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In brief: WhatsAPP for caries diagnosis? XBB "probably the worst" current variant

Jan. 3, 2023
Learn about an innovation for caries diagnosis; what's known about the COVID-19 variant XBB 1.5 so far; an oral health top 10 for 2022; and more.
Elizabeth S. Leaver, Digital content manager

Diagnosing caries? There’s an app for that

A small study to assess the accuracy of diagnosing dental caries in geriatric patients by examining intraoral photographs taken by a smartphone and sent through WhatsApp showed “acceptable accuracy.” While noting that the study has certain limitations, authors said results “might intrigue young minds to improve existing technology and develop innovations pertaining to geriatric patient care and comfort.”

XBB variant: “Probably the worst” out there right now

The COVID-19 strain XBB.1.5, dubbed “XBB,” is currently responsible for 40.5% of confirmed US cases and for about 75% of confirmed cases in the Northeast alone, and it's being called “probably the worst variant that the world is facing right now.” While it’s unclear if there are specific symptoms tied to the new variant—"and no suggestion at this point that XBB.1.5 is more severe”—its mutations could allow the virus to evade COVID-19 vaccine boosters and cause more breakthrough infections.

An oral health 2022 top 10

“Turkey teeth,” a potential allergy to flossing, and Candid’s announcement of closing down its direct-to-consumer business were among Oral Health’s top 10 news stories for 2022.

Pediatricians’ role in preventing cavities

With caries affecting a majority of US children and adolescents, what are pediatricians’ roles in helping reduce oral disease? A new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) asserts it’s a significant one: “Pediatricians who are familiar with the science of dental caries, capable of assessing caries risk, comfortable with applying various strategies of prevention and intervention, connected to dental resources, and familiar with the social determinants of children’s health can contribute considerably to the health of their patients.”

US life expectancy hits 25-year low

CDC data for 2021 showed the average life expectancy for Americans has shortened by more than 7 months to 76.4 years—the lowest it’s been since 1996. Owing to COVID-19 deaths and drug overdoses, the shortened span reflects a nearly identical drop for both men and women and follows an already sizable decline in life expectancy in 2020.

About the Author

Elizabeth S. Leaver | Digital content manager

Elizabeth S. Leaver was the digital content manager for Endeavor Business Media's dental group from 2021-2024. She has a degree in journalism from Northeastern University in Boston and many years of experience working in niche industries specializing in creating content, editing, content marketing, and publishing digital and magazine content. She lives in the Boston area.