‘Inadequate’ health response leaves 3.5bn with poor dental care

By: Sarah Boseley, The Guardian

⚠️ Scientists are calling for radical reform of dental care, tighter regulation of the sugar industry and greater transparency around conflict of interests in dental research to tackle the high and rising toll of oral disease such as mouth cancers.

Will this approach help in the state of crisis in the global health community? The Woodview Oral Surgery Team

In a challenge to the global health community, a series in the Lancet medical journal argues that 3.5 billion people suffering from the oral disease have been let down.

The oral disease includes tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer and affects almost half of the global population. Untreated dental decay is the most common health condition worldwide. Lip and oral cavity cancers are among the top 15 most common cancers in the world, say researchers.

“Dentistry is in a state of crisis,” said Prof Richard Watt, chair and honorary consultant in dental public health at University College London and the lead author of the series. “Current dental care and public health responses have been largely inadequate, inequitable and costly, leaving billions of people without access to even basic oral health care.

“While this breakdown in the delivery of oral healthcare is not the fault of individual dental clinicians committed to caring for their patients, a fundamentally different approach is required to effectively tackle to the global burden of oral diseases.”

The high-tech treatment has taken priority over prevention in wealthy countries such as the UK, say the researchers. Around the world, the heavy marketing of sugary drinks is causing increasing damage to dental health, they argue.

By 2020 Coca-Cola intends to spend $12bn (£9.5bn) on marketing its products across Africa, in contrast to WHO’s total annual budget in 2017 of $4.4bn, they write.

Watt said: “Sugar consumption is the primary cause of tooth decay. The UK population is consuming far too much sugar – considerably higher than the Department of Health and WHO recommends.

“A particular concern is the high levels of sugar in processed commercial baby foods and drinks which encourage babies and toddlers to develop a preference for sweetness in early life. We need tighter regulation and legislation to restrict the marketing and promotion of sugary foods and drinks if we are to tackle the root causes of oral conditions.”

Cristin Kearns, of the University of California, San Francisco, and Prof Lisa Bero, of the University of Sydney, warn in a linked commentary of financial links between dental research organizations and the processed food and drink industries.

“Emerging evidence of industry influence on research agendas contributes to the plausibility that major food and beverage brands could view financial relationships with dental research organizations as an opportunity to ensure a focus on commercial applications for dental caries interventions – such as xylitol, oral hygiene instruction, fluoridated toothpaste, and sugar-free chewing gum – while deflecting attention from harm caused by their sugary products,” they write.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jul/18/inadequate-health-response-leaves-35bn-with-poor-dental-care

How Did People Clean Their Teeth in the Olden Days?

By: The Conversation, AP News, Snopes

🦷 [FUN FACT] Dental hygiene has come a long way since the days of wine-soaked toothpicks and the urine mouthwash once thought to disinfect mouths and whiten teeth.

Let’s explore the ways our ancestors clean their teeth in the olden days via snopes.com. The Woodview Oral Surgery Team

Dental hygiene has come a long way since the days of wine-soaked toothpicks and the urine mouthwash once thought to disinfect mouths and whiten teeth.

Some of the earliest tooth-cleaning artifacts archaeologists have found are ancient toothpicks, dental tools, and written tooth care descriptions dating back more than 2,500 years. The famous Greek doctor Hippocrates was one of the first to recommend cleaning teeth with what was basically a dry toothpaste, called a dentifrice powder.

Ancient Chinese and Egyptian texts advised cleaning teeth and removing decay to help maintain health. Some of the early techniques in these cultures included chewing on bark or sticks with frayed ends, feathers, fish bones and porcupine quills. They used materials like silver, jade, and gold to repair or decorate their teeth.

People in the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, and the Indian subcontinent traditionally cleaned their teeth with chew sticks made from the Salvadora persica tree. They’re called miswak. Europeans cleaned their teeth with rags rolled in salt or soot.

Believe it or not, in the early 1700s a French doctor named Pierre Fauchard told people not to brush. And he’s considered the father of modern dentistry! Instead, he encouraged cleaning teeth with a toothpick or sponge soaked in water or brandy.

In the late 1700s, Englishman William Addis was the first to sell toothbrushes on a large scale. He got the idea after making a toothbrush from bone and animal bristles while in prison.

Before modern-day toothpaste was created, pharmacists mixed and sold tooth cream or powder. Early tooth powders were made from something abrasive, like talc or crushed seashells, mixed with essential oils, such as eucalyptus or camphor, thought to fight germs. Their flavors came from oils of cinnamon, clove, rose or peppermint. Many contain other chemicals such as ammonia, chlorophyll, and penicillin. These ingredients fight the acid-producing bacteria that can cause tooth decay and bad breath.

By the 1900s, children of immigrants to the U.S. were taught oral hygiene as a way to help “Americanize” them and their families. Factories examined and cleaned their workers’ teeth to keep them from missing work due to toothaches.

Daily tooth brushing became more common thanks to World War II when the American army required soldiers to brush their teeth as part of their daily hygiene practices. The first nylon toothbrush was made in 1938, followed by the electric toothbrush in the 1960s.

Nowadays, there are dozens of kinds of tools and potions to help keep your mouth healthy. As a professor of dental hygiene, I believe it’s most important to clean your mouth daily, no matter how you choose to do so. Well, maybe stay away from the urine mouthwash.

Source: https://www.snopes.com/ap/2019/07/27/how-did-people-clean-their-teeth-in-the-olden-days/