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Dentists call for sugary drinks to be removed from schools


Leading dentists have called for all sugary drinks, including energy drinks, to be banned from schools to try and prevent or reduce tooth decay; a condition that affects around a quarter of children of school age. Crisps, sweets, and fizzy drinks have already been removed from schools run by the council but energy drinks have only been banned by two schools in the north of England so far, according to information from the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF).

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the BDHF said that sugary drinks were responsible for large amounts of dental decay among children. He called the changes at some schools ‘refreshing’ and added that ‘proposals such as the introduction of a duty on sugary drinks and brands reducing the amount of sugar in their soft drinks have both been mooted in the last twelve months. If we can build on these foundations, there will be an inevitable reduction in consumption and benefits for both general and dental health.’

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said that a review was currently being undertaken, designed to create ‘revised school food standards to make sure children are always served healthy, nutritional meals at school.’

London researchers receive prize for new product that relieves toothache


A team of researchers at the University of London have won a prize for developing a new product that could bring relief to people suffering with toothache; the degradable particle enters holes in the teeth and dissolves to form vital minerals that help to rebuild the tooth – reducing pain and repairing damage from dental decay and enamel erosion.

Professor Robert Hill, team leader, was thrilled to have won the £25,000 Venture Prize for the innovation; the science award is presented by the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers. Prof Hill released a statement explaining how the product works, he said ‘These new particles dissolve faster than existing ones and are also softer than tooth enamel. They have a more expanded open structure and this allows water to go into the glass structure faster and the calcium and phosphate ions to come out faster.’

He also added that the money would help the team develop the research into commercial products, so that the findings can benefit the general public – specifically by beginning testing with a prototype toothpaste containing the particle.

Professor Bill Bonfield, chairman of the awarding body, said that ‘this is a hugely exciting development which could benefit millions of people not only throughout the UK and Europe but right across the world. It meets our aim to encourage innovative scientific entrepreneurship in the UK and provide funding, which is often difficult to source, to bring new materials like this to the market.’

Dental experts say tooth decay in Welsh children is ‘still too high’


Although there has been a drop in the number of children in Wales who have problems with their teeth, dental health experts are adamant that tooth decay is still a huge cause for concern.

A recent survey revealed that 41% of children aged five and under experienced dental decay at some stage during the period 2011-12, which represents a 6% decrease from 2007-08. Despite this improvement, chief dental officer David Thomas said that the levels of decay were ‘still too high’ and he has launched a five year plan to improve oral health in Cardiff, saying ‘Prevention is at the core of the plan. This is one of our major goals, together with the need to raise awareness of people’s responsibility in taking care of their own oral health.’

The National Oral Health Plan found that over 9,600 children underwent a tooth extraction from 2010-11, with the use of general anaesthetic – a number that was found to be ‘unacceptable for what is an almost totally preventable disease.’ A spokesperson went on to add that ‘this was one reason for the launch of Designed to Smile in 2008 and why we will continue to support the programme.’ Designed to Smile teaches children how to look after their teeth properly and explains the benefits of using fluoride toothpaste when brushing – which helps prevent decay.

Over a million children in Britain have tooth decay


Shocking statistics have shown that more than one million British children under five have at least two fillings; in a study based on children between the ages of two and twelve, 17% of parents admitted that their child has at least three filling, 13% said they have at least one filling, and a staggering 47% of children under twelve have some level of dental decay.

The study also showed that 2% of the parents asked said that their children never bothered to brush their teeth, and 12% are aware of the fact that their youngsters lie about brushing their teeth regularly. The research was carried out by toothpaste giant Aquafresh and it also revealed that 6% of children have never been to see the dentist. Leading dentist Dr Tina Tanna said ‘the results are shocking but not wholly surprising – dental decay is one of the most preventable diseases in the UK. Dental decay can lead to complications such as tooth loss so it’s vital kids learn to brush properly to prevent later issues with their adult teeth.’

A further 5% of mothers admitted that they were embarrassed to take their child to the dentist after a long period of time because they feel they will be judged. Brand manager of Aquafresh, Katharine Osmond, understands the pressure parents feel in this type of situation and commented that ‘we all need help and support from time to time, and hopefully our fun and inventive tips will come in handy.’

Scientists say seaweed could help fight tooth decay


According to research carried out by scientists at Newcastle University, microbes found on seaweed could provide a vital weapon in the fight against dental decay; an enzyme from the marine bacterium Bacillus licheniformis has various medical applications and was originally discovered when the team were studying cleaning methods for ships hulls.

Dr Nicholas Jakubovics of the University’s School of Dental Sciences has suggested that the enzyme could be used with several treatments to combat decay, saying that toothpaste is not always effective with plaque and this means that even people who look after their teeth well can still develop cavities. He added that the research ‘has shown that this enzyme can cut through the plaque or layer of bacteria and we want to harness this power into a paste, mouthwash, or denture cleaning solution.’

Leader of the study, Professor Burgess, was amazed by the efficiency of the enzyme as it broke down the plaque and removed the bacteria, whilst also preventing the build-up to begin with. ‘If we can contain it within a toothpaste, we would be creating a product which could prevent tooth decay,’ he says, adding that ‘this is just one of the uses we are developing for the enzyme as it has huge potential such as in helping clean medical implants such as artificial hips and speech valves, which also suffer from bio film infection [as teeth do].’

New project to improve children’s teeth in Northern Ireland


A report last month suggested that the children in Northern Ireland have the worst teeth in the UK, and now a new research project has been launched to try and treat tooth decay in the countries younger generation. About 1,200 children between the ages of two and four have been selected take part in medical trials that are the first of their kind in Western Europe. Health minister Edwin Poots will be overseeing completion of the initial testing stages this week.

Head of dental studies at the health board, Michael Donaldson, has commented that dental decay is a serious problem in the country, saying ‘this project is really trying to prevent disease among young children.’ He then went on to explain the trial process in a bit more detail; ‘What we are really doing is painting a little, thick varnish on teeth which contains fluoride and that will hopefully prevent dental decay developing. If it does develop, it can help reverse it.’

He also added that the problem of tooth decay tends to come from a combination of bad diet – such as sugary snacks and drinks – and bad oral hygiene, but he maintained that it is more important to provide treatment than apportion blame; ‘We don’t want to blame parents,’ he said, ‘we want to support them. This is why this trial, which is really another form of support of parents, is so important.’

Cheers actress asks fans for advice


Kirstie Alley is joining the long list of celebrities who are having dental problems of late, she’s in the company of Kim Kardashian, Hulk Hogan, and The Saturday’s member Una Healey, but the actress has decided to pursue an alternative route to recovery, by asking her fans for advice on how to proceed with treatment.

After finding out she needed a root canal filling, the 61-year-old – who celebrated her birthday just last week – took to her Twitter page to ask her followers if they knew a good dentist, or if they could provide her with any tips for avoiding an extraction. Kirstie seemed anxious to avoid any kind of surgical treatment and could even be called slightly hysterical, as she tweeted ‘Good Morning!!!! Who needs a root canal??? I do!! I do!!…ugh. Hey!! Any great dentists on here with advice?? Pros and Cons of root canals… and other solutions?? Love an alternative…Not extraction.’

Unfortunately for the Cheers star, dental decay has taken hold on one of her teeth, with a large cavity opening up and causing her problems, and it’s likely that she won’t be able to avoid that dentist’s drill, especially since she’s not enthusiastic about having the offending tooth pulled out. Her followers were at a loss to give her helpful pointers, as a root canal is often a last resort before extraction, to prevent infection spreading to the rest of the teeth.

Emergency dentistry news: Prevention ‘is key for good oral health’


Emergency dentistry news: Prevention 'is key for good oral health'People who need emergency dentistry may be reassured by the fact that good oral hygiene can have a positive effect on overall health.

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums through adopting an effective hygiene routine can help the body resist disease as well as promote healing.

Eating a healthy nutritional diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables makes teeth and gums stronger and therefore increases the body's immunity.

This is echoed by Simcoe Muskoka's medical officer of health Dr Charles Gardner who advises people to chew sugar-free gum after meals to improve oral health.

High amounts of bacteria in the mouth have been linked to diabetes and pneumonia as well as heart disease and stroke.

Along with this, failing to brush teeth and floss regularly could lead to dental decay which can result in infection and serious pain if left untreated.

This news comes after Japanese scientists found a link between poor oral hygiene and increased risks of stroke.

Scientists recommended flossing as a method of improving the conditions of teeth and gums as well as avoiding wider health risks. ADNFCR-2621-ID-800510100-ADNFCR

People who avoid dentist ‘more likely to need emergency dentistry’


People who avoid dentist 'more likely to need emergency dentistry'People who avoid attending regular dental appointments are more likely to have decaying teeth which could lead to emergency dentistry, a report has suggested.

Research conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) found that people who did not visit the dentist had more than three times the level of tooth decay than those who attend regular check-ups, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Entitled Dental Attendance Patterns and Oral Health Status, the report also revealed those participants who avoided dental health visits had on average 1.6 more missing teeth due to decay.

The chances of contracting gum disease were also significantly increased by people who do not attend oral health check-ups – which could result in emergency dentistry procedures.

Professor John Spencer of AIHW's dental statistics and research unit said: "Those seeking regular dental check-ups were more likely to have dental decay treated promptly, which led to less untreated decay, fewer extractions and more teeth restored."

About Dental Care advises people to attend regular dental appointments to prevent oral cancer and avoid tooth loss.ADNFCR-2621-ID-800509827-ADNFCR

Emergency dentistry prevention scheme rolled out in Wales


A scheme in Wales hopes to reduce emergency dentistry cases.A scheme designed to prevent a future need for emergency dentistry has been rolled out in schools across Wales.

Designed to Smile will be presented to 30,000 pupils in a bid to improve children's oral health, teach them how to brush their teeth effectively and halt the threat of decay.

Free toothbrushes and toothpaste will also be distributed to get youngsters into the habit of regular cleaning and polishing.

Health minister Edwina Hart told the Western Mail: "By targeting these children, Designed to Smile will deliver a range of preventative care interventions for children in schools and nurseries to help reduce the risk of dental decay."

This comes after research from the Office for National Statistics published last month showed that emergency dentistry may be more common in Wales than in the rest of the UK, as one in ten people in the country have no natural teeth.

Some 20 per cent reported that they cannot eat comfortably because they have dental problems.

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