A week is a long time in the dental profession; seven days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes; a lot can happen in that time, and it has definitely been one of those weeks. It occurs to me now that this dramatic introduction might seem out of place in a blog such as this but this week has been an exciting one.
Oral health is an interesting subject to write about, every week there is something new, some new piece of information or product that makes you sit back and think. For me, this week’s ‘sit back and think’ moment was whilst in Italy attending a conference of the heads of the professional group for Italian periodontists. They were meeting to discuss a project which was set up to inform the general public about the systemic links between bad oral health and other health problems, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and premature births, among other things. A worthwhile pursuit if ever there was one!
Travelling into Europe is something I enjoy and never so much as when I am on my way to a dentistry conference. And so it was that I touched down in Bologna and made my way to the local Holiday Inn in a taxi driven by a guy who couldn’t understand me. The latter situation being a staple of my visit; I was the only English speaker there and had to have a translator during the conference. She was amazing but she could only really sum things up for me, however, their message was not lost in translation. ‘We must act now.’
The meeting itself was packed with press; prudent if you want your message out there. Contacting the press is one way but I asked if they had considered pushing this into the European Commission’s sight as another. I was informed that this was a course of action they were actively pursuing. I felt like the energy in the room alone could get the job done, they were all so dedicated, I haven’t seen energy like this before, it’s probably all the tiny strong coffees they drink. It serves them well, because to the best of my research, the message is going out in Italy as I type. I will be writing this meeting up in far more detail for the next issue of Preventive Dentistry magazine, which comes out at the end of May.
Moving on to the news story of the week for me, which was all about the recent finds by Dental researcher Bennett Amaechi of the University of Texas and colleagues at Indiana University and the University of California at San Francisco. They examined 900 Texas middle school students ages 10 to 14 and found a 30% prevalence rate of dental erosion. The study, published in the Dental Tribune, said that acids found in carbonated soft drinks, some fruit juices, sports drinks and herbal teas undoubtedly caused the dental erosion they found.
It only adds credence to my mother’s words when I was a boy, for I am a man now. My mother would often tell me that I shouldn’t drink fizzy drinks, that it will whittle away at my teeth, make them ache. ‘Pshaw!’ I said at the time, ‘Never in a million years.’ (I was quite cheeky I am reliably informed.) But now, here is the proof, so Mum, this one goes out to you, you were right all along, you were right to catch me out on that front. However, I have one thing over you, read the last line of the preceding paragraph, ‘herbal teas’. So they cause erosion too, and there we were thinking a lemon and ginger tea was good for you.
Seriously though, it’s a shocking report and its findings only go to illustrate the concerns about the diets of 10-14 year olds. American children are no different to children from the UK, they love sweets, love ‘fizziness’ and they will eat and drink unhealthy substances if they get the chance. Dental erosion is not a nice thing at all, and if a future without sensitive teeth is desirable for your children then the message dental professionals should hammer home is that moderation is a virtue as is a three-step oral health routine using brush, floss and mouthwash.
Thank you for reading again. Next week I will be taking a look at the week’s news and also whatever else caught my attention. Until then, keep coming to the website and reading the news, views and articles.