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]

Female Patients Need More Anaesthetic for Dental Treatment

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Female Patients Need More Anaesthetic Dental Treatment

A recent published by Anaesthesia Progress has concluded that female patients need more anaesthetic for dental treatment.

125 patients were analysed during sedation for implant treatment. Women have often been shown to emerge quicker than men from sedation, and researchers discovered that female patients also required more propofol than male patients to remain sedated during the oral surgery procedure. Factors such as body weight are cited as the most likely reason why women required more propofol than men to match a similar level of sedation.

You can read the full report via the link below.

Female Patients Require a Higher Propofol Infusion Rate for Sedation [via Anaesthesia Progress]

Laser Treatment to Regrow Dental Tissue

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Laser Treatment to Regrow Dental Tissue

Dental technology is taking huge steps forward in many areas, with recent breakthroughs in laser treatment to regrow dental tissue being one of the most exciting developments in recent years.

Humans only have two sets of teeth in their lifetime, and any loss of adult teeth leaves a gap that has to be filled artificially. Using laser technology to regenerate dental damage could lead to a future where less invasive treatment is necessary.

In 2014, US scientists published their findings on using low-power laser technology to stimulate stem cell growth into forming dentine. The study was successful in rats, mice, and human stem cells, with dental damage showing signs of reversal after 12 weeks.

Laser treatment is not an unusual tool for dental practitioners, something which the researchers hope will mean there is a low barrier to uptake once the technology has been proven to work on humans. Researcher and Senior Author Professor David Mooney said: “Our treatment modality does not introduce anything new to the body, and lasers are routinely used in medicine and dentistry, so the barriers to clinical translation are low. It would be a substantial advance in the field if we can regenerate teeth rather than replace them.”

The research is ongoing, with Dr. Praveen Arany recently receiving the 2016 Dr. Horace Furumoto Innovations Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery for his work in the research. Whilst laser treatment to regenerate dental damage may be a decade or so away, it’s still closer on the horizon than it ever has been.

Scientists Can Regrow Teeth With Lasers [via Business Insider]

Unnecessary Antibiotic Prescriptions given for Toothache

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Unnecessary Antibiotic Prescriptions for Toothache

Concerns have been raised by research undertaken by Cardiff University which shows a great number of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions given by GPs to patients visiting them for dental problems, such as toothache. Rather than being offered long term treatment for these dental problems, or to be referred to a dentist, over half of all patients were given antibiotic prescriptions.

The retrospective study looked at 10 years’ worth of data to reach its conclusions. Dr Anwen Cope, a researcher who contributed to the study said: “Our study found that many people visit their GP rather than their dentist when experiencing dental problems. Most dental problems cannot be comprehensively managed by a GP. This places an additional burden on already busy GPs when patients should be visiting a dentist.”

Unnecessary antibiotic prescriptionss for toothache also contribute to the rising problem of Antibiotic Drug Resistance, where the effectiveness of antibiotics is compromised by their over-use.

It may seem obvious, but dental treatment remains the best solution to dental problems. Any problem with oral health should be consulted by a dentist first, and not a GP.

‘Concern’ over GPs prescribing ‘unnecessary’ antibiotics for toothache [via Science Daily]

Liverpool Launches Sugary Drink Awareness Campaign

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Sugary Drink Awareness Campaign - Liverpool

The city of Liverpool has launched a sugary drink awareness campaign to combat the rising levels of tooth decay and dental treatment in young children. Titled “Is your child’s sweet tooth harming their health?“, the drive is the first of its kind in the UK, with a city council actively campaigning against the high levels of sugar in soft drinks.

Liverpool City Council has produced displays for dental surgeries, GP surgeries, hospitals and other centres which host children’s services. In a simple and stark graphic, seven popular soft drinks are shown beside their sugar content, most of which goes many times over the recommended daily allowance.

Talking about the research undertaken by the council for the campaign, the city’s Director of Public Health, Sandra Davies, said: “I was astounded when we found out quite how much sugar was in some of these drinks. Some of the sugar levels are … astounding. You can consume as much as your daily maximum recommended amount of sugar, or even double that, even if you have just one of these drinks. This is an educational campaign. We are targeting this at families to show how much sugar is in there, because people often don’t realise that.”

The off-the-chart sugar content of these soft drinks is a sobering sight, and hopefully one which parents will heed. It will take some time to see the benefits of this campaign, but this action by Liverpool City Council and the increased discussion about a UK Sugar Tax is a step in the right direction in the battle against high sugar content levels in soft drinks and the myriad of health and dental problems that it causes.

High sugar drinks named in drive to beat tooth decay [Via Liverpool Express]

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