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In brief: Surging economic outlook from CEOs

March 7, 2024
This week, we're taking a look at an improving economic outlook, a years-long SDF study, and research showing drugs like Ozempic pose general anesthesia risks.
Amelia Williamson DeStefano, Group Editorial Director

Top executives are getting more confident about the economy 

On Wednesday, news website Axios published an exclusive report saying, “America’s top executives are strikingly more confident about the economy, with expectations of stronger sales and capital investments—plans that indicate the economy might keep booming in the months ahead.”

The article was based on a quarterly survey of executives by Business Roundtable (BRT), a nonprofit lobbyist association of American CEOs.

Axios added that, “BRT-surveyed CEOs don't necessarily envision blowout economic growth in the year ahead. Instead, they see an economy that keeps chugging along at a healthy pace.”

The dental industry has traditionally been thought to weather recessions well, but staffing issues and general economic uncertainty have troubled dentists for the past few years. In a December 2023 survey by the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute, 64% of respondents were ambivalent or skeptical about the direction of the American economy in the next six months.

JAMA Pediatrics study finds SDF as effective as sealants, says nurses could be an “untapped” resource

A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics and conducted by researchers at the NYU College of Dentistry has found that silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is an effective alternative to sealants.

According to a press release, more than a quarter of the 4,100 kids in the program had untreated caries at the beginning of the study.

“At each school visit, a team of health professionals examined children’s teeth and applied either sealants or SDF followed by fluoride varnish, depending on which treatment the school was randomly assigned to receive. Sealants were administered by dental hygienists, while SDF was applied by either dental hygienists or registered nurses, all under the supervision of a dentist.”

After four years, the study found that SDF and sealants prevented roughly the same number of cavities and kept cavities from worsening.

SDF is a lower cost option than sealants, and can also be applied by registered nurses, increasing potential access to care. “Nurses may be an untapped resource for addressing oral health inequities,” says Ryan Richard Ruff, PhD, MPH, the study’s lead author. “Our results suggest that nurses can effectively provide this preventive care, which could dramatically improve access, given the role of school nurses and the size of the nursing workforce.”

Access the study here.

Weight loss drugs may cause increased gastric content before anesthesia

Patients who take glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RA; e.g., Ozempic) for weight loss or diabetes management may be at an increased risk for aspiration under anesthesia, even when adhering to fasting requirements, a JAMA Surgery study found.

More than half the patients on a GLP-1 RA had “significant gastric contents on gastric ultrasound before an elective procedure, despite adhering to preoperative fasting,” said the study’s lead author, an incidence significantly higher compared to patients not taking the drugs.

Outside of general anesthesia concerns, these newly popular drugs have many other areas of concern for dental professionals.

Some product news in my inbox this week

Proclaim Custom-Jet Oral Irrigator: Proclaim is a different approach to water flossing that requires an intraoral scan to produce a custom mouthpiece. The company began shipping units this week, according to a press release.

Samba Robotic Toothbrush: Curaprox’s new brush allows patients to brush without moving their hand, offering independence to those with limited mobility. The product won a Time Best Inventions Award last year.

PerioSciences develops lip product: Antioxidant focused oral-care company PerioSciences has added AO Lip Restore to their lineup. In a press release, they suggest that because dental professionals are often the first clinicians to notice lip health issues, they are in a good position to recommend lip care products to patients.

Amelia Williamson DeStefano, MA, is group editorial director of the Endeavor Business Media Dental Group, where she leads the publication of high-quality content that empowers oral-health professionals to advance patient well-being, succeed in business, and cultivate professional joy and fulfillment. She holds a master's in English Literature from the University of Tulsa and has worked in dental media since 2015.