Facts, Assumptions and Trends – Deborah Lyle, Director of Professional and Clinical affairs at Waterpik International, Inc


  Posted by: manpreet.boora      2nd October 2017

Separating fact from fiction is no easy task and even once we’ve determined the reliability of a new study or research paper, we still need to ensure that no assumptions are made.

When reading new studies, there are various aspects that need to be considered when determining their accuracy and effectiveness. For example, we must take into account the number of relevant clinical trials reported on in a systematic review and be able to identify any possible bias. To satisfy sound scientific protocols, consider whether the study is published in a peer-reviewed journal, how accurate the methodology is (including the presence of randomisation, blinding, sample size and the reporting of all outcomes), and if the conclusion accurately reflects the results.

Take a widely shared notion that sportspeople who are physically fit are also medically and dentally fit as well. This is not, however, always the case. Any assumptions by the dental team to the contrary could leave some patients in harms way.

We can all appreciate the benefits of exercise – there is a body of evidence linking it with antioxidant[i] and anti-inflammatory[ii],[iii] effects, reduced incidence of diabetes,[iv],[v] reduced CVD mortality,[vi],[vii] reduced incidence of infection and reduced pro-inflammatory mediators. But there are risk factors to be aware of.

Training often coincides with a larger intake of carbohydrate-containing sports drinks and gels, with more frequent consumption than the average person. Dietary carbohydrate has been associated with dental caries for many years,[viii] with dental erosion also possible as a result of acidic and sugary food and beverages. Dehydration is of course another issue among athletes, leading to dry mouth,[ix] impacting the natural defence against caries and impacting remineralisation. One particular study found increased dental erosion in active young adults, which might link to reduced salivary flow.[x] Therefore, despite athletes and those who participate in regular exercise being physically fit, their dental health may yet be compromised. Keeping on top of the latest research in the area will help dental teams deliver the care and attention their sporting patients need to not only maintain their general wellbeing, but also optimise their sporting performance.

Other papers and reviews can also help us to monitor recent trends in the population, but again, it’s important not to make assumptions. Smoking, for example, has seen a reduction in prevalence throughout the UK in the past few years, with only 19% of British adults now smoking cigarettes. [xi] While the research suggests that more men smoke than women and those on a lower annual income are more likely to light up, patients that fall outside these categories should still be asked about possible habits.

Regardless of your patients’ attitudes are towards health, fitness and smoking, recommending clinically proven oral health adjuncts, such as the Waterpik® Water Flosser remains beneficial.


For more information on Waterpik International, Inc. please visit www.waterpik.co.uk. Waterpik® products are available from Amazon, Costco UK and Superdrug stores across the UK and Ireland.





[i] De Sousa CV, Sales MM, Rosa TS, Lewis JE, de Andrade RV, Simoes HG. The antioxidant effect of exercise: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Med. 2017 Feb;47(2):277-293. doi: 10.1007/s40279-016-0566-1.

[ii] Petersen AM, Pedersen BK. The anti-inflammatory effect of exercise. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2005 Apr;98(4):1154-62.

[iii] Gleeson M, Bishop NC, Stensel DJ, Lindley MR, Mastana SS, Nimmo MA. The anti-inflammatory effects of exercise: mechanisms and implications for the prevention and treatment of disease. Nature Reviews Immunology 11, 607-615 (September 2011) | doi:10.1038/nri3041

[iv] Pedersen BK. The anti-inflammatory effect of exercise: its role in diabetes and cardiovascular disease control. Essays Biochem. 2006;42:105-17.

[v] Kyu HH et al. Physical activity and risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, ischemic heart disease and ischemic strike events: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. BMJ 2016; 354 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i3857 (Published 09 August 2016)

[vi] Proper KI, Singh AS, van Mechelen W, Chinapaw MJM. Sedentary behaviors and health outcomes among adults: a systematic review of prospective studies, Am J Prev Med, 2011, vol. 40 (pg. 174-182) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2010.10.015

[vii] Katzmarzyk PT, Lee IM. Sedentary behaviour and life expectancy in the USA: a cause-deleted life table analysis, BMJ Open, 2012, vol. 2 pg. e000828 https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2012-000828

[viii] Bradshaw DJ, Lynch RJM. Diet and the microbial aetiology of dental caries: new paradigms. International Dental Journal. Vol. 63, Issue s2, December 2013, pg. 64-72. DOI: 10.1111/idj.12082

[ix] NHS Choices. Dry Mouth. Overview. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dry-mouth/Pages/Introduction.aspx [Accessed May 2017]

[x] Mulic A et al. Dental erosive wear and salivary flow rate in physically active young adults. BMC Oral Health201212:8

DOI: 10.1186/1472-6831-12-8

[xi] Office for National Statistics. Statistical bulletin: Adult smoking habits in Great Britian: 2014. Link http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandlifeexpectancies/bulletins/adultsmokinghabitsingreatbritain/2014 [Accessed September 2016]

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