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Why Going to the Dentist is Like Getting an Oil Change

In Dental Care on August 18, 2011 at 4:30 AM

It’s been said that an oil change every 3000 or so miles goes a long way toward maintaining the longevity of our vehicle’s engine. Jalopy or Jetsons, we’ve pretty much followed this rule as a mandatory maintenance milestone.

Whether or not that recommendation still holds true or not, was the question posed by the NY Times in an article published last September.

It seems that with advancements in fuel technology and engine components, that long standing belief might not hold water anymore…or oil.

Even in the face of this conflicting info between generational automotive axioms and technological leaps forward in everything from manufacturing to maintenance, we can still relate oral health to auto care.

Preventative Maintenance

No matter which side of the oil change debate our family resides, hopefully we can all agree that the main reason – benefit – for changing the oil is to take some preventative maintenance.

Internal engine parts need proper lubrication, changing the oil at regular intervals ensures contamination is kept to a minimum and viscosity is optimally maintained.

This precautionary action maintains optimal engine performance while also saving us money.

The idea being if we invest a small amount of money regularly toward maintaining peak engine performance, we ultimately save ourselves from having to fork over huge sums of money later for things like cracked heads, busted seals, and sludge covered valves.

If we ignore this regular attention to our vehicles, it will come back to bite us in more places than the bank account.

This same principle can be applied to dentistry too, at least from our perspective as dental patients.

Just as internal engine parts require lubrication, our teeth and gums require proper care and preventative maintenance to sustain our own optimal oral health.

Replace cracked heads with cracked teeth, and sludge covered valves with visible tartar build-up, and things start to come into focus.

We need not walk around with a busted grill just because we’ve ignored our smile appeal.

Ignore the dentist and not only will we resemble Austin Powers from the nose down and the chin up, we’ll be doing even more of a disservice to our overall health too.

It’s no secret that oral health directly correlates with overall physical health. Recent studies have linked periodontal disease to breast cancer, even to complications inhibiting conception and negatively impacting pregnancy.

This is no joke. For a little preventative dental maintenance, we can not only save ourselves money in the long run, we can also make sure our internal operating systems are at peak performance…or at least somewhere near approaching healthy.

Read more about how oral health affects overall health in this study published in the August 2010 issue of the Journal of Periodontology. Researchers found that subjects who maintained a healthy weight and had high levels of physical fitness had a lower incidence of severe periodontitis.

Periodontitis, or gum disease, is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the supporting bone and tissues around the teeth. Gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults, and research has suggested gum disease is associated with other diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. (Another Reason to Stay in Shape: Healthy Teeth and Gums – perio.org)

Does a regular cleaning, oral cancer screening, and possible diabetes indicating, dental exam appointment really seem like a better choice than ignoring the inevitable?

Don’t change our oil, and our vehicle’s engines will die earlier than they should.

Don’t take care of our teeth…and we can always get dentures, right?

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Dental Connections to the Paleo Diet?

In Dental Care on August 16, 2011 at 4:30 AM

In recent years the Paleo Diet™ has been gaining more popularity amongst an enlarging segment of U.S. Citizens.  It’s no secret that, generally speaking, Americans have been increasing our waistlines like we’re preparing for a long hibernation.

Could a paleo-friendly lifestyle improve our health?

Whether or not the agricultural prehistoric method of consumption is the scientifically proven next step in personal nutrition refinement, we can learn how what we eat directly impacts the health of our teeth and gums.

According to their website thepaleodiet.com, the Paleo Diet™ is based on the simple understanding that the best human diet is the one to which we are best genetically adapted.1

Paleo has also been referred to this as the ‘Caveman Diet’; with the basic principle being we eat foods according to our genetic make-up, pre – Agricultural Revolution.

To poorly paraphrase the experts, this basically means a ‘Paleo’ form of diet consists of ingredients we as people subsisted on prior to the mass production of foodstuffs.

The Paleolithic diet consists mainly of grass-fed pasture raised meats, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts. The regimen specifically excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.2

Eat Like a Caveman…and Brush Your Teeth Like One Too!

So our collective waistlines have been expanding at an alarming rate, out of the Ancestral Health Symposium recently held at UCLA, comes the dental debate.

Your can read the complete blog post entitled, “Where is Darwin on Dentistry? You Are What You Chew” by clicking on the link.

To offer a weak synopsis, we’ll try to explain how Dr. Kevin Boyd, D.D.S., MS and Dr. Michael Mew D.D.S., two dentists present at the symposium, discussed the historical connection on how and why modern dietary factors are adversely affecting our oral health.

The discussion highlighted in the above-mentioned article, centered around their respective theories on how dietary factors are represented in the occurrence of malocclusion and craniofacial developmental disorders like crowded teeth, crooked teeth, or jaw misalignment.

Dr. Boyd stated how over the last 10,000 or so years, our faces have been shrinking. And how a narrow face can affect one’s teeth and the ability to breathe through the nose.

Is a nutritional deficiency causing rotting and crooked teeth in a growing number of the population, all due to our diets becoming increasingly high in sugars and refined grains?

The point Dr. Boyd opens leads us to think that over time, our diet alters our bone structure which inhibits proper breathing and leads to more oral health problems.

In the article, Dr. Mew, the distinguished dentist out of the U.K., goes further in explaining it’s the HOW as much as the WHAT we’re eating.

Dr. Mew says this increase in malocclusion occurrences may come from a lack of chewing and biting difficult foods. On a diet of soft, easy-to-eat processed foods and boneless meats, certain jaw muscles are never properly developed, and a poor “mandibular-lingual posture” leaves people unable to breath out of their nose (and mouth breathing further misaligns the jaw).3

What’s this all mean to us?

Eating like a caveman can be good for our teeth too; like a dog with a bone, or deer antler, or beef knuckle…

The common denominator we saw was how diet affects a lot more than our waistlines, and poor breathing habits further complicate oral health issues. Two major areas of concentration for anyone interested in maintaining optimal health and wellness longevity.

Anyone concerned about sleep apnea…or oral systemic dentistry?

Moral of the Story

What we put in our mouths not only affects our overall health, but it also affects the health of our teeth and gums. Whether or not the chicken or the egg came first, most likely all of us could use a little dietary adjustment.

Does this mean if we call go Fred Flintstone and feed on Brontosaurus Ribs to give our chompers a proper workout?

Maybe…if that’s what’s best for you. To be sure, a conversation with your physician and your dentist would go a long way in figuring out the proper dietary equation.

If you have questions about the diet and dentistry connection, or have concerns about maintaining optimal oral health with your current diet, just ask your dentist or hygienist next time your due for a cleaning and exam.

Sources:

Can Justin Bieber Make Your Kids Brush Their Teeth?

In Dental Products on May 3, 2011 at 4:30 AM

The hottest news off the dental entertainment wire since David After Dentist, the new Justin Bieber signature toothbrush has arrived!

We can now take pleasure in expanding our twice daily ritual of mandatory brushing while enjoying our favorite Bieber tunes at the same time.  The best part is, all of this new and exciting dental news is not just for kids, teen and adult brushes are available too. Even if you’re not a music fan, it looks like there are other versions of talking and kid-centric toothbrushes available.

All joking aside, whatever gets kids to pay more attention to their oral health and possibly extend the time they take brushing their teeth, we’re all for it.

According to the Brush Buddies™ company website; on average a person only brushes their teeth for 45 – 75 seconds, far below the optimal 120 seconds. Even worse, the average person doesn’t even know how to properly brush and for how long.

And if any new Moms out there are wondering when to first start brushing, take it from the Academy of General Dentistry:

It’s never too early for parents to encourage their youngsters to start using toddler toothbrushes. “As soon as they’re reaching and grabbing for things, they’re ready for it,” says Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Bob Roesch, DDS, MAGD. “It familiarizes children with having a toothbrush in their mouths, and they like to mimic their parents.”

“Parents need to be good role models,” says Dr. Roesch. “They need to take good care of their own teeth and make dental care part of the daily routine for the whole family.

Will the Bieber brush be part of your family’s daily dental health regimen?

Maybe it won’t be music to your ears every morning and every night, but at least your kids will be taking better care of their teeth. Or at least that’s the goal right?

What other possibilities could we imagine emanating from one of our most trusted and relied upon dental health accessories?

We can picture it now…the Oscar Mayer toothbrush with bologna flavored toothpaste.