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Dental guidelines change following Sheffield University research


Sheffield University’s research into the effects of antibiotics on patients with heart conditions has brought about changes to the national dentistry guidelines. The research was funded by the charity Heart Research UK, and conducted by Professor Martin Thornhill.

The original guidelines, recommended by the national health body NICE, stated that patients ‘at risk’ of heart conditions should not receive antibiotics when undergoing dental treatment. The research carried out by Profession Thornhill and the University’s School of Clinical Dentistry investigated whether or not patients who are classed as ‘at risk’ of the condition should be routinely given antibiotics during treatment. Their findings showed an increase in the life threatening condition ‘infective endocarditis’ since the original guidelines were recommended back in 2008.

Following the findings, NICE had decided not to change the guidelines, however, due to pressure from academic staff and Heart Research UK, the national health body decided to change their recommendations in line with the new research. Professor Thornhill was quoted by the Sheffield Star as saying, “This change is most welcome. It lifts the ban on giving antibiotic prophylaxis to protect patients at risk of endocarditis and permits dentists and cardiologists to act in the best interests of patients at greatest risk of this devastating disease by providing them with the protection that is standard care in the rest of the world.”




Watchdog suggests that teachers help children to brush their teeth at school


According to health watchdog NICE – National Institute for Health and Care Excellence – the dental health of children in the UK can be improved by encouraging teachers to show them how to brush whilst at school. NICE blamed the high number of rotten teeth on parents allowing children to eat and drink products high in sugar and suggested that primary school teachers should hold supervised brushing sessions at least once a day.

Some teaching unions are not in agreement and maintain that it is the parent’s responsibility to teach children to brush their teeth, citing a reduction in learning time if this guideline is enforced.

The government group says that there is still a heightened level of decay among poorer households in the UK and professor Mike Kelly, director of the Centre for Public Health at NICE, said that ‘as a society we should help parents and carers give their children the best start in life and act now to stop the rot before it starts.’

The new guidelines recommend a brushing session once a day for children under eleven years of age, which may be the only time some children brush their teeth during the day.

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