Poor Oral Health is Linked to Depression: Implications for Public Health

A 2014 research project confirmed the link between poor oral health and depression, a relevant finding that can help in improving public health.  Oral health plays a significant role in the mental condition of a person, a two-way relationship that can become complex. On the one hand, dental care and treatments may produce anxieties and phobias. However, the absence of good oral hygiene can cause tooth problems, gum diseases, infections and other complications. Medications for mental health issues also produce side effects such as teeth grinding and dry mouths. The Importance of Oral Health and the Science Behind It Two National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) examined the relationship of dental health and depression. Oral health questionnaires (OHQ) were used as bases for dental health while depression was measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Using logistic regression to measure the … Read more

Is Flossing Really Beneficial?

As the perceived wisdom goes, flossing helps keep your teeth healthy and prevents gum disease. However, studies in recent years have called into question this long-established recommendation, see also http://blog.teethremoval.com/experts-insist-flossing-does-nothing-to-limit-tooth-decaycould-they-be-correct/. So what are the benefits of flossing, if any? Despite the apparent lack of evidence for any health benefits of flossing, both the British and American dental associations still recommend incorporating it into your daily routine. And whilst the evidence to support flossing isn’t there, there isn’t any evidence to show that the activity doesn’t have any benefits. The purpose of using dental floss is to remove food and other residue from between the teeth. It can also help to prevent bloody gums and inflammation from gingivitis, as well as reduce the build-up of plaque on teeth. Reducing all of these factors can help prevent gum disease. So although there … Read more

Unnecessary antibiotics for toothache

In the United Kingdom (U.K.) over half of all patients who visited their general practitioner (GP) with a dental problem in the last 10 years were not offered a long term treatment for their pain and instead were prescribed antibiotics. Some of these antibiotics were unnecessarily given. In a 10 year retrospective study published in the British Journal of General Practice researchers examined dental consultations and the resultant number of antibiotics prescriptions. The study found many patients are visiting their general practitioner rather than seeing their dentist, and that over half of these consultations resulted in antibiotics being prescribed. Many dental problems cannot be managed by a GP and this places an unnecessary burden on busy GPs. A severe toothache often needs an extraction or root canal which can only be undertaken by a dentist. The researchers were alarmed about the large amount of antibiotics being … Read more

Can poor oral health accelerate cognitive decline?

A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reviews studies focused on oral health and cognition. It is possible that better oral hygiene and regular dental visits may play a role in slowing cognitive decline as one ages. Researchers have questioned whether there is an association between oral health and cognition for older adults. Evidence suggests that the frequency of oral health problems increases in those that are cognitively impaired. Furthermore, factors associated with poor oral health like poor nutrition and systemic diseases are also associated with poor cognition. Researchers analyzed relevant cross-sectional (data collected at one specific point in time) and longitudinal (data collected over an extended period of time) studies published between 1993 and 2013. Some studies found that oral health measures such as the number of teeth, the number of cavities, and the presence of periodontal disease (gum … Read more

Chewing sugar free gum could help prevent tooth decay and save money

An interesting article titled “Oral health promotion: the economic benefits to the NHS of increased use of sugarfree gum in the UK” explores the effects of children chewing sugar free gum after eating or drinking in the U.K. Specifically the article finds out that in the National Health Service in England savings of £8.2 million a year could occur if all 12-year-olds across the U.K. chewed sugar free gum after eating or drinking, which is due to the role it plays in helping to prevent tooth decay. This savings would be equivalent to roughly 364,000 dental check-ups. Sugar free gum can be an easy and effective addition to oral health routines. The British Dental Health Foundation recommends brushing for two minutes, twice a day and for children over the age of seven, chewing sugar-free gum during the day. This can … Read more