Monthly Archives: July 2016

Oral Cancer Communication Guide Developed

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Oral Cancer Communication Guide Developed

King’s College London’s Dental Institute has researched and piloted an oral cancer communication guide to help dentists talk to their patients about what can be a difficult subject.

Prior to the pilot of the oral cancer communication guide, researchers found that many dentists were low in confidence when it came to broaching the subject of oral cancer to their patients. Despite oral cancer checks being routinely carried out during regular dental appointments, many dentists avoided the topic altogether. King’s College developed the pilot program aimed to reverse this reluctance. 41 dentists were invited to the King’s College lecture theatre to take part in a training session which included: “a brief update on oral cancer, an introduction to the oral cancer communication guide, and learning activities and chances to practise using the guide through roleplay and feedback.”

The session has been deemed a success, with an increase from the dentists taking part reporting an increase in confidence. The number of dentists informing patients they were being checked for signs of oral cancer increased from 16% to 44% after the training.

“The guide includes key messages in an easy-to-follow format. It is not intended to be used as a script, but rather to be used as a guide for interactive discussions about symptoms, the importance of early detection, and when and where to seek help should symptoms occur,” explains Professor Tim Newton, co-author of the study.  “Highlighting the need for training in this area, this study has shown that the training sessions had a positive impact on the dentists’ self-reported behaviour and indicates a positive response to the guide as well.”

Study shows that specialist training guide for dentists can aid communications about oral cancer with patients [via King’s College London]

Chemicals in Plastic and Fungicide May Cause Irreversible Damage to Kid’s Teeth

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chemicals plastic fungicide irreversible damage kids teeth

A study conducted by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) presented to the European Congress of Endocrinology has concluded that chemicals found in plastic and fungicide may be causing irreversible damage to children’s teeth. The chemicals are classified as “endocrine disruptors” (ED), and are responsible for interfering with hormones which encourage the growth of new tooth enamel.

Amongst the chemicals which were identified, two are worryingly common: Bisphenol A (BPA) can be found in plastic items such as food storage containers, lunch boxes and drinks bottles. Vinclozolin is a fungicide which is often used in vineyards, orchards, and even golf courses. Exposure to both these chemicals can inhibit the body’s ability to produce enamel. The oral condition Molar Incisor Hypermineralisation (MIH), where teeth are more susceptible to cavities may be linked to exposure to these ED chemicals. 18% of children aged 6-9 suffer from MIH.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Katia Jedeon said: “Tooth enamel starts at the third trimester of pregnancy and ends at the age of 5, so minimising exposure to endocrine disruptors at this stage in life as a precautionary measure would be one way of reducing the risk of enamel weakening,”

Exposure to chemicals in plastic and fungicides may irreversibly weaken children’s teeth [via Science Daily]

Oral Piercings and Oral Health

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Oral Piercings and Oral Health

A recent study by the Oral Health Foundation (OHF) has highlighted the relationship between oral piercings and oral health. The study found that tongue piercings were the most popular type of oral piercing, with 43% of people surveyed having one. 33% had a lip piercing, with cheek (3%) and gum (7%) piercings being a less common choice. 13% those with an oral piercing had more than one.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the OHF said: “Oral piercings are a major cause of chipped or cracked teeth due to trauma when they come into contact with the teeth; many people even have a habit of biting or playing with their piercing which can be extremely dangerous and can often lead to extensive dental work. On a day to day basis oral piercings can interfere with such basic functions such as speech, chewing and swallowing.”

He also highlighted the risk of infection due to poor aftercare: “The mouth also contains a huge amount of bacteria and is an ideal place for infection to arise, this is especially the case with new piercings as it is an open wound and needs constant care and attention to prevent infection. An infection can quickly lead to other more serious conditions such as blood poisoning (septicaemia). The act of getting a piercing is itself very dangerous as if done incorrectly can cause issues such as permanent numbness of the tongue, blood loss, excessive swelling which affects breathing and swallowing and in severe cases and increased risk of HIV and Hepatitis B.”

The OHF is encouraging people considering oral piercings to research the risks and aftercare involved, as well as only getting piercings from reputable sources. Using antisepctic mouthwash, avoiding excessive fiddling with piercings and avoiding contact with the teeth are advised to avoid dental erosion. Removal of any piercings during physical activity such as sport is also advised.

As with oral health in general, regular visits to the dentist and swift treatment of any arising problems are the best ways to maintain good oral health.

Don’t let piercings put a hole in your oral health [via Oral Health Foundation]

NHS Dental Hygiene and Therapy Bursary to End

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NHS Dental Hygiene Therapy Bursary End

The Westminster government has recently announced the end of the NHS student bursary in England. The scheme is used by dental, midwife, nursing and other healthcare students to cover living costs and tuition fee costs. The bursaries are now to be replaced by student loans as of September 2017. Wales and Scotland are to retain the bursary for the foreseeable future as their NHS departments are independent of Westminster, though their funding may now be under threat due to a knock on effect of how finances are distributed within the UK.

The move has been met with condemnation from the British Dental Association (BDA), who criticise the move as exclusionary towards students from less privileged backgrounds. Chair of the BDA Student Committee, Paul Baylock, said: “The government says prevention and public health require a “radical upgrade”, yet this cut is an entirely retrograde step, that would deliver no savings and simply serve to undermine dental teams. Dentists stand with all our healthcare colleagues in opposition to a cut that could jeopardise patient care, and exclude talented people from the health professions simply because they lack the means.”

Over 20 health care organisations, educational establishments, unions and charities have approached the Westminster government to call for the continuation of the bursary.

NHS student bursary cut ‘reckless’, unions say [via BBC]

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