Beware: tooth fillings can be a bane, accelerating decay and increasing need for filling in adjacent teeth, according to a new study.

New research published in the Journal of Dentistry revealed that the trauma resulting from the initial tooth filling may be a factor in neighboring teeth being infection-prone. Some dentists say that they have more patients with new decay post-filling than others and that current techniques used may play a key role.

In the study, researchers found that six out of 10 teeth situated beside or near a filling decayed after five years, and almost 30 percent of them needed filling as well.

According to lead author Simen Kopperud of Oslo’s Nordic Institute of Dental Materials, the dental intervention may have led to issues in nearby teeth.

"It is highly possible that the intervention by the dentist causes a problem in adjacent teeth, ” he said, calling for awareness of the risks of dental fillings and implementing new kinds of treatment.

Oral hygiene also surfaced as a primary concern after one received a filling, as decay risk is higher among patients who consume sugar-laden drinks and snacks more often or fail to brush properly.

British Dental Association spokesperson and Birmingham University professor Damien Walmsley said the research underscores the fact that dental intervention can be more harmful than beneficial, making more research necessary.

The experts called for “minimal intervention” to reduce potential damage to teeth.

In the previous week in the United Kingdom, an official report from Public Health England (PHE) pushed for a tax of as much as 20 percent on sugary food items and drinks. It warned of both adults and children now eating three times the recommended amount of sugar, and proposed measures such as removing sweets and fizzy beverages from tills and ends of supermarket aisles.

The British Dental Association supports taxing sugar, with Professor Walmsley calling it a "scandal" for one out of eight three-year-old kids experiencing tooth decay. Other supporters include celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, a healthy-eating advocate, who said the “ball is firmly in the Government’s court” now.

A spokesperson said the U.K. prime minister has not yet read the report but does not favor a sugar tax, preferring other measures for cutting sugar consumption and driving down obesity in kids.

Photo : Bradley Gordon | Flickr

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