Lustig – Tooth Decay and Liver Decay: The Nexus of Physicians and Dentists


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“Mountain Dew Mouth” has been a scourge for dentists for decades. But there is a new disease that is affecting even more people: Mountain Dew Liver. Even though non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) wasn’t discovered until 1980, up to 1/3 of Americans suffer from it including children: 13% of autopsies in children and 38% of obese children show NAFLD.

The rates of tooth decay and NAFLD have been increasing with excessive sugar consumption contributing to both.

Dietary sugar is composed of one molecule each of glucose and fructose with fracture being the primary driver of both diseases. While fructose doesn’t contribute to the mouth biofilm, it is metabolized by the oral bacteria into lactic acid which readily diffuses through the biofilm and into the tooth. Fructose is then turned into fat in the liver mitochondria which drives NAFLD which has now surpassed alcohol as the leading cause of liver transplantation. Children are the most susceptible to both diseases because they are the biggest sugar consumers.

Physicians and dentist must be united in supporting public health measures to reduce chronic disease which includes diet modification.

Educational Objectives:

  • Describe why sugar not only destroys teeth but also causes liver disease
  • Explain how the sugar molecules are metabolized to in the liver
  • Learn why physicians and dentists need to work together to reduce prevalence of these chronic diseases

CE Credit Units:

3 CEUs

Level of skill recommended for participants:

Of interest to Dentists, Students & Residents, Dental Auxiliaries, families and Dental Office Staff

Instructor Information:

Robert H. Lustig, MD, MSL – is a Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology – University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Lustig is a neuroendocrinologist whose clinical research has focused on the regulation of energy balance by the central nervous system. He is currently investigating the contribution of biochemical, neural, hormonal, and genetic influences in the expression of the current obesity epidemic both in children and adults. He is one of the leaders of the global “anti-sugar” movement to improve global health. Dr. Lustig graduated from MIT in 1976, and received his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College in 1980. He completed his pediatric residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in 1983 and his clinical fellowship at UCSF in 1984. From there, he spent six years as a research associate in neuroendocrinology at The Rockefeller University. In 2013 he received his Master’s in Studies of Law from UC Hastings. He is the author of many academic works, and of the popular book, “Fat Chance: beating the odds against sugar, processed food, obesity, and disease,” and the “Fat Chance Cookbook.” He is also the author of “The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science behind the Corporate Takeover of Our bodies and Brains” released in September 2017. Dr. Lustig is also Chief Scientific Officer of EatREAL, a non-profit dedicated to reversing childhood obesity and diabetes by impaction the global food supply.

Instructor Disclosure of any conflicts of interest:

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There are no refunds for Online CE courses. For any questions, please contact CSPD Executive Director, Paul Reggiardo, DDS, at

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