distinguished speaker Dr. Jennifer Gunsaullus, Sociologist and Counselor will be on the itinerary.

Sponsored by The Lucy Hobbs Project by Benco Dental and WestPac Wealth Partners, the event will include two complimentary CE credits. Donations to benefit the John GEis Dental Clinic at Veteran’s Village are encouraged.

“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Fear not, the address of the event will be provided upon registration. So why not get started on your adventure? Register today (but definitely before July 29)  with the San Diego Dental Society, 619-275-7188 or at

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Dr. Jennifer Gunsaullus, above, shown larger than life, speaks professionally in the Greater San Diego area on the topics of intimacy, health, relationships and mindfulness.