As we leave the heady days of summer behind and fall into autumn, it’s more than just the weather in a state of transition.
With children’s ‘rotting teeth’ causing a stir in the media and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) introducing new guidance to improve oral health in care homes, it would seem the theme of this year’s British Association of Dental Therapists National Conference is on point.
Indeed, each and every one of us has a responsibility to provide age-appropriate care: as BADT president Amanda Gallie tells us, ‘one size does not fit all’. Amanda’s article in the issue will explain how the conference’s ‘cradle to grey’ theme will address tailoring healthcare for patients of all ages.
Of course, children’s oral health hasn’t been the only issue in the media of late, with floss creating quite a storm as well.
At the eye of that storm is an Associated Press investigation that states evidence for flossing is ‘weak’, ‘very unreliable’, of ‘very low’ quality, and carries ‘a moderate to large potential for bias’. While many American dental associations still advocate the use of floss, the US Department of Health and Human Services no longer recommends it.
Who would have thought something so simple could be so controversial… and how long will the debate rage? (How long is a piece of string, you might well ask.) But, is it a storm in a teacup?
The role of interdental cleaning in removing plaque from any areas missed by brushing has been well established. So, surely, this makes flossing essential for good oral hygiene?
Not if you listen to Professor Damian Walmsley, scientific adviser to the British Dental Association, who says: ‘Floss is of little value’. His preference is for small interdental brushes to be used; floss should only be considered if the space between the teeth is too tight for interdental brushes.
Other commentators have raised concerns such as the likelihood of damage caused by poor flossing technique, and the lack of conclusive proof that flossing is beneficial. But as Tim Iafolloa, a dentist from the US National Institutes of Health, argues: ‘It is low cost, low risk.’
Do we really want to go down the road of no longer advising patients to floss, or should we instead be explaining the importance of interdental cleaning and how to do so correctly?
Just as oral healthcare must adapt to the needs of the patient, perhaps the profession’s approach needs to adapt to a changing evidence base – because adapting is what people of prevention do.
Specifically, the oral health giant is putting its backing behind our People of Prevention (POP) campaign to help spread the positive message even further. POP is all about celebrating the unsung heroes of oral health – those tireless pioneers helping patients understand and maintain their own dental hygiene.
Since launching in January 2016, the initiative has made waves within dentistry by helping put the work of the UK’s oral healthcare professionals on the map.
POP is therefore a perfect fit with Listerine – a globally-recognised name in the world of oral hygiene. One of the most widely known brands in the world, Listerine has forged a reputation for innovation, research and results when it comes to helping to maintain the health of patients’ mouths.
Everyone at Oral Health is confident that this partnership is the start of even brighter and better things, so watch this space and stay tuned for more exciting developments to come from POP – and all the people making prevention great!
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