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Category “Dental News”

American researchers link oral bacteria to colon cancer progression


Researchers in America have established a link between a form of common oral bacteria and the acceleration of colon cancer.

A team from the College of Dental Medicine at Columbia University found that a common strain of oral bacteria, which is linked to tooth decay, can also contribute to colon cancer progression. F.nucleatum, which is often found in dental plaque, could play an instrumental role in the pace of colon cancer growth. Colon cancer is currently the second deadliest form of cancer in the US.

Yiping H Wan, study leader and professor of microbial sciences, explained that genetic mutations play a significant role in the development and spread of cancerous cells, but there are other factors to consider, including the presence of microbes. Scientists discovered that around a third of colon cancer cases are associated with the strain, and those were found to be more aggressive than others, but until now, it was not known why this was the case.

In a previous study, Han and his team discovered that the bacterium produced a molecule known as FadA adhesion, which was found to stimulate growth in cancerous cells, but not in healthy tissue. Prof Han wanted to build on the findings of that study and determine why F.nucleatum only triggered growth in cancerous cells. The most recent study focused on this interaction, and researchers found that non-cancerous cells lack a protein called Annexin A1, which stimulates growth. Using in-vitro trials, which were followed by trials involving mice, they determined that prohibiting Annexin 1 function prevented F.nucleatum from binding to cancerous cells. Subsequently, this slowed growth.

In light of their findings, Prof Han and the team are now looking for ways to use Annexin 1 as a biomarker for advanced, aggressive cancers and to utilise the study as a base for developing potential treatment options.

Dentists support Fizz Free February campaign

The British Dental Association has lent its support to a campaign, which was originally launched by Southwark Council in 2018. Fizz Free February is designed to encourage people to abstain from fizzy drinks throughout the month of February. The scheme is now part of NHS England’s Sugar Smart campaign.
Jane Avis, cabinet member for families, health and social care at Croydon Council, explained that giving up fizzy drinks was a simple way to reduce sugar intake and also cut spending. Giving up a daily bottle of soft drinks could save the average person more than £430 per year and dramatically decrease sugar intake. Many drinks contain more than the recommended daily intake in a single serving. Almost 80% of cans contain at least 6 teaspoons of sugar.
The British Dental Association is getting behind the campaign, which targets children and young adults, in a bid to stem rising rates of decay and encourage people to make positive lifestyle choices. Mick Armstrong, chair, said that prevention is key to reducing rates of decay. The effects of excessive sugar consumption are clear for dentists to see on a daily basis, and cutting out fizzy drinks could make a huge difference to standards of oral health moving forward. Fizzy drinks are laden with sugar, and they’re also acidic, meaning that they represent a double whammy in terms of enamel damage.
The Fizz Free February campaign has also been endorsed by health secretary, Matt Hancock, TV chef, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Labour MP, Tom Watson.
The idea behind the campaign is incredibly simple and it’s similar to Stoptober and Dry January. If people can cut out fizzy drinks for a period of time, there’s every chance that they will reduce their intake drastically in the future and, hopefully, make choices that are healthier and more nutritious.

As attendance rates fall, how often should you be seeing your dentist?

New figures for attendance rates have sparked debate among patients, professionals and dental organisations, but do you know how often you should see your dentist? Recent figures suggest that more than 55% of adults in London haven’t seen a dentist in the last two years, while more than 40 percent of children in England didn’t see a dentist last year.
In some cases, low attendance may be linked to poor access to services, but the vast majority of people should be able to get an appointment with a local dentist without a significant waiting period. In light of this, it’s worth talking about how often you need to see a dentist. Recently, dentists, including England’s chief dental officer, have spoken about reducing the frequency of dental visits, but there may be an element of confusion related to this advice.
The message dentists are eager to put across is the importance of seeing a dentist on a basis that is suitable for the individual patient. If you have strong, healthy teeth and a very low risk of decay and gum disease, you may only be advised to see your dentist once every year. If, however, you have existing dental issues or a high risk of developing conditions like gum disease, it is likely that you’ll be encouraged to attend appointments at least once every 6 months. Dentists also want to urge patients to be mouth aware and to seek advice if they notice any changes or any potentially dangerous symptoms, such as bleeding and swollen gums, slow-healing mouth ulcers, abnormal inflammation, lumps or tooth pain. In this case, patients are advised to call and make an appointment as quickly as possible, rather than waiting until their next scheduled check-up.
For children, dentists advise 6-monthly appointments. Routine checks are an effective means of preventing decay and infection, but they also flag up early signs of cavities and enable children to get used to going to the dentist.

London’s Mayor announces junk food advertising ban on the tube

The Mayor of London has announced plans to implement a ban on junk food advertising on the tube.
Under new guidelines, adverts for products that are high in fat, salt, and sugar will not be permitted on the underground. The ban will also include overground stations and bus stations and stops.
Sadiq Khan said that the measure would hopefully help to combat the “ticking time bomb” of childhood obesity in the city and contribute to healthier lifestyle choices and lower rates of dental disease. Tube stations and bus stops currently feature posters advertising items and products from fast food meals and chocolate bars to fizzy pop and energy drinks. The new ban will reduce exposure to junk food advertising for people who travel on the underground or via buses or trains on a regular basis.
Studies show that advertising can have a significant influence on consumer habits, and ministers are clamping down on advertising across the board. There are already bans in place at certain times of the day on TV, and shops and supermarkets are also being urged to eradicate displays of sugary and fatty foods close to the tills.
The TFL ban will come into play on the 25th February and will cover all areas and networks that are managed by TFL.
A consultation on the matter revealed widespread support for the ban. Of the 1,500 survey respondents, 82% supported the idea.
Mayor Khan said that it was crucial to take “tough action” to tackle preventable childhood illnesses, such as obesity, and stated that preventing exposure to advertising would make a difference, not just to children, but also to their parents and carers.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, described the ban as an “important step in the right direction.”

British Dental Association raises concerns over a lack of dental funding

The British Dental Association has raised concerns over a lack of funding for NHS dental services. According to research cited by the BDA, real-term spending on dental care has fallen by £7.50 per head in England.

A new study shows that spending on NHS dental care has decreased, despite the fact that charges for treatment have risen by up to 80 percent. The BDA suggests that a shortage of cash is now contributing to problems with access to NHS treatment, with many patients across the country finding it difficult to get an appointment with a local dentist.

Chair of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee, Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, has accused successive governments of failing to provide sufficient funding for an affective NHS dental care system and criticised ministers for hiking charges at the same time as cutting budgets. The BDA also claims that the government has been extremely slow to bring about changes in the dental contract and stated that NHS dental services shouldn’t be a “postcode lottery.”

A recent investigation showed that 24 local authorities in England currently have no dental practices accepting new NHS adult patients. Recently, it was revealed that no clinics are taking on new patients in Jeremy Hunt’s constituency, South West Surrey, and the BDA is hoping that this will spur on a response to a situation that is getting worse by the day.

Could a new dental repair drug spell the end of fillings?

shutterstock_535946473Scientists from King’s College London are hopeful that a new tooth repair drug could spell the end for fillings. A team of researchers has discovered that chemicals contribute to the repair of small cavities in mice teeth, and there are high hopes that the same results could be achieved in humans.

The study, which has been published in Scientific Reports, documents trials using a drug called Tideglusib. Researchers soaked a sponge in the drug, and then evaluated the impact on mice. They found that the drug contributed to “complete, effective, natural repair” of small holes in mice teeth. The drug was found to increase the activity of stem cells within the tooth pulp, which resulted in the restoration of holes measuring 0.13mm. Researchers found that once the sponge that was inserted into the cavity broke down, it was substituted by the dentine, and this resulted in an accelerated healing process.

Researcher Prof Paul Sharpe, claimed that the key aspect was the biodegradable sponge. The sponge disintegrates, and the space it leaves becomes filled with important minerals, which enables the dentine to regenerate. The outcome is a repaired cavity, and nothing left behind, which could cause problems further down the line.

The team is now hoping to investigate whether the method could be adopted to repair larger, deeper holes.

Prof Sharpe is hopeful that the treatment could be available in the next 3-5 years, such is the speed of development of regenerative medicine. Tideglusib has already trialled as a treatment for dementia.

Dentists call for an end to workplace ‘cake culture’

Cake Culture

Dental experts are calling for an end to the workplace ‘cake culture’ in a bid to reduce the prevalence of public health problems, including dental disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Members of the Faculty of Dental Surgery claim that grazing on cakes and biscuits at work is contributing to serious health problems in society. People are increasingly likely to turn up to work with unhealthy snacks and treats, putting them at risk of a host of preventable health issues.

Dean of the faculty, Prof Nigel Hunt, said that we’ve become a nation of grazers that uses cakes and other sweet treats as a means of cheering co-workers up, celebrating occasions and rewarding colleagues. The sentiments are positive, but the reality is that a growing number of people are experiencing health problems related to their diet and lifestyle choices. The faculty has advised the public to keep an eye on sugar consumption and to find alternative snacks. There’s nothing wrong with having a slice of cake from time to time, but experts are worried that we’ve created a culture where eating foods that are bad for you is the norm, rather than a one-off treat.

Former Great British Bake Off contestant, Jane Beedle, said that a little bit of cake now and again wasn’t going to “kill anyone”, and insisted that cake should bring happiness to the office. However, she added that it was important to learn not to just stuff anything in your mouth without thinking about it. There’s a tendency to graze on anything that’s available, especially at this time of year, and it’s beneficial to work out whether they are actually “worth the calories.”

A quarter of Brits would rather attempt DIY dental work than go to the dentist, survey shows

shutterstock_138700625A new survey has revealed that a quarter of Brits has attempted DIY dental work as a result of a fear of going to the dentist.
A poll, which involved 2,000 people, suggested that those living in the north western cities of Manchester and Liverpool were most likely to attempt treatment at home rather than making an appointment at the surgery. Of those surveyed, 25 percent admitted that they had tried home remedies, and 19 percent of people living in Manchester and Liverpool said that they would rather try dental DIY than go to the dentist. Fifteen percent of Londoners claimed that they would put off a trip to the dental practice in favour of trying at-home repairs.
The survey, which was carried out by Sapphire Braces, also suggested that almost 30 percent of people made an appointment, only to cancel it late in the day.
The most common fears among dental patients were the dental drill and needles; 24 percent of respondents admitted that the sound of the drill made them feel anxious while 13 percent feared injections.
Although dental fear was a factor for many patients, a high proportion of participants also suggested that the cost of treatment put them off attending regular appointments. More than forty percent of those surveyed said that price was a factor. Some people also expressed fears about needing follow up appointments and further treatment.

Would you buy a Dyson toothbrush? Innovative inventor reveals latest project

shutterstock_354663890When you hear the name Dyson, you probably think of hoovers, but that could be able to change. Sir James Dyson, one of the world’s most prolific inventors, has revealed that his latest project is a state of the art toothbrush.

The Dyson firm, which is owned by the innovative inventor, has applied for several patents for its new super brush, which features a powerful water jet within the bristles. The aim of the jet is to disperse and remove food debris. The patent applications relate to a “dental cleaning appliance”, which features a delivery system that provides frequent bursts of water to banish bits of food and bacteria. It is also believed that the brushing device could be used as a flossing aid when used without the bristles.

The high-tech brush features a reservoir, which is located between the handle and the brush head. This reservoir is filled with water, which is released when triggered by a light sensor or a camera; this results in several short bursts during brushing. The sensor would ensure that water is released only when the brush is in position between the user’s teeth.

The new brush design also features six modes and the head can oscillate up to 6,000 times per minute. There’s also talk of an additional feature, which prevents brushing too hard, a major cause of enamel wear.

So far, no additional information, such as the recommended retail price or release date, is available.

Public Health Wales issues warning over rising mouth cancer rates

Figures released by Public Health Wales show that mouth cancer is becoming increasingly prevalent.

The latest statistics show an increase in the number of recorded cases; however, there has been an improvement in one-year survival rates. There has been little change in five-year survival figures.

The report also revealed that more cases are being diagnosed, but most are at an advanced stage, which explains why five-year survival rates have stalled. Like most forms of cancer, the later mouth cancer is diagnosed, the lower the chances of successful treatment.

Director of the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Dyfed Wyn Huws, describe the situation as “worrying”, especially as smoking rates are falling in Wales. Smoking is a major risk factor for mouth cancer, but obviously, there are other factors that people need to be wary of, such as alcohol consumption and exposure to HPV (human papilloma virus) infection.

Consultant in dental public health, Anup Karki, said that it was imperative to try and improve early diagnosis rates to boost survival statistics. Early diagnosis means early treatment, and this means doctors can hopefully target cancers before they spread.

Warning signs to look out for include swelling and abnormal lumps in the mouth or throat, red or white patches in the mouth, loose teeth without history of gum disease, and ulcers that take a long time (more than 2 weeks) to heal. If you notice any of these signs, see your GP or your dentist. It’s also essential to attend routine check-ups. Dentists are trained to spot the early signs of mouth cancer, and they perform routine checks every time you have an appointment.

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