Week in Review: Kidney function tied to blood fluoride levels | Dental care before heart surgeries | Mental health issues common for dentists

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

Our top story of the week covered a study investigating the relationship between kidney function, blood fluoride levels, and the levels of fluoride in community drinking water.

In the study, higher blood fluoride levels in U.S. teens were associated with an increase in water fluoride levels and a decrease in kidney function. While the blood plasma levels were well below the threshold for excessive fluoride exposure, the authors expressed concern that fluoride accumulation may be underestimated for certain susceptible individuals, including those with chronic kidney disease.

Safety of dental care before heart surgery

Patients who receive dental care prior to advanced heart interventions, including heart transplants, may not be at higher risk of death or adverse events, according to one recent study.

The number of deaths, medical complications, and dental complications did not significantly differ between patients who underwent preoperative surgical dental treatment before an advanced cardiac intervention and those who did not undergo a preoperative dental procedure.

Don't dismiss numb chin syndrome

Numb chin syndrome is often overlooked by oral healthcare professionals due to symptoms that often seem innocent in nature, such as numbness or altered sensation near the mental nerve. But this rare sensory condition could signal the presence of cancer in patients.

One recent study outlined what professionals should know about numb chin syndrome and summarized details of patient cases published in the scientific literature. Awareness of the condition is crucial to detecting numb chin syndrome in patients and addressing a possible malignancy, the authors wrote.

Mental health issues common among dentists

More than 40% of dentists say they have experienced a mental health issue, including burnout, mood disorders, or serious thoughts of suicide, according to a survey of health professionals published in Healthcare Management Forum.

Compared to professionals employed in other health professions, dentists were the least likely to say they had experienced a mental health condition and the least likely to take a leave of absence to help manage the condition. Additionally, dentists who did take a leave of absence were far less likely to return to work compared to nurses, physicians, and midwives.

What's so special about a kiss?

Last but not least, kissing may have broader evolutionary significance than purely social and romantic implications, according to a study in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Although cultural and societal norms differ with regard to kissing, studies have shown that infants and toddlers perceive that people who kiss or share food have relationships with stronger attachment levels. More so, some animal species kiss, too, suggesting that kissing may facilitate the exchange of crucial information for social groups.

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