Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS

Updates on noteworthy October events, including Halloween

Sept. 30, 2014

In October, we celebrate many events — National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM), Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Halloween, and others. View the sections of this newsletter regarding NDHM and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as well as read about tooth decay and the ToothFairy.

Provide patients and your community suggestions for Halloween to prevent tooth decay, such as sugarless chewing gum, packets of sugar-free cocoa mix, stickers, crayons, or toothbrushes. Explain the dangers of high-acidity drinks, as research has shown that permanent damage to the tooth enamel will occur within the first 30 seconds of high acidity coming into contact with the teeth.

We also talk about street drugs in this issue, a huge problem in the United States and around the world. Dr. Harold Crossley with writing the article. In August, Governor Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire declared a state of emergency after recent overdoses in Manchester and Concord from a type of synthetic marijuana.(1) The statement authorizes the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services to investigate, isolate or quarantine, and require the destruction of the substance if found. The agency will work closely with local police departments to quarantine the “bubblegum flavor” of Smacked. New Hampshire had 15 overdoses in 24 hours. Learn more about these and other drugs in order to recognize symptoms of use and overdose.(2)

Another drug related issue is the use of marijuana. As marijuana is decriminalized across the country, public health officials explore the health effects of the drug and regulations regarding its use. Evolving research illustrates the potential short- and long-term effects of marijuana use on public health, with young adults a high-risk group. Young adults who use marijuana heavily as teens are more likely to become addicted, have altered brain development, and perform poorly in school.(3) Marijuana impairs driving skills, and child poisoning due to edible or infused-marijuana products is also a concern. Effects on a fetus and the ability of marijuana to cause falls in the elderly or impaired are also worrisome. A recent article recommends keeping prices high, measuring and preventing impaired driving, and limiting marketing and the types of product sold.(4)

Fluoride contains to make headlines around the world. New Zealand has reaffirmed its support of the beneficial effects fluoride in “Health effects of water fluoridation: A review of the scientific evidence.”(5) They also state that consumers can feel at ease that the implementation of this public health measure poses no risk of adverse health effects.

However, not every country shares the same opinion. Israel’s Health Minister, Yael German, issued a decision Aug. 17 to prohibit the fluoridation of the nation's drinking water.(6) Contrary to the advice of public health and dentistry experts in her ministry and academia, the health minister stated that instead of forcing all Israelis to consume fluoridated water to help children's teeth, the delivery system should be changed so each parent can decide and take action individually if they want their child to get dental protection. The American Dental Association (ADA) mentioned that Israel is the first nation to ban fluoridation in the 70-year history of use as a public health measure to protect against caries.

Worldwide, some 405 million people in more than 60 countries have access to fluoridated water. For more information on community water fluoridation in the U.S., visit the ADA website.(7) You will find a variety of resources, including Fluoridation Facts, a comprehensive 71-page resource of fluoridation facts taken from over 350 scientific references.

In other news, a video describes the new Perioscopy System, with John Y. Kwan, DDS and Suzanne Newkirk, RDH.(8) It is a part of an online chapter in the new Wiley textbook by the editors, Dr. Steve Harrel and Dr. Tom Wilson titled, Minimally Invasive Periodontal Therapy. The link was shared with me by John Y. Kwan, DDS, President/CEO, Perioscopy Incorporated.

Delta Dental launched a Hispanic Dental Wellness and Education Initiative in the Dallas-Fort Worth. Last year, Delta Dental introduced the initiative in Houston with El Ratoncito Pérez, the tooth fairy's Hispanic counterpart. The company has now partnered with the Hispanic tooth fairy to educate the Dallas-Fort Worth community about the importance of good dental hygiene. For more information on children's preventive dental care, visit Delta Dental's website.(9)

As we move farther into the fall season, enjoy the vibrant colors, and the crisp air. I am in Tuscany, Italy, enjoying the people, the harvest, and the landscape. I look forward to seeing you at the third North American/Global Dental Hygiene Research Conference on Oct 16-19 in Bethesda, MD. Visit the website for registration and program information.(10)