Dentistry and Interoperability

Data have become the vital commodity of exchange in recent decades. The volume of data collected and stored is enormous and increasing. Users and organizations are finding ways to make use of the data, learning the science of data management to accomplish their goals. There are several terms from computer scientists, such as “big data,” “machine learning,” “deep learning,” and “artificial intelligence” (AI), to define and differentiate the technologies involving data. All these newer technologies are being successfully utilized in astronomy, retail markets, automobiles, social media, web search engines, and even politics (Murdoch and Detsky 2013). The costs of using and storing data are reducing, and it is considered an inexhaustible resource (Schwendicke and Krois 2022). Estimates indicate that health care data will soon attain the levels of zettabytes and even yottabytes (Glick 2015). Almost 90% of universal data and 60% of medical data are still unstructured and text based (Malmasi et al. 2017; Adnan et al. 2020). It is fundamental to understand that data are useless when they cannot be read, retrieved, analyzed, deciphered, and reused (Obermeyer and Emanuel 2016). Furthermore, medical data can be useful only if made into meaningful information.

Systemic Multimorbidity Clusters in people with Periodontitis

Multimorbidity is the notion of having ≥2 coexisting chronic conditions and is often associated with reduced quality of life and higher risk of mortality (Yarnall et al. 2017; Jani et al.2019). Importantly, multimorbidity significantly affects health care services utilization, including issues with polypharmacy and uncoordinated care (Yarnall et al. 2017). While it is widely accepted that the prevalence of multimorbidity increases with age, findings suggest that other factors, such as deprivation and some chronic conditions, may influence multimorbidity development (Barnett et al. 2012). Understanding the clustering of multimorbidity in people with chronic conditions is important and can be integrated into patient care to improve patient outcomes.

Periodontitis And Dementia 

A Bidirectional Relationship?

A body of scientific evidence supports the view that periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are comorbid. While periodontal disease affects tooth-supporting tissues and the host’s immune responses, leading to eventual tooth loss, AD is characterized by 2 histologic diagnostic markers at autopsy: the extraneuronal amyloid plaques and the intraneuronal neurofibrillary tangles (Hyman et al. 2012). Other lesions without a role in the neuropathologic diagnosis of AD include neuronal and synaptic loss, neuroinflammation, and cerebral amyloid angiopathy (Dugger and Dickson 2017), which are of importance in understanding the disease process. Understanding the relationship between AD and periodontitis is hindered by the long-standing dogma that those with dementia or AD-associated dementia are at greater incidence of longitudinally manifesting periodontal disease than those without it. This view clearly assumes that AD-associated dementia is a risk factor for periodontal disease.

Why advancing the profession of oral hygiene matters

Close to three decades into democracy, South Africa remains polarised in terms of social class divisions, employment, education levels, and access to essential resources such as health care. Whilst the country continues to be plagued by many health conditions, oral diseases, especially dental caries, remain at an estimated >70% prevalence, the same as recorded twenty years ago. Whilst most oral diseases and health conditions share modifiable risk factors, they are also preventable. Improving the oral health of South Africans is a national priority with health reform inciting support for workforce innovations that increase access to high-quality and cost-effective services. However, a maldistribution of the oral health workforce between the public and private sectors affects access to quality care. Only 10% of the dental workforce is employed by the State to provide care for 84% of the public that are reliant on State Health Services.



Health Professions Council of South Africa


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