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Category “General Dentistry”

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.

Could drawn-out bottomless brunches be putting your smile in danger?

Brunch has become something of a weekend essential in recent years. As more and more people are sharing snapshots of bottomless brunches on their social media feeds, dentists are warning of the dangers of drawn-out, all-day, all-you-can-eat weekend meals.
There’s no doubt that going out for brunch with friends or family is a great way to unwind at the weekend, but dentists are encouraging people to take note of the potential implications of drinking acidic drinks and eating sugary foods over a prolonged period of time. The concept of bottomless brunches urges you to drink and eat as much you want while taking your time. Although this may sound ideal, the rising popularity of the languid brunch isn’t good news for your teeth.
Experts have warned that lengthy meals have a negative impact on your oral health. This is because drinks like prosecco and brunch-friendly cocktails are acidic and eating over a period of time prolongs the length of acid attacks. When you eat, the bacteria in your mouth feed, and this prompts them to release acids, which weaken your tooth enamel. It takes around an hour for the enamel to harden again. If you’re grazing during the day, there is no opportunity for remineralisation to take place and the teeth will become susceptible to decay and sensitivity. Dentists have also seen an increase in cases of reflux, which contributes to enamel erosion caused by stomach acids.
Acid erosion is a problem that cannot be reversed, but it can be prevented by taking good care of your teeth and gums and avoiding eating and drinking sugary and acidic drinks between meals.
Dentists aren’t saying that you can never go out for brunch, but they are advising people to view indulgent, drawn-out meals and alcoholic breakfasts and lunches as a treat to be enjoyed once in a while rather than every weekend.

Dentists urge patients to break the habit of a lifetime, as research shows rinsing after brushing can increase the risk of decay

Many of grow up practising an oral hygiene routine, which involves putting toothpaste on the brush, adding a drop of water, cleaning, spitting and then rinsing. The trouble is that this pattern may not actually be the best regime for your teeth. As new research suggests that rinsing after brushing can elevate the risk of decay, is it time you broke the habit of a lifetime?
Rinsing is part and parcel of teeth cleaning for many people, mainly because this is what they learn to do during their childhood. When you’ve been doing something for so long, you may never even have thought to question whether your cleaning technique is effective. Now, with research studies hitting the headlines, it may be a good time to assess your oral hygiene regime and make suitable changes. You might think that rinsing is harmless, but new research suggests otherwise.
A study conducted by researchers at Dundee University claims that rinsing can increase the risk of tooth decay. Co-authored by professor of paediatric dentistry, Nicola Innes, and lecturer in paediatric dentistry, Clement Seeballuck, the study suggests that breaking the habit could reduce the risk of decay by up to 25 percent. This is because rinsing removes fluoride from the mouth. Fluoride is added to toothpaste and it helps to prevent decay by strengthening and protecting the tooth enamel. When you rinse straight after brushing, you wash away the fluoride without giving it chance to work its magic.
The paper also advised people to cut down on sugary snacks, and to try and avoid eating and drinking anything sugary or acidic between meals. When you eat, the bacteria in your mouth feed, and this causes them to produce acids that attack the enamel. The enamel softens temporarily before hardening again. If you eat throughout the day, your enamel doesn’t have a chance to recover, and the risk of decay and erosion is increased.

Simple, purse-friendly ways to get a more attractive smile in 2019

As the dust settles on the festive period, many of us will be making resolutions for the year ahead. While most tend to try and up their intake of greens and hours in the gym, there’s a lot to be said for making an effort to keep your smile in check. As surveys reveal that the majority of us consider our smile out most important feature, here are some simple, affordable ways to achieve a more attractive smile in 2019.
The best way to brighten up your smile and keep dental disease at bay is to adopt and stick to a daily oral hygiene regime. This should feature two two-minute cleaning sessions and daily flossing. When brushing, take care to cover every individual tooth, and reach right into the corners of the mouth. Electric toothbrushes are proven to be more effective at removing plaque than manual brushes, and they are available from around £15. Flossing is often neglected, but it plays an important role in promoting good oral hygiene, as it targets areas that cannot be cleaned with a brush, including the gaps between the teeth.
Diet also plays a crucial part in oral health, and after the indulgence of the Christmas holiday, it’s good to get back into the swing of healthy eating and moderate your intake of sugary foods. Try and eat a varied diet, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, whole grains and foods rich in fibre and nutrients, and ensure sweets, cakes, biscuits and chocolate bars are treats, rather than a staple part of your diet. It’s also wise to keep an eye on what you drink. Flavoured coffees, smoothies, juices and fizzy drinks often contain a vast amount of sugar.
Another brilliant resolution to make for the New Year is to see your dentist more frequently. If you tend to reach for the phone only when you have toothache or swollen gums, make it your mission to attend 6-12 monthly check-ups. Regular appointments reduce the risk of dental decay and gum disease, and they can also keep your smile looking great and minimise the risk of problems like symptoms of oral cancer being spotted at an advanced stage.

New study links mental health conditions with elevated risk of oral disease

A new study has linked mental health disorders with an elevated risk of oral diseases.
A research project, which has been published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, suggests that experiencing symptoms of illnesses, including depression, can increase the risk of gum disease.
Researchers evaluated and monitored both the mental and oral health of a group of more than 500 people from birth to the age of 30. The findings show that people who have symptoms of depression have a 20% higher risk of developing periodontal disease, an advanced form of gum disease. The study links depression with difficulty in fighting inflammation, the most common sign of severe gum disease.
Chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, said that the findings of the study highlight the importance of mental health. Several studies have linked poor oral health and physical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, but less is known about the connection between the mind and the mouth. This research underlines the significance of a healthy mind and provides an insight into how other forms of health can impact oral health.
Dr Carter also added that the study provides an interesting and useful resource and point of reference for dental professionals. Depression is an increasingly common condition in the UK, and it’s crucial that health and dental workers are able to spot signs and symptoms to support and treat patients effectively. It is estimated that around 20% of people in the UK have symptoms of anxiety or depression, but the figure may be much higher, as many cases go undiagnosed.
Depression can be a barrier for seeking any kind of medical treatment, and Dr Carter suggests that dental patients may be anxious about seeing a dentist due to phobias, a fear of the unknown, or even shame or embarrassment linked to their oral health status.

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.”

Australian vets come up with innovative orthodontic solution for a pet python with an overbite

Vets in Australia have come up with an innovative solution for a pet python with an overbite.

The owners of Toothless, a green tree python, rushed her to the vets after she sustained jaw damage while eating. Toothless was chomping on her usual fodder when her left lower jawbone folded and became dislodged in her throat. When she swallowed, the bone got stuck, and this left her with a substantial overbite. After visiting the vets urgently, Toothless’ owners were surprised to hear of the proposed solution: a makeshift brace.

The vet team at HerpVet, which is the reptile unit based at the Greencross Jindalee Veterinary Clinic, took a look at Toothless and decided to exercise their creativity and come up with a design for special braces. The snake brace was crafted using a paperclip, which was attached to the scales using glue.

Sharing the story on Facebook, the team from HerpVets said that Toothless’ jaw may have been weaker than usual, as she had recently laid eggs and this was her first feed. After dislocating the lower jaw, the bone lay in an awkward position. Due to the diminutive size and fragility of the bone, it wasn’t possible to operate and a brace was fitted instead.

The moulded paperclip appliance was reapplied after it fell off the day after Toothless’ consultation, and it then remained in place until she shed, which gave the jaw time to heal and the much-loved pet time to recover. Toothless was provided with calcium supplements and she will not be given food for a period of around 2 weeks before her final X-ray, which will hopefully confirm that the jaw has strengthened fully. The unique story of Toothless and her brace has been shared by many online, and several people have praised the innovation of the vet team.

How often should you be going to the dentist?

A health watchdog based in Yorkshire has recently launched a project, which aims to free up dental appointments by encouraging patients to attend check-ups less frequently. Many of us believe that it’s necessary to attend checks every 6 months, but how often do you really need to go to the dentist?

For many years, it has been assumed that six-monthly check-ups are recommended for all, but a growing number of dental experts believes that the frequency of visits can be reduced without harming oral health. England’s chief dental officer, Sara Hurley, suggested that 6-monthly checks were not essential for all patients, and NICE guidelines recommend checks every 3-24 months depending on the patient’s oral health status. While those who are prone to dental health problems may need to attend appointments every 3-6 months, those with a very low risk of oral issues may not need to see a dentist for 2 years after their most recent check-up.

The new project in Yorkshire is certain to get people talking about the frequency of dental visits, and it will be interesting to see the results of the pilot. Healthwatch Kirklees, which is working with NHS departments and local dentists, is hoping to encourage patients to communicate with their dentists to determine how often they should go to the surgery, rather than relying on advice, which isn’t tailored to the individual.

The advice from dental experts is to check with your dentist. If you haven’t been for a routine appointment in the last 9 months, it’s probably a good idea to book a check-up in the near future. Once your dentist has examined your mouth, they will be able to tell you when you will need to return for your next appointment. If you get a clean bill of health, and everything looks good, you may not need to go back for another 9-24 months.

Four Summer Foods For a Healthy Smile

Summer has finally arrived, and we’re basking in beautiful sunshine. When warm weather descends, it’s common to embrace seasonal foods and drinks and classic summer staples. While some foods and drinks can be bad for your teeth, there are lots of options that can be beneficial for your oral health. If you’re keen to keep your smile in check this summer, here are 4 summer foods for healthy teeth and gums:

  1. Natural yoghurt: when it’s hot outside, you don’t want a bowl of sponge and custard. If you’re looking for a light summer alternative that tastes great and is also good for your teeth, look no further than natural yoghurt. This is a dessert option that is high in calcium, which is essential for healthy bones, teeth and nails. If you have a sweet tooth, add a spoonful of honey or a few berries.
  2. Strawberries: strawberries are a British summer classic. The good news is that strawberries don’t just taste amazing. They contain vitamins that are good for your teeth and gums, and their rough skin also acts as a natural stain remover.
  3. Cheese: it’s picnic season and what better addition to a basket containing fresh bread and salad than a wedge of cheese? Cheese is beneficial for your teeth because it contains calcium and it has a high pH value. This can help to neutralise acids in your mouth, reducing the risk of enamel erosion.
  4. Leafy greens: in the summer, many of us enjoy a salad when it comes to lunch and dinner times. Leafy greens are an excellent source of fibre and vitamins, but they also contain calcium.


If you’re looking for more ideas or inspiration to design a tooth-friendly summer diet, don’t hesitate to get in touch! Our dental team will be happy to help!

Advanced Toothbrush Manufacturer Quip Purchases Dental Plan Start-up

shutterstock_52406422Quip, a manufacturer of advanced sleek looking toothbrushes nicknamed the “Tesla of Toothbrushes” has acquired Afora, a dental plan startup, a move that the company’s CEO claims is about getting more people to go to the dentist on a regular basis.

The move, whilst unusual on the face of it, comes in the wake of several healthcare companies acquiring and moving into other healthcare markets, with hospitals getting into pharmaceuticals, insurers owning doctor’s offices and pharmacies owning insurers.

Quip and Afora are healthcare startups aimed at disrupting the toothbrush industry and the American dental plan market.

Quip is a subscription service that offers a streamlined electric toothbrush for $25, and regular supplies of brushes and toothpaste are available at $5 every three months.

Afora on the other hand, offer a dental plan that, for $25 gives access to a network of dentists (currently New York City-based) that includes two hygiene appointments, annual exams and X-Rays, focusing on preventative dental services. After this, Afora have negotiated prices if a procedure is required.

Quip has also in recent months announced it has received $22 million in funding and has a ubiquitous presence on the New York Subway.

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