Anorexia, Bulimia And Dental Health

Dental (tooth) erosion can be a sign of bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder characterized by food binges followed by self-induced vomiting.

Anorexia, Bulimia And Dental Health

Eating Disorders and Teeth

There indeed is a connection between eating disorders and dental health.  Exploring it may uncover some uncomfortable issues but it is important to do so in order to make sure your children are healthy.  Dental (tooth) erosion can be a sign of bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder characterized by food binges followed by self-induced vomiting.Dental erosion is characterized by the loss of tooth surface enamel (and later of exposed dentin, which forms the body of a tooth), by exposure to acid. Dental erosion affects more than 90% of people with bulimia nervosa and 20% of individuals with anorexia nervosa, a different eating disorder characterized by self-starvation. There is considerable overlap between anorexia and bulimia; people with anorexia may sometimes engage in binge-purge behavior, and those with bulimia may have periods of severe food restriction.

Tooth erosion can be caused by exposure to other acidic foods and beverages. In fact sodas, sports drinks and juices, with their high levels of acidity, are the number one cause. When erosion is the result of an eating disorder, however, certain patterns will likely be observed and picked up by a dentist in particular.

Eating Disorders And Your Teeth

In bulimia, tooth erosion is caused by acid regurgitated from the stomach, which is brought up into the mouth during vomiting; it is extremely acidic and damaging. The frequency with which a person engages in binge-purge behavior will determine how seriously the teeth are affected. Usually erosion from bulimia is noticeable on the upper front teeth, particularly on the tongue side and incisal (biting) edges. The bottom teeth tend to be protected by the tongue when a person vomits, so this particular pattern of erosion is a cause for concern.

Eating disorders and teeth.
Teeth exposed to stomach acids lose enamel and their appearance becomes diagnostic for an eating disorder.

Erosion is not the only sign a dentist or hygienist may notice that suggests an eating disorder. In severe cases the salivary glands can become enlarged, causing the sides of the face under the ears to look puffy. The palate, throat, and back of the tongue can appear reddened or otherwise traumatized from the use of fingers or other objects to induce gagging. Moreover, the acidity of the stomach contents can damage and cause ulceration of the soft tissues.

Anorexics may have various dental problems because they are often negligent about grooming and hygiene in general, which includes not taking care of their teeth and gums. In contrast, individuals with bulimia are by the nature of the disorder very aware of their body image and may practice excellent oral hygiene and grooming habits. In fact, aggressive oral cleaning with a toothbrush, especially right after throwing up, can increase a bulimic individual’s loss of tooth enamel. Bulimics may also be able to keep up a more normal appearance and weight, making their disorder harder to uncover.

What You Can Do

First of all, have a frank conversation with your dentist, as he or she is the one that can detect dental erosion. Find out exactly what he or she noticed and the extent of the erosion problem. Ask what you can do about it in the short term. For example, it is important not to brush the teeth immediately after vomiting as this can increase the erosion. It is better to rinse with water — and even better with a little baking soda (neutralizes the acid) added to the water — and then let the saliva, nature’s own neutralizing agent, do its work. He may suggest a sodium fluoride mouth rinse to strengthen the tooth enamel and reduce its loss. Ask them if they have noticed any other oral troubling signs. Your family doctor should also be consulted.

Go to the website of the National Eating Disorders Association. They have a wealth of information geared specifically toward parents, along with a toll-free helpline for information and referrals.

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How To Choose The Right Mouthwash

While mouthwash is not an alternative to regular brushing and flossing, it can help keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy.

How To Choose The Right Mouthwash

Mouthwash

While mouthwash is not an alternative to regular brushing and flossing, it can help keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. There are several different types of mouthwashes available, and all of them will help do different things for your smile. The most common types of mouthwashes are:

• Fluoride – fluoride is the most used type of mouthwash available, and is used to strengthen the enamel of the teeth while preventing cavities and tooth decay.
• Antiseptic – an antiseptic mouthwash is used to kill bacteria and germs in the mouth. Most commonly used before and after a dental surgery, antiseptic mouthwashes can also help to fight gum disease, and halitosis (chronic bad breath). Antiseptic mouthwashes can affect your sense of taste and may stain the teeth, so it is recommended that you consult your dentist before using this type of mouthwash.
• Combination – a combination mouthwash is designed to help prevent tooth decay, freshen the breath, and maintain the health of your smile.
• Prescription – for patients with gum disease, or any signs of gum disease, you may need a prescription mouthwash. Prescription mouthwashes, like Peridex of PerioGard, are used to treat gingivitis, and other forms of decay.

There are also many different brands of mouthwash. Some common brands include:
• Scope
• Listerine
• Act
• Crest
• Tom’s of Maine (all-natural)
• Plax (anti-plaque rinse)
• Breath Rx
• Orajel
• Targon (special mouthwash made for smokers)
• Rembrandt (whitening mouthwash)

If you are curious about which kind of mouthwash would work best for you, be sure to ask us at your next appointment. If you have a favorite mouthwash, let us know by posting a comment for others to read!

2 Responses to “How To Choose The Right Mouthwash”

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  2. Armine Gzoyan says:

    There is also one more OASIS, has glycerin, keeps the mouth moist for 2 hours. Good for dry mouth.
    Great articles!

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Blood Pressure Screening – You And Your Dentist

Dentists can provide a valuable public health service by regularly checking their patients’ blood pressure and informing them when measurements are suggestive of hypertension.

Blood Pressure Screening – You And Your Dentist

Blood Pressure Screening

Hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure, is the most common primary diagnosis in the United States. It is a major cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD), an increasingly prevalent public health concern. A staggering 80 million people are recognized as having some type of CVD. Even more noteworthy, a significant proportion of people are unaware of their disease.What’s more, studies have confirmed that people don’t always see their doctors as regularly as they see their dentists. And when they do go to the dentist, they usually believe they are medically healthy. One study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association looked at dental patients who had no reported cardiovascular risk factors and who had not seen a doctor in the previous 12 months. When their blood pressure was taken along with other screening tests while visiting a dental office, it turned out that 17% were at an increased risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event in the next 10 years and didn’t know it.

Additionally the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has reaffirmed that asymptomatic adult patients with sustained high blood pressure, greater than 135/80 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) should be tested for diabetes, even in the absence of symptoms. The recommendations emphasize the importance of early recognition of high blood pressure, which, like type II diabetes, is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it commonly occurs without symptoms and remains undiagnosed during its earliest stages.

Blood Pressure Screening — You And Your Dentist

Screening for diseases is meant to identify those who have an increased likelihood of developing a disease or experiencing an increase in disease severity, as a first step in disease prevention and control. That’s where your dentist and other health professionals come in.

Blood pressure refers to the amount of force your circulating blood exerts on your blood vessels. Its measurement is expressed as “systolic” pressure over “diastolic” pressure in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Systolic pressure is the peak pressure in the arteries when the heart is contracting. Diastolic pressure is the lowest pressure when the heart muscle is at rest between beats. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg. It takes just a few minutes to measure and record this potentially life-saving information.

Your blood pressure measurement provides important information to your dentist, your physician and you. In addition, any situation that causes stress can increase blood pressure — even undergoing dental work. If your blood pressure is already high, it could result in a dangerous situation, and in a worst-case scenario, prompt a heart attack or stroke. Even if you are taking medication for hypertension, your blood pressure should be monitored. If your blood pressure reading is higher than normal, your dentist will likely refer you to a physician for further testing. A diabetes screening may also be recommended if your blood pressure is high.

Managing Hypertension: Critical for Oral And General Health

If you are diagnosed with hypertension, your dentist should measure your blood pressure and review all of the medications you are taking at each visit. A significant number of anti-hypertensive (blood pressure) medications have undesired oral side effects (notably dry mouth, which can lead to severe tooth decay) that can require intervention by your dentist. Also, be aware that epinephrine — adrenalin, the naturally produced hormone that makes your heart rate and blood pressure go up in the fight-or-flight response — is a vasoconstrictor commonly used in local anesthetics to prolong the numbing effect. However, it is widely recommended that vasoconstrictor usage be limited in people with cardiovascular disease. Dentists’ experience in dealing with countless patients over many years supports this practice.

All In The Service Of Your Health

In summary, dentists can provide a valuable public health service by regularly checking their patients’ blood pressure and informing them when measurements are suggestive of hypertension. As healthcare providers, dentists should be active in monitoring hypertension, assessing patients’ cardiovascular status and their ability to withstand potentially stressful procedures, and should promote changes in their behavior that can improve overall health.

A blood pressure screening at your dentist’s office is just too good an opportunity to pass up, as your new dentist fortunately knows.

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The Science of Dentistry

This site is dedicated to provide consumers and dental professionals with the latest technology, research, procedures and products available in the field of dentistry.


Weight Loss Leads To Healthier Gums

Obestiy and Gum Disease

A group of researchers from the Case Western University School of Dental Medicine found that people are better able to fend off  gum disease when inflammation triggering fat cells are lost from the body.

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Weight Loss Leads To Healthier Gums

Within the study there have been presented two different theories, which come to prove that patients who had less fat deposits actually saw an improvement in gum disease.

Weight Loss Leads To Healthier Gums

Obestiy and Gum Disease

A group of researchers from the Case Western University School of Dental Medicine found that people are better able to fend off  gum disease when inflammation triggering fat cells are lost from the body.Initially, the study involved 31 patients struggling with obesity and gum disease. Approximately 50% of these patients have gone through gastric bypass surgery in order to have fat cells from the abdomen removed. These patients had an average body mass index of 39.

The other part of the study group involved people with a lower BMI of 35, who were also going through treatment for gum disease, but did not go through gastric bypass surgery.

Patients in both groups had periodontal treatment (nonsurgical) including scaling and root planing, and they also received oral hygiene instructions regarding how they should continue the treatment at home.

Even though both groups of patients involved in the study showed some improvements, the patients who underwent gastric bypass surgery got better dental results on measurements for gum pockets, plaque deposits, and bleeding.

Inflammation that is constantly present in the body can have extremely harmful effects with the passing of time.  Inflammation pertaining to gum disease can easily lead to bone destruction and even tooth loss. Moreover, this inflammation can also cause breaks in the gums, which in turn allows harmful bacteria to enter the bloodstream and cause other systemic infections.

This particular study has been led by Nabil Bassada, and it was published in the Journal of Periodontology. Within the study there have been presented two different theories, which come to prove that patients who had less fat deposits actually saw an improvement in gum disease.

One of the theories is that losing weight will make insulin less resistant and then the diabetic status and periodontal disease will get improved.

The other theory relates to the “letptin” hormone (a hormone which regulates appetite).  In patients that had bariatric surgery, this hormone production was reduced, inflammation was reduced and thus periodontal disease improved.

Researchers state additional studies and analysis is needed, but they are extremely confident that these preliminary findings are relevant in further studying how periodontal disease can be improved.

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What Are Taste Buds

Have you ever wondered why your favorite foods taste so good? Well, you can thank your taste buds for letting you appreciate the saltiness of pretzels and the sweetness of ice cream.

What Are Taste Buds

Taste Buds

Have you ever wondered why your favorite foods taste so good? Well, you can thank your taste buds for letting you appreciate the saltiness of pretzels and the sweetness of ice cream.

Taste buds are sensory organs that are found on your tongue and allow you to experience tastes that are sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. How exactly do your taste buds work? Well, stick out your tongue and look in the mirror.

See all those bumps? Those are called tongue papillae, and most of them contain taste buds. Taste buds have very sensitive microscopic hairs called microvilli. Those tiny hairs send messages to the brain about how something tastes, so you know if it’s sweet, sour, bitter, or salty.

The average person has about 10,000 taste buds and they’re replaced every 2 weeks or so. But as a person ages, some of those taste cells don’t get replaced. An older person may only have 5,000 working taste buds. That’s why certain foods may taste stronger to you than they do to adults. Smoking also can reduce the number of taste buds a person has.

But before you give taste buds all the credit for your favorite flavors, it’s important to thank your nose. Olfactory receptors inside the uppermost part of the nose contain special cells that help you smell. They send messages to the brain.

Here’s how it works: While you’re chewing, the food releases chemicals that immediately travel up into your nose. These chemicals trigger the olfactory receptors inside the nose. They work together with your taste buds to create the true flavor of that yummy slice of pizza by telling the brain all about it!

When you have a cold or allergies, and your nose is stuffy, you might notice that your food doesn’t seem to have much flavor. That’s because the upper part of your nose isn’t clear to receive the chemicals that trigger the olfactory receptors (that inform the brain and create the sensation of flavor).

Try holding your nose the next time you eat something. You’ll notice that your taste buds are able to tell your brain something about what you’re eating — that it’s sweet, for instance — but you won’t be able to pick the exact flavor until you let go of your nose.

So the next time you chomp on an apple or slurp up some soup, thank your tongue — and your nose! Without them, life wouldn’t have any flavor.

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What Is A Root Canal

A survey conducted by the American Association of Endodontists reveals that most people with a fear of the dentist base their fear on someone else’s experiences, not their own.

What Is A Root Canal

What Is A Root Canal

Root canal therapy is considered to be the most feared dental procedure. Does that surprise you? A survey conducted by the American Association of Endodontists reveals that most people with a fear of the dentist base their fear on someone else’s experiences, not their own.

The inaccurate information about root canal therapy prevents patients from making an informed decision regarding their teeth. There are many patients that go as far as requesting that a tooth is extracted, rather than save it with a root canal.

Before you believe the hype, take a look at the top root canal myths, and learn the truth for yourself.

Myth #1: Root Canal Therapy Is Painful

Root canal therapy is almost always preformed because a tooth is causing pain from an irreversible condition. Pulpitis, an infected pulp, broken teeth, or a slowly dying nerve are all common reasons for root canal therapy.

Root canal therapy is used to alleviate pain. Most people who have root canal therapy admit they did not experience any pain during the appointment and felt better afterward.

According to the American Association of Endodontists, the perception that root canal therapy is painful stems from early treatment methods used to preform the procedure. In addition, if you are suffering from pain on the day of your appointment, your apprehension and fear may heighten the sensations you feel during the procedure.

Myth #2: Completing a Root Canal Requires Several Appointments

Root canal therapy may be completed in one to two appointments. Factors that determine the number of appointments necessary to complete a root canal include:

  • The extent of the infection
  • The difficulty of the root canal
  • Whether a referral to a root canal specialist, known as an endodontist, becomes necessary

Restoring the tooth after root canal therapy is necessary in order to ensure the tooth functions properly. The appointments necessary to completely restore the tooth, in essence, should not be considered part of the root canal process.

Myth #3: Root Canal Therapy Causes Illness

The idea that bacteria trapped inside an endodontically-treated tooth will cause illness, such as heart disease, kidney disease, or arthritis, stems from research conducted by Dr. Weston Price from 1910 to 1930 — almost 100 years ago. Recent attempts to confirm Dr. Price’s research has been unsuccessful in proving that root canal treatment causes illness.

Bacteria can be found in the mouth at anytime. Even teeth free from decay and gum disease have tested positive for bacteria.

Myth #4: Teeth Need to Hurt Before Root Canal Therapy Becomes Necessary

Teeth that require root canal therapy are not always painful. In fact, teeth that are already dead may require root canal therapy to prevent the tooth from becoming infected.

Your dentist will examine your teeth thoroughly during your regular check-up. It is usually during this routine appointment where your dentist will discover a tooth that has died or is on its way. Tests used to confirm a dead tooth include:

  • Temperature testing
  • Percussion testing
  • Using a pulp vitality machine

Myth #5: The Benefits of Root Canal Therapy Don’t Last Very Long

A common misconception is that the benefits of root canal therapy don’t last very long after the procedure has been completed. This myth originated after patients experienced their tooth breaking months after a root canal was performed on their tooth.

When the nerve is removed from the inside of the tooth, the blood supply is eliminated from inside the tooth. The tooth eventually becomes brittle, and depending on the size of the filling used to close the tooth after the root canal, the forces from grinding, eating, and even talking may cause the tooth to break. Failing to have a crown placed on the tooth may cause this to happen.

Technically, it is not the root canal that has failed; it is the restoration on the tooth that has failed.

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Dental Implants: The Best Option To Replace Missing Teeth

Dental implants are intended to serve as a permanent replacement for a lost tooth and can achieve this end without detrimentally affecting healthy teeth around it.

Dental Implants: The Best Option To Replace Missing Teeth

Dental Implants

Tooth loss can be a devastating blow – emotionally, professionally and (sometimes) literally.  Research shows that tooth loss can greatly impact a person’s sense of self-esteem and self-worth, and that this can have a negative effect on their social and family life, and can even affect productivity at work. In the worst cases, losing a tooth can have serious psychological implications.

Losing teeth will gradually affect the shape of your face, as the bone of your jaw begins to atrophy where the root was removed. Patients realizing this have been known to become preoccupied with the fact, causing stress, panic and even depression.

There is a solution, however. Dental implants are intended to serve as a permanent replacement for a lost tooth and can achieve this end without detrimentally affecting healthy teeth around it. This gives the dental implant therapy a clear advantage over alternatives such as dental bridges.

Dental implants are simply small grade IV titanium screws that osseointegrate (stabilize) within the jawbone, allowing replacement false teeth to be inserted where the lost tooth came free. Many people are put off by the thought of dental implants, in spite of the tremendous benefits it can have for a tooth loss patient. The most common reasons given for this are fear of pain or discomfort during surgery, and concerns that a dental implant procedure would be prohibitively expensive. The former can be addressed through the patient’s choice of anesthetic during the procedure, and the latter by the simple fact that a dental implant’s benefits greatly outweigh the cost.

Tooth Implants

The majority of periodontists these days who place dental implants will give you a choice between local anesthetic, and conscious sedation through intravenous injection. As a result, if you have a phobia of dentists or dental surgery, you can request sedation prior to the procedure taking place. Not only will this give you peace of mind regarding pain during surgery, but it will also prevent you from flinching or wincing unintentionally, which may knock or jog the surgeon’s hand.

If money is a concern, then the best solution is a preventative one. Subscribing to a dental plan can drastically reduce or even remove the cost of a dental implant procedure.

The benefits of a dental implant, aside from the aesthetic improvements and the resultant renewal of confidence, include longevity and reliability. Implants are designed to last a long time, integrating seamlessly with your jawbone to provide a hard-wearing and natural-feeling replacement for a lost tooth.

Success rates of dental implant procedures are around 95%, and are considered one of the most effective tooth loss repair measures available. With anesthetic strength controllable on request, and the cost greatly reduced by preventative insurance measures, this is the perfect time to look into dental implant surgery, if you have a missing tooth. Your teeth can be restored to their former glory, with the replacements having no negative effects on the surrounding teeth or gums, so go ahead – treat yourself to a smile.

For more information, contact Dr. Todd Welch at West Tennessee Periodontics and Dental Implants.

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Could The Obama Administration Ban Tobacco

Will the Obama Administration actually pursue tobacco prohibition?

Could The Obama Administration Ban Tobacco

Tobacco Prohibition

Ending the Tobacco Epidemic: A Federal Plan” is the startling title of a speech scheduled for March 14 by Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). He will be keynoting the annual meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco in Houston. Will the Obama Administration actually pursue tobacco prohibition?
The “tobacco epidemic” theme is not new. In November 2009, Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius named Koh chair of an HHS working group tasked to develop a strategic action plan. Their report (here), published a year later, was titled “Ending the Tobacco Epidemic.”

The working group’s vision, “a society free of tobacco-related death and disease,” morphs into an argument for prohibition. For example, the group quoted a 2007 study by the Institute of Medicine (here) which discussed “the ultimate goal of ending the tobacco problem in the United States.” They also cited a chapter in the 2007-2008 President’s Cancer Panel report (here) titled “The Scourge of Tobacco in America Must End.” The chapter’s topline message is clearly abolitionist: “Ridding the nation of tobacco is the single most important action needed to dramatically reduce cancer mortality and morbidity. There is no substitute for this action if we are to eliminate the sickness and death caused by tobacco use.”

Tobacco prohibition is a shared theme throughout HHS. The National Cancer Institute’s Tobacco Control Research Branch envisions “a world free of tobacco use and related cancer and suffering” (here), while CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health yearns for “a world free from tobacco-related death and disease.” (here)

In a relentless and unscientific bid to “end” the “tobacco epidemic,” federal government officials are deliberately misapplying causation from smoking, a legitimate risk factor for many diseases, to tobacco in general. This prohibition crusade ignores the enormous life-saving potential of tobacco harm reduction, the substitution of smoke-free tobacco products for cigarettes.

Tobacco prohibitionists treat all tobacco products as equally dangerous; this is factually incorrect and dangerously unethical. Smoke-free products, including smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes, are vastly safer than cigarettes. Britain’s prestigious Royal College of Physicians reported that “consumption of non-combustible tobacco is on the order of 10-1,000 times less hazardous than smoking.” The College concluded that “smokers smoke predominantly for nicotine, that nicotine itself is not especially hazardous, and that if nicotine could be provided in a form that is acceptable and effective as a cigarette substitute, millions of lives could be saved.” (here)

A study funded by the National Cancer Institute addressed the ethical considerations: “[smokeless] products pose a substantially lower risk to the user than do conventional cigarettes. This finding raises ethical questions concerning whether it is inappropriate and misleading for government officials or public health experts to characterize smokeless tobacco products as comparably dangerous with cigarette smoking.” (abstract here)

Congress has already endorsed the legality of tobacco and has given the FDA regulatory authority over the manufacture, marketing and distribution of tobacco products. It is unacceptable, at this stage, for HHS, “the principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans,” to spend taxpayer funds in pursuit of tobacco prohibition. Rather, the agency should embrace the compelling scientific foundation for tobacco harm reduction and educate the nation’s 45 million smokers about its significant health advantages.

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Chocolate Toothpaste

A company called Theodent is marketing a chocolate-based toothpaste sold online and at Whole Foods.

Chocolate Toothpaste

 

A company called Theodent is marketing a chocolate-based toothpaste sold online and at Whole Foods. Running under this slogan: “Question: What do a dozen roses, a regretful cooking for dual and a tube of toothpaste have in common? Answer: If a toothpaste is Theodent™ chocolate toothpaste, they could make your Valentine’s Day a sweetest ever,” Theodent launched the toothpaste a week before Valentine’s day in hopes to make profit for the lovers’ day.

The New Orleans based toothpaste garnered press for its development over four years ago but only recently hit the shelves. A 2008 Men’s Health article described the toothpaste as “more effective than fluoride”. According to the company’s website, this discovery came by complete accident, as the researchers at Tulane University found a chocolate extract similar in structure to caffeine by stimulating the growth of new enamel.

More tests are in the process as Theodent does not adorn the coveted ADA seal of approval.

Out of curiosity, I hit up Whole Foods in Memphis to check out this $10 toothpaste. I substituted my normal toothpaste the past few days for this chocolate-based concoction.

My verdict: This tastes nothing like Dove chocolates.

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