Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2015 04 Irene Woodall Rdh Cover 180 100

The loss of an icon: Irene Woodall, RDH, PhD

April 29, 2015
“Dental hygiene is a changing profession. The influence of compelling new research is changing the fundamental basis of our role in health care.”—Irene Woodall, RDH, PhD, 1993.

“Dental hygiene is a changing profession. The influence of compelling new research is changing the fundamental basis of our role in health care.”—Irene Woodall, RDH, PhD, 1993. (1)

It is with sadness that I announce the passing of Irene Woodall, RDH, PhD. I met Irene in the early 1990s when she was preparing to move to California to work for Oral-B, and I was the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) District XI Trustee. Irene was the first editor of Pennwell’s RDH magazine. Irene has been in a long-term care facility for many years after suffering a brain aneurysm and a stroke in 1993 while skiing in Colorado. Irene is survived by two daughters, Charlotte Resek and Amanda Woodall.

On July 1, 2011, I published a story about Irene based on a presentation given by JoAnn Gurenlian and Deb Astroth at the ADHA Plenary Session in Nashville, TN.

The ADHA has created a place on its website for contributions to the ADHA Institute for Oral Health Irene Woodall Graduate Scholarship Fund. Irene was a true inspiration, a leader in the profession, and will be missed by many.

This issue focuses on National Women’s Health Week, tobacco issues, essential oils, and an update on osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), specifically bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ).

The article on tobacco reviewed smoking, but did not mention e-cigarettes. There is much speculation as to whether e-cigarettes are harmful, or could actually aid in tobacco cessation. According to a new study, those who “smoked” e-cigarettes were less likely to quit or reduce cigarette use as compared to those who never used e-cigarettes. (2) The data were derived from the California Smokers Cohort survey. While more study is needed, the results add to the body of knowledge informing policy and regulations regarding the use of e-cigarettes.

Since I wrote the article on ONJ, a new study has surfaced on this topic. The objective of the study was to retrospectively determine the influence of numerous risk factors on the staging of BRONJ in a population in Italy. (3) The influences associated with a worse BRONJ staging were high bisphosphonate cumulative dose, smoking, steroid use, and a lesion in the maxilla. Tooth extraction most negatively influenced BRONJ staging, as compared to other procedures such as prosthetic trauma, implant treatment, oro-dental infection, and periodontal disease. (3) According to the authors, some clinical and medical risk factors may necessitate a more severe staging of BRONJ lesions. As always, more investigation is needed to replicate these conclusions.

Cannabis is in the news! AXIM Biotech recently introduced Oraximax, the first Cannabigerol-based product line, which consists of toothpaste, dentifrice and mouthwash. (4) Cannabinoid compounds found in the marijuana plant allegedly have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. FDA approval is in process. Other products offered are: dentifrice; oral gel; diaper rash cream; moisturizers; lotions; lip balm; shampoo; conditioner; body wash; day, night and eye creams. (4)

And lastly, also regarding inflammation, a study entitled "Inflammation in the Mouth and Joints in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)" was presented at the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) meeting in Boston. (5) According to the presenter and researcher, periodontitis and RA share certain risk factors (e.g., inflammation). In this small study, RA patients showed increased markers of periodontal disease as compared to healthy subjects. Those with periodontitis all had elevated P. gingivalis antibodies. Based on this, the author concludes that P. gingivalis antibodies can be considered as biomarkers for health care professionals in recognizing individuals who may benefit from periodontal treatment. (5)

Thanks to Christine Charles for her valuable contribution to this newsletter.


1. Woodall IR. Comprehensive Dental Hygiene Care. 4th ed. St. Louis, Missouri: Mosby; 1993.
2. Al-Delaimy WK, Myers MG, Leas EC, Strong DR, Hofstetter CR. E-cigarette use in the past and quitting behavior in the future: A population-based study [published online ahead of print April 16, 2015]. Am J Public Health. 2015. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302482.
3. Nisi M, La Ferla F, Karapetsa D, et al. Risk factors influencing BRONJ staging in patients receiving intravenous bisphosphonates: A multivariate analysis. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2015;44:586-91. doi: 10.1016/j.ijom.2015.01.014.
4. Industrial hemp biotech company develops everyday-use cannabigerol (CBG) products. GlobeNewswire. Published April 20, 2015. Accessed April 29, 2015.
5. International & American Associations for Dental Research. Inflammation in mouth, joints in rheumatoid arthritis. ScienceDaily. Published March 12, 2015. Accessed April 29, 2015.