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Big brands vow to cut sugar in anticipation of proposed tax

Tue

Draft legislation for the proposed sugar tax was published recently, in an attempt to tackle tooth decay, obesity, diabetes and other serious conditions. For dentists, GP’s and other health professionals this is a step in the right direction, suggesting positive movements towards change. However, for the big drinks companies this spells taxation, inconvenience and potential loss of profits.

Following the proposed tax, Tesco quickly responded by reformulating their own branded soft drinks to fall below the levy exemption limit. Any products containing more than the stated five milligrams of sugar per one hundred millilitres will be subject to the government tax. It is hoped that the legislation will be approved in parliament next year and put into practice in April 2018. Other big brands, such as Ribena and Lucozade, are set to follow suit, with plans in place to cut sugar levels by up to fifty percent to avoid taxation.

According to the Telegraph, figures estimate that consumption is at a high amongst teenagers, with a whopping 27 percent of their added sugar coming from fizzy drinks. Although all ages consume added sugar, it seems that this group is most at risk from developing related health problems such as diabetes and tooth decay.

 

 

 

Study shows link between cleft palate gene and abnormal saliva glands

Sun

People with cleft palate or cleft lip often suffer with increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay throughout their lives. New findings suggest that these dental problems could occur due to abnormal saliva glands in the mouth. It also shows that an uneven balance in immune compounds within saliva could be a contributing factor.

The study was published in the Journal of Dental Health Research, and explored the subject by observing mice with the gene mutation that is responsible for a cleft palate or lip. The mice all showed signs of less effective salivary glands, which had a knock-on effect on their oral health.

Craniofacial researcher and lead author of the paper, Dr Timothy Cox, discussed the findings with Science Daily, “We found that the cleft lip and palate gene mutation also resulted in abnormal salivary glands. The result was a mouth environment that was too acidic and contained excess bacteria, which led to problems in the gums and more rapid tooth decay.”

If the salivary glands are working as they should, the saliva is secreted to balance acidity from food and drinks. People with the cleft palate or lip gene do not excrete saliva containing the protective immune compounds properly. More research is due to be undertaken in the near future, with the hope of providing dentists and doctors with a better understanding of how to treat patients with a cleft palate or lip.

 

 

 

Dental professionals issue warning for Halloween

Mon

With many children, just hours away from embarking on their trick or treating, dentists have issued a stark warning to parents about taking care of their children’s teeth. Professionals are encouraging parents to be mindful when the abundance of sweets and goodies are collected on this year’s celebration of All Hallows’ Eve.

Professor Nigel Hunt, faculty dean of The Royal College of Surgeons, spoke to the BBC about the issue, “We want to help parents make sensible decisions about letting their children eat sweets at Halloween and all year round.” He also spoke about the ‘horror’ associated with trick or treat sweets and children’s teeth, “Unfortunately, those sweet treats can be a Halloween horror for kids’ teeth, sugar is one of the biggest culprits for nasty tooth decay.”

Prof. Hunt has suggested the following advice for parents, for their own families, and any other children that visit their homes to trick or treat. On the night, parents are advised to encourage their children to save their sweets to eat with a meal, and for anyone calling by, consider giving other treats, such as, balloons or stickers. It is essential that children brush their teeth thoroughly after eating their sweets and before bed, and try to provide water, rather than sugary drinks. With teeth extractions in under tens reaching around one hundred and seventy-nine thousand last year and twenty five percent of three to five year olds suffering from tooth decay, professionals are hopeful that the advice will be followed.

 

 

Bradford in a state of decay over NHS dentistry

Sat

The people of Bradford are struggling to find an NHS dentist, the Telegraph and Argus reports. Some patients have reported resorting to ‘D.I.Y.’ procedures, due to lack of places available at NHS dentists across the city. Others have been forced to attend their local Accident and Emergency department to gain treatment for what should have been routine issues, if addressed in a timely manner.

Statistics show that nearly half of the adult population of Bradford are not registered with an NHS dentist and a third of children are in the same predicament. When asked why people have not registered with a dentist, many have said that they have tried to find a practice that would register them,but to no avail.

An anonymous male from the Bradford Four area (BD4) was quoted in a report by Healthwatch saying it took eight years for a dentist place to become available to him, “I’ve ended up extracting one of my own wisdom teeth, which in this day and age is ludicrous. Dentistry has in effect privatised itself.”Healthwatch manager, Victoria Simmons, revealed that the organisation has ‘major concerns’ about the state of NHS dentistry in Bradford.

 

Forty percent of children currently not visiting their dentist

Mon

Despite official dental health advice, more than 40% of children in England have not visited their dentist in the last year. The figures show that only 57.9% visited an NHS dentist, which is down by over 2% on the previous year.

Professor Nigel Hunt of the Royal College of Surgeons was quoted by The Guardian in response to the appalling figures, “There is nothing to smile about in these woeful statistics. With the average five-year-old now eating their own body weight in sugar each year, it is alarming that 42.1% of children failed to visit an NHS dentist in the last year.”

Experts are hopeful that revenue from the planned ‘sugar drinks tax’, due to take effect in 2018, will be put to good use in an attempt to tackle the growing issue of tooth decay. Dr Sandra White, of PublicHealth England, has also expressed concern over the wider arching effects that tooth decay can have on children. As well as the associated pain and dental treatment, decay can also impact on schooling, overall health and self-confidence.

She, along with other professionals, have implored parents, carers and guardians to limit the number of sugary snacks and drinks children are consuming, and to ensure that regular brushing is taking place.

 

 

 

One in four school children still suffer from tooth decay in the UK

Thu

 

According to new figures, although tooth decay in general is on the decline, a quarter of school children still develop cavities before they start primary school – this is a 20% drop since 2008 but it is still a high number for a condition that is preventable. The figures are based on over 100,000 children in the UK and they revealed that the children with the poorest levels of dental health reside in the North West of the country.

Public Health England (PHE), who released the figures, said that the drop in cases of tooth decay was ‘good news’ but that a quarter of school-age children developing decay is still too much. Dr Sandra White, director of dental public health at PHE, said that there is still a great deal of ‘inequality in dental health’ in different areas of the country.

Offering advice to parents of young children, Sandra said that ‘limiting sugary food and drink’ as well as encouraging children to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste would help to lower the instances of tooth decay even further. With better dental habits, Sandra added, parents can help prevent any problems with cavities and avoid unnecessary suffering for their children.

 

 

Public health officials tackle tooth decay in Liverpool

Tue

A new public health campaign aimed at reducing the levels of tooth decay among children in Liverpool has been announced; health officials in the city are said to be tackling the ‘alarming level’ of decay in children’s teeth, which is being blamed mainly on sugary drinks. The campaign, which is called ‘Is your child’s sweet tooth harming their health?’ will state how many sugar cubes are found in popular fizzy drinks that many children consume on a daily basis.

Public Health Liverpool states that around 2,000 children in Liverpool will require tooth extractions before they are five years old and over a third will develop some level of tooth decay. Cut-out boards to highlight the dangers of consuming too many sugary drinks will be placed in doctor’s surgeries, children’s centres, and hospitals.

Director of public health, Dr Sandra Davies, spoke to Heart about the first campaign of its kind in the local authority and said it is important for parents to get all the right information when it comes to providing treats to their children. She added that most people do not actually look at the amount of sugar in certain products and this is how the situation gets out of hand. Dr Davies also offered advice to parents on how to look after their children’s dental health to avoid the need for extractions.

 

South Yorkshires children have high levels of tooth decay

Sat

 

According to data release by the Health and Social Care Information centre, more than 6,400 children in Yorkshire were admitted to hospital with tooth decay in 2014/2015. This number means that children aged ten and under from Sheffield, Doncaster, and Rotherham are amongst those most at risk for tooth decay and tooth loss in the country.

Whilst hundreds of thousands children across the country are being admitted to hospital for tooth extractions every year, the numbers in South Yorkshire are currently among the highest overall. Sheffield is the worst hotspot, with Doncaster and Rotherham close behind. Only London had a high number of admissions at 8,362, with Yorkshire coming in at 6,413.

Professor Nigel Hunt, dean of dental surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, has said that this increase in the number of children visiting hospital for dental treatment is ‘unacceptable’ and he has called for change to improve this situation which ‘has serious social and financial implications.’ He added that oral health education needs to be improved to lower the numbers and dental professionals need to work with the government to raise awareness of the problem.

 

Dentists in India find link between obesity and tooth decay

Wed

 

Researchers in India are suggesting that they have discovered a strong link between childhood obesity and tooth decay. Dentists at the Dental Council of India (DCI) said that it would be working with the Union Ministry of Health in the country to try and combat the two problems together.

Obesity among children in India is on the rise and as a result the number of children with tooth decay has also risen sharply in recent years. DCI member Dr AK Chandna spoke to Indiatoday, saying that dentists in the country have been carrying out ‘major studies’ on the problem and the link between the two conditions, the results of which are currently being compiled. As well as poor diets leading to weigh gain and tooth decay, obese children are vulnerable to cavities due to ‘ineffective chewing’ resulting from a reduction in physical activity.

He added that the sugar intake of children in the age-group of 5-12 is very high, which is obviously linked to decay. He said that other countries, such as China, were already taking action with similar problems by limiting the sale of sugar to the general public. Dr Chandna added that the DCI is ‘working in this direction’ and was planning to ‘reach out to the health ministry for taking an appropriate step.’

 

 

Sleeping with your mouth open could lead to decay

Thu

According to new research, sleeping with your mouth open could be as bad for your teeth as fizzy drinks because it can cause decay. The study, which has been published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, shows that people who sleep with their mouths open are at greater risk of decay than those who breathe through their noses due to dangerous levels of acid building up during the night.

The research stated that saliva can naturally prevent plaque and decay from building up on the teeth; if you are sleeping with your mouth open this will generally cause the saliva to dry up and this means that the teeth are not as well protected from plaque, which can lead to decay and gum disease. Plaque is known as a ‘biofilm’ that is invisible but coats the teeth and releases acid which can cause cavities and other dental problems if treatment is not provided

Furthermore, the study showed that sleeping with the mouth open raises the levels of acidity in the mouth to a 3.6 on the PH scale, which is the same as having a fizzy drink before bed time, as it leads to plaque building up on the teeth.

 

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