Sugar and Dental Decline

I graduated from dental school having been told that due to advances in preventive care most of my career would be spent replacing failed fillings, doing routine maintenance and cosmetic work as the need to treat dental decay or perform root canal treatments and extractions would be greatly reduced. However, 20 years later I find that I am performing more extractions than ever before, doing more and more root canal procedures and dealing with rampant dental decay and gum disease in all ages. Anecdotally I feel that dental disease is actually on the increase and appears to be more widespread, severe and aggressive. Dental decay rates in children has increased progressively since the 1990’s according to a study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. It is well documented that poor socio-economic status and poor oral health are linked, and the statistics do speak for themselves. However it is not just the financially disadvantaged who are presenting with increased prevalence of dental problems, it is happening across all levels of income and background.

Why is this? We all know that sugar consumption is linked to dental decay. But what isn’t so obvious is how much our sugar consumption has increased in the last 50 years; over this period sugar consumption has tripled worldwide, mainly as a result of it being added to soft drink and cheap processed foods. However, the issue is not merely about “hidden” sugar but people living in a way that means they are eating carbohydrate rich meals, sugar laden snacks, biscuits, sweets and chocolates, drinking soft drink full of sugar and caffeine or having excess fruit and fruit juices and smoothies which are nothing more than concentrated sugar under the guise of a healthy choice. Our waistlines are expanding while at the same time, the incidence of heart disease, diabetes and dental decay continues to soar.

While excess sugar is thought to be a key cause of the obesity epidemic, obesity itself is not the root cause of disease, but it’s presence is a marker for metabolic damage and changes that lead to heart disease and diabetes. Metabolic damage, oxidative stress and systemic chronic illness also impact on oral health. Sugar is so harmful to health that there are calls for it to be controlled and taxed in the same way as tobacco and alcohol. Research indicates that sugar indirectly contributes to 35 million deaths a year worldwide as there appears to be links to the massive rise in diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes since we began eating more sugar. The health effects of excess sugar consumption are similar to those of alcohol.

For the first time in human history, non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, pose a greater health burden worldwide than infectious disease. While alcohol, tobacco and diet are all targeted as risk factors for these diseases by policymakers, Doctors are apparently calling for attention to be turned towards the dangers of excess sugar consumption. Sugar provides “empty calories”, and a growing body of evidence suggests that fructose (one component of table sugar) can trigger processes that lead to liver toxicity and a host of other chronic diseases.

While sugar was only available as fruit and honey at certain times of the year to our ancestors, it is now present in nearly all processed foods. In some parts of the world people are consuming more than 500 calories worth of sugar per day. There is growing evidence that excess sugar has an effect on human health beyond simply adding calories and can cause many of the same problems as alcohol, including high blood pressure, high blood fats, insulin resistance and diabetes. The economic and human costs of these diseases place excess consumption of sugar in the same category as smoking and drinking, and like tobacco and alcohol, sugar acts on the brain to encourage dependence. Specifically, it interferes with the workings of a hormone called ghrelin (which signals hunger to the brain) and it also affects the action of other important compounds.

Oral health is determined by various factors including diet, stress and the use of alcohol or tobacco. In ‘The World Oral Health Report’ published by WHO, it is stated “The rapidly changing (oral) disease patterns throughout the world are closely linked to changing lifestyles which include diets rich in sugars, widespread use of tobacco and increased consumption of alcohol”.

If we are to tackle not only the decline in oral health but the overall health of the population then it makes sense that we address our level of sugar consumption, but at the same time we must surely stop and observe the way in which we are living. Something has gone drastically wrong when despite our remarkable medical advances and vast knowledge of the body, nutrition and illness and disease the statistics show that we are fighting a losing battle as the prevalence of heart disease, diabetes and cancer continue to rise.

Is it possible that it is too confronting to stop and ask ourselves why are we eating so much sugar? Would it reveal things about us and the way we are that could be challenging and mean that we have to take responsibility for our daily choices? Like the fact that we eat sugar because we are exhausted, stressed or seeking comfort. Or we are seeking a moment of pleasure, a quick buzz, and a high via a sugar rush that gets our nervous system revved up and out of balance. Or we are desperate to numb the way we feel inside and avoid dealing with life. Or we do not feel alive enough just as we are without altering our brain and body chemistry with foods.

What if there was a way to live that meant we could live from what is naturally inside by simply connecting to the “real you”, a real you that once experienced you would never want to dull, compromise or alter in any way? The workshops, talks and books of Serge Benhayon of Universal Medicine and the esoteric wisdom present that we are all equally love and by connecting to and living that love the natural inner balance and harmony of the body and the real you can be restored. Is it possible then if we were to live life in this way that our need to consume vast amounts of sugar would simply drop away, and our health and oral health would improve as a consequence?

To this I would simply have to answer, yes of course, for I have witnessed it first hand for my part in not only the way I live but also in those associated with Universal Medicine and practitioners of esoteric modalities and in my own dental patients that have then gone on to implement more self-caring lifestyle choices and practices into their everyday living.

Dental Care Nutrition and Holistic Dentistry

Holistic medicine has been used for centuries to treat minor and major illnesses, and is based on the premise that the mind has a powerful influence over the body. If the mind believes that the body is healing, it becomes fact, and it has been proven through decades of research that the proper frame of mind will actually accelerate the healing process. What many people do not realize is that the same principles of holistic medicine can also be applied to dental care nutrition, and can have an effect upon a person’s overall general health.

How it Works

The principles of holistic dentistry involve the belief that the human body is a strictly interdependent system. Whatever affects one part of it, affects the whole, and at its core is the belief that your diet will have a lasting effect on your teeth and gums, and through them, your body’s overall health.

With a well-balanced diet, full of the necessary vitamins and minerals to keep your body functioning as it should, you can actually strengthen your teeth and gums, and improve your dental health. Combine the diet with proper dental hygiene, and you have created your own personalized dental care nutrition ideal that will keep you healthy for the rest of your life.

The Recommended Diet

For optimum physical health and dental nutrition, you need to be following a well-balanced diet, one that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, plenty of dairy products, and whole grains. To further influence the level of dental care, the amount of sugary or processed foods must be greatly reduced, limited, or eliminated entirely. Doing so will also help to prevent a host of medical conditions that could jeopardize your whole body health in the future.

Including foods high in fiber, which includes lots of fruits and vegetables; you increase the flow of saliva, which will in turn help to neutralize the acids that can destroy your tooth enamel, as well as removing any food particles. Allowing food particles to build up can lead to tooth and gum diseases, as well as cavities. Drinking eight glasses of water a day not only helps your body to reduce the amount of toxins in your system; it will also help to ward off tooth decay. Reducing or eliminating sugar in your diet will not only help to prevent you developing diseases like diabetes, but will also reduce your risk of periodontal diseases developing in your gums, which can later lead to heart attacks and strokes.

The Benefits of a Good Dental Diet

By adopting a diet that will provide you with the necessary vitamins and minerals to support good dental health, you are also supporting your body’s immune system. A healthy immune system will let you fight off viral and bacterial infections, and reduce your risk of later developing some very serious medical conditions. When it comes to good dental health, a strong immune system will prevent gingivitis, which can destroy your gums, and periodontal bacterial infections, which can destroy the gums and the bones that support your teeth. And, this is just the beginning.

There are two very important vitamins and minerals that have a direct influence over your dental health. Calcium is a mineral that is used by the body to build strong teeth and bones, especially those that support your teeth. Your diet should include at least 1000 mg of calcium daily, which can be gotten through supplements, dairy products and fresh fruits and vegetables. The most important vitamin of all, vitamin C, strengthens your immune system, and is a major defense against gingivitis. Good dental care nutrition dictates that you must get at least 60 mg of Vitamin C daily, the very amount that can be absorbed by eating a single orange a day.

Dental Jobs in the United States

Dental Jobs in America – What you Should Know

When it comes to medical jobs in America, dental jobs are one of the most common types of jobs available. Actual dentist jobs may be more difficult to find, but lesser qualified positions are constantly available throughout the country.

Not all dental jobs require qualifications; though it would obviously help you if you did gain some form of qualification before you applied to any job role. Here you will find out more about the different dental jobs available and how you may be able to get into the field.

Understanding Dental Jobs

Dental jobs can sometimes be similar to emergency medicine jobs. You can often have to deal with emergency treatments and in many cases you will need to be able to deal with squeamish sights! However, there may be some clerical jobs available within a dental surgery. So if blood does put you off but you would still like to work in a dental surgery, a clerical position may be better suited to you.

One of the most common types of dental jobs available these days tends to be the dental assistants role. This involves assisting dental surgeons with operations and treatments. You will be responsible for setting up the surgery ready for the next patient. This includes finding all of the relevant equipment, cleaning the office and ordering new stock. It is vital that dental assistants be fast workers and they have to be able to work on their own initiative sometimes too. It can be a varied job but you will often see squeamish operations and so you have to be able to deal with this. You will also have to use various pieces of equipment to assist the surgeon whilst they are performing treatments. It is an important role and various skills will be needed.

Typically the skills needed to become a dental assistant are being a quick worker and you may also need experience in various areas such as taking x-rays and being able to create temporary crowns. Each dental surgery will require different skills and some may not ask for any qualifications or skills. If you don’t have any experience or knowledge in the area then you may be able to find trainee positions. The actual salary for dental assistants will vary depending upon the company hiring you. This is because the job role of the assistant is different at each company. Some may require you to do a lot more work than others. Therefore some positions will pay up to $25,000 whereas others will pay up to $16,000.

Another dental job which you may be interested in is a dental hygienist. The role of the hygienist is to ensure that the teeth and gums are as healthy as possible. You will mainly be responsible for cleaning the teeth professionally and for treating any infections which may have occurred. Many surgeries require a bachelor’s degree before they will allow you to work with them. The average salary of a dental hygienist is around $50,000.

Overall there are many different dental jobs available in the dental profession. Some will require more skills than others; though no matter what skills you currently have there will always be a role to suit you.