Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Obesity and Periodontal Disease

Exercise is Awesome!
   There are so many benefits to exercise that all help to increase longevity. Physical activity can improve our mood by stimulating various brain chemicals that influence feelings of happiness and satisfaction. Exercise  also improves self image and confidence, boosting self esteem. Bundles of research shows that stress can have very negative impacts on our health and longevity, but exercising buffers the effects of chronic physiological stress.

Imagine yourself on a brisk walk, your arms and legs are moving, feet hitting the ground, fresh air in your lungs, blood pumping through your heart and entire body. Actively lowering your risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, depression, high cholesterol, and arthritis.
 Feels great, right?!

Let's add another benefit ~ Lowering your risk for Periodontal Disease

     To begin understanding this concept, let's talk about inflammation first. Inflammation is your bodies way of responding to pathogens, or a stimulus. The vascular system moves plasma and leucocytes toward the affected area in an attempt to rid the body of the pathogen. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease with a clearly defined stimulus, Bacteria. New research has pointed to an unsuspected risk factor of periodontal disease, ObesityThe role of being overweight significantly raises the risk for periodontal infection. The increase of fat cells overstimulates the inflammatory process. 
     Diabetes type II is a later in life onset usually caused by diet and lifestyle. The body becomes resistant to insulin due to lack of sufficient exercise and overconsumption of refined sugars. Usually a making a lifestyle change is the first step in correcting this serious health issue. Diabetes and periodontal disease are reciprocal of each other; active periodontal infection effects glucose levels, and uncontrolled diabetes effects periodontal disease. 
     Taking a good look at lifestyle, including exercise, diet, and stress can bring the awareness needed to make changes that could add years to your life. 

Exercise Euphemisms
I've found a passion for exercise and health a very young age. Currently I'm loving  Bikram Yoga .Through the years my personal philosophy changes, flowing with events and responsibilities in life.
 The most consistent aspect that I am confidant sharing is:
Just Keep Moving.
Don't get stagnant in life, quit making excuses and do something good for yourself.
Swim, walk, jog, bike ride, play tennis, do some yoga poses, play tag with your kids.
Move for at least 20 minutes a day.
When there is the time, the ideal amount of time to dedicate to exercise is 40-60 minutes.
Challange yourself to be healthy.

"Never too late, never too old, never too bad, and never too sick to do this and start from scratch once again."

Exercise is better than Prescription Drugs for pain.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sleep Apnea ~Dental Professional Red Flags

Sleep Apnea  sleep disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or instances of abnormally low breathing, during sleep. Each pause in breathing, called an apnea, can last from a few seconds to minutes, and may occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour.

Sleep Apnea Elevates Death by 46%

Sleep apnea is a condition that is overwhelmingly wide spread and common, yet seriously under diagnosed. If left untreated it can lead to hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. All health care professionals should be current with the information out there. Last year I attended a two day class that focused on identifying red flags during dental appointments. Day one back to the office and the knowledge was applicable, and continues to be on a weekly basis. I want to share this information with everyone in hopes that you too can help bring awareness to your patients.

The Vortex of Red flags
Seemingly simple signs to look for, that when observed can start the whirl of co-discovery 

  • Chipped Anterior Teeth ~ Specifically # 8, 9. We've all seen this scenario, 8 and/or 9 wearing down, where the canines are not affected. It's not the side to side grinding that catches the cuspid rise, but just straight anterior. Here is what's happening: as the airway is blocked, the patient juts his jaw forward in an attempt to gain airway and O2. 
  • Acidic Wear on Posterior Teeth ~ Acid Reflux. Ask about it, get your patients aware. Pitting on mandibular posterior teeth is usually caused by acid reflux that occurs during sleep. With or without the presence of sleep apnea, acid reflux is an important conversation to have. Another under diagnosed condition that can occur without conscious knowledge. In the case of sleep apnea, the pressure in the esophagus caused from the body trying to gain O2 results in the rise of stomach acids. 
  • Missing Four Premolars ~ Common practice of orthodontists to remove four premolars in an effort to accomplish a desired outcome. I strongly believe this is not a sound practice, but am not educated in orthodontics, so it is an opinion. Here's what I do know; instead of maximizing jaw growth by making more room for the crowded teeth, growth is stunted or hindered when the premolars are removed and anterior teeth retracted.  The mandible follows the growth of the maxilla, and an underdeveloped mandible leads to airway obstruction issues in adult hood. 
  • TMD ~ Temporal Mandibular Disorders. Clicking, popping, crepitus, pain, headaches. You may start to notice a correlation with the four missing premolars. Pretty consistent with misplaced occlusion and retracted mandible.
  • Snoring ~  If you are starting to recognize a couple of these red flags with a patient, go ahead and ask if they snore. It is most likely an issue that affects other areas of their lives, like relationships. Even without the presence of sleep apnea a discussion about snore relief could change lives. 
  • Sleep Patterns ~ It's not a common question to be asked at a dental visit, but get curious about how well your patients are sleeping. "How well do you sleep at night?" It can open the door for a wide range of conversations, encompassing health and lifestyle, but keeping in mind the red flags for sleep apnea; listen for answers like, "Not well at all, I'm up numerous times at night and I find myself tired during the day". Usually someone who is suffering from sleep apnea will wake often during the night due to the lack of O2.
     After starting to become familiar with these signs, you may be surprised how many people it is applicable to. Where do you go from here? 
Encourage your patients to follow up with a physician and possibly a sleep study. Be entirely clear how important it is for a full diagnosis with a doctor. The gold standard for treating sleep apnea is a CPAP ( continuous positive airway pressure) machine. Our role is to help bring conscious awareness to a serious and life threatening condition. 

Things I'm Loving Right Now

   With flu season in full swing, here are a few products and ideas that can help to keep any viruses at bay. 

   XClear xylitol nasal spray is sitting on each bathroom counter in my house. Ingredients listed include grapeseed extract, saline and xylitol. 

Xylitol  is a naturally occurring 5-carbon sugar alcohol found in many fruits and vegetables and produced in small amounts by the human body. 

Xylitol has the same sweetness as sugar but with 40% fewer calories and none of the negative tooth decay or insulin release effects of sugar. 
Bacteria can't metabolize xylitol, so in effect they starve to death, reducing their reproduction and growth properties. 

Check out this study, showing how using a nasal spray with xylitol reduces ear infections in children: 
 Abstract; xylitol nasal spray reduces ear infections

I keep this in stock at my practice for my clients to purchase. Unfortunately, living in the Florida Keys limits our access to some products. Here's an easy link to find it;

Some simple lifestyle tips for being healthy in flu season include the normal get plenty of rest, lower stress, maximize immune system boosters such as vitamin C.

  • Build up your vitamin D supply. There is an abundance of research pointing to the need for more vitamin D in our diets. Supplements are recommended because we just aren't getting enough through diet. Here's a great link to a blogger that gets down to the nitty gritty with Vitamin D. 

Vitamin D, marksdailyapple

If you feel like you may be coming down with a cold, here are some lifestyle tips to reducing the life of the virus.

  • Drink plenty of water! simple. 
  • Rest, rest, rest
  • Limit alcohol consumption 
  • Limit sugar. 
    • sugar promotes inflammation in the body
    • There is research that shows sugar impacts the immune system 
Overall, being aware of how your body is handling stressors is important. Keep your life as serene as possible and become conscious of how you are reacting is part of maintaining your healthy lifestyle!