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Table of Contents
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 876-877

Bringing public health to dentistry amid the COVID-19 pandemic

1 Department of Public Health and Health Promotion, College of Health Sciences, Brunel University, Uxbridge UB8 3FG, UK
2 Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, Delhi, India
3 Department of Tobacco Control, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Delhi, India

Date of Submission24-Sep-2020
Date of Decision05-Oct-2020
Date of Acceptance07-Oct-2020
Date of Web Publication25-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Rashmi Mehra
Department of Public Health and Health Promotion, College of Health Sciences, Brunel University, Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, UB8 3FG
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/CRST.CRST_297_20

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How to cite this article:
Mehra R, Mehra K, Kapoor S. Bringing public health to dentistry amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:876-7

How to cite this URL:
Mehra R, Mehra K, Kapoor S. Bringing public health to dentistry amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Cancer Res Stat Treat [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 26];3:876-7. Available from: https://www.crstonline.com/text.asp?2020/3/4/876/304972

We would like to congratulate Dholam et al. on their meticulous and comprehensive article about dental measures for patients with cancer during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.[1] The article provides an exceptional overview of the key points for dental health-care personnel (DHCP) engaged in the treatment of cancer during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Since then, it has spread across 200 countries, with more than 21 million confirmed cases and over 0.7 million deaths as of August 16, 2020.[2],[3] In these unprecedented times of public health crisis, patients with cancer seeking dental treatment form an especially vulnerable group because of both their increased exposure to hospital settings and poor immunity.[4]

As emphasized by the recent literature, careful treatment planning, cautious clinic preparation, and watchful attitude of the DHCP are undoubtedly imperative to providing safe oral health services to patients with cancer. What has largely been unnoticed is what precludes and follows a dental treatment — oral health behavior. The variables in the clinical setting are largely under the directives of the clinicians, however, amid this pandemic, there is an increased need to ramp up the oral health education and promote good oral health behavior among these patients. COVID-19 has exposed an unparalleled need for the DHCP to provide holistic oral health care for patients with cancer which would surpass the siloed approach of provision of good clinical treatment.[5] A dedicated guideline stipulating oral health instructions for patients with cancer must be introduced, along with the assessment and provision of tobacco cessation counseling at clinics, making the most of this “teachable moment.”[6] As there are studies that suggest a poor prognosis for patients with COVID-19 who use tobacco, educating the vulnerable patients with cancer[7] and providing them cessation services could have a positive ripple effect on their overall health and well-being.[8]

Furthermore, COVID-19 has brought forth the largely underutilized potential of the DHCP as first-point contacts for patients with cancer before they go in for radiotherapy or chemotherapy. This opportunity must be utilized to screen and potentially diagnose those already infected with the novel coronavirus, as it could prevent further disease transmission.

In these trying times, the need of the hour remains a multipronged approach of providing holistic oral health care and maximally utilizing the opportune encounter with the vulnerable group of patients with cancer, potentially acting as conscientious gatekeepers to COVID-19 transmission.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Dholam KP, Sharma MR, Gurav SV, Singh GP, Manjrekar N. Dental measures during the COVID-19 pandemic in cancer patients. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:429-33.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Situation Report, 209. [Last accessed on 2020 Sep 22].  Back to cited text no. 2
Pande P, Sharma P, Goyal D, Kulkarni T, Rane S, Mahajan A. COVID-19: A review of the ongoing pandemic. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:221-32.  Back to cited text no. 3
  [Full text]  
Martins-Chaves RR, Gomes CC, Gomez RS. Immunocompromised patients and coronavirus disease 2019: A review and recommendations for dental health care. Braz Oral Res 2020;34:e048.  Back to cited text no. 4
Xia Y, Jin R, Zhao J, Li W, Shen H. Risk of COVID-19 for cancer patients. Lancet Oncol 2020;21:e180.  Back to cited text no. 5
Hanioka T, Ojima M, Tanaka H, Naito M, Hamajima N, Matsuse R. Intensive smoking-cessation intervention in the dental setting. J Dent Res 2010;89:66-70.  Back to cited text no. 6
Bansal N, Ghafur A. COVID19 in oncology settings. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:13-4.  Back to cited text no. 7
  [Full text]  
Zhao Q, Meng M, Kumar R, Wu Y, Huang J, Lian N, Deng Y, Lin S. The impact of COPD and smoking history on the severity of COVID-19: a systemic review and meta-analysis. Journal of medical virology 2020. [doi: 10.1002/jmv. 25889]. Epub ahead of print.  Back to cited text no. 8


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