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Dentistry in the News

Consumption Of Soft Drinks May Raise Risk Of Premature Death, Research Suggests

Newsweek (9/3, Gander) reports a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests “both sugary and diet soft drinks” are associated with “an increased risk of death.” The research, which involved over 450,000 people from 10 European countries, found “participants who drank a lot of soft drinks were at a greater risk of death by any cause compared with those who drank the lowest amounts.”

CNN (9/3, Lamotte) reports the study “found those who drank two or more glasses of any type of soda a day had a higher risk of dying from any cause of death than people who drank less than a glass each month.” Furthermore, the investigators “found men and women who drank two or more glasses a day of sugar-sweetened soft drinks had a higher risk of dying from digestive disorders, while those who drank the same amount of diet drinks had higher risks of dying from cardiovascular disease.”

HealthDay (9/3, Gordon) says while the study found an association, it “does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between soda and a higher risk of early death.”

Information about the ADA’s nutrition-related activities is available at ADA.org/nutrition.

Dentists can refer patients to MouthHealthy.org, ADA’s consumer website, for up-to-date and evidenced-based information about nutrition. The ADA Catalog also features the brochure Sip and Snack All Day? Risk Decay!

Vaping Can Have Similar Effect On Teeth As Cigarette Smoking, ADA Spokesperson Says

Health (8/27, O’Neill) discusses the effects vaping may have on the teeth, featuring information from American Dental Association spokesperson Dr. Matthew Messina. Vaping adds “heat in the mouth,” Dr. Messina says, which “changes the bacterial presence in the mouth. It dries the mouth out.” Dr. Messina adds, “[The] rate of tooth decay increases, sometimes dramatically, if we dry the mouth out.” In addition, vaping can lead to tooth discoloration because of the presence of nicotine, inflamed gum tissue, and bone loss, he says. “It’s important to stress the fact that while vaping is new and is being actively studied, we have to consider vaping and cigarette smoking relatively the same, as far as the effects on the teeth and gum tissues,” says Dr. Messina.

Last week, the New York Times (8/23, Richtel, Kaplan) reported that public health officials announced the first vaping-related death. In a media statement, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the “death in Illinois reinforces the serious risks associated with e-cigarette products.”

Follow the ADA’s advocacy efforts on tobacco at ADA.org/tobacco.


Prenatal Vitamin D Intake May Reduce Risk Of Enamel Defects In Children, Study Suggests

The New York Times (8/13, Bakalar) reports, “Women who take large doses of vitamin D during pregnancy may be giving their children a lower risk of dental problems,” a “double-blinded clinical trial” suggests. Researchers randomly assigned 623 women into two groups and beginning on the “24th week of pregnancy, one group took two pills daily, one containing 400 units and the other 2,400 units of vitamin D,” while the other “took a 400 unit pill plus an identical-looking placebo.” Researchers “found that children of women who took the vitamin D regimen had a 47 percent lower rate of enamel defects in both permanent and baby teeth than those in the control group.” The study was published in JAMA Pediatrics.

The course Mouthful of Lesions in Peewees: Maximizing Infant Oral Health will be offered at the ADA FDI World Dental Congress, held in San Francisco Sept. 4-8.

Information about the ADA’s nutrition-related activities is available at ADA.org/nutrition.

Dentists can refer patients to MouthHealthy.org, ADA’s consumer website, for up-to-date and evidenced-based information about nutrition.

Zip Code May Be Key Factor In Predicting Lifespan, Evidence Suggests

TIME (6/17, Ducharme, Wolfson) reports that a “growing body of evidence suggests it may be a person’s zip code that holds the most information about how long they’ll live.” Researchers from the New York University School of Medicine examined data from “NYU Langone Health’s City Health Dashboard,” finding that “56 of the U.S.’ 500 largest cities are home to people who can expect to live at least 20 fewer years than those in other neighborhoods.” The article says that “a zip code’s influence on the health of those living there is multifold,” explaining that where a person lives directly affects their health “in a number of ways, from exposure to air pollution and toxins to accessibility of healthy food, green space and medical care,” and it is also “a more subtle indicator of socioeconomic factors that are inherent to health and longevity, including race and income.”

Kombucha May Harm Enamel

Vice (7/29, Castrodale) discusses how kombucha may harm teeth, sharing comments from several dentists who explain that the fermented tea drink’s acidity could contribute to dental erosion. The article notes that the American Dental Association shared an article on kombucha on its Facebook page. For those who consume kombucha, the article reports that some dentists suggest “limiting yourself to versions that are lower in sugar, downing it all in one sitting (to minimize the amount of time that your mouth pH is altered), drinking it through a straw, and rinsing your mouth out with water after you finish the bottle.” The article adds that people could also choose to “stick with water.”The Oral Health Topics on ADA.org provides additional information on dental erosion for dental professionals.

The ADA Catalog features the brochures, Tooth Erosion: The Harmful Effects of Acid and Snack And Sip All Day? Risk Decay!

In addition, Crest Pro-Health Advanced Deep Clean Mint Toothpaste is the first ADA Seal product in the enamel erosion control category.

Future Retirees Often Overlook Dental Care Costs

Business Insider (5/2, Loudenback) reported that although data indicate “over a third of US adults are more concerned about covering health costs in retirement than paying off debt and affording lifestyle expenses right now,” only “about half have a financial plan in place for the future.” In addition, Business Insider stated that dental care costs are among some of “the most overlooked health costs in retirement.”

The Motley Fool (5/3, Backman) added, “That said, 75% of people with a health savings account, or HSA, do have a plan for covering future medical costs.” The article discussed HSAs, noting they can be used to pay for “common medical expenses,” including dental care.

The Oral Health Topics on ADA.org and MouthHealthy.org provide information on aging and dental health for dental professionals and patients.

Dentists can refer patients to MouthHealthy.org, ADA’s consumer website, for a guide to finding and paying for dental care.

Many US Adults Unfamiliar With Key Dental Terms, Survey Finds

In a release on PRNewswire (5/15), Delta Dental Plans Association states its “new Adult’s Oral Health & Well-Being Survey indicates that a significant portion of the American population is not familiar with certain key dental terms.” The survey of 1,100 adults in the US found “that the majority of adults are not versed in bruxism (81%), caries (75%) and prophylaxis (64%).” In addition, the survey found that 33% are unfamiliar with what periodontal disease is, and 40% are unsure what the term sealant means.

Excessive Consumption Of Sugary Beverages May Shorten Life, Research Suggests

CNN (5/17, Scutti) reported that “a study links drinking too many sugary beverages – and even 100% natural fruit juices – to an increased risk of early death.” CNN said the study, which was published in JAMA Network Open, found that “people who consumed 10% or more of their daily calories as sugary beverages had a 44% greater risk of dying due to coronary heart disease and a 14% greater risk of an early death from any cause compared with people who consumed less than 5% of their daily calories as sugary beverages.” While the study had several limitations, including that sugary drink consumption was based on self-reporting, co-author Dr. Jean A. Welsh, an assistant professor at Emory University in Atlanta, said, “Sugary beverages, whether soft drinks or fruit juices, should be limited.”

Information about the ADA’s nutrition-related activities is available at ADA.org/nutrition. Dentists can refer patients to MouthHealthy.org, ADA’s consumer website, for up-to-date and evidenced-based information about nutrition.

Studies Find Association Between Oral Health, Systemic Health

The New York Post (6/4, Sparks) reports on recent studies that have found an association between poor oral health and Alzheimer’s disease, ischemic stroke, and high blood pressure, among other health issues. For instance, the article reports a study by researchers in Norway found Porphyromonas gingivalis may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. In another study, researchers were “able to pinpoint common oral pathogens in 79% of cerebral blood clots samples of 75 stroke patients.” A related 2018 study also found an association between high blood pressure and poor oral health, and Dr. Davide Pietropaoli, the study’s lead investigator, said, “Oral health is indispensable to overall physiological health.”


Poor Oral Health Associated With Increased Liver Cancer Risk, Study Suggests

Medical Xpress (6/17) states that researchers at Queen’s University Belfast “investigated the association between oral health conditions and the risk of a number of gastrointestinal cancers, including liver, colon, rectum and pancreatic cancer.” The release states that although “no significant associations were observed on the risk of the majority gastrointestinal cancers and poor oral health, a substantial link was found for hepatobiliary cancer.” The findings were published in the United European Gastroenterology Journal.