Dr Mark O'Donnell B.D.S
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IDA welcomes findings of British report into water fluoridation
The Irish Dental Association has warmly welcomed a new report by Public Health England (PHE) into the safety and efficacy of water fluoridation in the UK.
The new report found that people living in fluoridated areas in the UK have lower levels of tooth decay - as many as 45% fewer children aged one to four in fluoridated areas are admitted to hospital for tooth decay than those living in non-fluoridated areas. On average, there are 15% fewer five-year olds, and 11% fewer 12-year olds with tooth decay in fluoridated areas. When deprivation and ethnicity are taken into account, 28% fewer five-year olds and 21% fewer 12-year olds have tooth decay in fluoridated areas than in non-fluroidated areas.
In its study, the PHE found no evidence that fluoridated water caused harm to health. There was no differences between the rates of hip fracture, osteosarcoma (a form of bone cancer), cancers in general, or Down's syndrome births in fluoridated areas than there was in non-fluoridated areas. In fact, rates of kidney stones and bladder cancer were actually lower in fluoridate areas, however the PHE warned that this should not be interpreted as a ‘protective effect’ from fluoridated water, as the lower rates may be due to other factors and the possibility that they occurred by chance cannot be ruled out.
PHE is required by legislation to monitor the effects of water fluoridation schemes on the health of people living in the areas covered, and to produce reports at no greater than four-yearly intervals.
The PHE report provides further confirmation to the dental industry that there is no evidence that water fluoridation schemes are harmful to health.
Women who smoke during pregnancy risk baby being born with facial deformities
Smoking during pregnancy gives women a one-in-two chance of having a baby with a failure of the upper lip or the palate, according to new research.
Latest statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre in the UK show that more than one in ten (12.7 per cent) pregnant women are smokers at delivery. Given there were 694,241 births in England in the last year, more than 54,500 babies could be at risk from a facial deformity.
Smoking during pregnancy has previously been linked to a number of health conditions, including heart defects, weight and size issues as well as lung conditions while tobacco use is also the leading cause of mouth cancer. Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, believes the research only adds to the calls for people to quit smoking. "There is a wealth of evidence to suggest smoking during pregnancy achieves nothing but putting your baby in harm's way. When you consider there are thousands of hazardous chemicals in a single cigarette, regularly smoking poses all sorts of risks.
"Any amount of cigarette smoking during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of having a child with health problems. Cigarettes aren't an easy thing to give up. Research has shown this. However, if cigarettes expose unborn babies to harmful chemicals caused by smoking, it is something pregnant women must ditch immediately.
Credit: British Dental Health Foundation
3 in 4 Irish teens have tooth decay
Half of all 12-year-olds and three in four 15-year-olds in Ireland have some decay in their permanent teeth, according to the Irish Dental Association (IDA).
The association was responding to the World Health Organisation's (WHO) call for people to reduce their consumption of sugar. Earlier this week, the WHO said that the daily allowance for sugar intake per person should be halved to six teaspoons per day, to help reduce health problems such as tooth decay and obesity.
According to IDA president, Dr Sean Malone, this should act as a wake-up call to young people and their parents: "There is overwhelming evidence that sugars in food and beverages are the main dietary cause of tooth decay and erosion in children and adults.
"In addition to dental decay, people who consume excess sugar suffer higher rates of heart disease and diabetes."
The IDA believes that all carbonated soft drinks should carry public health warnings. It also wants to see the introduction of legislation that would ensure that the sugar content of all foods and drinks is highlighted.