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Can That New Year’s Diet Hurt Your Teeth?

diet
New Year, New You? Don’t let that diet ruin your teeth!

We’re all for New Year’s Resolutions! But when it comes to drastic changes in your eating habits, do your research. That means don’t double down on that trendy 9-Day Liquid Fast that only allows you to have smoothies made with kale, wheatgrass, coconut butter, Anis seeds, and organic unfiltered vinegar.

But seriously, there are two basic changes that you can make for weight loss and better overall health. Eat less, move more. Take in fewer calories than you expend. Eat real food, just enough. Making the lifestyle commitment to that simple formula can tip the scales in your favor. But we’re always looking for a shortcut, and there have been several instances of fad diets in recent years (Atkins, anyone?) that delivered weight-loss results with unintended side-effects.

At Meyer & Johns, we recognize that oral health is just one component of your overall health. As such, we want you to inform yourself of some of the possible down-sides of popular diets.

 

Fruit Detox

Our Kale/vinegar smoothie above was a joke, but more and more people are trying detoxes, cleanses, and purges as a way to kick-start weight loss. However, an extended fruit-only diet can leave you lacking vital protein and other nutrients that are vital to bone and tooth health. Additionally, we’ve warned you about the potential for fruit acid to damage your enamel.

 

Keto/Low-Carb

While the latest fad may really melt away fat, there are several unintended consequences of Keto diets. By triggering the ketosis that brings results, you’re likely to develop bad breath as your body releases ketones from burning fat instead of carbs. Additionally, an overload of these naturally-occurring substances can upset the acidic balance in both your mouth and your body, leading to blood problems and even heart damage.

 

Low-Fat Diet

While this decades-old approach has been shown to have big impacts on cardiovascular health, fats are a vital part of our nutritional make-up. Removing too much can restrict your body’s processing of water-soluble vitamins, including A, E, K, and D. This last one is especially important, as Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, which is a key component of healthy bones and teeth.

 

Extreme Low-Cal

Sure, it may melt the pounds away, but at what cost? Malnutrition sends all kinds of mixed distress signals to your body, which can send you into physiological panic and trigger drastic measures. As for your mouth, malnutrition causes weakening of your enamel, gums, and jaw, and can even lead to tooth loss if not addressed. 

 

If you’re making big changes in pursuit of better health in 2020, we congratulate you! Tell us at your next appointment how it’s going, and let us know if you’re experiencing any changes in your mouth.

Can you hear your teeth?

tinnitus
What’s that sound? Tinnitus affects around 15% of all Americans.

 

We’ve written before about the link between your teeth and overall health, as well as all the connections between your mouth and other parts of your head. But what about your ears specifically – Can your oral health affect your hearing? 

Tinnitus is a hearing disorder that affects one in six Americans. Its causes include environmental factors like age, prolonged exposure to loud noise, wax or ear canal obstructions, and other conditions within the ear. Most people report auditory symptoms that sound like ringing, roaring, buzzing, hissing, or whistling noises. The perceived sounds may be sporadic or occur continuously.

 

Causes of Tinnitus

According to the American Tinnitus Association, in the vast majority of cases, tinnitus is caused by hearing loss and is a phantom auditory sensation generated by the brain in response to missing acoustic stimulation. However, the association also notes that physical dysfunctions elsewhere in the body can also trigger Tinnitus symptoms. These can include obstructions in the ear, head or neck injury, reactions to medication, and in some cases TMJ dysfunction.

 

The Jaw-Ear Connection

The Temporomandibular Joint is located just directly in front of the ear. Issues arise when the cartilage between the jawbone and the skull is damaged or degraded. The resulting stress on the tissue around the joint can cause a variety of ear/auditory symptoms, including clicking sounds that occur when chewing, talking, or swallowing.  

According to Otologists, nearly half of all patients who report TMJ symptoms also complain of Tinnitus. If you think you have either of these conditions, talk to us at your next appointment.

Dental Care at College

dental care for college students
Is your college student prepared to take care of their teeth? 

Last month we talked about habits for your school-age children. But what about your student that’s in Grades 13 – 16? Yes, we’re talking about dental care for college students.

Let’s face it – if they live close enough, your student will be home frequently for food, money, and to do laundry. Aside from making sure they have an adequate supply of toothpaste, floss, and one toothbrush per semester, there’s not a lot you can do once they’re out of your sight. You’ll have to trust that the good habits you’ve ingrained during their life will stick during the transition into adulthood.

But your child has most likely had only one or two different dentists in their lifetime by the time they move out of the house. In addition to all the other adjustments college students must make, they should also have a dental “home away from home”.

 

Check-ups

The average college student is home at least twice a year for several weeks. They should be able to continue their twice-annual schedule of check-ups here at Meyer & Johns Dental in Springfield. But book their Winter Break appointments today – the holidays are a busy time for everyone! You should still identify a local dentist in your student’s location, especially if they’ve had past problems. Establishing that relationship ahead of time may make it easier to get an appointment if a dental issue comes up.

 

Emergency care

Dental care isn’t usually something that people think about when considering collegiate athletics, scholarships, and intramural competitions. But a disproportionately high percentage of mouth injuries occur during sports. With this in mind, if your student is an athlete you should be prepared. Make that connection with a local provider ahead of time. That way your athlete isn’t blindly searching for a dentist immediately after undergoing a physical trauma.

If your student-athlete is injured while playing ion a sanctioned school training or competition, they are covered under the NCAA’s Catastrophic injury policy, which includes dental injuries but carries a $90K deductible. According to a 2016 NCAA survey, 70-80% of D1/D2 schools provide secondary health insurance to cover injuries with a treatment cost of less than $90K.

The exception is that full coverage is provided to all athletes who participate in championship events.

 

Vaping to Quit? OK, just not for too long…

vaping
Vaping eliminates many of the dangers of traditional tobacco, but it’s not without risk. 

November 21 was the Great American Smoke-Out! If you took the pledge and have successfully avoided smoking since then, you have made it two whole weeks! A BIG CONGRATULATIONS from all of us here at Meyer & Johns!

 

Follow the Vaper Trail? 

Many people attempt to quit smoking with the help of nicotine replacement therapy, namely patches, gum, or lozenges. But these days many people turn to vaping or using e-cigarettes to wean themselves off nicotine. And there’s evidence to suggest that these new options are effective. A recent study reviewed by Harvard Health Publishing cited an 80% higher 1-year quit rate for people using vape products instead of nicotine gum or patches. However, 4 out of 5 of those successful quitters were still vaping, as opposed to less than 10 percent of people who were still using the other products. 

And it stands to reason that vaping is a somewhat healthier option than traditional smoking. Aerosol-generated water vapor delivers the nicotine without the harmful tobacco tar and other chemicals that cause cancer, strokes, and cardiovascular disease in the majority of smokers. 

 

A Viable Alternative?

vaping

But as we’ve all learned recently, vaping brings with it a host of other lung dangers. So it’s not a perfect substitute for your body, but is vaping better for your mouth? The short answer is “Not really.” Studies have shown that many of smoking’s cancer-related risks are associated with the nicotine itself, rather than the tobacco. And since we last explored vaping, the body of research has continued to grow. Besides promoting gum disease by reducing blood flow, it causes dry mouth and kills bacteria in your mouth, promoting faster tooth decay. 

And we’re finding it leads to a host of other problems. New research now links vaping and Bruxism, as the stimulant nicotine has been shown to promote the jaw-clenching and tooth-grinding that can lead to mouth and jaw issues. 

The take-aways? If you have used or are using vaping products to quit smoking cigarettes, STICK WITH IT! Quitting smoking is the single biggest thing you can do to reduce health risks and improve your quality of life. But make sure you set a “2nd Quit Date” to take the final step to put down the vape pen so you can go totally nicotine-free!