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Hormone replacement therapy could reduce the risk of gum disease

Thu

Latest News

A new study has shown that hormone replacement therapy could reduce the risk of gum disease. Also known as HRT, hormone replacement therapy is usually prescribed to combat common symptoms of the menopause. However, now scientists are suggesting that there could be oral health benefits to the medication too. During the menopause, women can become more susceptible to oral health problems. This is due to a decrease in oestrogen levels. The new research has shown that HRT can help to protect women from these issues developing.

Researchers on the project studied four hundred and ninety-two women. The age range spanned from fifty to eighty-seven. The scientists discovered that gum disease was less prevalent in the one hundred and thirteen women who were undergoing HRT. There was a forty-four percent decrease in the disease in this group. These women were receiving HRT for osteoporosis.

Dr JoAnn Pinkerton, executive of the American Moenopause Society, released a statement. This explained how osteoporosis can have a knock-on effect on the whole body. One of these issues is a weakening of the jaw bone. As a result of this, women can suffer from increased risk of gum disease. However, going forward, hormone replacement therapy could reduce the risk of gum disease in this age range. This could be a valuable discovery for women’s oral health.

 

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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.

 

 

 

Bi annual dental checks can prevent pneumonia

Sat

 

Over recent weeks there has been some debate surrounding the amount of times people should visit their dentist. Last month chief dental officer, Sara Hurley, expressed concern over some dental practices putting pressure on people to attend check-ups twice a year. Her view was that once a year is adequate for people with good dental health.

However, researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University, analysed US national data on 26,000 people and found that 1.68% of those had the various bacteria responsible for pneumonia present in their mouths. This then led to findings that people who had never visited a dentist increased their risk of developing the infection by 86%, in comparison to people who had bi annual check-ups. Quoted in the Daily Mail, head researcher, Dr Michelle Doll, explained, “There is a well-documented connection between oral health and pneumonia, and dental visits are important in maintaining good oral health.”

Pneumonia causes inflammation of the lung tissue and symptoms can range from breathing issues, coughing, increased heart rate and chest pain, which can often result in a hospital stay. In some extreme cases, it can also cause disorientation and the coughing up of blood. The study shows that good dental health can reduce the number of bacteria present in the mouth, and in turn can lower the risk of the infection developing.

 

 

 

New initiative planned for oral health

Fri

Plans for a new oral health initiative have recently been revealed by chief dental officer, Sara Hurley. The new concept has been named ‘Smile4life’ and will be a national framework for all new initiatives in areas of oral health and hygiene. The plans were created following Hurley’s recent tour of NHS regions in England, where she witnessed positive collaboration between multiple agencies and health care professionals.

The new plans, in the initial stages, have a strong focus on the early year’s age group, with a view to extending this to the wider public over time. The initiative is pushing for babies to have dental check-ups by the age of one, in an effort to foster and promote positive attitudes towards dental health from a young age. There will also be a strong focus on encouraging dietary changes to reduce sugar intake in children, one of the leading causes of tooth decay.

The programme hopes to encompass and utilise many areas of oral health and establish commitment, integration and partnerships from wider professional sectors, such as, health visitors, schools, Accident and Emergency wards and GPs. The initiative also hopes to gain parental support as, presumably, they are seen as an integral part of making the initiative a success.

 

 

Sports dentistry really takes off

Mon

Sports dentistry is fast becoming recognised as a vital aspect of professional sport. Good oral health and hygiene is now starting to be seen as an essential part of an athlete’s overall health and wellbeing, which could also have a bearing on their performance.

The issue was first highlighted, on a larger scale, from the London 2012 Olympics, where an abundance of athletes demonstrated poor oral health. This became a hot topic for discussion which clearly needed addressing. Following this, a study was undertaken which investigated the overall dental and oral health of Olympic athletes, with revealed shocking results. Over 300 of the athletes in the study were found to have poor dental hygiene, an abundance of cavities and decay, tooth erosion and periodontal disease. This was seen to not only be impacting on their general health and quality of life, but also, potentially, on their performance.

Following this study, the UCL Eastman Centre for Oral Health and Performance, situated in London, was established to address the growing issue. As the centre has grown and developed, more networks have been set up to provide people with information on the subject of sports dentistry and for people who have an interest in getting into a career in the field.

 

 

 

Milton Keynes five-year-olds are improving their dental health

Wed

According to a company running programmes to educate families about dental health, the five-year-olds in Milton Keynes are improving their teeth dramatically; Central and North West London’s Oral Health Improvement Team started programmes such as ‘Smile Aware’ and ‘Healthy Early Years Award’ which aim to encourage families to help their kids look after their teeth properly.

The team are thought to have helped almost two thousand families access facilities required to improve education in this area, with 143 oral health sessions being delivered to families across Milton Keynes.

According to statistics, the tooth decay rate in five-year-olds has dropped from 25% in 2012 to 21.5%, which manager Lucie Daleki says is down to families improving their diet and helping children to ‘love their teeth.’ She called the results of the study ‘fantastic’ and said that the team were ‘pleased’ to have been part of the solution to high decay rates within this age group.

As well as encouraging good oral hygiene, the programmes focussed on ‘tooth friendly’ food and drink, and also reducing the use of bottles and dummies with young children. Additionally, the team also runs a fluoride varnish programme that has helped 254 children in the last year alone.

 

Statistics show that 24million Brits do not brush their teeth at least once a day

Sun

According to new research, a shocking number of Britons do not take their oral health seriously and fail to brush their teeth at least once a day. The report suggests that over 24 million people in Britain fail to brush regularly, despite the fact that around four in ten admit to feeling self-conscious about the way their teeth look.

Brits between the ages of 26 and 34 were the worst culprits for neglecting their dental health, with over half of respondents admitting that they did not brush at least once a day. People over the age of 55 were the most conscious brushers, with 68% brushing at least once during the day. The counties with the best oral hygiene turned out to be the north east, the south east, and East Anglia. The worst offenders were London, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

The research involved a survey of 2,000 adults in the UK, to find out how Brits feel about their teeth and also the teeth of others around them. Almost a quarter of those asked said that they were ashamed by the condition of their teeth and a shocking 40% said that they would never show their teeth while smiling.

 

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.

 

Experts warn of regional discrepancies in children’s dental health

Wed

According to dental experts there are huge regional discrepancies in the health of children’s teeth up and down the country. Sandra White, director of dental public health at Public Health England, spoke at a health select committee hearing into children’s oral health. She told the committee that the most deprived areas of the country have a greater percentage of dental decay in five-year-olds than the least deprived areas.

Dr White also said that children who develop decay when they still have their milk teeth are more likely to show signs of decay when their adult teeth come through. She added that it’s important to teach children how to effectively clean their teeth while they are young, so that they don’t have to get dental treatment in later life.

Chief dental officer for England, Barry Cockcroft, said that despite the improvement in child oral health over the past 50 years there is still a strong link between deprivation and poor dental hygiene. He told the hearing that children in deprived areas were only accessing treatment after they had developed symptoms, rather than receiving preventative care. Finally he said ‘I think we shouldn’t see this purely as a dental issue, this is a societal issue that we need to address across a broad front.’

Poor people have fewer teeth by the age of 65

Tue

According to findings published by the Journal of Dental Research, poor people in the UK have eight fewer teeth than rich people by the age of 65; it has been suggested that low wages and poor standards of living are to blame for the divide in dental health.

The study was carried out by Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust, UCL and the National Centre for Social Research. It also revealed that people who live in poor areas of the country and have lower levels of education will suffer with more with tooth decay, gum disease, and general tooth loss.

Lead author Professor Jimmy Steele, head of the dental school at Newcastle University, said that this was not a ‘big surprise’, but the effects will have a ‘big impact’ on the lives of poorer people in the UK. Senior lecturer at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL, Dr Georgios Tsakos, said that educating people living in deprived areas would help to reduce the problem. Dr Tsakos said; ‘It is not only being poor that affects their perceptions about their oral health and quality of life, but educational attainment can also make a major difference. This has profound implications for policy as intervening in earlier life could have a significant long term effect on oral health.’

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