Dentaid is looking for volunteers to provide emergency dentistry at Red Cross refugee camps in Cherso and Nea Kavala in northern Greece. These camps, which each house 4,000 people who have fled the conflict in Syria, offer some basic healthcare, but there is no dental provision.
The charity, which provides dental care and education to vulnerable populations around the world, is assembling a team of dentists, dental nurses, and dental therapists who will fly to northern Greece. Working from a tent and using portable equipment, these professionals will provide pain-relieving dental treatment for the refugees.
“Dentistry is an area where there is a real gap in provision and none of the agencies are providing it,” said Gwen Wilson, a nurse and emergency overseas health delegate with the British Red Cross. “There is a desperate need, and we are keen to get volunteers out there as soon as possible, although they will need to work in the most basic conditions.”
While the Red Cross has been working to improve sanitation in the camps, access to personal hygiene items like soap and toothpaste has been very limited. Many of the refugees have been suffering from dental pain for a long time and have developed complications affecting their health.
“The images we have seen of people in the refugee camps in Greece are deeply upsetting and worrying,” said Andrew Evans, strategic director of Dentaid. “We know there is a huge dental need, and we are pleased that the Red Cross has approached Dentaid so that we can help.”
With the support of 8 dental specialties and 3 international oral and maxillofacial surgical associations, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) has released a white paper advocating evidence-based guidelines in managing third molar teeth.
“For many years, the discussion surrounding the care and management of third molars, or wisdom teeth, has been obscured by unsupported statements and misinterpretation of the data,” said Dr. Louis K. Rafetto, president of AAOMS. “This white paper reflects the latest evidence-based research and offers clear, clinical guidelines for managing these teeth.”
According to the paper, the best evidence-based data indicates that third molar teeth associated with disease or at high risk of developing disease should be surgically managed. When there is no disease or significant risk of disease, active clinical and radiologic surveillance would be indicated. The supporting organizations include:
- The American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
- The American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
- The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
- The American Academy of Periodontology
- The American Association of Endodontists
- The American Association of Orthodontists
- The American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
- The American College of Prosthodontists
- The British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
- The Canadian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
- The International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Authorities in the United Kingdom have arrested and convicted Dilbar Dishad for the illegal sale and supply of counterfeit dental drills. He was selling these fakes, which were identical to a reputable brand that costs about £335 (about $490), for only £75 (about $110) on eBay. He had purchased them for about £10 (about $15) from a Chinese company and using stickers to make them appear legitimate.
“Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said Alastair Jeffrey, head of enforcement with the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Dishad was caught when a potential customer tipped off the authentic manufacturer. He was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment, suspended for 2 years, and 200 hours of unpaid work to be completed within 12 months. Also, he has been disqualified from being a company director for 5 years and must pay £2,000 (about $2,900) to the MHRA.
“Along with medicines, there is a growing and disturbing trend in counterfeit medical devices. From the counterfeit devices that have been identified, many are poorly manufactured and do not meet strict European requirements for the European Conformity (CE) marking of medical devices,” said Danny Lee-Frost, head of operations at MHRA.
“In relation to counterfeit dental products, there is a risk that their poor quality will result in failure in use; for example, disintegrating in the patient’s mouth,” said Lee-Frost. “The risk to patients’ health and safety from a device operating at high speed in close proximity to your teeth and gums is obvious.”
The MHRA works closely with the British Dental Industry Association (BDIA) and the General Dental Council to monitor the use of substandard, counterfeit, and illegal medical equipment and to promote awareness of the dangers it presents to patients and operators.
“MHRA is responsible for protecting public health, and we will continue to seek out and prosecute those who recklessly endanger the public by counterfeiting medical devices,” said Jeffrey.
During the past 4 years, MHRA has seized more than 700 counterfeit drills, though many more may be in use, it warns. In January, MHRA seized more than 100 counterfeit and noncompliant items including handpieces from a single chain of 14 practices. Other agency seizures of noncompliant and counterfeit equipment have included a nonapproved portable dental x-ray unit that could emit harmful radiation.
MHRA notes that there are no specifics about spotting counterfeits, as they often are externally similar to the goods they are replicating. Differences may be minor, but they aren’t easily spotted. Counterfeiters, MHRA says, are skilled in manufacturing the devices as well as the documentation related to authenticity, compliance, and guarantee.
The BDIA offers tips on spotting fake equipment and encourages dentists who think they may have counterfeits to report them online at http://www.bdia.org.uk/device-reporting.html through its Counterfeit and Substandard Instruments and Devices Initiative. It also urges dentists to avoid fakes by only purchasing equipment from its directory of BDIA members.
“It is vital that dentists and dental staff buy equipment from bona fide suppliers in order to avoid substandard, unapproved, or counterfeit devices,” said Jeffrey. “I urge all dental professionals to be cautious of seemingly cheap devices that may be unfit for purpose and potentially dangerous to patients and the staff that use them.”
ACTEON North America will partner with TeamSmile to provide equipment such as its NEWTRON scalers and PSPIX2 cordless digital imagers to the nonprofit organization, which provides free dental care to underserved children across the United States.
TeamSmile connects children’s service groups, dental professionals, and professional sports organizations and their athletes to give children a life-changing dental experience that combines the excitement of sports with the importance of lifelong dental healthcare.
“We are thrilled to be working with TeamSmile and honored to support a program that will allow us to reach children across the country,” said Tim Long, vice president and chief operating officer of ACTEON North America. “Our minimally invasive products like the PSPIX2 make digital imaging more comfortable, particularly for pediatric patients with small mouths.”
“TeamSmile is grateful to have ACTEON as a partner that shares our values and makes our mission all the more achievable through its generosity,” said Lezlie Doyle, executive director of TeamSmile.
There is only one dentist for every 42,000 people in Kenya, which is far below the World Health Organization’s recommendation of one for every 7,000. Also, most dentists in Kenya practice in the country’s urban areas, leaving most rural residents without access to oral care. Poor oral health in these populations has been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and strokes, as well as absenteeism from work and school.
Researchers from the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) are now teaming up with the University of Nairobi, Unilever East Africa, and the Columbia Global Centers | Africa to improve oral health care and disease prevention in Kenya and other resource-poor countries in East Africa. The project is part of the Children’s Global Oral Health Initiative at Columbia.
“The time has come for a radical change in our thinking about the importance of teeth and the mouth in terms of overall health,” said Christian Stogler, DMD, dean of the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. “Left untreated, certain oral health-related diseases, such as oral cancer, can be fatal.”
Partners also include the ministries of health in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania and the Kenya Dental Association. Together, the groups will aim to improve oral health and related illnesses by integrating oral health care into these countries’ health prevention and education initiatives. They hope to inform policy that these ministries of health can implement to meet local needs.
“We have chosen to initially engage stakeholders from Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania because these 3 countries share a common history, ethnicity, and language and cooperate both politically and economically,” said Kavita P. Ahluwalia, DDS, director of Global Oral Health Initiatives for Africa and South Asia at the College of Dental Medicine.
The project also will include a research component. In June, students from CUMC will begin research in Kenya under the mentorship of Ahluwalia and professor Regina Mutawe of the University of Nairobi. The results of their research are expected to be applicable to other resource-poor countries in the region.
In March, members of the partner groups met at Columbia Global Centers | Africa in Nairobi. Participants included more than 100 leaders in oral health as well as high-ranking government and dental officials. Together, they identified regional priorities and began defining next steps to address oral health needs. Sustainable models of oral care delivery were presented as well.
“The summit was a great success,” said Stephen W. Nicholas, MD, principal director of the Children’s Global Oral Health Initiative and professor of pediatrics and population and family health at CUMC. “It far exceeded our expectations at every level, including in participation, attendance, and enthusiasm.”
Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man are long gone, but tobacco advertising still has a powerful effect on teenagers according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Specifically, researchers found a link between exposure to advertisements for e-cigarettes and their use by middle and high school students.
“Many of the ads we’re seeing for e-cigarettes today that rely on sex, independence, and rebellion look eerily like the ads that were used to sell cigarettes and other conventional tobacco products for generations,” said Brian King, PhD, deputy director for research translation in the CDC’s office on Smoking and Health.
The researchers assessed the youths’ use of e-cigarettes over the previous 30 days and their exposure to advertising in retail stores, on the internet, in television and movies, and in magazines and newspapers as part of the National Youth Tobacco Survey, conducted among more than 22,000 middle and high school students in 2014.
According to the study, the greater the exposure to these advertisements, the greater the students’ odds of e-cigarette use. The CDC also noted that spending on e-cigarette advertising rose from $6.4 million in 2011 to about $115 million in 2014.
E-cigarette use among youth also climbed during the same period, from 1.5% in 2011 to 13.4% in 2014 among high school students, as well as from 0.6% in 2001 to 3.9% in 2014 among middle school students. In 2014, e-cigarettes surpassed conventional cigarettes as the most commonly used tobacco product among youth.
And the numbers keep rising. In 2014, 2.46 million students used e-cigarettes. In 2015, the total was 3 million. That’s 16% of high school and 5.3% of middle school students, making e-cigarettes the most commonly used tobacco product among youth for the second consecutive year.
“Kids should not use any type of product, including e-cigarettes,” said CDC director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “Exposure to e-cigarette advertising is associated with youth e-cigarette use, and that is concerning to me as CDC director, as a doctor, and as a parent.”
“Any tobacco use by youth is dangerous to their health,” said King. “The unrestricted marketing of e-cigarettes and dramatic increases in their use by youth could reverse decades of progress in preventing tobacco use among youth.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulatory authority over cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. It is now developing a rule that, if finalized as proposed, would bring additional tobacco products such as e-cigarettes, hookahs, and some or all cigars under that same authority.
“Finalizing the rule to bring additional products under the agency’s tobacco authority is one of our highest priorities, and we look forward to a day in the near future when such products are properly regulated and reasonably marketed,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.
Currently, the FDA is expanding its expanding its “The Real Cost” public awareness campaign to educate rural, white male teenagers about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use, which include nicotine addiction, gum disease, tooth loss, and multiple kinds of cancer, through advertisements in 35 handpicked markets in the United States.
“In communities where smokeless tobacco use is part of the culture, reaching at-risk teens with compelling messaging is critical to help change their understanding of the risks and harms associated with smokeless tobacco use,” said Zeller.
The FDA reports that about 629,000 or 31.84% of rural, white males between the ages of 12 and 17 are experimenting with or at risk of using smokeless tobacco. Also, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says that nearly 1,000 males under the age of 18 use smokeless tobacco for the first time each day.
Furthermore, the CDC has found that overall tobacco use by middle and high school students has not changed since 2011. According to the agency, 4.7 million middle and high school students had used a tobacco product at least once in the previous 30 days in 2015, and more than 2.3 million of those students used 2 or more tobacco products.
“We’re very concerned that one in 4 high school students use tobacco and that almost half of those use more than one product,” said Corinne Graffunder, DrPH, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “Fully implementing proven tobacco strategies could prevent another generation of Americans from suffering from tobacco-related diseases and premature deaths.”
Oral Health America (OHA) notes that consumers under the age of 21 only account for 2.12% of total tobacco sales. Yet 90% of smokers start by the age of 21, so these sales lead to 9 out of every 10 new smokers. OHA’s Tobacco 21 campaign aims to raise the smoking age to 21 at municipal, state, and national levels to decrease youth smoking totals.
“No form of tobacco use is safe,” said Frieden. “Nicotine is an addictive drug and use during adolescence may cause lasting harm to brain development.”
The CDC encourages states and localities to limit tobacco product sales to facilities that never admit youth; restrict the number of stores that sell tobacco products as well as how close they can be to schools; and limit internet sales of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.
The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) has selected University of Florida (UF) dental student KyuLim Lee as its 2016-2017 Gert Quigley Fellow. Lee is enrolled in the DMD/PhD program and is president of the AADR Florida Chapter Student Research Group.
The Gert Quigley Fellowship is designed to familiarize dental school, PhD, and dual degree students with the federal legislative process as it relates to basic translational dental and craniofacial research, as well as research on the oral healthcare delivery system.
At the 2014 AADR Meeting Johnson & Johnson Hatton Competition, Lee took first place. She also placed second at the IADR Unilever Hatton Competition in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2012, she received her bachelor’s degree in food science and human nutrition from UF.
“This is a wonderful achievement, both for KyuLim Lee and for our college,” said dean A. Isabel Garcia. “I believe this is the first time a UF dental student has been selected for this prestigious fellowship, and we could not be more proud.”
“My research experience has taught me an important aspect of research: a cure for a disease is not discovered overnight. The discoveries result from years of incremental research,” Lee said.
“Being actively involved in both dental research and organized dentistry, I realize participating in the process of how research gets funded is critical,” she said. “Research is the future of dentistry, and advocating the importance of continuous funding for dental research is very important.”
The fellowship includes spending 6 weeks at AADR headquarters in Alexandria, Va, and a yearlong appointment to the AADR Government Affairs Committee. As full voting members, fellows assist with formulating association policy as it relates to the federal budget and other legislative and regulatory activities important to dental research.
“I will be able to learn how Congress is involved in the process of funding research, as well as have the opportunity to advocate and educate members of Congress on the importance of dental research and funding,” Lee said.
“My involvement in research has increased my appreciation for the high quality of dental and medical care in today’s society, so I am truly honored for this opportunity,” she said.
As baby boomers get older, the percentage of Americans older than age 65 is increasing. In 2010, about 13% of the population was age 65 or older. By 2030, more than 19% of Americans will be age 65 or older. Yet these people are facing significant challenges in oral care, which some states have been more successful in meeting than others.
Oral Health America (OHA) has released A State of Decay Volume III, which is a state-by-state report of the oral health of adults age 65 and older in the United States. Maintaining oral health is a daily challenge for many of these people due to limited access to dental insurance, availability of affordable dental services, a lack of fluoridated water, and a lack of prevention and education programs.
OHA ranked each state based on its edentulism rate, the extent of adult Medicaid dental benefits, its percentage of residents with a fluoridated water supply, its use of the Basic Screening Survey from the American Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors, and its use of a state oral health plan. The organization weighed these variables equally and combined them into a composite score.
Minnesota ranked the highest, followed by North Dakota. They were the only states to qualify as “Excellent,” according to OHA. Alabama ranked last, preceded by Tennessee, Hawaii, Wyoming, and Mississippi. OHA reports that 38 states were “Fair” (22%) or “Poor” (54%), with only 10 states meeting the criteria to be named “Good” (20%).
Minnesota did so well due to its 10.5% edentulism rate, 76.9% Medicaid coverage rate, 98.8% fluoridation rate, inclusion of older adults in its state oral health plan, and its efforts to conduct a basic screening survey for older adults in 2016. OHA also cited the state’s partnerships with dental organizations and training in elder care for dental hygienists.
At the other end of the scale, 8 states have edentulism rates of 20% or more, with West Virginia topping the list at 33.6%. Also, 60% or more of the populations of 5 different states live in communities that don’t have fluoridated water. Furthermore, 8 states don’t cover dental services through Medicaid, and only 4 cover the maximum possible services.
On the national level, OHA will support policies that allow older adults to live healthy and independently, such as the Older Americans Act. It also will support policies that recognize caregivers, such as the RAISE Family Caregivers Act. It will advocate for financially viable Medicare dental benefits as well.
On the state level, OHA will work to establish or reinstate Medicaid dental benefits for older adults. It also will support the addition or continuation of community water fluoridation. It will encourage states to include specific objectives for older adults in their oral health plans. And, it will help develop the surveillance or the oral health of older adults through use of the Basic Screening Surveys.