January 9th, 2019
New research has suggested that berries could hold the key to healthy smiles.
Scientists have discovered that dark berries, including blueberries and cranberries, contain nutrients, which could help to reduce the risk of dental decay. The research, which has been published in the European Journal of Oral Sciences, suggests that these berries contain nutrients that protect the teeth against specific strains of bacteria, which are proven to accelerate decay.
The study builds on previous research, which suggests that polyphenols, which are key nutrients found in berries, play a useful role in promoting good oral health by preventing harmful bacteria from clinging to the tooth surfaces. By preventing bacteria sticking to the teeth, polyphenols could subsequently help to prevent gum disease, decay and bad breath.
During the trial period, researchers used high-quality extracts of three different types of berries, strawberries, cranberries and blueberries and a mixture of all three (known as orophenol) to treat Streptococcus mutans biofilms. These biofilms were 24 hours old and they were assessed and analysed by the research team to evaluate “metabolic activity, acidogenicity, biovolumes, structural organisation and bacterial viability.”
Researchers found that the cranberry and orophenol extracts brought about the most significant reductions in metabolic activity and acid production. The blueberry extract also produced significant reductions when used at the highest concentration.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, said that nutrients found in fruit and vegetables are essential for good oral health, as well as general health, and suggested that polyphenols could potentially have a role to play in the future of manufacturing oral hygiene products. In addition to protecting the teeth, cranberries and blueberries are delicious, they’re a sweet treat, and the best thing is that they contain only natural sugars.
December 19th, 2018
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.
November 14th, 2018
A new study has suggested that three-quarters of UK adults are unaware of the symptoms of mouth cancer, despite the fact that there has been a 135% increase in the number of cases in the last two decades.
Figures published by the Oral Health Foundation show that 75% of people do not know what the symptoms and warning signs of mouth cancer are, in spite of the fact that oral cancer kills more people in the UK than cervical and testicular cancer combined. Last year, more than 8,300 new cases were diagnosed. This represents a 135% increase since 1998. More than 80% of people surveyed were also unaware of the parts of the mouth that were affected by oral cancer.
The Oral Health Foundation has released new studies to coincide with the charity’s annual Mouth Cancer Action Month campaign. The foundation’s chief executive, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, said that it is hugely important that people are aware of the symptoms so that they can seek advice as early as possible. Sadly, as awareness is so low, the majority of cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when there’s a high risk that cancerous cells have already spread.
The campaign is hoping to make people more aware of mouth cancer and encourage them to look out for potential warning signs. The most common risk factors for mouth cancer include drinking and smoking, exposure to the human papilloma virus (HPV) and a poor diet. Symptoms may include swelling and abnormal lumps, slow-healing mouth sores and ulcers, unexplained oral pain and bleeding, and red or white patches in the mouth.
As part of Mouth Cancer Action Month, practices all over the country will be hosting free screening and encouraging patients who haven’t had a check-up in a while to get in touch.
May 9th, 2018
A new survey conducted by the Oral Health Foundation has revealed that public awareness of enamel erosion is worryingly low.
The survey, which was carried out as part of preparations for National Smile Month, shows that many people are unaware of the causes of erosion. Only 54 percent of people were aware of the damaging impact of drinking energy and sports drinks, and figures were even lower for other common causes of enamel loss, including snacking between meals, acid reflux and drinking sparkling water. Only a third of those questioned were able to list symptoms of enamel wear, including tooth thinning, heightened sensitivity, staining, enamel transparency and cracking.
The poll, which involved 2,000 people, was conducted in association with Unilever. The aim was to gauge the level of awareness, to point out potential risk factors and causes and to promote the use of Regenerate Professional Advanced Serum and Toothpaste. This product is designed to be part of a preventative approach to enamel erosion. Regenerate contains two key ingredients, calcium silicate and sodium phosphate. The formula has been developed based on NR-5 technology, which is related to bone repair. Studies show that using the serum improved the microhardness of the surface by 82% after 3 days.
Enamel erosion is a major cause of decay, and it can also contribute to an elevated risk of dental injuries and gum disease. Dentists are eager to encourage brushing with fluoride toothpaste and to discourage snacking and drinking sugary and acidic drinks. Regular dental checks are also highly recommended.