Dr Ronan Kennedy BDS (QUB)

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News - June 2022

Remote orthodontics: BOS releases new guidance on teledentistry

The British Orthodontic Society (BOS) has recently released guidance on teledentistry and remote interactions in orthodontic care. The guidance is planned to help orthodontic providers and their teams gain a deeper understanding of the scope of teledentistry services and technologies for orthodontic care.

According to the guidance, dental professionals can greatly benefit from teledentistry. For one, it has the potential to enhance patient care and help achieve desired treatment outcomes. When integrated into orthodontic care, teledentistry can also offer improved accessibility and patient satisfaction. Most importantly, it decreases the number of physical appointments, culminating in reduced environmental impact and less face-to-face contact, a benefit that has gained increased value during the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the BOS, clinicians should be made aware of some core principles when conducting a remote orthodontic consultation. For example, it is vital that all diagnostic and prescriptive decisions are made by a registered treating orthodontist or a dentist who has proper training and skills and is directly involved in the monitoring of orthodontic care.

It also points out certain patient rights. It explains that patients who are undergoing treatment should receive the contact information of the responsible clinician and be able to make direct contact or arrange face-to-face appointments when required. In the case of clear aligner treatment, patients should also be informed not only about the benefits but also about the limitations of such treatment and made aware that they are going to receive a medical procedure involving a medical device.

From: https://uk.dental-tribune.com/news/remote-orthodontics-bos-releases-new-guidance-on-teledentistry/

Novel PCR test expected to improve oral cancer detection and treatment

Seeking to improve oral cancer detection and treatment, researchers from Queen Mary University of London have developed the first polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for oral cancer detection. Besides yielding rapid results, the test, called the quantitative Malignant Index Diagnosis System (qMIDS), is cost-efficient and easy to use and could relieve pressure on healthcare services.

According to the National Health Service, mouth cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world. In the UK, around 8,300 cases of mouth cancer are detected every year. Although seven in ten of these cancer cases start with pre-malignant lesions, only one in ten such lesions will develop into cancer.

Until now, researchers have not been able to find an optimal way to identify the lesions that could become cancerous. One method has been to use a grading system to examine tissue samples under a microscope. However, the malignancy grading system often lacks accuracy and precision.

Senior researcher Dr Iain Hutchison, professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at Queen Mary, said: “qMIDS will help us identify patients with pre-malignancies that will never transform into cancer, so they can be reassured and discharged from hospital review. Patients with high-risk pre-malignancy can have minor surgery to remove the lesion before it has transformed into cancer, thereby curing the patient and saving them major surgery, which in turn reduces health service costs. It is a powerful tool especially when used in conjunction with conventional histopathology assessment.”

From: https://uk.dental-tribune.com/news/novel-pcr-test-expected-to-improve-oral-cancer-detection-and-treatment/

Gum Health Day 2022 focuses on new guidelines for periodontal disease prevention and treatment

Treat your gums was the slogan for Gum Health Day 2022, a worldwide awareness campaign organised by the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP), which took place on May 12. It is aimed at informing the public about the detrimental effects of periodontal (gum) disease on both oral and overall health and calls for its prevention, early detection and effective treatment, focusing on the EFP’s recent clinical practice guidelines on periodontitis treatment. The hashtag is #TreatYourGums.

Although still poorly recognised by the public, periodontal diseases are chronic inflammatory conditions that affect many adults worldwide. Besides its oral health effects, periodontal disease is linked to major systemic health issues, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic kidney disease, adverse pregnancy outcomes, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, erectile dysfunction, certain forms of cancer and more severe Covid-19 outcomes.

Dr Moritz Kebschull, professor of restorative dentistry at the University of Birmingham said: “This year’s campaign focuses heavily on the treatment part—we know that millions of people suffer from gum diseases that can be treated effectively. Treat your gums calls for this treatment—with all the documented positive effects for the mouth and whole body—to actually happen”.

Prof. Kebschull noted: “The new EFP-produced clinical practice guidelines on the treatment of all four stages of periodontitis are a crucial development, as they are the first high-quality international guidelines to outline a structured and easily implemented pathway for the efficient and effective treatment of gum disease”.

From: https://uk.dental-tribune.com/news/gum-health-day-2022-focuses-on-new-guidelines-for-periodontal-disease-prevention-and-treatment/

Less antibiotic use in dentistry gave no increase in endocarditis

Sweden is one of the few countries that have removed the dental health recommendation to give prophylactic antibiotics to people at a higher risk of infection of the heart valves, so-called infective endocarditis. Since the recommendation was removed in 2012, there has been no increase in this disease, a registry study from Karolinska Institutet published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases shows.

Infective endocarditis is a rare but life-threatening disease caused by bacterial infection of the heart valves that affects some 500 people a year in Sweden. Individuals with congenital heart disease, prosthetic heart valves or previous endocarditis are at higher risk of infection.

People at a higher risk of infective endocarditis in Sweden used to receive the antibiotic amoxicillin as a prophylactic ahead of certain dental procedures, such as tooth extraction, tartar scraping and surgery. This recommendation was lifted due to a lack of evidence that the treatment was necessary and to help prevent antibiotic resistance by reducing antibiotic use. A collaborative project involving researchers from Karolinska Institutet has now studied how the decision has affected the incidence of infective endocarditis.

Niko Vähäsarja, the study's corresponding author, said: "We can only see small, statistically non-significant variations in morbidity, nothing that indicates a rise in this infection in the risk group since 2012. Our study therefore supports the change in recommendation".

After the change in recommendation in 2012, prescriptions of amoxicillin in dentistry declined by approximately 40%. However, the study is unable to demonstrate that this was an effect of the amended recommendation and amoxicillin has other uses in dental medicine.

From: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/02/220217141205.htm

Nocturnal teeth grinding can damage temporomandibular joints

Nocturnal teeth grinding and clenching of the upper and lower jaw are known as sleep bruxism and can have consequences for health. In dental science, the question of whether sleep bruxism is associated with the development or progression of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders is controversial. In a study conducted at the University Clinic of Dentistry of the Medical University of Vienna, it was found that certain tooth shapes and locations could lead to TMJ problems as a result of bruxism. The research findings were published in the Journal of Advanced Research.

The often immense pressure exerted on tooth surfaces and on the jaws is thought to cause various dental health problems and can also result in pain in the jaw muscles and headaches. Researchers led by Benedikt Sagl in Vienna have now investigated whether sleep bruxism can also have a negative impact on the TMJ structures. Their research was based on the theory that specific combinations of tooth shape and tooth location during grinding have an influence on the mechanical load on the temporomandibular joint and can thus be considered a risk factor for TMJ disorders.

"Our results show that both the inclination and location of the wear facets have an influence on the strength of the mechanical load on the temporomandibular joint," explained Sagl, "However, it would appear that the decisive factor is the steepness of the grinding facet. The flatter the tooth, the higher the loading on the joint and therefore the higher the risk of a TMJ disorder”.

From: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/03/220303112217.htm

Researchers take important step towards development of biological dental enamel

There is no natural alternative to synthetic filling materials, but a new 3D model with human dental stem cells could change this in the future. The results of the research led by Prof. Hugo Vankelecom and Prof. Annelies Bronckaers have been published in Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences.

The team led by Prof. Vankelecom developed a 3D research model with stem cells from the dental follicle, a membranous tissue surrounding unerupted human teeth.

Prof. Vankelecom said: "By using dental stem cells, we can develop other dental cells with this model, such as ameloblasts that are responsible for enamel formation”.

Each day, our teeth are exposed to acids and sugars from food that can cause damage to our enamel. Enamel cannot regenerate, which makes an intervention by the dentist necessary.

Doctoral student Lara Hemeryck explained: "In our new model, we have managed to turn dental stem cells into ameloblasts that produce enamel components, which can eventually lead to biological enamel. That enamel could be used as a natural filling material to repair dental enamel. The advantage is that in this way, the physiology and function of the dental tissue is repaired naturally, while this is not the case for synthetic materials. Furthermore, there would be less risk of tooth necrosis, which can occur at the contact surface when using synthetic materials”.

Not only would dentists be able to help their patients with this biological filling material, the 3D cell model could have applications in other sectors as well. For example, it could help the food industry to examine the effect of particular food products on dental enamel, or toothpaste manufacturers to optimise protection and care.

From: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/04/220421094131.htm

How oral bacteria suppress protection against viral growth

Researchers from the University of Louisville (UofL) School of Dentistry in the US and their colleagues have discovered details of how proteins produced by oral epithelial cells protect humans against viruses entering the body through the mouth. They also found that oral bacteria can suppress the activity of these cells, increasing vulnerability to infection.
A family of proteins known as interferon lambdas produced by epithelial cells in the mouth serve to protect humans from viral infection, but the oral bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis reduces the production and effectiveness of those important frontline defenders.
"Our studies identified certain pathogenic bacterial species, P. gingivalis, which cause periodontal disease, can completely suppress interferon production and severely enhance susceptibility to viral infection," said Juhi Bagaitkar, assistant professor in the UofL Department of Oral Immunology and Infectious Disease, "These resident oral plaque bacteria play a key role in regulating anti-viral responses”.
The mouth often is a gateway into the body for viruses that infect the gastrointestinal tract and lungs such as Covid-19, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), herpes simplex, and cancer-causing viruses such as human papillomavirus (HPV).
P. gingivalis, a common oral bacterium that causes gum disease, has been linked to numerous other diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Recent clinical studies have shown that immune suppression in patients with periodontitis can enhance susceptibility to HIV, herpes simplex and HPV.
Improved understanding of how interferons provide broad antiviral protection and activate antiviral genes to protect people from viruses, as well as how P. gingivalis compromises their protection, may lead researchers to clinical approaches to increase that protection.

From: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220105094341.htm

Poor oral health may increase risk of severe Covid-19 for cardiac patients

Previous studies have linked poor oral hygiene with hyper-inflammation and cardiovascular disease. Similarly, the severity of Covid-19 has been associated with hyper-inflammatory responses. Thus, researchers at Cairo University in Egypt have investigated whether there is a correlation between poor oral health and greater Covid-19 severity in patients with cardiovascular disease. They found that oral health status is an additional risk factor for such patients.
Using a questionnaire, the researchers evaluated oral health status, severity of Covid-19 symptoms, duration of recovery and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in 308 Covid-19-positive patients and an additional 86 such patients with cardiovascular disease. The latter were the subject of a subgroup analysis. The impact of oral health on Covid-19 severity was assessed using an oral health score, and the effects of oral health on CRP levels and recovery time were assessed as secondary end points.
According to the researchers, the correlation between oral health and Covid-19 severity showed a significant inverse relationship, as did the correlation between oral health and recovery time and CRP levels. Poor oral health correlated with increased CRP levels and delayed recovery, especially in patients with cardiac disease.
Dr Ahmed Mustafa Basuoni, cardiology consultant at the University said: “Oral tissues could act as a reservoir for SARS-CoV-2 [Covid-19], developing a high viral load in the oral cavity. Therefore, we recommended maintenance of oral health and improving oral hygiene measures, especially during Covid-19 infection”.
Simple measures like practising proper oral hygiene, raising awareness of oral health importance, regular dental visits (especially in patients with cardiovascular disease), and using antimicrobial mouthwashes could help in preventing or decreasing the severity of Covid-19 disease.

From: https://www.dental-tribune.com/news/poor-oral-health-may-increase-risk-of-severe-covid-19-for-cardiac-patients/

Top five “must have” design features for a child’s electric toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes can remove up to twice as much plaque as a manual brush, so one could be seen as a good investment. The UK’s Oral Health Foundation has released its top-five design features for electric toothbrushes for children.
The most important element of a child’s toothbrush is the size of the head and the type of bristles it uses. The ideal children’s toothbrush should have a small head with soft bristles, suitable for the age of the child.
The handle of a children’s toothbrush is important because a good grip can help them clean their teeth more effectively. Some more colourful designs can also help to motivate children into brushing twice a day.
Pressure sensors let you know when you are brushing too hard. This often comes in the form of a warning light that appears on the handle when too much force is applied.
Research by the Oral Health Foundation shows that many children prefer an electric toothbrush simply because it has a popular character on it. These characters are often stickers that are applied to the toothbrush, which can be swapped whenever the child wants to.
Many children’s toothbrushes now come with two-minute timers. These are either in-built into the handle, are a clock or sand timer you can place in the bathroom, or connected by a mobile app.
There are lots of free apps for parents to download on their phones that can help make brushing fun for children. Adding this extra level of interactivity can help children with better brushing habits.

From: https://www.dentalhealth.org/news/top-five-must-have-design-features-for-electric-toothbrushes

Disarming a blood-clotting protein prevents gum disease in mice

Blocking the function of a blood-clotting protein prevented bone loss from periodontal (gum) disease in mice, according to research led by scientists at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) in the USA. Drawing on animal and human data, the researchers found that build-up of the protein, called fibrin, triggers an overactive immune response that damages the gums and underlying bone. The study, which was published in Science, suggests that suppressing abnormal fibrin activity could hold promise for preventing or treating periodontal disease.
At sites of injury or inflammation, fibrin normally plays a protective role, helping to form blood clots and activating immune cells to fight infection. But too much fibrin has been linked with health problems, including a rare form of severe gum disease due to a condition called plasminogen (PLG) deficiency. In affected people, mutations in the PLG gene lead to fibrin build-up and disease at various body sites, including the mouth.
To explore the connection between abnormal fibrin buildup and severe gum disease, the scientists studied PLG deficiency in mice and analysed human genetic data.
Like humans with the condition, PLG-deficient mice developed severe gum disease, including periodontal bone loss and elevated levels of fibrin in the gums. The mice's gums were crowded with immune cells called neutrophils, which are also found at high levels in common forms of severe gum disease.
Neutrophils typically defend the oral cavity from harmful microbes. But an excessive neutrophil response is thought to cause tissue damage. To find out if fibrin was driving this overactive response, the researchers impaired its ability to interact with (bind to) protein receptors on neutrophils. The weakened binding between fibrin and neutrophils completely prevented periodontal bone loss in PLG-deficient mice.

From: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/12/211223143106.htm

Obesity raises the risk of gum disease by inflating growth of bone-destroying cells

Chronic inflammation caused by obesity may trigger the development of cells that break down bone tissue, including the bone that holds teeth in place, according to new University at Buffalo (UB) research that sought to improve understanding of the connection between obesity and gum disease.
The study, completed in an animal model and published in the Journal of Dental Research, found that excessive inflammation resulting from obesity raises the number of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), a group of immune cells that increase during illness to regulate immune function. MDSCs develop into a range of different cell types, including osteoclasts (a cell that breaks down bone tissue). Bone loss is a major symptom of periodontal (gum) disease and may ultimately lead to tooth loss.
Keith Kirkwood, professor of oral biology in the UB School of Dental Medicine says: "Although there is a clear relationship between the degree of obesity and periodontal disease, the mechanisms that underpin the links between these conditions were not completely understood”.
The study examined two groups of mice fed vastly different diets over the course of 16 weeks: one group with a low-fat diet that derived 10% of energy from fat; and, another group with a high-fat diet that drew 45% of energy from fat.
The investigation found that the high-fat diet group experienced obesity, more inflammation and a greater increase of MDSCs in the bone marrow and spleen compared to the low-fat diet group. The high-fat diet group also developed a significantly larger number of osteoclasts and lost more alveolar bone (the bone that holds teeth in place).

From: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/11/211112083106.htm/

A chewing gum that could reduce Covid-19 transmission

A chewing gum laced with a plant-grown protein serves as a "trap" for the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) virus, reducing viral load in saliva and potentially tamping down transmission, according to a new study.
The work, led by Henry Daniell at Penn's School of Dental Medicine could lead to a low-cost tool in the arsenal against the Covid-19 pandemic. The study was published in the journal Molecular Therapy.
Daniell says: "SARS-CoV-2 replicates in the salivary glands, and we know that when someone who is infected sneezes, coughs, or speaks some of that virus can be expelled and reach others. This gum offers an opportunity to neutralise the virus in the saliva, giving us a simple way to possibly cut down on a source of disease transmission”.
Prior to the pandemic, Daniell had been studying the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) protein in the context of treating hypertension. Daniell's past work on ACE2 proved fortuitous in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The receptor for ACE2 on human cells also happens to bind the Covid-19 spike protein. Other research groups have shown that injections of ACE2 can reduce viral load in people with severe infections.
To test the chewing gum, the team grew ACE2 in plants, paired with another compound that enables the protein to cross mucosal barriers and facilitates binding, and incorporated the resulting plant material into cinnamon-flavoured gum tablets. Incubating samples obtained from nasopharyngeal swabs from Covid-positive patients with the gum, they showed that the ACE2 present could neutralise Covid-19 viruses.

From: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/12/211203151425.htm

Covid-19: Study shows benefits of local exhaust ventilation in dental settings

One of the main ways in which Covid-19 is communicated is through airborne respiratory droplets—droplets that can be dispersed as a result of dental procedures. In a new study, researchers from Newcastle University examined the applicability of local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems for controlling the dispersion of these droplets and aerosols and found that they could be quite valuable for this purpose.
According to James Allison, lead author of the study and a clinical research fellow at the university’s School of Dental Sciences, LEV is often referred to as extra-oral scavenging or suction when used in dental settings. While such systems are employed in other industries to reduce exposure to airborne contaminants, their use is not currently commonplace in dentistry. To investigate the potential benefits of LEV systems in dentistry, Allison and a research group conducted experiments on dental mannequins in both an open-plan dental clinic and a single surgical room.
Ten-minute crown preparations were conducted in the open-plan clinic using an air turbine handpiece, and full-mouth ultrasonic scaling was conducted over the same duration in the surgery. In both settings, fluorescein was added as a tracer to the instruments’ irrigation reservoirs and an LEV system with HEPA filters and a flow rate of 5,000L/minute was used.
Overall, it was found that using the LEV system reduced aerosol dispersion from the air turbine handpiece by 90% within 0.5m of the procedure—a figure that increased to 99% for the ultrasonic scaler within the same proximity. For the air turbine handpiece, the detection of larger droplets within 0.5m was also reduced by 95%.

From: https://www.dental-tribune.com/news/covid-19-study-shows-benefits-of-local-exhaust-ventilation-in-dental-settings/

Heartburn drugs may have unexpected benefits on gum disease

The use of heartburn medication is associated with decreased severity of gum disease, according to a recent University at Buffalo (UB) study. The research found that patients who used proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) – a class of drugs commonly prescribed to treat heartburn, acid reflux and ulcers – were more likely to have smaller probing depths in the gums (the gap between teeth and gums). When gums are healthy, they fit snuggly against the teeth. However, in the presence of harmful bacteria, the gap deepens, leading to inflammation, bone loss and periodontitis, also known as gum disease.
The findings, published last month in Clinical and Experimental Dental Research, may be linked to the side effects of PPIs, which include changes in bone metabolism and in the gut microbiome, says lead investigator Lisa M. Yerke, DDS, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Periodontics and Endodontics at the UB School of Dental Medicine: "PPIs could potentially be used in combination with other periodontal treatments; however, additional studies are first needed to understand the underlying mechanisms behind the role PPIs play in reducing the severity of periodontitis”.
The study sought to determine whether a relationship exists between PPI use and gum disease. The researchers analysed clinical data from more than 1,000 periodontitis patients either using or not using PPIs. Probing depths were used as an indicator of periodontitis severity.
The researchers theorised that PPIs' ability to alter bone metabolism or the gut microbiome, as well as potentially impact periodontal microorganisms, may help lessen the severity of gum disease.

From: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/10/211013114036.htm

Baby teeth may one day help identify kids at risk for mental disorders later in life

Teeth contain growth lines that may reveal clues about childhood experiences. A team analysed 70 primary teeth collected from 70 children enrolled in the Children of the 90s study based at the University of Bristol.
The results of this study could one day lead to the development of a tool for identifying children who have been exposed to early-life adversity, which is a risk factor for psychological problems.
Senior author Erin C. Dunn was intrigued to learn that anthropologists have long studied the teeth of people from past eras to learn about their lives. Exposure to sources of physical stress can affect the formation of dental enamel and result in pronounced growth lines within teeth, called stress lines. Thicker stress lines are thought to indicate more stressful life conditions.
Dunn developed a hypothesis that the width of one line, called the neonatal line (NNL), might serve as an indicator of whether an infant's mother experienced high levels of psychological stress during pregnancy and in the early period following birth.
To test this hypothesis, the width of the NNL was measured using microscopes. Mothers completed questionnaires during and shortly after pregnancy. Children whose mothers had lifetime histories of severe depression or other psychiatric problems, as well as mothers who experienced depression or anxiety at 32 weeks of pregnancy, were more likely than other kids to have thicker NNLs. Meanwhile, children of mothers who received significant social support shortly after pregnancy tended to have thinner NNLs.
If the findings of this research can be replicated in a larger study, Dunn believes that the NNL and other tooth growth marks could be used in the future to identify children who have been exposed to early life adversity. Dunn says: "Then we can connect those kids to interventions, so we can prevent the onset of mental health disorders”.

From: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/11/211110104603.htm

New technique helps researchers understand how acid damages teeth

The University of Surrey and the School of Dentistry at the University of Birmingham have developed a new technique to improve understanding of how acid damages teeth at the microstructural level.
The researchers performed a technique called "in situ synchrotron x-ray microtomography" at Diamond Light Source, a special particle accelerator. Electrons were accelerated to near lightspeed to generate bright x-rays that were used to scan dentine samples while they were being treated with acid. This enabled the team to build clear 3D images of dentine's internal structure with sub-micrometre resolution. By analysing these images, the researchers conducted the first-ever time-resolved 3D study of the dentine microstructural changes caused by acid.
The study, published in Dental Materials, highlights that acid dissolves the minerals in different structures of dentine at different rates. This research aims to develop knowledge that will lead to new treatments that can restore the structure and function of dentine.
Dr Tan Sui, Senior Lecturer in Materials Engineering at the University of Surrey, who led the research group, said: "Relatively little is known about how exactly acid damages the dentine inside our teeth at a microstructural level. This new research technique changes that and opens the possibility of helping identify new ways to protect dental tissues and develop new treatments".
This research is part of an ongoing collaboration with Prof. Gabriel Landini and Dr Richard Shelton at the School of Dentistry, University of Birmingham.

From: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/10/211014141919.htms

The tooth on how the pandemic has affected our smiles

Survey data collected by the Oral Health Foundation and Align Technology has found the impact of the pandemic on the way UK adults view their smiles. More than half (58%) of British adults surveyed responded that they have changed the way they see their smile as a result of online video calls, with a third (33%) now more aware of the colour of their teeth and nearly a quarter (24%) more conscious about the alignment. The research shows that one-in-ten (11%) UK adults feels self-conscious seeing their smile during an online meeting.
The smile is one of the most important assets we have and is how we communicate our thoughts, emotions and feelings towards one another. Because of its prominence, and importance, the smile can also be a great source of concern for some people.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE of the Oral Health Foundation said: "The colour and shape of our teeth are the first things we tend to notice and feeling self-conscious is quite normal. What we must remember, however, is that the most important part of the smile is its health".
A healthy mouth can be achieved through an effective oral health routine at home as well as regular dental visits. The key components of an effective oral health routine are brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes, cleaning in between teeth daily with interdental brushes or floss, and cutting down on how much and how often you have sugary foods and drinks.

From: https://www.dentalhealth.org/news/the-tooth-on-how-the-pandemic-has-affected-our-smiles

Occupational risk of dentists examined in new study

The widespread availability of vaccines in developed nations has significantly changed the risk of dentists contracting Covid-19 in a workplace setting. Prior to this, however, dentists and other workers in occupations that typically involve close contact were widely believed to be at a relatively high risk of developing Covid-19. A new study out of Norway has sought to examine this idea further by comparing how this risk differed across occupations between the country’s two Covid-19 waves in 2020.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, who used data from an emergency preparedness register for Covid-19 to form an observational study covering the entire Norwegian population between February 26 and December 18, 2020. The occupational groups chosen were: health (including dentists); teaching; retail; tourism and travel; catering; and, recreation and beauty. They were selected based on their high likelihood of direct, close contact with other people.
The researchers estimated and then compared the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases per 1,000 employed individuals for each of the country’s two Covid-19 waves — the first spanning from February 26 to July 17 and the second from July 18 to December 18. In total, just over 3.5 million Norwegian residents of working age were studied.
According to the study’s findings, during the first wave, dentists, doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals were approximately 2-3.5 times more likely to develop Covid-19 than all other Norwegians of working age. During the second wave, however, whereas doctors were moderately more likely to test positive for Covid-19, dentists were found to be no more likely to contract the virus than the average employed individual.

From: https://www.dental-tribune.com/news/occupational-risk-of-dentists-in-norway-examined-in-new-study/

IDS 2021 attracted 23,000 visitors from 114 countries

A total of 830 companies from 59 countries participated in the International Dental Show (IDS) 2021 in a gross exhibition space of 115,000 m² in Cologne, Germany. There were 228 exhibitors and five additionally represented companies from Germany, together with 591 exhibitors and six additionally represented companies from abroad. The foreign share of company participation was 72%. Including estimates for the last day of the fair, more than 23,000 trade show visitors from 114 countries attended IDS 2021. Of these visitors, around 57% came from abroad — from Europe, especially Italy, France, the Netherlands and Eastern Europe, as well as from the Middle East and overseas.
This IDS was the first to be held in a hybrid format, so that visitors who were unable to travel owing to restrictions were still able to participate digitally. IDSconnect, the digital platform of the fair, featured 77 exhibitors from 16 countries with 88 daily contributions and 1,310 minutes of broadcast time. Oliver Frese, chief operating officer of Koelnmesse, commented on the hybrid format in a press release: "We offered the physical meeting place here in Cologne in the exhibition halls and, in addition, the digital platform IDSconnect with added opportunities for presentations and networking, which was very well received”.
Mark Stephen Pace, chairman of the executive board of the Association of the German Dental Industry said: "Optimism has returned within the international dental family. We held intensive discussions with interested visitors and most of them ultimately came to make investment decisions".
The next IDS will take place from March 14-18, 2023.

From: https://www.dental-tribune.com/news/ids-2021-attracted-23000-visitors-from-114-countries/

Smart dental implants

Researchers are developing a smart dental implant that resists bacterial growth and generates its own electricity through chewing and brushing to power a tissue-rejuvenating light. The innovation could extend the usable life of an implant.
Implants represent a leap of progress over dentures or bridges, fitting much more securely and designed to last 20 years or more. But often implants fall short of that expectation, instead needing replacement in five to 10 years due to local inflammation or gum disease, necessitating a repeat of a costly and invasive procedure for patients.
Geelsu Hwang, an assistant professor in the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, who has a background in engineering that he brings to his research on oral health issues, says: "We wanted to address this issue, and so we came up with an innovative new implant".
The novel implant would implement two key technologies, Hwang says. One is a nanoparticle-infused material that resists bacterial colonisation. And the second is an embedded light source to conduct phototherapy, powered by the natural motions of the mouth, such as chewing or toothbrushing. In a paper in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces and a 2020 paper in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials, Hwang and colleagues lay out their platform, which could one day be integrated not only into dental implants but other technologies, such as joint replacements.
"We wanted an implant material that could resist bacterial growth for a long time because bacterial challenges are not a one-time threat," Hwang says.
The power-generating property of the material was sustained and in tests over time the material did not leach or harm gum tissue, and demonstrated a good level of mechanical strength.

From: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/09/210909141258.htm

Since periodontitis (gum disease) has been linked to systemic health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, research is continually being conducted to better understand its causes. To this end, a new Japanese study has interrogated the associations between genetic polymorphisms — the most common type of human genetic variation — oral microbiome statuses, and the development of periodontitis.
A team of researchers spread across several Japanese universities conducted the study. They first performed a cross-sectional analysis, during which they genotypically analysed 14,539 participants and carried out saliva sampling of a group of 385. Of this group, 22 individuals were retained for the study and divided into a periodontitis group and a control group based on their periodontal status.
The researchers explained that the development of infections, oral or otherwise, is affected by genetic differences among individuals, as these differences can affect susceptibility to certain pathogens and the likelihood of contracting certain diseases.
Upon examination, the research team found that the beta diversity of the microbes — the ratio between regional and local microbe species diversity — was significantly different between the periodontitis group and control group. Two bacterial families (Lactobacillaceae and Desulfobulbaceae), as well as the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis, were found only in the periodontitis group. However, no relationship was found to exist between genetic polymorphism and periodontal status, suggesting that the make-up of one’s oral microbiome plays a greater role in periodontal health than genes do.
The study was published the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

From: https://ap.dental-tribune.com/news/links-between-oral-microbiome-genetic-variations-and-periodontitis-examined-in-new-study/

Pulling wisdom teeth can improve long-term taste function, research finds

Patients who had their wisdom teeth extracted had improved tasting abilities decades after having the surgery, a new Penn Medicine, USA study published in the journal Chemical Senses found. The findings challenge the notion that removal of wisdom teeth, only has the potential for negative effects on taste, and represent one of the first studies to analyse the long-term effects of extraction on taste.
Senior author Richard L. Doty, PhD, director of the Smell and Taste Center at the University of Pennsylvania said: "Prior studies have only pointed to adverse effects on taste after extraction and it has been generally believed that those effects dissipate over time. This new study shows us that taste function can actually slightly improve between the time patients have surgery and up to 20 years later. It's a surprising but fascinating finding that deserves further investigation to better understand why it's enhanced and what it may mean clinically”.
Doty and co-author Dane Kim evaluated data from 1,255 patients who had undergone a chemosensory evaluation at Penn's Smell and Taste Center over the course of 20 years. Among that group, 891 patients had received wisdom tooth extractions and 364 had not.
The "whole-mouth identification" test incorporates five different concentrations of sucrose, sodium chloride, citric acid, and caffeine. The extraction group outperformed the control group for each of the four tastes. The study suggests that people who have received extractions in the distant past experience, on average, an enhancement (typically a 3-10% improvement) in their ability to taste.

From: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/06/210628170521.htm

Tooth loss associated with increased cognitive impairment, dementia

Tooth loss is a risk factor for cognitive impairment and dementia – and with each tooth lost, the risk of cognitive decline grows, according to a new analysis led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and published in JAMDA: The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. However, this risk was not significant among older adults with dentures, suggesting that timely treatment with dentures may protect against cognitive decline.
Prior studies show a connection between tooth loss and diminished cognitive function, with researchers offering a range of possible explanations for this link. For one, missing teeth can lead to difficulty chewing, which may contribute to nutritional deficiencies or promote changes in the brain. A growing body of research also points to a connection between gum disease – a leading cause of tooth loss – and cognitive decline. In addition, tooth loss may reflect life-long socioeconomic disadvantages that are also risk factors for cognitive decline.
Dean's Professor in Global Health at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, Bei Wu and her colleagues conducted a meta-analysis using longitudinal studies of tooth loss and cognitive impairment. The 14 studies included in their analysis involved a total of 34,074 adults and 4,689 cases of people with diminished cognitive function.
The researchers found that adults with more tooth loss had a 1.48 times higher risk of developing cognitive impairment and 1.28 times higher risk of being diagnosed with dementia, even after controlling for other factors.
However, adults missing teeth were more likely to have cognitive impairment if they did not have dentures (23.8%) compared to those with dentures (16.9%); a further analysis revealed that the association between tooth loss and cognitive impairment was not significant when participants had dentures.

From: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210708083904.htm

New report aims to improve VR use in healthcare education

A new report that could help improve how immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are used in healthcare education and training has been published.
Prof. David Peebles, Director of the University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Cognition and Neuroscience, and Huddersfield PhD graduate Matthew Pears contributed to the report. The work also involved another PhD researcher, Yeshwanth Pulijala, and Prof. Eunice Ma.
With only a relatively small number of dental schools in the UK, the quartet visited seven dental schools in India in early 2017 to test their VR-based training materials on students.
The report argues for greater standardisation of how to use immersive technologies in healthcare training and education. As Prof. Peebles explained: "Immersive technology is becoming increasingly popular and, as the technology is advancing, it's becoming clear that there is great potential to make training more accessible and effective”.
He continued: "Developing immersive training materials can be very time-consuming and difficult to evaluate properly. Getting surgeons and medical students to take time out to test your VR training is challenging. In our case we were lucky to have a surgeon, Prof. Ashraf Ayoub, a Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Glasgow, who granted us permission to film a surgical procedure that was then transformed into a 3D environment to train students about situation awareness while in the operating theatre”.
Prof. Peebles hopes the work so far will provide a basis for more investigations that could help get the most from the potential that VR and immersive technology have to offer.

From: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210706115417.htm