October 2nd, 2019
A dental health scheme is helping Scotland win the war on childhood tooth decay.
New figures from the department of health showed a significant long-term decrease in the number of children needing fillings and extractions.
Since 2000-01 the number of fillings given to children has fallen 62% from 774,762 to 298, 192 in 2019-19.
Meanwhile, the number of tooth extractions has fallen 35% from 133,000 to 86,000.
Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “These figures show a significant reduction in both the number of fillings given to children as well as the number of teeth extracted.
“This reflects the substantial impact the Scottish Government’s Childsmile Programme has made in improving the oral health of children.
“Our Oral Health Improvement Plan, with its strong focus on prevention and reducing oral health inequalities, will help to ensure further reductions in the need for restorative treatment.”
Delivered by health professionals in the education, voluntary and health sectors, ChildSmile is a nationwide project aimed at improving children’s dental health.
It provides practical advice on brushing and encourages children to do so for at least two minutes at a time.
The programme also advises youngsters to spit instead of rinsing after brushing to allow the toothpaste time to protect teeth.
March 13th, 2019
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.
June 27th, 2018
A new study has revealed alarming standards of oral health among Britain’s elite athletes.
A study conducted by researchers at University College London showed that around 50 percent of athletes suffer from dental issues that are severe enough to have a negative impact on their performance. The team identified high rates of gum disease and other oral health conditions among groups of performers, including swimmers, rowers and rugby players.
Ian Needleman, a professor from the prestigious Eastman Dental Institute at UCL, explained that high carbohydrate intake is a major contributing factor to the prevalence of dental issues among athletes. The co-author of the study also added that dry mouth is an issue in sports where heavy breathing is common, including cycling and running. Stress can also cause some athletes to vomit before a performance, which can increase the risk of acid erosion of the enamel.
The study involved around 350 athletes from nine Olympic teams, the Reading football team, England’s rugby team and cyclists from Team Sky. Athletes underwent oral health checks and assessments, and they were also asked to complete a questionnaire about the impact of dental issues on performance. Just under half of those surveyed had decay, while 77 percent had gingivitis (mild gum disease). Almost 40 percent admitted that they experienced bleeding when brushing. More than a third of participants said that dental issues had a negative effect on their performance, as well as their ability to rest and relax.
The findings of the study are interesting, especially as almost all (99%) of those involved said that they brushed their teeth twice a day. This is significantly higher than the national average of 75%, yet the risk of decay was found to be higher in athletes than the general population.
The findings of the study were presented at a European dental conference in Holland recently.
April 4th, 2018
One of the UK’s most prominent dental figures has urged schools to ban sugary desserts in a bid to reduce rates of preventable decay.
Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, Professor Michael Escudier, has encouraged schools to replace sugary puddings, such as cakes, ice cream and biscuits, with sugar-free desserts like cheese and savoury biscuits, fruit and low-sugar jelly and yoghurts. In 2016-2017, more than 34,000 children were treated in hospital under general anaesthetic for dental issues, and around 25 percent of 5-year-olds have visible signs of decay in at least one tooth.
Prof Escudier has urged schools to go ‘sugar-free’ and stop serving sweet treats at dinner times in a bid to promote good oral health and prevent children from exceeding the recommended daily intake of sugar. Dentists are also keen to get schools and nurseries involved with supervised brushing schemes. Research suggests that many children don’t brush their teeth on a regular basis, and supervised schemes could ensure that children brush at least once a day.
The news comes shortly after Public Health England launched an initiative to encourage healthy snacking. Studies claimed that a large proportion of children were exceeding the RDA of sugar through snacking alone, with many admitting to eating cakes, chocolate bars, sweets and biscuits on a daily basis. PHE is campaigning to educate parents and children about the calorie content of popular snacks, and suggests sticking to 100-calorie snacks, such as pieces of fruit.
Decay is the most common cause of hospital admissions among children in the UK, despite the fact that the vast majority of cases are preventable. The best ways to keep cavities at bay are to brush twice a day using fluoride toothpaste, to eat healthily and to visit a dentist every 6 months.
January 17th, 2018
Extraction procedures carried out in UK hospitals are costing the NHS millions of pounds per year, it has been confirmed. Last year, the NHS spent more than £35 million on dental procedures, which could have been prevented.
According to statistics from the Local Government Association (LGA), a total of 42,911 extractions were carried out on children in England last year. This equates to 170 extractions per day at a cost of £36.2 million.
The new figures demonstrate an increase of almost 20% in extractions over the last four years, with the NHS spending approximately £165 million on treating decay since 2012.
A spokesperson for NHS England described the situation as an “unfortunate and unnecessary epidemic” and blamed the surge in cases of decay on an increase in sugar consumption. The figures have been released just days after Public Health England launched a new campaign to encourage parents and children to scrap sugary snacks in favour of healthier options.
The LGA, which represents a total of 37 councils in Wales and England, has called for more to be done to tackle excessive sugar consumption and suggested measures such as reducing the sugar content of soft drinks and using a teaspoon labelling system, which would show buyers how many teaspoons of sugar each product contains.
Dental decay is the most common cause of hospital admissions among children in the UK.
April 19th, 2017
If you’re on a health drive, the chances are that you’ve read articles and blogs about healthy eating before. The worry is that there’s so much information out there, and much of it is conflicting. Diets may be good for weight loss, but are they actually good for your health? Dentists and nutritionists are worried that new diet trends are actually proving detrimental for oral and general health, with many so-called healthy foods and snacks contributing to increased rates of decay and enamel erosion.
Detoxing is a very popular trend, especially after the indulgence of the festive period, but is it actually good for you, and what risks does it pose? Drinking hot water with lemon is one of the most common habits people adopt to try and cleanse their bodies of toxins. Water is brilliant, but adding lemon spells trouble for your teeth. Although lemon may make the water taste more appealing, its acidic properties are harmful for your teeth. Acids wear away the enamel, increasing the risk of erosion and subsequently putting you at risk of sensitivity and cavities. Nutritionist Shona Wilkinson recommends using a straw when drinking or leaving the lemon out altogether.
A recent report release by the Royal College of Surgeons suggested a significant increase in the number of children having teeth extracted in hospital over the course of the last decade. The most significant contributor to rising rates of decay is diet, and it’s not just those parents who give their children sweets and fizzy drinks that have come under fire. ‘Healthy’ products, such as dried fruit, fruit juice and smoothies have also been condemned by dentists and nutritionists. Shop-bought products often contain as much or even more sugar as treats like biscuits and pop, and parents are being duped into thinking that what they’re giving their children is a healthy alternative. Dentist, Dr Sameer Patel, recommends using a straw when you drink, making homemade smoothies and always following a drink of juice with a glass of water.
July 11th, 2013
Generally, anything that starts to go wrong with your mouth in the city of London is a potential time bomb if it isn’t treated: one bad thing can lead to an awful thing later on. Take tooth decay for example: it starts with plaque that chips away at the teeth’s enamel causing cavities to form. Then they break into the tooth and infect the pulp and the roots; this in turn infects the flesh below and then BANG, a tooth abscess blows up. Now though you should have got yourself treated at each of these stages, you didn’t, which is why you are now juggling with an abscess, but ignore this at your peril…to be fair, you probably wouldn’t be able to though: your face will balloon up and the pain will be intolerable, but in some instances, people reach for painkillers and the problem may die down, but if you leave it for too long, you could die down as well. An abscess can become life threatening because it leaks venomous toxins into the bloodstream that are carried all around the body and the most vulnerable organ to these poisons is the brain: in rare cases, the brain becomes comatose and just switches off completely. As soon as the abscess erupts, get antibiotics from somewhere, doesn’t matter where and then pump yourself full of them; this is the only way to attack the damage the abscess is doing to you. It will halt the poison, calm your face down and only then can you take the next course of action with your dentist to prevent it happening again.
May 27th, 2013
The surfaces of your teeth are constantly under threat every day in the city of London from the acids and foodstuffs that you put in your mouth, and you only have to be off-guard for a day for tooth decay to start. At first it will eat away at the enamel but a regular filling will suffice at this point to repair the damage. The real danger comes when the decay breaks through the surfaces and infects the inside of the tooth. Now you are putting the tooth at risk and run the gauntlet of losing it altogether if you don’t seek help immediately from your dentist. The only thing that can be done is to have root canal treatment; this involves getting inside of the tooth and clearing out the infected pulp. But it doesn’t stop there; there is a good chance that the roots of the teeth of the teeth have been poisoned as well and they too have to be removed. This was once quite a painful treatment but now they can be cleared away in seconds thanks to laser surgery. Once the inside of the tooth is empty, it can be disinfected and then filled. In severe cases, a crown may be required to restore the tooth to its original size and shape. But be warned, you want to be careful not to let this happen again. With decay you risk tooth loss and the outbreak of abscesses, an avenue you don’t want to go down.
January 29th, 2013
Your teeth go through an awful lot during your life in London: they are under constant threat from bacteria everyday which is why it’s essential that you try to keep them as clean as you can. The biggest threat comes from erosion that will affect the thickness of the enamel and this can come from many sources, the build up of plaque being the most obvious one. The foods and drinks that you consume produce acids that can burn through this enamel if you fail to brush them properly and ironically, if you are too abrasive with your brushing, it can also result in wear and tear. Constant bleaching of your teeth is another factor that can eat away at your enamel but the most destructive form of erosion has got to be teeth grinding, as this can cause so much damage so quickly. However, all of these forms of teeth erosion leave you staring at the same problem in the end- tooth decay. If you maintain regular visits to your dentist, erosion that stems from causes like these should be picked up on quite quickly and then put right. However, if the enamel is starting to get thin, you may well start to notice pain whenever you drink anything hot, or cold.
January 28th, 2013
There are a lot of spiteful things that can attack your teeth and gums the moment you take your eye off your oral hygiene and plaque is the biggest enemy of all to you in central London. It grows from the unchecked bacteria deposited onto your teeth and will soon harden into tartar. Aside from affecting the health of your gums, the acids from this will eat away at the surfaces of the teeth and soon you will be suffering from tooth decay. This is where the enamel has begun to breakdown completely and started to break into the inside of the tooth. The first indication that you are having problems will be pains shooting through your teeth every time you eat or drink something. Your dentist would have also have spotted the early signs of this with an x-ray and fixed you up with a filling. But further deterioration can lead to the whole of the inside of the tooth becoming infected, from the pulp to the roots and then a root canal is required in order to save the tooth. Good oral hygiene and regular dental appointments are two of the best things you have at your disposal at fighting this, but you can also be careful about what you are eating and drinking as well to limit the acids that you are exposing your teeth to.