By Gavin Gibbon
Study finds burning incense is used in at least 90% of households in the UAE
Burning incense could be damaging oral health according to a study from NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD).
The issue is of particularly concern in the UAE, where burning incense is used in at least 90 percent of households.
Lead author of the study, lecturer of Genetics at The University of the West Indies, Barbados, Yvonne Vallès, said: “There seems to be a significant lack of awareness among the public. Even more concerning, there are no policies in place to regulate the use of incense, particularly in public spaces.”
In the study, the composition of the oral microbiota of over 300 Emirati adults was determined by using a specific gene present in all bacteria from mouthwash samples. The frequency of incense use by the participants was assessed by a questionnaire.
The study’s survey of incense use ranged from never (6.6 percent) to occasional (24.1 percent), frequent (33.7 percent) and daily (35.6 percent) - diversity of the oral microbiota was significantly increased in daily incense users when compared to those that never use it.
Director of NYUAD’s Public Health Research Centre, Raghib Ali, said: “This is an important first step in understanding how incense may affect human health but to really understand how it may contribute to common chronic diseases amongst Emiratis - and we need to continue to study the UAE population over many years.”
The study was co-authored by 28 researchers from different universities and organisations, including NYUAD, NYU in New York, Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Zayed University, UAE University, Zayed Military Hospital, Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre, SEHA, and The University of the West Indies in Barbados.
To date, over 7,000 UAE Nationals have signed up to take part in the UAE Healthy Future study, which has an aim of reaching 20,000 by March 2021. To learn more about the study or to book an appointment, visit http://uaehealthyfuture.ae