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Tooth wear a global dental threat: Studies
By Mariecar Jara-Puyod February 07, 2018
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DUBAI: A study in seven European countries in 2013 and presented on Tuesday before international delegates on the first day of the “22nd UAE International Dental Conference & Arab Dental Exhibition” (AEEDC) in Dubai, has revealed that tooth wear has turned up to be the other bigger challenge, other than dental caries or tooth decay, in oral hygiene and dental care.

AEEDC which has a prominent list of attendees from the Gulf was inaugurated by UAE Minister of Finance, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Dubai Health Authority president Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Euro Health Consulting managing director/Curaden AG-Middle East & Africa area director Dr Marc Nehme presented the study known as the “Pan-European Epidemiology Study on Non-Carious Cervical Lesions and Associated Risk Factors. He presented the study at the AEEDC, commenting to The Gulf Today that “dentists have to own the problem.”

Nehme said tooth wear refers to the loss of the upper surface of the tooth called the enamel due to many factors such as food preferences (high acidity levels) and the method of brushing the teeth; and that if continually un-attended to by dentists, leads to the dentine, beneath the enamel, being damaged as well.

He believes dentists and everyone in the oral hygiene community are mainly responsible for raising the awareness about tooth wear as this is all about public health.  Nehme mentioned in his lecture “Global Perspective on Tooth Wear—the 21st Century Dental Threat,” that it was in 2003 yet when the World Health Organisation raised the alarm about tooth wear.

Nehme, with over 12 years of broad pharmaceutical, consumer healthcare and dental industry experience, also said that for the 2013 study, he worked with noted dentists in Finland, UK, Italy, France, Latvia, Spain and Estonia after the British drug firm GlaxoSmithKline had received numerous complaints from young adults regarding “sharp (tooth) pain.”

On Tuesday, it was learnt from other delegates that tooth wear has indeed become a problem and many are suffering from it. Their sharings were based on their patients and according to certain ongoing research works.

Meanwhile, this reporter came across an August 2014 research done by the Wuhan University in China which had disclosed that among 360 12-year-old and 360 15-year-old Chinese boys and girls, tooth wear worsens through time.

The details of the China study are: 18.6 per cent or 67 of the 12-year-olds and 89.4 per cent or 322 of the 15-year-olds already had their enamel eroded; 1.9 per cent or seven of the 12-year-olds and 5.6 per cent or 20 of the 15-year-olds already had their dentine exposed.

The situation had been attributed to colas and fruit juices after sports, aspirin in-take, unilateral chewing, brushing of the teeth less than once a day and for less than two minutes, and even swimming in the summer.

Following are the conclusions from the 2013 European study that utilised modern dentistry tests like the Schiff Air Sensitivity Scale (Cold Air Test) among 3,187 patients between 18 and 35 years old: 29.4 per cent or 937 were suffering from tooth wear while 41.9 per cent or 1,335 had dentine hypersensitivity.

Moreover, among the 3,187, 29 per cent or 924 were experiencing heartburn and other physical discomfort or illness such as bulimia. Some were going through frequent vomiting.

Nehme said dentists have to investigate the causes of tooth wear on a case-to-case basis.

This is so as according to the 2013 study, tooth wear among the 3,187 were due to the manner they drink their beverages (mostly acidic beverages like colas and fruit juices high in acid levels and which stay on their mouth for several minutes), frequent in-take of fresh fruits high in acids, sleeping medications, and the use of electric toothbrushes.

Implying that regular dental check-ups must be encouraged, Nehme pointed out that those affected with tooth wear should be regularly monitored because some may avoid brushing their teeth because of severe toothache.

He believes that to counter tooth wear, everyone must be urged to use manual toothbrushes, proper use of the straw and the avoidance of beverages to stay long inside the mouth, immediate water in-take after the beverages, a careful look at food acidity levels, and  regular dental check-ups.

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