October 15th, 2010
The eyes of the world have been on the San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile in recent months, as the bid to rescue the 33 miners trapped over 700m underground continued. With the difficult operation finally proving successful in the last few days attention has now turned to the mental and physical wellbeing of the men who spent over sixty days in the mine before being pulled through a tiny borehole to safety.
Amazingly, only one of the men was suffering from a serious medical condition. The eldest, 63-year-old Mario Gomez, developed pneumonia while in the mine but is already responding well to treatment. Of the other miners, some are suffering from fungal skin complaints, which were anticipated because of their hot and humid living conditions underground. All of the men will have to continue wearing the sunglasses they were provided with during the rescue while they adjust to the light and there is, as yet, no way of knowing what psychological problems they may suffer in the future because of their ordeal.
One of the most common physical problems suffered by the rescued men was gingivitis and other minor dental problems. This is hardly surprising considering the length of time they were in the mine, without access to proper dental hygiene equipment. Some have suffered severe decay and have had to undergo dental surgery to remove the offending teeth. Many of the men are expected to be released from hospital in the coming days, once any treatment they require is complete and doctors are satisfied that they will make a full recovery. Those continuing to suffer from mouth infections will be sent home with antibacterial mouthwash to treat the gingivitis and other conditions, as well as being monitored closely over the next few months by a number of local healthcare professionals.
October 6th, 2010
Poor lifestyle choices are raising the risk of developing oral cancer for young adults, new research has shown.
Drinking, smoking and unhealthy eating – popular habits for young adults with fast-track lifestyles – have been found to be partly to blame for the doubling in instances of mouth, throat and food pipe cancers arising in young adults. Such upper aero-digestive tract cancers are responsible for 10,000 deaths per year in the UK and greater than 100,000 across Europe.
Researchers at Aberdeen University carried out a five year research project given money by a European Union grant following the discovery of the steady but significant increase in young people suffering from such cancers.
The research looked at 350 patients below 50 who were suffering from upper aero-digestive tract cancers and compared them with 400 patients who hadn’t had these diseases. The study showed that in 9 out of 10 instances of the disease, the patient regularly took part in unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking. The patient’s diet was also lacking in fruit and vegetables – the main providers of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to build new tissue, fight off infection and to generally stay healthy. Such lifestyle choices are already proven to contribute to tumours in the elderly.
Gary Macfarlane, professor of epidemiology and leader of the study, said: “The results of our study further emphasise that the message we need to be communicating to the public remains the same – that smoking, drinking and diet are the major triggers of these diseases at all ages.”
For young people with an interest in their future health it should be vital that any bad habits are nipped in the bud whilst they are still reasonably new. It has never been easier to stop smoking or maintain a healthy diet than it is today with the masses of help and advice out there, much of it free of charge. It may seem like a mammoth task to kick any habit but by taking on this challenge now you could well be saving yourself from an enormous challenge in the future should you be unfortunate enough to develop the big C as a result of your poor lifestyle choices that are so simply changed with a little time and effort.
September 20th, 2010
China is launching a campaign to improve standards of oral health amongst children.
The campaign will be launched today as part of the annual National Day for Dental Care celebrations.
The new strategy will include the introduction of preventative treatments, including sealant treatments, to help strengthen children’s teeth and make them more resistant to decay further down the line. Investing in preventative treatments will help to improve standards of oral health amongst children as well as reducing the cost of dental care in the future; children who have sealant or fluoride varnish treatments are less likely to need complex, expensive dental treatment further down the line.
Standards of dental health amongst Chinese children are poor; the results of the third oral health epidemiological survey show that two thirds of five year olds have cavities and 97 percent of these children do not receive treatment, meaning their condition will get gradually worse.
Dentists in China say there is a widespread lack of understanding about the importance of good oral health for good general health; many people are not aware of the health implications of poor oral health and are consequently neglecting their teeth and gums. Numerous recent studies have confirmed a strong connection between poor oral health and poor general health, with those suffering from dental health problems more likely to develop serious medical conditions, inclduign heart disease and diabetes.
Many dentists also claim that children are eating sweet foods immediately before they go to bed and this is contributing to high rates of decay; during the night the teeth are at their weakest and damaged to the enamel is maximised. Many parents are giving their children sweet foods and drinks before bed and the children are not brushing their teeth until the next day. Dentists are keen to stress the important of good oral hygiene and a healthy diet to prevent the rates of tooth decay increasing further; many are urging parents to be more conscious of oral health and take their children to see a dentist on a regular basis.
September 17th, 2010
A research team from the Indiana University School of Dentistry has found no connection between the two most common childhood illnesses, asthma and cavities.
Dr Gerardo Maupome, from Indiana University, led the research team; the project included data from 27 different studies relating to asthma and tooth decay. The team concluded there was very little evidence to support the notion that asthma contributes to tooth decay. Dr Maupome claims that poor clinical treatment and management of cases may contribute to both health conditions but there was no substantial evidence to support a link between the two.
Dr Maupome said that some studies actually showed that children with asthma had fewer cavities than children without asthma; this may be due to the fact that parents of children with asthma are more likely to take them to regular medical and dental appointments.
The findings and results of the study have been published in the Journal of the American Dental Association.