Good Teeth Support

Good Support For Your Teeth

            Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder characterized by inadequate bone mass.  In this weakened state the bones are at high risk for fracture.  According to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) consensus panel report, "Some 10 million Americans already have osteoporosis, making it the most prevalent metabolic bone disorder in this country, and 18 million more have low bone mass placing them at an increased risk for this disorder."

            Although it is commonly believed to primarily affect menopausal White or Asian women, the reality is that it occurs at all age levels and in all ethnic groups.

            Although you may know that osteoporosis can be the result of calcium loss from bones, you may not be aware that it can occur in individuals who do not achieve adequate bone mass during childhood and adolescence.  According to Anne Klibanski, M.D., The Harvard Medical School Professor of Medicine who chaired the N.I.H. panel, "Bone mass attained during childhood may be the most important determinant of lifelong skeletal health."  So how do you promote your child's skeletal health, start with good nutrition.  We need to place special emphasis on calcium and vitamin intake.  Those three to five glasses of milk a day that we consumed as children, are now more likely to be juice drinks or soft drinks.  We are seeing an alarming increase in the amount of carbonated beverages or pop consumed by our nations children.  Carbonated beverage may be particularly harmful to developing bone mass.  (Not to mention what all that sugar and acid is doing to their teeth).

            Along with nutrition you need to monitor the amount of exercise your child is getting on a regular basis.  The panel reported "strong evidence indicates that physical activity early in life contributes to higher peak bone mass."  Excessive time in front of the television, Nintendo or computer can lead to lifetime back and other musculo-skeletal problems, i.e., get that couch potato moving.

            While you're helping your children to obtain optimal bone mass keep in mind that low calcium intake; lack of regular exercise, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can all contribute to you developing osteoporosis.

            Once diagnosed with osteoporosis your physician will work closely with you to find the right combination of medication and calcium supplements to prevent further compromise of your bone strength.

            While we know that osteoporosis predisposes to bone fracture, ongoing research is being conducted to evaluate it's potential for tooth loss or loss of the alveolar bone support.

            Be sure and consult with your physician or your child's pediatrician regarding how much and/or what type of calcium and/or vitamin supplementation is best for you or your children.  Certain supplements such as Viactive may contain vitamin K, which can interfere with anticoagulant therapy.  

Back in 1896 when Johnson & Johnson first started selling dental floss, leeches were used to treat gum disease.Given this alternative, flossing to prevent gum disease would seem like a no brainer.However, getting people to use floss on a regular basis is, pardon the pun, "like pulling teeth".

                The excuses are too numerous to count.Some of the classics are "it's messy", "you just splash up the bathroom mirror", "it cuts off the circulation to my fingers", "it's way too time consuming", "it always gets stuck" and "I brush really well so I don't need to".

                Although brushing removes plaque from the inner, outer and chewing surfaces of the teeth, only flossing removes plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line where a toothbrush can't reach.

                When it is not removed regularly, plaque will mix with the sugars and starches you eat and cause cavities.  Accumulation of plaque also causes inflammation of the gums and you're on the pathway of periodontal disease.

                Never be embarrassed to ask for flossing information and instructions.  Your dental team is thrilled to help you with this invaluable health tool.  Flossing should be done every twenty-four hours to break the plaque/acid/decay/periodontal disease cycle.

                There are many varieties of floss.No one kind is better than the next.Ultra-thin and waxed floss are good for crowded or tight teeth.Unwaxed floss will squeak if you are flossing effectively.  Wider floss, called dental tape, is helpful for people with big gaps in their teeth or for people who have trouble holding fine floss.  Superfloss is used for wide gaps between teeth and for under bridges.Floss holders are available if you have a problem with manual dexterity.

                Give your children the gift of the "habit of flossing".  Teach them from their childhood and it will become as natural to them as brushing is to you.  Let them see you do it and do it for them as soon as their teeth begin to appear.  They will need you to be their "flossing buddy" until they are approximately ten years old and have the manual dexterity to do it by themselves effectively.  By allowing them to practice and develop the habit you'll be helping assure a lifetime of great dental health.  Keep in mind dental health promotes overall physical health.  Conversely, periodontal disease can lead to a variety of physical complications including increased risk of coronary artery disease and low birth weight babies

Dr. Stephen Petras

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