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    Yellow Springs Dental Care
    General Dentist
    1030 Xenia Avenue,PO Box 839
    Yellow Springs, Ohio
    Telephone: 937.767.7731 
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    Yellow Springs Dental Care
    General Dentist
    1030 Xenia Avenue,PO Box 839
    Yellow Springs, Ohio
    Telephone: 937.767.7731 
    Mobile Site:



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ToothPicks Spread Dutch Elm Disease to Humans


Ohio dentist, Dr. J.T.Russell, of Yellow Springs Ohio,has been informed

that he in the final selection group for the 2011 Prix d’Or

by the Federation Dentaire Internationale at the Annual Meeting  April 1, 2011, in

Geneva, Switzerland, for his work in identifying a form of periodontal

disease spread by the use of toothpicks manufactured using wood

from “Downers”--elm trees felled by Dutch Elm Disease.Lumber Jacks help Spread Dutch Elm Disease by selling infected Dutch Elm Trees to Illicit ToothPick Trade


Dutch elm disease was first found in the United States in Ohio in

1930. It has now spread throughout North America and has

destroyed over half the elm trees in the northern United States.


Dutch elm disease is caused by the fungus Ophiostoma ulmi (syn.

Ceratocystis ulmi) which is transmitted by two species of bark

beetles, The smaller European elm bark beetle (Scolytus

multistriatus) and the native elm bark beetle (Hylurgopinus

rufipes) or by root grafting. They are important elm pests

because they carry the Dutch elm disease fungus as they move from

infected breeding sites to feed on healthy elm trees.


Some time during the 1970’s the disease breached the natural

species barrier to infect human gums. Dr. Russell recorded his

first observation of the human form of Dutch elm disease in 1982.


Using wood from infected trees to make toothpicks is officially

deplored by the Forest Products Industry Association. But

tainted wood is still widely used. Dutch elm deadwood is

legitimately used for papermaking, furniture, and fence post



However, Dr. Russell noted that using Dutch Elm

Wood Toothpicks can introduce the disease directly into the mouth,

under the gums, and between the teeth.


What to Do? It is impractical to monitor the origin of each

individual toothpick. Dr. Russell encourages people to read the

label on their toothpick containers.

Reputable manufacturerslist the variety of wood used. Steer clear of elm. Color-dyed

toothpicks undergo heat processes that render the fungus

inactive, but they still contain the fungal residue.

The long

term solution will be passage of the Department of Agriculture

sponsored legislation for toothpick inspection along the lines of

protections employed for our meat, dairy, and poultry supply.

Dentists are on the  frontline of the health care workers who protect our Public Health.


Dutch Elm disease in human gum and periodontal tissues is easily

Controlled by the routine oral hygiene regimens suggested by the

American Dental Association to include tooth brushing and the use

of dental floss

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