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I used to think that orthodontic treatment reduced the incidence of dental decay​ until I read this study…

“The influence of orthodontic treatment on dental caries: An Australian cohort study”

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/cdoe.12446

Objective

To assess the influence of orthodontic treatment on long‐term caries experience in 30‐year‐old South Australians. The research hypothesis that was tested was that those with previous orthodontic treatment would have lower caries experience.

Conclusion

There was no difference in the long‐term caries experience of South Australians aged 30 years based on past orthodontic treatment. Our study does not support the contention that those treated orthodontically have better dental health later in life.

What do I think

This is an interesting study, and it is important to keep in mind what literature and research tells us. However, I cannot stop to wonder if these results are an accurate reflection of reality. I do see a lot of adults with severe crowding with no, or little history of decay, however common sense would dictate that less crowding should result in fewer incidents or decay. It will be interesting to see if there are more studies like this in the future. 

Orthodontic treatment have several benefits for patients, however looking at this study we cannot state with confidence that reduction of future dental decay is one of them. I personally would have thought otherwise.  

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