Laser diode-driven lab-on-a-chip detects periodontitis pathogens.

A new mobile diagnostic platform driven by a laser diode can identify the 11 most relevant periodontitis pathogens in less than 30 minutes rather than in four to six hours. Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI; Leipzig, Germany) have collaborated with two companies, BECIT GmbH (Wolfen Germany) and ERT-Optik (Ludwigshafen, Germany), to develop a lab-on-a-chip module called ParoChip. In the future, this will allow dentists, hygienists, and medical labs to prepare samples quickly and then analyze the bacteria. All steps in the process–the duplication of DNA sequences and their detection–take place directly on the platform, which consists of a disk-shaped microfluidic card that measures around six centimeters in diameter.
Dentists use sterile paper points to remove bacteria from the tooth. (Image courtesy of Fraunhofer IZI)
Dentists use sterile paper points to remove bacteria from the tooth. (Image courtesy of Fraunhofer IZI)

The analysis is conducted in a contactless and fully automated manner. Samples are taken using sterile, toothpick-shaped paper points, after which the bacteria are removed from the point and their isolated DNA injected into reaction chambers containing dried reagents. There are 11 such chambers on each card, each featuring the reagent for one of the 11 periodontal pathogens. The total number of bacteria is determined in an additional chamber via polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which allows millions of copies of even tiny numbers of pathogen DNA sequences to be made. In order to generate the extremely quick changes in temperature that are required for PCR, the disk-shaped plastic chip is attached to a metal heating block with three temperature zones and mechanically turned so it passes over these zones. This causes a fluorescent signal to be generated that is measured by a connected optical measuring device featuring a fluorescence probe, a photodetector, and a laser diode. The key benefit is that the signal makes it possible not only to quantify each type of bacterium and thus determine the severity of the inflammation, but also to establish the total number of all the bacteria combined. This enables doctors to fine-tune an antibiotic treatment accordingly.

“As the connected optical measuring system allows us to quantify bacteria, ParoChip is also suited to the identification of other bacterial causes of infection, such as food-borne pathogens or those that lead to sepsis,” says Dirk Kuhlmeier, a scientist at the IZI. “Using ParoChip does away with many of the manual steps that are a necessary part of current bacteria tests. The synthetic disks can be produced cheaply and disposed of after use in the same way as disposable gloves.”

Already available as a prototype, ParoChip is initially intended for use in clinical laboratories; however, it could also be used by dentists, and hygienists to carry out in-house analysis of patient samples in their own practice.

RECENT FINDINGS: Periodontal Spirochetes definitively linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

  Periodontal Spirochetes definitively linked to Alzheimer’s disease.


For several years dentists and hygienists have been making the public aware of the connection between Periodontal (gum) Disease and many other systemic diseases. It is well documented that the same bacteria (primarily spirochetes) that harbor in the gums and are directly related to heart disease, strokes, lung disease, kidney failure, and premature underweight births.

After all this time, insurance companies still have little regard for the treatment of periodontal disease, which we know is the main cause of tooth loss, a major contributor to the many systemic diseases, and recently connected to Altzheimer’s Disease. The inadquate coverage by most insurance companies discourages patients from accepting essential periodontal services.
Here is a technical report from The Journal of Neuroinflammation, August 2011, which is well documented: “Alzheimer’s disease – a neurospirochetosis.”
Spirochete under magnification by phase microscope.
The association of spirochetes with Alzheimer’s disease.
The frequency of spirochetes is significantly higher in the brains of
Alzheimer patients compared to controls. The statistical analysis is
based on the cumulative data of the literature entered in the table
The association is statistically significant in the four groups analyzed:
in the group where all types of spirochetes were detected using
neutral techniques (All spirochetes), in the group of oral periodontal
pathogen spirochetes (Oral spirochetes
), in the group where Borrelia
burgdorferi was detected alone (B. burgdorferi) and in the group
where all studies were considered (All studies).
FOR A QUICK SUMMARY CONCLUSION SEE : Periodontal pathogen spirochetes (pg 3)
The American Dental Association reports that over 85% of the adult population has some degree of Periodontal Disease. A complete “Perio Exam” can be performed by a Dentist or Hygienist.

Screening For Snoring Kids Recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics

All children should be screened for snoring, and those who do snore regularly should be screened for sleep apnea, according to recently released recommendations from the AAP.

 “If left untreated, OSAS [obstructive sleep apnea syndrome] can result in problems such as behavioral issues, cardiovascular problems, poor growth and developmental delays.”

The recommendations come from an analysis of 350 past studies on the subject. They are published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Children who have adenotonsillar hypertrophy — the No. 1 cause of obstructive sleep apnea in kids, according to a 2003 study — should have their tonsils and adenoids removed, according to the recommendations. MedicalNewsToday more recently reported on a study showing that tonsil and adenoid removal — known as adenotonsillectomy — is being done more and more for the purposes of obstructive sleep apnea, versus tonsil infection. In fact, nine in 10 tonsil and adenoid removal surgeries are done for sleep apnea reasons.

If a child receives tonsil and adenoid removal surgery for sleep apnea, but still has signs of the condition, he or she should then undergo continuous positive airway pressure, according to the new recommendations.


A Hygienist/Staffing Specialist in Cleveland/Akron, Ohio posed this question on LinkedIn to the American Dental Education Association: “…why are schools graduating so many Dental Hygienists in a field that is very saturated, with little chance of job opportunities for these new Dental Hygiene grads? “
I am also interested in hearing the answer. Here in south Florida there is a plethora of well trained, dedicated Hygienists who are working part-time for Staffing Agencies, or as clinical assistants, and in other industries, because there are not enough opportunities in dental offices. My colleagues in Philadelphia and southern California tell me the situation is similar there.

Do you find this to be the case in YOUR area?

From The Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Job prospects are expected to be favorable in most areas, but will vary by geographical location. Because graduates are permitted to practice only in the State in which they are licensed, hygienists wishing to practice in areas that have an abundance of dental hygiene programs may experience strong competition for jobs.

Projection data from the National Employment Matrix Occupation:
Dental hygienists

174,100 2008
237,000 2018
36% increase

Do you feel that expanding the legal functions of Hygienists, and relaxing their areas of “direct supervision” will alleviate this problem?