Why is tooth decay a greater factor in causing heart attacks than cholesterol?

29 04 2013

healthy heart and healthy teeth

There are many myths out there about the importance of reducing cholesterol to decrease heart disease.  Well some of the most surprising facts are these:

Cholesterol is a minor player in heart disease.

Cholesterol levels are a poor predictor of heart attacks.

Half of heart attacks happen to people with normal cholesterol.

Half the people with elevated cholesterol have healthy hearts.

Research has been done that indicates that cholesterol plays a key role in cell signaling, and it may be very important to  other functions of the cell as well.

Lowering cholesterol has an extremely limited benefit. Research was done in the 1990’s in France where they took 2 groups of men who had high risks of heart disease.  All of them had had previous heart attacks.  They also had high stress, didn’t exercise and had high cholesterol.  Half of the men at the American Heart Association Diet with low saturated fat and cholesterol, and the other half ate a Mediterranean diet high in fish oils  Omega 3’s, vegetables and monounsaturated fat.  The study was stopped midway because the Mediterranean group reduced  heart attacks by 70%.  The funny thing was, their cholesterol levels remained the same.  

Some of the major causes of heart disease are inflammation and stress and believe it or not – SUGAR.  Sugar is more of a dietary danger than fat alone.  Sugar will cause you to become more resistant to insulin, which will cause you to accumulate more fat, which causes more inflammation, which in turn causes more damage to the arteries.  The damage to the arteries results in plaque on the arterial walls and an increased risk for heart disease.

Bacteria in the plaque in your mouth, feed off of the sugar in your foods, and create acids which damage the tooth structure causing tooth decay.

There should be no confusion about the fact that what we put in our bodies that is bad for the teeth, is likely going to be bad for total overall health as well.

Jonny Bowder, PhD, CNS who co-wrote the book The Great Cholesterol Myth has a 7 point program to reduce the risk of heart disease:

1)  Eat an anti-inflammatory diet.

2)  Reduce sugar, grains, starches, and omega 6’s.

3)  Manage your stress.

4)  Exercise.

5)  Drink only in moderation.

6)  Don’t smoke.

7)  Supplement with antioxidants, Vitamin C, Coenzyme Q10, Omega 3’s.

Always remember Healthy Teeth can equal a Healthy Heart which equals a health Body!

 

 

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.





Christopher Crists’ Dentist Pulls All of His Teeth

19 04 2013

dental exam

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/10/christopher-crists-dentist-pulls-all-his-teeth_n_3054482.html

You may have seen this article in the news about a patient who had all of his teeth pulled out without his consent during a dental procedure.  Quite a few of the comments were questioning how could a patient have his teeth removed and not know they were being removed and really questioning the patient, and the fact that his teeth were probably in poor condition, or why would the dentist remove them.  Other people really were furious with the dentist, some even wanting his demise.

I will share my thoughts with you from a dentists perspective, though, with no direct information about this particular situation.  Great communication is the key factor when it comes to working with your health care providers.  I guess the most important thing that I want to share is that it is very important to ensure that you are as informed as possible when you undergo treatment, and that if you are not able to, always make sure that you have a representative who understands.  A great relationship between you and any healthcare provider, can prevent alot of mis-understanding and upset.

The article stated that the patient was autistic, therefore, it would have been very important that he had someone with him who could help him understand the intended treatment.  It is important to make sure that when you go to any health care situation, if at all there are any questions, that someone  who is truly able to advocate on behalf of the patient is there to ensure the best possible outcome. The article also stated that he was given a pill prior to initiating treatment.  On may occasions, we sedate the patient prior to treatment if they are very apprehensive.  If the patient was sedated, then he was not able to consent to dental treatment during the procedure.  He would have therefore been unable to tell the dentist what he would need or want.  The young man had to have 3 teeth removed, which means that there were possibly other teeth that were in poor shape only.  The parent had some reason to state that she only wanted 3 teeth removed.  It is possible as well that there were some financial concerns which may be why she only wanted certain work done.

Many times we as dentists, and other healthcare practitioners make decisions for our patients based upon what we feel are there financial limitations (we try and diagnose their pocketbooks).  See, I would like to believe that this dentist, maybe saw the young man’s mouth in disarray, and felt that it may have been more cost effective to remove all of his teeth at the same time, while under sedation, thinking that he is helping cut costs for the patient in the long run.  Oftentimes, we feel that they might not be able to afford it, and let’s just get the other bad ones out before it starts to hurt them down the road.  That is just a limiting backwards way of thinking, though the dentist is feeling that  he or she is trying to help.

I think that the teeth are so valuable!  You only get one set as an adult, and you must find every means of saving the teeth, try every option possible.  Never, make a decision for the patient, though you may THINK you are trying to do what is in the patient’s best interest.  Always think, if it was your mother, brother, or sister, where finances for dental care would not be in question, what would you do for them?  Get into really good communication with the patient and their concerned relatives and come up with a plan that everyone can agree to; and, think, what can we do to help the patient keep their teeth for a lifetime, if possible.

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.





Sorry, Mayor Michael Bloomberg!

11 03 2013

Image

Well, today we learned that Michael Bloomberg’s Soda ban was struck down by a New York City judge.  We all know that we should curb the amount of sugars we drink, but the ban was not really thought out as well as it should have been, nor was is comprehensive enough, so it really would not have had the intended effect.  Nice try, though.

One of the serious areas it failed to deal with is the diet sodas, which so many people opt for in place of regular soda thinking they are doing a good thing.and that it helps them keep down the pounds, however, the science shows that artificial sweeteners are hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar.  This causes your body to think that the sugar is coming, and actually pump out insulin which causes more body fat, at the same time it causes your metabolism to slow down.  Don’t forget that all of the acids and sugars are all the while eating away your teeth and causing decay and periodontal problems.  There is no getting around it sugar is a drug, in whatever form, and is very harmful to your teeth and the entire rest of your body.

Please read the blog below by Dr. Mark Hyman which debunks the myth that diet sodas can help you lose weight.

How do you lose weight? Substitute diet drinks for sugary drinks. Eat low-fat foods. Just eat less of the bad foods — it’s all about the calories. We are told, “Just have more willpower.”

These ideas are false. They are food and diet industry propaganda that make and keep us fat and sick. Lies by the food industry combined with bad government policy based on food industry lobbying are the major cause of our obesity and diabetes epidemic.

Now, more than 35 percent of Americans are obese, and almost 70 percent are overweight. This is not an accident but the result of careful marketing and money in politics.

We are told it is all about making better choices. If we all took more personal responsibility, we could stop this obesity and diabetes epidemic. We have been told there are no good or bad foods, that the key to weight loss is moderation. And, of course, if we all just exercised more, all of us would lose weight. These ideas hold us hostage.

What the Food and Diet Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

Diet Soda and Diet Drinks Make You Fat and Cause Type 2 Diabetes

Diet soda makes people fat? Really? How does that happen?

If losing weight were all about the calories, then consuming diet drinks would seem like a good idea. That’s certainly what Coca-Cola wants us to believe in their new ad highlighting their efforts to fight obesity. They proudly promote the fact that they have 180 low- or no-calorie drinks and that they cut sugared drinks in schools by 90 percent.

Is that a good thing? In fact, it may be worse than having us all drink regular Coke (and the other food giants making diet drinks also push the same propaganda).

A new 14-year study of 66,118 women (supported by many other previous studies) found that the opposite seems to be true. Diet drinks may be worse than sugar-sweetened drinks, which are worse than fruit juices (but only fresh-squeezed fruit juices).

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, discovered some frightening facts that should make us all swear off diet drinks and products.

  1. Diet sodas raised the risk of diabetes more than sugar-sweetened sodas!
  2. Women who drank one 12-ounce diet soda had a 33 percent increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, and women who drank one 20-ounce soda had a 66 percent increased risk.
  3. Women who drank diet sodas drank twice as much as those who drank sugar-sweetened sodas because artificial sweeteners are more addictive and are hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar.
  4. The average diet soda drinker consumes three diet drinks a day.

You might say that people who are overweight and just about to get diabetes drink more diet soda, but they scientifically controlled for body weight. And they found the artificial sweeteners increased diabetes independent of body weight!

This and other research shows how diet sodas make people fat and sick.

And that diet drinks may be even worse than regular sugar-sweetened sodas! How does that happen?

  • Artificial sweeteners are hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar, activating our genetically-programmed preference for sweet taste more than any other substance.
  • They trick your metabolism into thinking sugar is on its way. This causes your body to pump out insulin, the fat storage hormone, which lays down more belly fat.
  • It also confuses and slows your metabolism down, so you burn fewer calories every day.
  • It makes you hungrier and crave even more sugar and starchy carbs like bread and pasta.
  • In animal studies, the rats that consumed artificial sweeteners ate more, their metabolism slowed, and they put on 14 percent more body fat in just two weeks — even eating fewer calories.
  • In population studies, there was a 200 percent increased risk of obesity in diet soda drinkers.

I love Taylor Swift. I met her last summer. She is a wonderful person with great integrity. I don’t think she knows about this research, and I hope someone shares it with her so she can save millions of children and fans from drinking Diet Coke because she endorses it.

Bottom line: There is no free ride. Diet drinks are not good substitutes for sugar-sweetened drinks. They increase cravings, weight gain, and Type 2 diabetes. And they are addictive.

Eating Fat Does Not Make You Fat

The diet and food industry has brainwashed us to eat fat-free foods, which seems like common sense. Eating fats makes you fat. Right? But the science tells us otherwise — not all calories are created equal. And even though fat has more calories per gram (9 calories vs. 4 calories of carbs and protein), eating fat can help you lose weight.

This low-fat idea was based on bad science. Our government told us in the 1970s to go on a low-fat diet and to eat 8-11 servings of rice, bread, and pasta a day. And unfortunately, we listened. This was the beginning of our obesity and diabetes epidemic. The food industry happily created a flood of fat-free foods.

But the science has proven that eating fat doesn’t make you fat — sugar does. And it is sugar, not fat, that raises your cholesterol despite what people and most doctors still believe.

A 20-ounce soda is fat-free, but that doesn’t make it a health food. If cookies were fat-free, then you can eat the whole bag, right?

But the fat is replaced with flour and sugar, and the result we now have is one in two adults with diabesity — that’s pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes — and almost one in four teenagers with pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes.

We did a 10-day sugar-free detox with our online community, and 600 people lost more than 4,000 pounds in 10 days!

So why does eating fat free make you fat and diabetic?

In a recent Harvard study, Dr. David Ludwig found that in two groups eating exactly the same calories, the group that had the low-fat diet (which means higher in sugars and starches) burned 300 calories less per day. Their metabolism was slower than the group eating the higher fat and higher protein diet.

If you ate the higher-fat, higher-protein diet (of exactly the same calories), it is the equivalent of running for one hour a day. In other words, if you just swap out sugars and starches for good quality fats and protein, it will be like you added an hour of free exercise a day to your life without any change in calorie intake!

Bottom Line: The key point here is that all calories are not the same. Swap out sugar and starch for good fats such as nuts, avocados, olive oil, and grass-fed animal products or wild fish. Be a “qualitarian.” Focus on quality, on real food, and the rest takes care of itself.

Being Overweight Is Not Your Fault

The food industry would have us believe that controlling our weight is about personal responsibility. Tell that to a 200-pound 5-year-old with diabetes and liver failure. Our taste buds have been hijacked by the food and diet industry. We are programmed to like sweet, salt, and fat tastes.

And those slick combinations of sugar, fat and salt in junk and processed food have hijacked our taste buds, our brain chemistry, and our metabolism. These foods are biologically addictive. We are held hostage by the food industry and we blame ourselves.

This is food terrorism!

How does food addiction happen?

New research shows that industrial food full of processed sugars, fats, salt, and chemicals are powerfully addictive. And sugar is the worst culprit.

One animal study found that sugar is more addictive than cocaine. When rats were given the choice between mainline cocaine right into their veins or sweetened water (in fact, they used an artificial sweetener), they found that sugar was eight times more addictive than cocaine. Even the rats already addicted to cocaine switched over to diet drinks!

And what’s even more interesting is that while cocaine and heroin activate only one spot for pleasure in the brain, sugar lights up the brain like a pinball machine.

If these foods are addictive and drive overeating, then the whole idea of moderation just doesn’t work. Hey, just have that one line of cocaine or that one hit of heroin.

We can’t stop eating, but we can stop eating junk and sugar! So we have to take back our taste buds, take back our brain chemistry, and take back our bodies from the food and diet industry. How do we do that?

Bottom Line: By eating real food — chicken, fish, veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, and a little whole grains will reset your taste buds and your brain chemistry automatically.

Exercise Your Way to Weight Loss

The food industry and diet industry push exercise. Even Michelle Obama’s childhood obesity initiative focuses on exercise in its name, Let’s Move. But it should be really called Let’s Eat Real Food.

Here’s why. Sugar-sweetened drinks make up about 15 percent of our calorie intake every day. But you have to walk 4.5 miles to burn off one 20-ounce soda, which contains 15 teaspoons of sugar.

You have to run four miles a day for one week to burn off one supersize meal. If you have one supersize meal everyday you would have to run a marathon every day!

You can’t exercise your way out of bad diet — except if you run a marathon every day.

Drinking 32 ounces of Gatorade after a workout is a dumb idea, unless you run around like Kobe Bryant on the basketball court for 48 minutes. There are better ways to replenish your energy and electrolytes than colored sugar water with a few minerals sprinkled in.

To paraphrase my friend Bill Clinton, “It’s the food, stupid!”

Bottom Line: Exercise is critical to long-term health and weight loss, but you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet.

Thankfully, science is shedding light on the ideas that keep us fat and sick. Unfortunately, scientists don’t have billion-dollar marketing budgets. But we as a community of thinking people wanting real information can speak out, can spread the word and turn the tide of obesity and chronic disease together. Share this article with your community and friends.

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below – but remember, we can’t offer personal medical advice online, so be sure to limit your comments to those about taking back our health!

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, M.D.

 

 

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.





Gum Disease – Get the Facts!

27 02 2013

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.





Mandatory Toothbrushing? (Here is a reprint of an article from the NY Times Magazine from last weekend)

19 02 2013

Who Made That Toothbrush?

Jens Mortensen for The New York Times
By PAGAN KENNEDY
“I don’t have any of those toothbrushes that went to the moon,” says Dr. Ben Swanson, former president of the American Academy of the History of Dentistry. He was speaking from his basement, where he stores his trove of 40,000 artifacts related to dental history. Swanson once dreamed of owning every kind of toothbrush in existence, but ended up stockpiling only a few hundred. “I had to give up because there were so many of them,” he says. In fact, it would be nearly impossible to collect every specimen; the toothbrush is one of the most reinvented of human objects, with thousands of patents on file.

The story starts in China during the Middle Ages, when people began grooming their teeth with animal bristles. Legend has it that centuries later, William Addis, generally recognized as the first to patent the toothbrush, served time in Newgate prison in London, where he whittled down a bone and stuck it full of bristles.

Even when toothbrushes migrated to the corner store, many people preferred to rub their teeth with a rag. As late as the 1920s, “many Americans did not brush their teeth,” Swanson says. One reason is that those early toothbrushes could tear up your mouth — the tip of a boar bristle, under a microscope, resembles a spear. By the 1940s, synthetics offered a solution. One ad trumpeted: “For years, only hog bristle made fine tooth brushes. Then Science made round-end Prolon” — its soft bristles were designed to preserve the gums.

The advent of plastics also meant that toothbrushes could take any shape imaginable. And so brushes jingled and hummed tunes. They arrived on the drugstore shelf enshrined in hermetic tubes. They boasted “anti-soggy” bristles.

Asked to pick a favorite toothbrush from his collection, Swanson says he’s fond of a model that cleans both sides of the teeth at once. “You remember the Reach toothbrush with the angled head?” he says. “One year they came out with a brush that had two heads.” But the design failed to catch on. In the world of toothbrushes, apparently, two heads are not always better than one.

BRUSH HEAD

Vermin Supreme, a performance artist, has run for president many times; he espouses “mandatory-toothbrushing laws.”

You often carry a giant toothbrush to scrub away the decay that clings to public monuments. I’ve scrubbed many, many landmarks. I scrubbed the Kremlin back in ’98. We had a mandatory-toothbrushing parade; we had the text of the mandatory-toothbrush law translated into Russian. And we had like 30 Russians; we had musicians; we had the giant toothbrushes. The police came and told us to stop, and we stopped. It was a beautiful thing.

So what would these mandatory-toothbrushing laws involve? Secret dental police. Government-issued toothpaste containing an addictive yet harmless substance. Computer-dental-chip implants to keep track of you and your children for your protection. For too long this nation has been suffering a great moral and oral decay.

Over the last 25 years, you’ve pushed lots of politicians to answer tough questions about oral hygiene. That’s right. When I asked Bob Dole if he supported mandatory-toothbrushing laws, his response was, “As long as it’s locally controlled.”

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.





GO DADDY???!!!

7 02 2013

kiss with bar rafa

I know this Go Daddy ad sparked quite a lot of controversy after Sunday’s Super Bowl.  Many were uncomfortable about the “geek” kissing the beautiful woman.  Some were wondering about the appropriateness of that intimacy of affection during prime time.  Frankly, as a dentist, some other thoughts also ran through my mind.  So, with St. Valentine’s day coming up next week, now would be an appropriate time to share these thoughts with you.

Did you know that bacteria can be passed between two people by mouth to mouth contact?  The same goes with sharing your toothbrush.  What about sharing that appetizer? Maybe a little smooching on the couch? Bacteria can be passed between people not just through toothbrushes or other dental implements, but also from shared silverware or any other mouth-to-mouth contact.  Parents and children are not immune either, and bacteria can be passed between them. The family pet may even serve as the source of a bacterial infection.Did you know that the bacteria that causes juvenile periodontitis can be transferred from the infected site to an uninfected site within the same mouth? Even between a husband and wife, there can be bacterial transfer.

Recurring dental infections are commonly caused by infected toothbrushes. In addition to dental problems, a toothbrush may also result in the formation of a bacteremia (bacterial infection in the bloodstream) which, if left untreated, can lead to endocarditis (infection of the heart). A typical toothbrush may be infested with various viruses and bacteria, which can then be transmitted to a new user.

For example, if the toothbrush owner has the herpes simplex virus, 50% of the virus can remain on the toothbrush for up to a week. If you suffer from gum inflammation (gingivitis), you may be able to find relief by using a new toothbrush every two weeks. Wondering if it’s still okay to share a toothbrush with someone you trust?

We now understand that oral infections are not restricted to the mouth but can move through the body and be transmitted that way to other people. You don’t need to become obsessive about your toothbrush, and you can still share a sample at your favorite restaurant, but for your own well-being and that of your family, you should develop a good dental health program.

You can remove 100% of the bacteria on your toothbrush by soaking in an essential oils mouthrinse for 20 minutes. Another good way to clean your toothbrush is ultraviolet light. You may have seen a toothpaste that contains triclosan, a common disinfectant, that claims to clean your toothbrush; however, recent studies* show that this toothpaste is not very effective at removing bacteria.

What are the best ways to eliminate the bacteria that are on your toothbrush? Place them under ultraviolet light, soak them in a mouthrinse with essential oils, or, perhaps easiest of all, replace your old toothbrush with a fresh new one on a routine basis. There’s not much you can do about the kissing since most people won’t want to give that up…just keep an eye on the health of your mate’s mouth!

Have a happy Valentine’s Day!
 

 

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.

 





The French Fry – A right of passage?

4 02 2013

baby with french fry

A right of passage:  That first time you take your child on a fast food adventure , isn’t it cute when they take that first nibble on a crispy McDonald’s french fry, often drenched in ketchup.  The child is so adorable, the french fry tastes so good.  Nobody thinks for a moment how we are starting that child down the road towards a possible addiction to unhealthy foods, towards diabetes, obesity and other health issues that will plague them for the rest of their lives.  That first trip to McDonald’s is commonplace in so many households here in the United States, and everywhere around the world, will start them on the path to dental disease  including cavities and gum disease.

The month of February is recognized as Children’s Dental Health Month.  I really think it is important to establish healthy nutritional and oral health routines from the time a baby is an infant.  Here are a few helpful tips that can help prevent dental disease from the start:

From infancy, the routine of cleaning your babies  mouth out after they have milk or formula is important. The sugar in the milk can cause decay from the time the first teeth erupt into the mouth.  It is especially important to refrain from allowing children sip on milk, or juice in a bottle throughout the day and especially at night.  Baby bottle, or nursing bottle caries are really a struggle for the parent and the child, when their baby teeth erupt into the mouth rotten from the sugar in these drinks.

Really pay attention to food labels.  Watch for the hidden sugars in a child’s diet that they might be consuming.  Try and avoid processed foods as much as possible.

Brushing after meals, and especially at bedtimes is critical, as most of the bacteria builds up in ones mouth at night when they are sleeping and their mouth is closed.  Also, ensuring that they develop healthy routines when it comes to brushing and flossing, starts when they are very young.  In fact, one of the best things you can do is let them watch you as you brush and floss so they can emulate some great behaviors.

Sealants, which are a thin plastic coating, a protective layer that should be placed on all of the back teeth, once they have erupted into the child’s mouth, have shown to significantly decrease the amount of dental decay a child will get in the grooves of their teeth.

Finally, soon after the teeth start coming into your child’s mouth, is the right time to take them on their first visit to a dentist.  Let them get used to the environment.  It will help to prevent them from developing a fear of the dentist, that their parent’s might have had.  It will also allow the dentist to evaluate their teeth and make sure to prevent and detect any dental problems before it will arise.  Let your children develop a lifelong healthy relationship with one of the best preventive healthcare providers they will have for their entire lives.

Happy Children’s Dental Health Month!

 

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.








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