Dr. Mark Wolff: A hidden pandemic in our mouths

Photo Credit: University of Pennsylvania

Ira Pastor, ideaXme life sciences ambassador and founder of Bioquark, interviews Dr. Mark Wolff, Morton Amsterdam Dean, and Professor, Division of Restorative Dentistry, at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine.

Ira Pastor Comments:

So as frequent listeners of the ideaXme show know, we spend a lot of time talking about the theme of “healthy aging”, and the reality that aging, and related biological changes associated with aging, occur across all of the body’s cells, tissues, and organs, and these changes affect all structure and function of the body, including the teeth and gums, and as such, oral health is the focus of our show today.

The underlying processes of biological aging can dramatically affect oral health and many of the specific changes that occur over time in our bodies as we age (such as cells renewing at a slower rate, tissues become thinner and less elastic, bones become less dense and strong, our immune system become weaker, such that infection can occur more quickly and wound healing takes longer), can have major impact in the oral cavity (affecting tissue and bone in the mouth), as well as trickle down effects on the rest of the body.

Oral health problems in older adults include, but are not limited to: untreated tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, oral cancer, as well as exacerbated chronic disease associated with various co-morbid conditions and physiologic changes associated with aging (e.g., hypertension, diabetes mellitus).

Photo Credit: University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Mark Wolff

Dr. Mark Wolff, DDS, PhD, is the Morton Amsterdam Dean, and Professor, Division of Restorative Dentistry, at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine.

With a Doctor of Dental Surgery, and PhD, in Oral Biology and Pathology, Dr. Wolff helps lead the school to develop policy, set research agenda and design community treatment programs that serve the needs of a wide variety of patient populations.

Prior to joining UPenn, Dr. Wolff was Professor and Chair of the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care, Associate Dean for Pre-doctoral Clinical Education, and Associate Dean for Development and Alumni Relations at NYU College of dentistry, the largest dental education institution in the United States. At NYU he designed, developed, and implemented an extensive curriculum in caries risk assessment and also designed dental information systems to assist dental schools in monitoring the risk of the entire dental patient population.

Dr. Wolff has completed numerous international research and oral health assessment programs and has been a lifelong advocate and dental provider for individuals with physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities of all ages.

Dr. Wolff has served as the principal or co-principal investigator on multiple bench top and clinical research projects, investigating dental caries, novel re-mineralizing agents, dental erosion, periodontal disease, dental materials, and dental hypersensitivity.

Dr. Wolff has published over 100 scientific papers, text chapters, and edited multiple textbooks, lectures worldwide and is a frequent consultant to the industry and has been the principal or co-principal investigator on many industrial and National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded research programs.

On this episode we will hear from Dr. Wolff about:

His background; what interested him in the field of dental medicine, academic research, and a little bit of his path to becoming dean of one of the world’s largest dental schools. Major issues in the field of geriatric dental patient care. Major issues related to the oral microbiota (microbiome) and connection to chronic disease. Future technologies for the care/reversion of dental caries.

This interview is in American English

Ira Pastor, ideaXme life sciences ambassador

Credits: Ira Pastor interview video, text, and audio.

Follow Ira Pastor on Twitter: @IraSamuelPastor

If you liked this interview, be sure to check out our interview on ending smoking this generation!

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