One of the main ways in which Covid-19 is communicated is through airborne respiratory droplets—droplets that can be dispersed as a result of dental procedures. In a new study, researchers from Newcastle University examined the applicability of local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems for controlling the dispersion of these droplets and aerosols and found that they could be quite valuable for this purpose.

According to James Allison, lead author of the study and a clinical research fellow at the university’s School of Dental Sciences, LEV is often referred to as extra-oral scavenging or suction when used in dental settings. While such systems are employed in other industries to reduce exposure to airborne contaminants, their use is not currently commonplace in dentistry. To investigate the potential benefits of LEV systems in dentistry, Allison and a research group conducted experiments on dental mannequins in both an open-plan dental clinic and a single surgical room.

Ten-minute crown preparations were conducted in the open-plan clinic using an air turbine handpiece, and full-mouth ultrasonic scaling was conducted over the same duration in the surgery. In both settings, fluorescein was added as a tracer to the instruments’ irrigation reservoirs and an LEV system with HEPA filters and a flow rate of 5,000L/minute was used.

Overall, it was found that using the LEV system reduced aerosol dispersion from the air turbine handpiece by 90% within 0.5m of the procedure—a figure that increased to 99% for the ultrasonic scaler within the same proximity. For the air turbine handpiece, the detection of larger droplets within 0.5m was also reduced by 95%.


The use of heartburn medication is associated with decreased severity of gum disease, according to a recent University at Buffalo (UB) study. The research found that patients who used proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) – a class of drugs commonly prescribed to treat heartburn, acid reflux and ulcers – were more likely to have smaller probing depths in the gums (the gap between teeth and gums). When gums are healthy, they fit snuggly against the teeth. However, in the presence of harmful bacteria, the gap deepens, leading to inflammation, bone loss and periodontitis, also known as gum disease.

The findings, published last month in Clinical and Experimental Dental Research, may be linked to the side effects of PPIs, which include changes in bone metabolism and in the gut microbiome, says lead investigator Lisa M. Yerke, DDS, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Periodontics and Endodontics at the UB School of Dental Medicine: “PPIs could potentially be used in combination with other periodontal treatments; however, additional studies are first needed to understand the underlying mechanisms behind the role PPIs play in reducing the severity of periodontitis”.

The study sought to determine whether a relationship exists between PPI use and gum disease. The researchers analysed clinical data from more than 1,000 periodontitis patients either using or not using PPIs. Probing depths were used as an indicator of periodontitis severity.

The researchers theorised that PPIs’ ability to alter bone metabolism or the gut microbiome, as well as potentially impact periodontal microorganisms, may help lessen the severity of gum disease.


Teeth contain growth lines that may reveal clues about childhood experiences. A team analysed 70 primary teeth collected from 70 children enrolled in the Children of the 90s study based at the University of Bristol.

The results of this study could one day lead to the development of a tool for identifying children who have been exposed to early-life adversity, which is a risk factor for psychological problems.

Senior author Erin C. Dunn was intrigued to learn that anthropologists have long studied the teeth of people from past eras to learn about their lives. Exposure to sources of physical stress can affect the formation of dental enamel and result in pronounced growth lines within teeth, called stress lines. Thicker stress lines are thought to indicate more stressful life conditions.

Dunn developed a hypothesis that the width of one line, called the neonatal line (NNL), might serve as an indicator of whether an infant’s mother experienced high levels of psychological stress during pregnancy and in the early period following birth.

To test this hypothesis, the width of the NNL was measured using microscopes. Mothers completed questionnaires during and shortly after pregnancy. Children whose mothers had lifetime histories of severe depression or other psychiatric problems, as well as mothers who experienced depression or anxiety at 32 weeks of pregnancy, were more likely than other kids to have thicker NNLs. Meanwhile, children of mothers who received significant social support shortly after pregnancy tended to have thinner NNLs.

If the findings of this research can be replicated in a larger study, Dunn believes that the NNL and other tooth growth marks could be used in the future to identify children who have been exposed to early life adversity. Dunn says: “Then we can connect those kids to interventions, so we can prevent the onset of mental health disorders”.


The widespread availability of vaccines in developed nations has significantly changed the risk of dentists contracting Covid-19 in a workplace setting. Prior to this, however, dentists and other workers in occupations that typically involve close contact were widely believed to be at a relatively high risk of developing Covid-19. A new study out of Norway has sought to examine this idea further by comparing how this risk differed across occupations between the country’s two Covid-19 waves in 2020.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, who used data from an emergency preparedness register for Covid-19 to form an observational study covering the entire Norwegian population between February 26 and December 18, 2020. The occupational groups chosen were: health (including dentists); teaching; retail; tourism and travel; catering; and, recreation and beauty. They were selected based on their high likelihood of direct, close contact with other people.

The researchers estimated and then compared the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases per 1,000 employed individuals for each of the country’s two Covid-19 waves — the first spanning from February 26 to July 17 and the second from July 18 to December 18. In total, just over 3.5 million Norwegian residents of working age were studied.

According to the study’s findings, during the first wave, dentists, doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals were approximately 2-3.5 times more likely to develop Covid-19 than all other Norwegians of working age. During the second wave, however, whereas doctors were moderately more likely to test positive for Covid-19, dentists were found to be no more likely to contract the virus than the average employed individual.


Survey data collected by the Oral Health Foundation and Align Technology has found the impact of the pandemic on the way UK adults view their smiles. More than half (58%) of British adults surveyed responded that they have changed the way they see their smile as a result of online video calls, with a third (33%) now more aware of the colour of their teeth and nearly a quarter (24%) more conscious about the alignment. The research shows that one-in-ten (11%) UK adults feels self-conscious seeing their smile during an online meeting.

The smile is one of the most important assets we have and is how we communicate our thoughts, emotions and feelings towards one another. Because of its prominence, and importance, the smile can also be a great source of concern for some people.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE of the Oral Health Foundation said: “The colour and shape of our teeth are the first things we tend to notice and feeling self-conscious is quite normal. What we must remember, however, is that the most important part of the smile is its health”.

A healthy mouth can be achieved through an effective oral health routine at home as well as regular dental visits. The key components of an effective oral health routine are brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes, cleaning in between teeth daily with interdental brushes or floss, and cutting down on how much and how often you have sugary foods and drinks.


The University of Surrey and the School of Dentistry at the University of Birmingham have developed a new technique to improve understanding of how acid damages teeth at the microstructural level.

The researchers performed a technique called “in situ synchrotron x-ray microtomography” at Diamond Light Source, a special particle accelerator. Electrons were accelerated to near lightspeed to generate bright x-rays that were used to scan dentine samples while they were being treated with acid. This enabled the team to build clear 3D images of dentine’s internal structure with sub-micrometre resolution. By analysing these images, the researchers conducted the first-ever time-resolved 3D study of the dentine microstructural changes caused by acid.

The study, published in Dental Materials, highlights that acid dissolves the minerals in different structures of dentine at different rates. This research aims to develop knowledge that will lead to new treatments that can restore the structure and function of dentine.
Dr Tan Sui, Senior Lecturer in Materials Engineering at the University of Surrey, who led the research group, said: “Relatively little is known about how exactly acid damages the dentine inside our teeth at a microstructural level. This new research technique changes that and opens the possibility of helping identify new ways to protect dental tissues and develop new treatments”.

This research is part of an ongoing collaboration with Prof. Gabriel Landini and Dr Richard Shelton at the School of Dentistry, University of Birmingham.


A total of 830 companies from 59 countries participated in the International Dental Show (IDS) 2021 in a gross exhibition space of 115,000 m² in Cologne, Germany. There were 228 exhibitors and five additionally represented companies from Germany, together with 591 exhibitors and six additionally represented companies from abroad. The foreign share of company participation was 72%. Including estimates for the last day of the fair, more than 23,000 trade show visitors from 114 countries attended IDS 2021. Of these visitors, around 57% came from abroad — from Europe, especially Italy, France, the Netherlands and Eastern Europe, as well as from the Middle East and overseas.

This IDS was the first to be held in a hybrid format, so that visitors who were unable to travel owing to restrictions were still able to participate digitally. IDSconnect, the digital platform of the fair, featured 77 exhibitors from 16 countries with 88 daily contributions and 1,310 minutes of broadcast time. Oliver Frese, chief operating officer of Koelnmesse, commented on the hybrid format in a press release: “We offered the physical meeting place here in Cologne in the exhibition halls and, in addition, the digital platform IDSconnect with added opportunities for presentations and networking, which was very well received”.

Mark Stephen Pace, chairman of the executive board of the Association of the German Dental Industry said: “Optimism has returned within the international dental family. We held intensive discussions with interested visitors and most of them ultimately came to make investment decisions”.

The next IDS will take place from March 14-18, 2023.


Researchers are developing a smart dental implant that resists bacterial growth and generates its own electricity through chewing and brushing to power a tissue-rejuvenating light. The innovation could extend the usable life of an implant.

Implants represent a leap of progress over dentures or bridges, fitting much more securely and designed to last 20 years or more. But often implants fall short of that expectation, instead needing replacement in five to 10 years due to local inflammation or gum disease, necessitating a repeat of a costly and invasive procedure for patients.

Geelsu Hwang, an assistant professor in the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, who has a background in engineering that he brings to his research on oral health issues, says: “We wanted to address this issue, and so we came up with an innovative new implant”.

The novel implant would implement two key technologies, Hwang says. One is a nanoparticle-infused material that resists bacterial colonisation. And the second is an embedded light source to conduct phototherapy, powered by the natural motions of the mouth, such as chewing or toothbrushing. In a paper in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces and a 2020 paper in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials, Hwang and colleagues lay out their platform, which could one day be integrated not only into dental implants but other technologies, such as joint replacements.

“We wanted an implant material that could resist bacterial growth for a long time because bacterial challenges are not a one-time threat,” Hwang says.

The power-generating property of the material was sustained and in tests over time the material did not leach or harm gum tissue, and demonstrated a good level of mechanical strength.


Since periodontitis (gum disease) has been linked to systemic health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, research is continually being conducted to better understand its causes. To this end, a new Japanese study has interrogated the associations between genetic polymorphisms — the most common type of human genetic variation — oral microbiome statuses, and the development of periodontitis.

A team of researchers spread across several Japanese universities conducted the study. They first performed a cross-sectional analysis, during which they genotypically analysed 14,539 participants and carried out saliva sampling of a group of 385. Of this group, 22 individuals were retained for the study and divided into a periodontitis group and a control group based on their periodontal status.

The researchers explained that the development of infections, oral or otherwise, is affected by genetic differences among individuals, as these differences can affect susceptibility to certain pathogens and the likelihood of contracting certain diseases.

Upon examination, the research team found that the beta diversity of the microbes — the ratio between regional and local microbe species diversity — was significantly different between the periodontitis group and control group. Two bacterial families (Lactobacillaceae and Desulfobulbaceae), as well as the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis, were found only in the periodontitis group. However, no relationship was found to exist between genetic polymorphism and periodontal status, suggesting that the make-up of one’s oral microbiome plays a greater role in periodontal health than genes do.

The study was published the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.


Mouthwashes that contain cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) have been found to reduce by at least one thousand times the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) in vitro. Researchers in Spain tested CPC-containing mouthwashes against variants of SARS-CoV-2, including the Alpha variant, and said that such mouth rinses could constitute a cost-effective measure to aid in the reduction of viral transmission.
In the study, the researchers pointed out that cases with a higher SARS-CoV-2 viral load in the saliva are associated with higher transmission rates of the virus. They said that, if proved effective in reducing the SARS-CoV-2 viral load, the use of easily obtainable at-home oral care products could represent a globally accessible and cost-effective measure to disrupt the viral transmission chain.
The study focused on the effect of CPC, which has previously been shown to exhibit antiviral activity against viruses such as the influenza viruses. The researchers tested three Dentaid CPC-containing mouthwashes with different intended uses. The CPC-containing mouthwashes were compared with vehicles containing the same respective formulation without CPC, and it was found that the CPC-containing mouthwashes disrupted the integrity of the viral membrane and inhibited the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into target cells.
The researchers wrote: “CPC has antiviral activity against different variants of SARS-CoV-2, and this compound exerts its activity by blocking viral entry by inhibiting viral fusion on target cells. CPC acts by disrupting the integrity of the viral envelope, as previously shown for influenza virus […] and it equally affects distinct SARS-CoV-2 variants”.




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