Tag Archives | oral health

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 prescribed. This raises concerns about the UK’s long term dental health and the potential contribution to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic drug resistance, which occurs when bacterial infections no longer respond to antibiotics is problematic for developed countries. Antibiotics carries a risk of adverse reaction and is likely to increase the number of medical consultations for dental conditions in the future. The researchers are […]

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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 disease) were associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline where as others studies were unable to show such an association. Researchers noted that findings based on the number of teeth or cavities are conflicting, and limited studies suggest that periodontal conditions are associated with poorer cognitive status. The researchers feel there is not enough evidence to conclude that a causal […]

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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 be effective in breaking down lingering food, neutralising harmful plaque acids, and reducing the risk of decay. Chewing sugar free gum after eating and drinking leads to increases in the production of saliva, which can help wash away food particles and neutralise harmful plaque acids. In addition, it promotes the remineralisation of tooth enamel. The benefits of sugar-free gum on […]

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Preserving Research Funding in Dentistry

An interesting article titled “The vital role of research funding in preserving the oral health of the public and the dental profession,” appears as a guest editorial in the June 2015, issue of JADA and written by Maxine Feinber and et. al. The article discusses how it is critical that investments in dental, oral, and craniofacial research continue in the United States to help improve the nations oral health. The article states “…oral diseases persist on a scale that is poorly understood and wholly unacceptable… 3.9 billion people had oral conditions, with untreated dental caries in permanent teeth the most prevalent disease, affecting 35% of the world’s population….1 in 5 Americans is afflicted with dental caries…” The article says that around 4% of health care spending in the U.S. is for dental services. Even so we know little about oral disease and what it takes to eradicate it. The authors feel we need research on many different fronts and we need research on how to best prepare dental professionals. The authors state “Research also helps define us as a profession. The dental profession must continue to support clinically relevant science to advance our knowledge of comprehensive patient care, or it has the potential […]

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Natural Tooth Loss Linked to Memory and Walking Speed Declines

A study appearing in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society looked at the memory and walking speed of older individuals with and without their natural teeth. A total of 3,166 adults age 60 and over from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing were looked at. The results showed that people with none of their own teeth were around 10% worse in both memory and walking speed tests when compared to people who still had some teeth. The results were adjusted for a large amount of potential factors such as existing health problems, physical health, drinking, depression, sociodemographic characteristics, and socioeconomic status. The link between older adults without any of their natural teeth who had worse memory and physical function was more evident in adults aged 60 to 74 years old than those aged 75 and older. The researchers say that tooth loss and mental and physical decline are often linked to socioeconomic status. However, some factors such as lifestyle and psychosocial factors can be modified in younger patients before they reach older age and lose their teeth. The study was performed by researchers at the University College London. Source: Georgios Tsakos and et al. Tooth Loss Associated with Physical […]

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