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December JADA looks at dental disease in patients with head and neck cancer

November 27, 2017

By Michelle Manchir

Most patients with head and neck cancer have some level of dental disease when they begin radiation therapy, which highlights the importance of having a dental evaluation before starting treatment, according to research published in the December issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association.

Image of December 2017 JADA cover
For the article, "Dental Disease Before Radiotherapy in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer: Clinical Registry of Dental Outcomes in Head and Neck Cancer Patients," authors evaluated the level of dental disease and factors associated with it in the patients before radiation therapy. Researchers found a high rate of caries and periodontal disease in patients with head and neck cancer in an on going prospective cohort study.

Furthermore, less education, infrequent dental care, larger tumor size and not having dental insurance were associated with worse dental disease in head and neck cancer patients, said Dr. Michael Brennan, corresponding author of the article and professor and chair of the department of oral medicine at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Other highlights of the December issue of JADA include an evaluation of dental antibiotic prescribing practices in the U.S.; an update to a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the effects of low-level laser therapy on reducing complications after the removal of impacted mandibular third molars; and findings from The National Dental Practice-Based Research Network on surface characteristics and lesion depth and activity of suspicious occlusal carious lesions.

Every month, JADA articles are published online at in advance of the print publication.