Have your patients tried iWave interdental brushes from Oraldent? If not, consider recommending them for supported oral hygiene at home.
Looking beyond dental health
Substantial evidence now exists linking oral health with systemic health. Poor dental hygiene has been associated with an increased risk of many conditions, from diabetes to heart disease. The latest research has further demonstrated the influence of oral health on brain health.[i]
The link between mouth and brain
Presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2023, a study evaluated approximately 40,000 UK adults without a history of stroke. Data was analysed for participants, identifying those with genetic factors that predisposed them for cavities, dentures and missing teeth. They were then tested for brain health from MRI images, with researchers looking for white matter hyperintensities (damage in the white matter of the brain that impacts memory, balance and mobility) and microstructural damage (differences in the fine architecture of the brain compared to a normal, healthy brain scan.
The results of the study showed a 24% increase in white matter hyperintensities among people who were genetically at greater risk of cavities and tooth loss, making them also more likely to experience silent cerebrovascular diseases. The same group of participants also showed greater damage of the fine architecture of the brain, with 43% change in microstructural damage scores from their MRI scans.
This is just another reason among many others for highlighting the importance of oral health among patients.
Current oral health landscape
It is estimated that over 30% of UK adults have tooth decay,[ii] while approximately 10% of the global population has periodontitis.[iii] Tooth loss remains heavily associated with age, though it still affects around 10% of those under 55-years-old in England, 21% of those aged 55-64 and 59% of the over 75s.[iv]
Despite significant improvements in oral health across the nation in recent decades, there is still much progress yet to be made. Among children, for example, we are still seeing worryingly high rates of hospital admissions for something as preventable as tooth decay. Between 2020 and 2021, more than 22,000 tooth extractions were performed in a hospital setting for 0 to 19-year-olds[v] – the majority of which were due to decay.
There are also significant inequalities present among key groups of society.[vi] For instance, those from areas of deprivation remain at greater risk for oral health problems. So too do vulnerable people including the homeless community, prisoners, travellers and looked after children.
Improving the oral health of the nation
Education is key to enhancing the population’s oral health. If people understand the importance of looking after their teeth and gums, they are far more likely to prioritise their dental hygiene routine and comply with professional recommendations. Several studies have demonstrated that oral health literacy is linked to periodontal health and enhanced education leads to improved adherence with medical instructions, self-management and treatment outcomes.[vii]
Various types of education programmes, including instructions, demonstrations, group discussions and lectures have been proven successful in all age groups. It has also been suggested that while the immediate change in attitude was significant, this reduced over time,[viii] emphasising the need for continuous reinforcement.
It is just as crucial that people have the most appropriate tools for them to implement what they learn – and they know how to use them. For example, does their toothbrush have bristles of the right hardness? Studies have shown that hard toothbrush use or aggressive brushing can lead to gingival recession,[ix] so some patients may benefit from softer bristles or a gentler technique.
Equally as important is interdental cleaning – an area that definitely needs improvement in the UK. An alarming 33% of adults have never cleaned interdentally in the UK,ii putting them at an increased risk of periodontal disease, caries and tooth loss.[x] To help patients avoid this, dental professionals must regularly discuss the benefits of interdental cleaning and teach them how to do it effectively. Recommending high-quality products is also essential. For example, the iWave Interdental Brushes from Oraldent are available in a range of sizes to fit any interdental space, featuring flexible handles for easy use and access to all areas of the mouth.
The gateway to the body
The dental team understand the importance of oral hygiene and the impact that it can have on the body in general. Though new research solidifies the link between dental and brain health, there are many more systemic health conditions associated with periodontal disease and/or tooth decay. The best defence is a good offence – help you patients maintain their health with simple steps and trusted products.
iWave solutions make interdental cleaning simple, enabling patients to access hard to reach areas of the mouth with ease. The brushes are flexible to ensure they bend around the teeth and along the gumline effectively and gently, but made from durable materials to optimise longevity.
Various sizes are available, colour-coded to make product selection easier for patients. The iWave interdental brushes also come with their own hygienic cap, so they are perfect for travelling and patients who are always on the go.
To find out more about how these solutions could help your patients optimise their oral health at home, contact the oral healthcare experts at Oraldent today via Wholesale section.
[i] American Heart Association. Poor oral health may contribute to declines in brain health. 2 February 2023. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2023-02-poor-oral-health-contribute-declines.html [Accessed February 2023]
[ii] Oral Health Foundation. Oral health statistics in the UK. https://www.dentalhealth.org/oral-health-statistics [Accessed February 2023]
[iii] Gov.uk. Guidance. Chapter 5: Periodontal diseases. November 2021. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/delivering-better-oral-health-an-evidence-based-toolkit-for-prevention/chapter-5-periodontal-diseases [Accessed February 2023]
[iv] Dental Health Survey for England 2019. Dental health. 3 February 2021. https://files.digital.nhs.uk/BB/341C57/HSE19-Dental-health-rep.pdf [Accessed February 2023]
[v] Gov.uk. Official Statistics. Hospital tooth extractions of 0 to 19 year olds 2021. May 2022. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hospital-tooth-extractions-of-0-to-19-year-olds-2021 [Accessed February 2023]
[vi] Gov.uk. Research and analysis. Inequalities in oral health in England. March 2021. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inequalities-in-oral-health-in-england/inequalities-in-oral-health-in-england-summary [Accessed February 2023]
[vii] Baskaradoss, J.K. Relationship between oral health literacy and oral health status. BMC Oral Health 18, 172 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12903-018-0640-1
[viii] Nakre PD, Harikiran AG. Effectiveness of oral health education programs: A systematic review. J Int Soc Prev Community Dent. 2013 Jul;3(2):103-15. doi: 10.4103/2231-0762.127810. PMID: 24778989; PMCID: PMC4000911.
[ix] Beltrán, V., ManueldeLaRoza, G., Wilckens, M., Fuentes, R., Padilla, M., Aillapan, E., Navarro, P., & Cantín, M. (2014). Effects of Manual Toothbrushing on Gingival Recession in an Adult Population Sample in South of Chile. International journal of odontostomatology, 8, 461-467.
[x] Marchesan JT, Morelli T, Moss K, Preisser JS, Zandona AF, Offenbacher S, Beck J. Interdental Cleaning Is Associated with Decreased Oral Disease Prevalence. J Dent Res. 2018 Jul;97(7):773-778. doi: 10.1177/0022034518759915. Epub 2018 Feb 26. PMID: 29481764; PMCID: PMC6728587.