Posts Tagged ‘women’s health’
Dr. Bodak has long recognized the associations between dental care and cardiovascular disease. According to study lead author Dr. Timothy Brown, at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, “general dental care leads to fewer heart attacks, strokes, and other adverse cardiovascular outcomes in a causal way.” This study asked whether subjects had visited the dentist and whether they had experienced a heart attack, stroke, angina or congestive heart failure during the prior two years. Deaths from heart attacks or strokes were also included in the analysis. The study included other risk factors, such as alcohol and tobacco use, high blood pressure and body mass index.
For dental care to have a protective effect in women, it should occur early in the development of cardiovascular disease. In our Media PA dental office, we stress the importance of preventive services, such as examinations and professional, gentle cleanings at every stage of life. Dr. Bodak recommend twice-yearly visits to to our Media dental office, as well as brushing and flossing at least twice a day. Those wearing dentures should make sure they stay clean to prevent the growth of bacteria.
So, while you are thinking about cutting down on calories, salt and fat in your diet, exercising and controlling your blood pressure to improve your heart health, don’t forget a simple tip to cut your risk of heart disease and stroke by 33% – see your dentist! And don’t forget to SMILE!
So what does that have to do with a dental blog? Plenty. It is all about form, fit and function. While we all love the looks of a great smile, your teeth have an important function; they are designed to bite and chew your food for a lifetime of proper digestion. Just as tap shoes do not transform an elephant into a tap dancer, a mouth full of malpositioned teeth, ill-fitting crowns or loose dentures will not produce an effective bite, which dentists call occlusion. Your teeth, ligaments, nerves, muscles and bone, all working together, control occlusion. Your teeth must be in alignment to withstand the normal pressures of chewing food.
Inch for inch, your jaw muscles are among the most powerful in the human body. Normal chewing places about 70 lbs/sq inch of pressure on the back teeth, and clenching your teeth can increase that force to 150-300 lbs/sq inch. Bruxism is teeth grinding, often during sleep. The forces in bruxism during sleep have been measured at over 1000 lbs/sq inch of force, enough to crush the front end of a car. If normal pressure is applied evenly to your teeth, the force is comfortable. But if you have occlusal problems and all that pressure is applied to just a few spots, the teeth, ligaments and nerves can signal pain. Over time, the tooth absorbing this punishment can fracture.
You may have an unstable bite (malocclusion) due to missing teeth or periodontal disease, or if your teeth are worn down or out of place. Ill-fitting crowns or bridges can also disturb your bite. That powerful force, misdirected due to an incorrect bite, can cause pain and damage to your remaining teeth. The upper and lower teeth should fit together well, without causing your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) to become unstable. TMJ dysfunction can lead to pain in your jaw or face, as well as headaches and other complaints.
If you have an unstable on ineffective bite, bruxism, misaligned teeth or TMJ pain, see your dentist and request a bite analysis. A small adjustment may be all that is needed to correct the situation and prevent problems later. A custom night dental guard can help with bruxism, and other types of dental treatment can improve occlusion. And while we can’t guarantee that a visit to our office will give you a new superpower like tap dancing, we can relieve pain, restore occlusion and allow you to chew your food comfortably again.
You and Your Family Are Eating a Healthy Diet for life, right?
We all know the importance of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables for the health of our digestive and cardiac systems. These essentials provide fiber, water, minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients that help protect our cells. Dentists also recommend firm and crunchy foods, such as apples and vegetables, to stimulate the flow of saliva that helps to clean and protect our teeth.
The best food choices for the health of your mouth include cheeses, chicken or other animal protein, nuts, and milk. We believe these foods protect tooth enamel by providing the calcium and phosphorus to remineralize tooth enamel. These minerals are removed by acids, but can be restored by our diet.
But Here’s the Problem…
Your healthy food choices may be contaminated with tasteless, odorless chemicals like antibiotics, fungicides, pesticides, hormones and other agents that may be far from healthy. These chemicals can run off the crops and enter our water supply, persisting for years. Some of these compounds in higher concentrations have been linked to childhood diseases, reproductive disorders in men, and breast cancer in women. How much is safe? We really don’t know for sure. But we should be especially cautious regarding the diets of children and pregnant women.
So What Can We Do?
For one thing, avoid the foods that usually test as the most heavily contaminated, the “Dirty Dozen”, and choose the foods with the lowest tested residue, the “Clean Fifteen” . (More to come in the next blog post about those!) Organic foods are a great choice, because they are produced without the use of antibiotics, fungicides, pesticides, hormones and other chemicals, and have a much lower chemical residue. Organic foods are available at local farmers’ markets; they are increasing found in supermarkets as well. Ask where you shop and let them know you want a selection of organic foods.
Try growing your own organic berries and vegetables. In our backyard, we grew these tomatoes organically, along with organic peppers, lettuce, cucumber, and zucchini. It takes about the same effort as a non-organic garden, the food is fresh and delectable, and you will be doing your body and our planet a huge favor. Doesn’t that sound delicious?
We have all heard for many years that one small glass of red wine (3-4 ounces) each day may enhance your heart health, lower your cholesterol levels and may be associated with longevity. Now we have see that red wine, as well as foods like grapes, apples and dark chocolate, may have added benefit in keeping your mouth, teeth and gums healthy too. Red wine appears to inhibit tooth decay and reduce the risk of gum disease by helping to counteract the effect of Streptoccus mutans (S. mutans), a bacterial infection linked to tooth loss.
Antioxidant chemicals called proanthocyanidins are found in red wine and other foods such as dark chocolate. These phytonutrients prevent S. mutans from sticking to saliva and teeth. Italian researchers removed the alcohol from a high-quality Italian red wine. They added the nonalcoholic red wine to cultures of S. mutans in saliva, saliva-coated extracted teeth and saliva-coated calcium ceramic beads. They found that the addition of the non-alcoholic wine prevented the bacteria from clinging to the saliva and to the teeth. These investigators plan to extend their study to the effects of grape juice on S. mutans in the future.
Research from Cornell University and Université Laval in Quebec, Canada studied polyphenols, the chemicals in grape seeds and red wine that help neutralize the damaging effect of free radicals in the body. Free radicals can damage our cells’ DNA. Polyphenols from red wine also help control inflammation caused by gingivitis, or bacterial infections of the gums. Limiting inflammation may also protect against periodontal disease, a more serious form of gum disease that can lead to tooth decay or tooth loss, and has been linked to heart disease and stroke.
Unfortunately, the news is not as convincing when it comes to white wines. White wines have lower concentrations of phytonutrients and polyphenols, and some researchers fear that the high acid content of white wine might help erode tooth enamel.
So smile tonight, when you have a small glass of red wine with your dinner and a half ounce of dark chocolate for dessert, knowing that your teeth and gums will be a little healthier. (don’t forget to brush and floss afterwards). Here’s a toast to staying healthy!