Treating chronic gum disease to prevent heart disease

Chronic gum disease is also known as periodontitis. It causes swollen and painful gums and loss of the bone that supports the teeth. ‘Chronic’ is a label that means the disease has continued for some time without treatment.

There may be a link between periodontitis and heart disease. The treatment for chronic periodontitis gets rid of bacteria and infection and controls inflammation. It is thought that this may help prevent the diseases of the heart and blood vessels. We wanted to find out whether treating chronic gum disease could help prevent death or reduce the likelihood of heart attacks or strokes. Continue reading

What is the best way prevent and control bad breath?

Bad breath or halitosis is caused by too much bacteria or small food parts left inside the mouth, most commonly at the back of the tongue. It can be a sign of disease within the mouth or other body diseases. People with bad breath can have low self-esteem and feel embarrassed. It can affect their personal relationships and work. In this review, we looked at treatments for bad breath due to a disease within the mouth and at treatments that aim to control not just mask bad breath. Continue reading

Dental treatments for preventing damage to the jawbones in people with cancer receiving radiotherapy to the head and neck

Osteoradionecrosis (ORN) of the jaws is a serious problem that can happen after people have radiotherapy as part of their treatment for head and neck cancer. ORN refers to the death and exposure of bone that result from damage to the tissues due to being exposed to radiation. ORN is very difficult to treat and it is important that steps are taken to prevent it. In this review, we looked at any treatments that have been used to prevent ORN. Continue reading

How can we prevent tooth decay in the first year of life?

Tooth decay in young children, especially poor children, is very common. It affects billions of children worldwide. Tooth decay can have long‐lasting effects on health and it can cost a lot to treat it. Dental plaque is bacteria in the mouth, and it is well known that it causes tooth decay, along with sugar. The attitudes, beliefs, and habits of pregnant women, mothers and other people looking after children can influence the dental health of their children. Continue reading

Fluorides for preventing early tooth decay during fixed brace treatment

Wearing a fixed brace makes it harder for people to keep their teeth clean and may also cause pain. Pain can make it more difficult for people to brush their teeth. This can lead to a build-up of dental plaque around the brackets that attach the fixed brace to the teeth. If the plaque stays on the tooth for long enough, it will cause early tooth decay, which looks like white or brown marks (demineralised lesions, also known as white spot lesions). People often wear braces for 18 months or longer and if the decay is left to progress, it can cause holes, which are sometimes bad enough to need fillings to be done in the teeth.

Fluoride helps the tooth to heal, reducing tooth decay in people who are at risk of developing it. People receiving fixed brace treatment may be given different forms of fluoride treatment. It is important to think about how the fluoride gets to the teeth. Does the fluoride need to be placed by a dentist or dental nurse, or can people having treatment with braces apply the fluoride to their own teeth? Continue reading

Open wide! Managing gagging in dental patients

0302 Gagging.jpgThe gag reflex is a normal process to protect the throat and airway from foreign objects and prevent choking. Many people have an exaggerated gag reflex that causes distress during dental treatment. This can make it difficult or even impossible to perform the treatment. The interventions used to manage gagging include anti-nausea medicines, sedatives, local and general anaesthetics, herbal remedies, behaviour therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy, acupressure, acupuncture, lasers and prosthetic devices.

We wanted to know how effective and safe these interventions are in helping people to complete their dental treatment with less gagging. We compared them to no intervention or a placebo or to other interventions. Continue reading