CDC isn't sure why dentists are dying from a specific lung disease

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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.

Dentists around the world are dying of a rare, incurable lung disease, according to Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Seven of the patients had already died.

Overall, dentists made up 1 percent of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis cases seen at the clinic.

And the cause of the disease still isn't clear. "Inhalational exposures experienced by dentists likely increase their risk for certain work-related respiratory diseases".

A dentist was diagnosed with a disease known as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF. This scarring prevents the lungs from working properly. It can be treated but not cured.

"Dentists and other dental personnel experience unique occupational exposures, including exposures to infectious organisms, dusts, gases and fumes", write the investigators.

In the aforementioned case, the nine patients - eight dentists and one dental technician - were referred as a cluster.

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The average age of the dentists who died was 64 and all were male.

Of the two patients who were still alive, only one was able to give an interview to health officials.

"A questionnaire was administered to one of the living patients, who reported polishing dental appliances and preparing amalgams and impressions without respiratory protection", CDC stated. During these tasks, a dental worker would have been exposed to silica and other compounds with known or potential respiratory toxicity.

They all had been diagnosed with what is described as a progressive illness affecting the lungs, but nobody knows what brings the disease on.

The dentist also reported being exposed to dust during three months working as a street sweeper prior to his entering dental school; he also was exposed to dust from coral beaches in the Caribbean during 15 years doing intermittent stints as a practicing dentist.

He has recommended that dental workers - of which there are 650,000 in the nation - wear protection as the CDC continue to work on their findings.

The report concluded that more work is needed to better understand the risk of this lung disease in dental workers "to develop strategies for prevention of potentially harmful exposures".