So Today I had 5 minutes to spare (surprisingly!) so I caught up with some dental news, and this extremely small “article” (more like an aside) caught my eye!

They started off by informing me that Tooth decay is not solely down to personal oral hygiene but genetics as well. Although I knew that dietary choices (Sweets, fizzy drinks, Juice, cakes – all the beautiful things in life!) have a direct impact on cavity formation, genetics are also a factor!


Note: Just to clarify, these are cavities!Cavity

(Sometimes referred to as Caries)

They are holes in the tooth which are formed when plaque erodes the enamel. The picture shows cavities on different parts of the tooth. If left untreated, they can cause further problems such as toothaches, infections as well as tooth loss.


collagenA new study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation reveals that keratins are important to the structure of tooth enamel. Keratin is a fibrous structural protein which is involved in the formation of skin and the strength of hair and nails.

(On the left is an example of a fibrous protein structure)

Those at the national institutes of health discovered that individuals with mutations in their hair keratin gene are more prone to have cavities than those who have the normal gene. Those with the mutated gene had a weakened tooth enamel structure due to its irregular shape.

At this point the article ended… and I was left wanting a more in depth explanation!

What sort of structural arrangements will weaken tooth enamel?

Can these people have any treatment to re-strengthen their teeth?

How does it work genetically?

What Gene is affected?

I will endeavour to go back and find the answers to my questions and hopefully share them with you soon! Or, If your reading this and can’t wait for me to find them first, research the answers yourself and leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon!

Thara

Should Schools check kids brush their teeth?

Recently on the news, there was an article about whether nurseries and schools should be responsible for checking if their pupils have brushed their teeth!

This was a recommendation from NICE (National Institute for health and Care Excellence) to tackle the ever-rising issue of child tooth decay. Teachers would have to check each child’s oral health before lessons and possibly even supervise them brushing their teeth, particularly in areas of the UK where child tooth decay is prevalent. NICE have said that tooth decay is very high in disadvantaged areas and so these measures should be implemented in their local schools and nurseries.

NICE recommends fluoride varnishing programmes as well for school children twice a year. During my work experience I saw this fluoride treatment placed on all the young patients who visited the dentist. It’s a thick paste that is smeared onto the teeth and left for a few hours (meaning no food or drink to wash it down!) to give a high fluorine dosage to strengthen milk teeth. I found this treatment was present in both NHS and private practices for young kids after every check up.

The article also brought up a common misconception- some families believe that maintaining oral hygiene for children is not an issue as baby teeth are“gonna fall out anyway”. Tooth decay and early gum disease are linked to future oral health, which makes it important to stop it before it’s too late.

I believe it is important to teach young children to maintain high levels of oral hygiene by not only brushing twice a day, but by brushing twice a day well. In some families this idea can be forgotten and children are left to brush without proper guidance.

My previous article about the sugar in food and tooth decay only emphasises the need to teach children from an early age how to maintain what they’ve got. Developing fun and engaging ways to teach kids how to brush their teeth can set the foundation for good oral health throughout life. Games and songs are only some methods to help kids remember every single tooth when they brush.

Overall I am not opposed to the recommendations and I can see many benefits in having this programme, or something similar to it, implemented in schools across the country. However, some schools say they do not have time in the school day and question the practicality of such measures.

Have a read and tell me what you think!

Bye! 🙂

Dental Decay and Sugar

I recently read an article on “The Dentist” website about the daily intake of sugar needing to be lowered to just 3% (15g) of your energy intake. This recommendation is lower than the previous W.H.O (World Health Organisation) level of 5% (25g).
These lower figures came from a new study emphasising the need to lower the amount of sugar intake throughout life to prevent high levels of dental decay in adulthood.

It’s been drilled into us for years now the problems sugar causes to our teeth, and this study is telling us that 25g is 10g too much! In a society where sugar is in everything from cereals to soup, it’s important to start asking that question – What are we eating?

The article went on to drop some serious statistics, saying that

Tooth decay is one of the most widespread health problems and it is thought around a third of UK children aged 12 have visible tooth decay.

This isn’t surprising when sugar is no longer just a treat once in a while but a reward and sometimes a sedative for some children. In this era, our favourite meals and snacks are now saturated with unnecessary additional sugar (There’s a reason why golden nuggets was my favorite cereal when I was younger!) which makes tooth decay are real problem when we get older.

The fight against sugar is mostly a preventative one which is why Professor Aubrey Sheiham, Emeritus Professor of Dental Public Health and co-author of the study, was urging that the government should take this research into consideration when implementing policies to reduce the sugar levels in food. I believe she was right to demand that more thought should be given to the individual than the food and drink industries feeding us.

When you realise that

Treating dental decay accounts for six -10 per cent of total health costs in industrialized countries.

you realise it’s in everyone’s best interest to lower our sugar intake before it’s too late.