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Could exercise be bad for your teeth?

Thu

New research from Germany has suggested that extended periods of exercise could be damaging to your teeth; the study found that the longer athletes exercised, the less saliva they produced, which causes a higher level of alkaline saliva in the mouth. The results showed that for every hour of training each week, the risk of tooth decay increased.

In the past it has been suggested that athletes have bad teeth because of the sugary sports drinks that they consume while exercising but The Times has reported that there was no link between sports drinks and tooth erosion, according to this study at least. Scientists have theorised that running could reduce the protein in saliva that protects the enamel, so drinking water could also exacerbate the problem.

However, a senior dentist at the University Hospital Heidelberg, which ran the study, said that the link between exercise and decay ‘was not strong enough to imply causation’. She added that athletes and people who run regularly should look after their teeth better to make sure that they don’t develop cavities, saying ‘there is a need for exercise-adjusted oral hygiene regimes and nutritional modifications in the field of sports dentistry.’

Sheffield dentist joins calls for reduced sugar consumption

Wed

A Sheffield dentist has backed opinions on sugar consumption in the UK and joined the call for a reduction in sugar intake to try and cut tooth decay and rising obesity levels.

Dr Nigel Rosenbaum, principal dentist at One80dental in Totley, is in support of new guidance from the World Health Organisation to halve the recommended daily sugar intake in the public’s diet, taking it down from ten per cent to five per cent, which is the equivalent of around six teaspoons.

Dr Rosenbaum called the situation ‘tragic’ as tooth decay ‘which causes so much pain and misery, is largely preventable.’ The dentist, who also teaches implant dentistry at Sheffield University, said that ‘A concerted campaign to educate children and parents and initiatives such as better food labelling would be welcome. However, it’s not just the amount of sugary drinks and confectionary children eat that is so harmful to teeth, its continuous consumption during the day.’

This comes after researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Medicine suggested that tax on sugary foods and drinks should be doubled to try and combat the rising levels of obesity and tooth decay, particularly among children.

Teeside children have some of the worst teeth in England

Wed

Shocking new figures have revealed that children in Teeside have some of the poorest records of dental health in the country. Figures released by Health and Social Care Information Centre show that the number of fillings and root canal treatments provided to children in the area are among the highest in the country, with children in Stockton, Middlesbrough coming off worst – where a child has a filling every seven minutes.

Kamini Shah, consultant in dental public health with Public Health England in the North East, said that the poor state of dental health in the Teeside area is a reflection of ‘high levels of deprivation’ and she urged parents to teach their children good hygiene habits whilst cutting down on sugary snacks, including fizzy drinks.

Children in Stockton are more than twice as likely to have had teeth removed than in England overall and the council are trying to do something about it by educating parents in the Stockton Borough on how to prevent decay and encourage good oral hygiene. A universal programme for fluoride toothpaste and toothbrushes for nursery-age children has also been rolled out recently, in an effort to get children to look after their teeth from an early age.

Stockton dentist Paran Nithiananthan said that ‘the most important thing is diet’ and added that ‘tooth decay is preventable… A lot of it comes from education but it’s really the parents and carers that have the important responsibility.’

Dentists warn that alcohol can damage teeth

Thu

According to a new survey, only sixteen percent of the general public think about the effect that alcohol is having on their dental health. Dentists have revealed that just a single glass of wine a day can dry out the mouth, cause bad breath, and increase the risk of tooth decay.

Most types of wine are extremely acidic and this can lead to a softening of the enamel, eventually causing it to wear away; enamel erosion cannot be repaired naturally and this will cause sensitivity and pain within the teeth. Carbonated wine and other fizzy alcoholic beverages are especially damaging and Dr Henry Clover, a dentist with dental insurance firm Denplan, said that adding ice to your drink will dilute the effects of the acid within the liquid, he added that you are better off choosing a non-carbonated beverage as this reduces the acid content. As well as acid, many alcoholic drinks are packed with sugar and this can cause tooth decay.

Because alcohol is a diuretic it will dehydrate the body and this reduces saliva flow into the mouth, leading to bad breath. Dr Clover recommends alternating alcoholic drinks with water to keep the body and mouth hydrated, and chewing sugar-free gum could help to stimulate saliva production, keeping the mouth moist.

300% rise in children with tooth decay in the West Midlands

Thu

Figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre have been garnering media attention over the past week, and now dentists in the West Midlands are searching for answers to what is claimed to be a 300% increase in cases of hospital stays for children with tooth decay.

Dr Nigel Carter, of the British Dental Health Foundation, has been vocal about the causes of this problem and he says that the statistics ‘beggared belief’. According to the figures, there were 456 children under the age of ten from the West Midlands area who were admitted to hospital with tooth decay over the period 2010-2011, whereas 2013-2014 saw that number rise to a shocking 1,444. Dr Carter, who practices in the area, said that the increase was ‘absolutely incredible and is indicative of a massive failure in parenting.’

Further statistics revealed that during 2010-2011, 120 under-fours from the West Midlands were admitted for dental surgery, but last year this almost trebled to 353.

One theory as to what is causing this sudden increase is the rise in immigration from people from Eastern Europe, who are bringing their families to the UK to take advantage of NHS facilities and dental treatments that they cannot afford in their home countries.

New figures show that over 25,000 British children visit hospital for dental treatment

Mon

A new report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre has revealed that more than 25,000 British children aged between five and nine have been admitted to hospital for tooth extractions as a result of tooth decay. This number is an increase of over 3,000 from 2010/2011.

The British Dental Health Foundation has spoken about this worrying trend and chief executive Dr Nigel Carter OBE, described it as ‘incredibly worrying’ and commented that it is ‘unacceptable’ that these children were not being taken to the dentist from the age of two or three, as is suggested by dental professionals. He added that a child’s first visit to the dentist should not be left until they are in pain and they need to have numerous teeth extracted to combat the decay, Dr Carter commented that this would ‘[set] the child up for a potential lifetime of poor dental health and dental phobia.’

According to the British Dental Health Foundation, the responsibility for arranging dental care lies with the parents and Dr Carter maintains that it is down to them to stick to basic oral hygiene principles to avoid problems with their child’s dental health. Finally, Dr Carter says ‘Tooth decay is entirely preventable through nothing more than a few very basic oral health messages’, including a visit to the dentist on a regular basis. Parents should also encourage children to brush their teeth every day for at least two minutes using fluoride toothpaste and reduce intake of sugary foods and drinks to protect the teeth.

Researchers create tooth paste that could prevent decay

Fri

If you dread going to the dentist or you have regular problems with decay, it could make you feel much better to know that dental researchers are busy working on ways to maintain your teeth, so that you don’t have to spend too much time in the dentist’s chair.

A new product that has been developed at the University of Leeds could help to protect against tooth decay, eliminating the need for fillings and root canals. A paste has been created by scientists to protect the outer layer of the tooth, insulating the pulp chamber at the tooth’s centre; the paste contains naturally occurring peptides that will seep into tiny holes in the tooth’s surface, reinforcing the enamel. The peptides also attract calcium from the saliva in the mouth, providing a protective layer over the teeth.

The product was initially created to treat early decay but it is thought that it could help to repair further damage that has been done to teeth with invasive cavities. Professor Jennifer Kirkham said that the team were aware that ‘the formula could provide a certain degree of repair with tooth decay’ but also added that there are hopes that the product, in the form of a paste, ‘could protect against acid attack.’

Dentists recommend a reduction in the consumption of sugar

Mon

Dentists at University College London are calling for a 75% reduction in the daily consumption of sugar, to try and stop tooth decay from rising in the UK. Research has shown that sugar intake should be cut to around four teaspoons a day – which is the equivalent to less than half a can of coke or two digestive biscuits.

The study, which is published in the Public Health Nutrition Journal, showed that processed food and drink contain a large amount of sugar and the findings could increase demand for a new ‘sugar tax’ on fizzy drinks and other unhealthy foods. Co-author of the study, Professor Aubrey Sheiham, said that ‘Tooth decay is one of the most widespread health problems and it is thought around a third of UK children aged 12 have visible tooth decay.’

The report reveals that the recent suggestion made by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that sugar consumption be reduced to 25g (six teaspoons) would not be enough to stop decay from developing. The dentists have suggested that a reduction of 74% will be needed – based on the current average intake of adults in the UK. Prof Sheiham’s co-author, obesity expert Professor Philip James, concluded that ‘Previous analyses based on children have misled public health analyses on sugars… The much greater adult burden of dental caries highlights the need for very low sugar intakes throughout life.’

Black coffee could help stop tooth decay

Fri

According to Brazilian scientists, a strong cup of black coffee could stop you from getting tooth decay. New research suggests that, if drunk in moderation without milk or sugar, the drink could fight bacteria and prevent cavities from developing in your teeth.

Researchers from Rio de Janerio’s Federal University tested extracted milk teeth using an extract from Coffea Canephora – a type of bean that is found in around 30% of coffee in the world. The results showed that the coffee actively broke down the bacterial biofilms which cause plaque to develop – a main cause of tooth decay.

Lead researcher Andrea Antonio said that the team were looking for a natural compound, found in food and drink, to have ‘a positive impact on dental health.’ Despite the results of the paper – which is published in the journal Letters in Applied Microbiology – Professor Antonio warned that this does not mean coffee should be consumed in large amounts, he added ‘whilst this is an exciting result, we have to be careful to add that there are problems associated with excessive coffee consumption, including staining and the effects of acidity on tooth enamel.’ He also warned that drinking the coffee with a lot of sugar and cream would probably lead to dental problems rather than preventing decay.

New invention could mean the end of the dentist’s drill

Mon

Patients who are terrified by the dentist’s drill could feel more comfortable about undergoing dental treatment thanks to a new invention from the technicians at King’s College London. Researchers have developed a tooth-rebuilding treatment that could be available in as little as three years; the treatment requires no injections and should be able to provide pain-free dental repair for decay and damaged teeth.

The new system, called Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation (EAER) helps the minerals of the tooth to repair and regrow after they have been damaged by decay. This means that amalgam or composite resin will no longer be needed after the decayed minerals of the affected tooth have been removed. EAER is a two-step process that involves preparing the damaged enamel to shift the minerals in the outer layer into the places where they are needed to repair the tooth, using an electrical current – the technique can also be used to whiten teeth and research is continuing into this area.

Professor Nigel Pitts, from the university’s Dental Institute, said that the current way to treat decay is ‘not ideal’, as the filling treatment is not permanent and ‘the tooth enters a cycle of drilling and re-filling.’ He added that ‘Not only is our device kinder to the patient and better for the teeth, but it’s expected to be at least as cost-effective as current dental treatments.’

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