Good oral health may help heart attack recovery

New research has shown that continued good oral health has been found to help the cardiovascular system recover, once someone has had a heart attack.

It was discovered that the bacteria that causes gum disease can impair the healing and repair of arteries, due to the bacteria’s enzyme that might stop the body’s immune cells from repairing the arteries.

Looking after their oral health after such a circumstance can prevent further cardiovascular issues in the future.

With cardiovascular disease being the leading cause of death in the UK, the Oral Health Foundation say that these deaths could be prevented with simple lifestyle changes. It is calling on people to understand the links between oral health and cardiovascular disease in order to reduce their chances of potentially fatal illnesses.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE , CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said: “This is incredibly interesting research which could offer hope to the future of millions of people affected by cardiovascular disease.

“There has been evidence for some time that gum disease increases the risk of cardiovascular disease but to now understand that preventing gum disease can also prevent further problems for victims of a heart attack opens up many interesting avenues for ongoing treatment.

“Preventing gum disease is relatively simple, you need to ensure you brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and all clean in between your teeth with an interdental brush or floss at least one a day.

“Combined with regular visits to a dentist you can prevent gum disease from progressing and affecting you in further ways.

“This study certainly suggests that good oral health could significantly improve the outcome of patients who have a heart attack and we eagerly welcome more research into this.”

Peter Dyer re-elected as BDA Chair of hospital dentists

Peter Dyer, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, has been re-elected as the Chair of the British Dental Association’s Central Committee for Hospital Dental Services (CCHDS) for the 2018/2020 triennium, having first being elected in 2015.

Peter was appointed consultant in oral and maxillofacial surgery to the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust in 1998 with a special interest in trauma and orthognathics. He has worked as the medical director for the Trust and is the responsible officer for overseeing the appraisal and revalidation of medical staff.

He was closely involved in the development of the new dental school at the University of Central Lancashire and also with the new medical school at Lancaster University. He co-edited the Handbook of Immediate Care and has contributed chapters about dento-facial trauma in a number of textbooks. As hospital dentists are employed on the same terms of service as doctors, Peter led the BDA’s response to the junior doctors’ contract dispute and was determined to secure a contract that is both safe for patients and practitioners alike.

In recognition of his major contribution to dentistry, the BDA and in reducing artificial barriers between primary and secondary care, Peter was appointed as the union’s president whose term expires next month.

Thanking CCHDS members for electing him to the office of chair, Peter said: “The profession is currently facing significant challenges, not least the new trainee contract needs to be implemented fairly, and ditto any changes to the consultant contract.

“It’s frustrating too that the long-recognised need to create a no-blame culture in hospitals, akin to the airline industry, has been undermined by the questionable handling by all those involved in the Bawa Garba case.

“How long more do we have to wait for a culture that promotes learning from mistakes rather than penalising individuals for systemic failures that place patients at risk? Let us hope that this sad case will be a tipping point and we will start to see a paradigm shift in attitudes and behaviours of regulators.

“It’s also unclear how hospital dental departments will be affected when the latest model for commissioning services – Integrated Care Systems [formerly called the Sustainability and Transformation Plans] – comes into play.

“Health Education England’s proposals to radically change the way dentists are trained have not only set alarm bells ringing in the dental community, they also fail to consider the knock-on effects to hospital dental services and the patients we serve.

“Our committee will also be working hard to address the anomalous routes for entry to the GDC’s specialist register for clinicians who have not undertaken formal training. The regulator’s current process is not as transparent as the GMC’s for the medical and surgical specialties.”

The Vice-Chair, Pete Brotherton, was also re-elected, having been elected himself in 2015.