The DMD Check-Up: Over-prescription of Opioids Fueling Epidemic

September 30, 2016
Greg Kelly

Here's our weekly look at the top dentistry-related news from around the web.

Dentists are giving patients far greater supplies of opioids than are actually needed, according to a new study. That story tops this week’s DMD Check-Up. Also making the list: the fluoride debate rages on, and a group claims thousands of dentists will quit the American Dental Association if a sedation-related resolution is enacted.

Unused Dental Prescriptions May Help Fuel Opioid Epidemic

(Medical News Today)

New research published in the journal

Drug and Alcohol Dependence

“finds over half of opioids prescribed to patients who have dental surgery—such as wisdom tooth removal—are not used. Even a moderate reduction in the quantity dentists prescribe following surgery could potentially reduce surplus opioid pills.”

The Debate Over Fluoridation Lives On

(Kaiser Health News)

“Many people take for granted the addition of fluoride into public drinking water systems that aims to prevent tooth decay. It’s a seven-decade-old public health effort. But it’s not nearly as universally accepted as one might think.” Many US “towns continue to wrestle with the issue.”

Untreated Tooth Infections Increase Heart Disease Risk

(Dentistry.co.uk)

“New research published in the

Journal of Dental Research

found that people with untreated tooth infections are 2.7 times more likely to have cardiovascular problems, such as coronary artery disease, than patients who have had treatment of dental infections.”

Small Connected Device Helps Monitor Oral Health

(Forbes)

“The Mint device is a small, sleek device that fits into the palm of your hand. It connects to your smartphone via Android and iOS. You effortlessly breathe into the device for about three seconds and then Mint gives you an oral health card so to speak—from A to F—you can read on your smartphone.”

Controversy Over New ADA Guidelines?

(PR Newswire)

“An independent economic impact study estimates that more than 10,000 general dentists will drop their American Dental Association memberships should a controversial proposal be adopted at the ADA's upcoming annual meeting scheduled for next month in Denver,” according to TEAM 1500.

Alarming State of Young British Oral Health

(The Telegraph)

“More than four in 10 children in the UK have not visited an NHS dentist in the last year, according to new figures which also reveal stark differences across the country. Tooth decay is now the most common reason for young children to be admitted to the hospital.”

Researchers Close In On New Ways to Prevent Child Tooth Decay

(MedicalXpress)

“An Australian microbiologist is working on a long-term research project that tracks the bacterial composition of children's saliva from the age of 1 month to 5 years. The study has found that infants who do not develop a healthy mix of oral bacteria (what is known as the microbiome), are more susceptible to decay in three or four years' time.”

What Hollywood Gets Wrong and Right About Doctors

(Business Insider)

“There are a ton of tropes and clichés out there about medicine and those who practice it. But what's reality and what's just creative license? Here are six myths about doctors and medicine that TV land frequently puts out there, along with four surprising tropes it often gets right.”

Partnering to Provide Specialty Care for Teeth

(Kaiser Health News)

An encouraging report from Washington state: “In some areas, health centers and emergency departments are experimenting with a variety of programs that aim to divert patients with dental complaints into specialty clinics.” Yet still, “there needs to be more access for the most vulnerable folks, most of which are adults.”

Bad Teeth Big Dating Turnoff

(Dentistry.co.uk)

“Imperfect teeth are one of the biggest turn offs, a new survey from Iwhite Instant has found. The British study asked people to list their top five turn offs when meeting new people. Nearly two-thirds said it’s bad teeth. #1 turnoff: “a cheesy chat up line.”

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