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Posts tagged “Tooth decay”

Could a vegan diet put your dental health at risk?

More and more people are embracing a vegan diet, but is making the switch better for your health?

Although vegan diets are often associated with health benefits, it is important to note that any diet can be unhealthy if you choose the wrong foods, or the meals and snacks you consume don’t contain the nutrients needed by the body for optimum health. Many people choose to go vegan as a result of wanting to make healthier choices, but there are concerns that some are assuming that switching to a vegan diet will automatically improve their health. The key to healthy eating lies in finding the right balance and including foods that contain vitamins and minerals and the food groups that are needed to keep the body properly fuelled.

One concern that has been raised by dental professionals is the impact of a vegan diet on oral health. Dentists are worried that cutting out certain foods can increase the risk of problems like tooth decay and gum disease. Many people who have a vegan diet struggle to hit the recommended daily protein and calcium intake, and this could contribute to elevated levels of decay. In fact, some dentists have already reported an increase in the number of patients experiencing decay after changing their diet. 

Calcium is vital for healthy teeth and bones, but there’s also a worry that vegans consume more starchy and sweet foods, such as grains, seeds and fruit, and this increases the risk of acid erosion.

The advice from dentists for those who are considering switching to a vegan diet is to take nutritional advice from health professionals and ensure their diet contains the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are needed by the body. In cases where there are deficiencies, it’s often advisable to take vitamin supplements, but patients should consult their GP for advice.

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.

London-based researchers develop new adhesive to prevent decay in orthodontic patients

Queen Mary University Researchers in London have developed a new adhesive, which could help to prevent decay in orthodontic patients.

The team has created a new material, which is designed to protect the tooth surface surrounding the bracket components of fixed braces. Often, patients who have fixed braces are susceptible to decay because it can be difficult to clean around brackets. Brackets are also prone to trapping food and bacteria.

To combat the common problem of decay in orthodontic patients, the London-based researchers have created an innovative bioactive bonding material, which releases fluoride, calcium, and phosphate to formulate fluorapatite. This substance is capable of remineralising the tooth surfaces that surround the brackets, which reduces the risk of plaque development. This, in turn, lowers the risk of cavities.

University professor, Robert Hill, described the news as a “significant breakthrough,” that will benefit the many patients who undergo fixed brace treatment. The latest study was an extension of research undertaken by BioMin Technologies when they were developing BioMin F toothpaste. The new adhesive has much lower sodium content than the toothpaste, which means that it “reacts, rather than dissolves.” The team is hoping to come up with a commercially viable product within the next two years.

More than 200,000 children and adults in England and Wales wear braces, and this is a development that could make a real difference to patients, especially those who are worried about staining and an elevated risk of decay.

The findings of the study have been published in the Dental Materials journal.

New research suggests parents allow children to consume up to 5 times more sugar during the holidays

New research suggests that parents will allow their children to consume up to five times more sugar than normal during the summer holidays.

A poll has revealed that parents in the UK adopt a much more lenient stance when it comes to diet and nutrition in the holidays. The survey, which involved around 1,000 parents of children aged between 2 and 17 years old revealed a worrying trend that sees parents enabling children to increase their daily sugar intake considerably over the holiday period.

The research, which was conducted by mydentist, revealed that fizzy drinks and ice creams were the worst offenders in the long summer break. The findings of the study are even more alarming given that two-thirds of parents admitted that they wouldn’t take the opportunity to book a dental check for their kids in the next eight weeks. Just 1 in 10 parents said that their child would eat more vegetables during the holidays.

Mydentist clinical director, Nyree Whitley, said that the summer holidays are an excellent time to book dental checks for kids, especially as most consume more sugar than normal. NHS dental care is available free of charge for children, and routine checks can help to reduce the risk of dental decay significantly.

Sugar consumption is one of the potential risk factors for decay, the most common preventable childhood illness and the reason most children are admitted for hospital treatment.

In light of the findings, dentists are urging parents to moderate sugar intake, especially between meals, and to make use of the time away from the classroom to schedule a dental check-up. Most dentists recommend checks every 6 months for children aged 12 months or older.

New study reveals alarming standards of oral health among Britain’s elite athletes

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.

Researchers hail breakthrough, which could put a stop to painful decay

shutterstock_752195566Researchers from Queen Mary University of London claim to have made a major breakthrough in the development of a material, which could put a stop to painful dental decay.

Scientists believe that they have created a material, which could facilitate enamel regeneration, preventing sensitivity and reducing the risk of cavities. The outer surface of the tooth is covered by enamel, the hardest substance in the body. Although enamel is incredibly hardwearing and durable, it cannot regrow once it is worn or damaged. Approximately 50 percent of the global population suffers from dental pain linked to decay or enamel erosion.

The London researchers have developed a means of growing mineralised materials, which would make the regeneration of hard tissues, such as bone and tooth enamel, possible. The team has identified a form of protein, which is capable of triggering the formation and growth of crystals in a way that mimics the development of enamel. The findings of the study have been published in the Nature Communications journal.

Dr Sherif Elsharkawy, co-author and dentist, explained that the study is “exciting” because the versatility of the “mineralisation platform” offers myriad opportunities to regenerate tissue within the body. Fellow author, Professor Alvaro Mata, hailed the research as a “key discovery”, which works by regulating and taking advantage of the protein’s ability to trigger and control the mineralisation process. By finding a way to exploit the proteins, the team worked on a technique that enables them to “easily grow synthetic materials.”

Oral Health Foundation survey reveals poor public awareness of enamel erosion

shutterstock_1039115968A 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.

Government statistics show that dental decay costs 60,000 school days every year

shutterstock_509471827Government statistics show that dental decay is costing children around 60,000 school days per year.

Figures suggest that a child in England has had a tooth removed every 10 minutes, with an average of 141 extraction procedures carried out every day. The new figures from Public Health England were released on the day a new sugar tax was introduced by the government. Some children as young as 12 months old are undergoing treatment under general anaesthetic for a condition that is almost always preventable.

Dental bodies are worried that high-sugar diets and poor oral hygiene are contributing to an epidemic, which is subjecting children to pain, causing them to miss school and costing the NHS millions of pounds.

In light of the statistics, dental experts are keen to promote healthy eating and improve education related to dietary choices and the impact of eating too much sugar. Recently, Public Health England launched a campaign to limit snacking to a small number of 100-calorie snacks per day after it was revealed that a significant portion of children were exceeding their daily recommended sugar intake through snacks alone. The new sugary drink levy will increase the cost of buying fizzy drinks, which can contain around 9 cubes of sugar per 330ml can. The maximum recommended daily intake for a child aged 5 years old is just 6 cubes.

Dr Sandra White, lead dentist at PHE, said that it was “upsetting” to see so many children requiring hospital treatment and called for parents and older children to consider alternatives including water, sugar-free cordial and low-fat milk.

Some dentists have called for the revenue generated by the sugar tax to be invested in oral health education programmes and preventative measures for children.

Leading dentist urges schools to ban sugar-laden desserts

shutterstock_611504309One 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.

New study links increased enamel erosion risk with fruit tea consumption

shutterstock_140870710Fruit teas and flavoured water have become very popular in recent years, as people seek healthier alternatives to fizzy drinks, but a new study has warned that these options may not be quite as good for us as anticipated.

Researchers from King’s College London carried out a study to ascertain the effects of drinking fruit teas and flavoured water on a regular basis. The team found that sipping on these drinks, especially between meals, increased the risk of enamel erosion.

During the trial period, researchers analysed the dietary habits of 300 people who suffered from significant enamel wear and found that fruit teas, juices, cordials, diet drinks and flavoured water all contributed to acid erosion. The drinks are particularly harmful when held in the mouth or swished around the teeth.

Lead author, Dr Saoirse O’Toole, from the Dental Institute at King’s College, said that holding acidic liquids in the mouth or nibbling bits of fruit over a period of time can cause significant damage to the tooth enamel.

The research team discovered that people who drank water with a slice of lemon and fruit teas twice a day between meals were up to 11 times more likely to experience enamel erosion. The figure was 50 percent lower when drinks were consumed at mealtimes.

The report also revealed that sugar-free drinks were equally harmful in terms of acid erosion as full-sugar versions and the study identified vinegar and pickled foods as risk factors for enamel wear.

Russ Ladwa, from the British Dental Association, recommended finishing drinks in one go rather than sipping between meals, swapping acidic drinks for water and using a straw to minimise the impact.

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