Medicine

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Mostly Targets Dental Professionals, Says CDC Report

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Mostly Targets Dental Professionals, Says CDC Report

While no one knows what causes idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, the risk is higher in men, people over 50, smokers, people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (acid reflux), and those who have a genetic risk for the condition or have had certain viral infections. As per the analysis out of the count, the CDC studied over two decades found from 900 patients there were around eight dentists and one dental technician.

The findings indicate that 894 patients were treated for IPF at the center between 1996 and 2017. This number "was about 23 times higher than expected", Nett said. Thus, they could find new individuals suffering from IPF at any moment.

Although the CDC officials expressed they couldn't identify the cause of death of the seven patients, they didn't discard the most visible link between them: their jobs.

"Dental personnel who perform tasks that result in occupational exposures to known respiratory hazards should wear adequate respiratory protection if other controls (e.g., improved ventilation) are not practical or effective".

Even though CDC investigators have not figured out the reasons of IPF, Nett said, "More work has to be done before we can make any conclusions about the risk dentists or other dental personnel have". "CDC will follow up on this newly recognized cluster". Dr. Paul Casamassimo, for instance, was already informed about the number of toxic compounds that dental workers are commonly exposed to.

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Although the reason behind this remains unsuspected, there might be certain factors contributing towards growth of this disease such as smoking, viral infection, exposure of toxic substance at the time of polishing the dental appliances without wearing any surgical mask for safety objective in order to avoid the damage caused to the body by inhaling the dust particles, as per chief policy officer of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's Pediatric Oral Health & Research Center, Paul Casamassimo, shared with CNN.

However, thanks to the new tech advances nowadays, dentists and students can identify when and where they should use protection while breathing at work.

According to some experts, dentists have been largely exposed.

For example, the dentist who alerted the CDC never smoked, "but reported not wearing a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health-certified respirator during dental activities throughout his 40-year dental practice", the CDC said.

His own father was an "old-school" dentist. Though his father did not die of pulmonary fibrosis, he had respiratory problems. "The likelihood of exposure to dusts and airborne chemicals is less than in the past, but still there for many dentists, particularly if they trained long ago and haven't kept up with environmental and workplace warnings".