DrBicuspid.com Hygiene Insider

Dear Hygiene Insider,

Welcome to the new DrBicuspid.com Hygiene Community, your one-stop source for news and research on preventive products and techniques, infection control, the relationship between periodontal disease and systemic diseases, and the evolving role of dental hygienists and dental assistants in the modern dental practice.

In our first Hygiene Insider Exclusive, while many studies have suggested a link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, others have not confirmed this association. Now new research to be presented at the upcoming International Association for Dental Research conference in San Diego contends that periodontal disease can contribute to occurrences of acute myocardial infarction.

In other Hygiene Community news, last month the Georgia Board of Dentistry proposed a rule change that would have required indirect supervision of hygienists who provide basic preventive dental services in schools, community health centers, and prisons. But the board decided to table the proposition after the Georgia Dental Hygienists' Association and the Federal Trade Commission argued that the rule would limit access to care, especially for children in rural and low-income communities.

And as the W.K. Kellogg Foundation begins rolling out its $16 million initiative to help five U.S. states develop midlevel provider programs similar to the dental health aide therapist program in Alaska, dental associations in those states remain unconvinced that this approach will be safe and effective. Read more.

Speaking of the dental team, did you know that a number of U.S. states require little to no training for dental assistants? The American Dental Assistants Association says minimum competency standards are needed, especially for infection control, to protect the public as well as the dental team. Click here to read more.

On the clinical front, vitamin D can play a positive role in supporting and improving periodontal health in older adults and pregnant women, according to two new studies in the Journal of Periodontology. But the study authors say more research is needed. Read more.

Also, when it comes to gingival inflammation, mouthwash that relies on essential oils may be a reliable alternative to chlorhexidine for long-term use, a systematic review of the literature has found. And according to a study in the Journal of the American Dental Association, periodontal treatment during pregnancy does not reduce the risks of preterm birth and low birth weight.

Meanwhile, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that training primary care physicians to do oral health assessments, provide preventive education, and apply fluoride varnish in very young children can ease access-to-care issues for low-income populations.

Paradoxically, recent research shows that primary medical care providers are not comfortable performing basic oral health assessments, and many consider oral health outside their realm of practice.

Finally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter January 4 to Dentsply Pharmaceutical about the content of advertising material for one of the company's periodontal anesthesia products.

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