11:58 AM

Friday Dental Download: February 28, 2014

This week, the FDA proposes new nutrition labels, the Florida Public Health Institute reports that dental-related ER visits are on the rise and a new standard for sharing dental data has been created to more effectively identify missing persons. Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

The number of Floridians treated in hospital emergency rooms for dental problems rose to more than 139,000 in 2012, according to a study by the Florida Public Health Institute. Many of these issues could have been treated in a dental office or clinic, or even prevented with regular dental exams. The study, funded by DentaQuest Foundation, found that the total charges for dental-related ER visits in Florida exceeded $141 million.

For the first time in twenty years, the Food and Drug Administration is proposing several big changes to the nutrition labels that appear on 700,000 products. On the new labels, serving sizes will better reflect how much food Americans are actually consuming, the calorie count will be more prominent and the amount of Vitamin D and potassium in a product will be included. Most important to your dental health, the new label will distinguish between the amount of natural sugar and added sugars in the product. Added sugars are the artificial sugars and syrups added to processed foods that can be more detrimental to teeth than natural sugars. Keep in mind that natural sugars, like those in milk and fruit, can linger in the mouth and cause cavities. Be sure to clean your teeth after consuming them.

We’ve all heard that dental records are used to help identify missing persons after a disaster. Now, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has officially added “dental data” to its existing list of what can be used to identify deceased individuals. Now that there is a standard protocol, organizations can more easily obtain dental data from dental offices for forensic purposes, the same way they would contact police stations and hospitals for fingerprints and DNA.