Most medical professionals pride themselves on their ethics. They are trained in ethical management just as they are in clinical skills. Concepts such as confidentiality, justice, beneficence and veracity are emphasized throughout our schooling so that future clinicians can best serve their future patients. These ideals are challenged, especially in dentistry, when it comes to accepting culpability in medical accidents.
On January 20, 2017, President Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States. Just a week before the inauguration, both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate passed budget resolutions that serve as initial steps in repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). President Trump’s health care reform plan strongly supports the repeal of the ACA, and make no mention of dentistry or oral health, perpetuating the status quo of oral health being left out of general health. As the country faces a major potential shift in health policy, it’s important that we consider how this may affect our profession.
Election season is always an exciting time in the United States. On November 8, 2016, Americans took to the polls to not only vote for elected officials, but to also weigh in on state, local and federal measures. This year, residents of three California cities – Albany, Oakland and San Francisco – and Boulder, Colorado, had the opportunity to voice their opinions on ballot measures to implement taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). Additionally, the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted on implementing a sugar tax in Cook County, Illinois on November 10, 2016.
Xylitol was introduced to the world of dentistry in the late 20th century. But even before that, it was used as a sweetener in many parts of the world. In dentistry, many studies have shown potential benefits of xylitol in caries prevention and plaque formation. Streptococcus mutans, a type of caries-causing bacteria, requires sugar to proliferate. But studies such as this one have shown that it cannot use xylitol for energy production and will eventually die when exposed to it. Xylitol also weakens the adhesion of plaque-causing microorganisms and thereby helps in preventing plaque formation.
President and CEO of OHA, Beth Truett, emphasizes the importance of good oral health habits, and encourages the children to take their new knowledge back home and get everyone in the household engaged in good oral health practices on a daily basis.
A few weeks ago I had a unique opportunity to step back from the demands of being a dental student to participate in an exciting community event. I met with an energetic class of first graders from a local NYC public school, P.S. 142, for their Fall for Healthy Smiles Brush-a-Thon, an annual educational campaign through New York University’s Pediatric Dentistry Clinic, Oral Health America (OHA) and NY State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh.
Tracking health and fitness through mobile apps and high-tech wearables has boomed significantly in the past few years. In particular, wearable devices, such as smartwatches, have evolved from simply tracking steps or heart rate to even monitoring glucose, breathing, blood pressure, cardiac arrthymia, sleep patterns and even head injury severity. When it comes to mobile apps, a 2015 study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that an astonishing 58.23% of all U.S. phone users surveyed had downloaded at least one health-related mobile app. Welcome to the age of the “quantified self.”
When the water source of a small community in Michigan was switched from Lake Huron to the Flint River due to financial issues, the devastating long term effects of this decision took the nation by storm. During the nearly two years that the city of Flint was using the toxic water source, its citizens cried out for help. But by the time the city reacted, the damage was irreversible in many ways. According to an article from NPR on April 20, 2016, a resident of Flint had her water tested for lead at 104,000 parts per billion in 2015. The Environmental Protection Agency’s limit for drinking water is 15,000 parts per billion.