Medicaid And Dental Coverage

medicaidStudies have proven that more than 2 percent of emergency department visits are related to dental conditions. This is mostly because of a lack of dental insurance for adults. Even though the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act has made it possible for more Americans to have health coverage, many states don’t provide dental coverage.

The studies suggest that Medicaid dental coverage could help reduce the need for many low income Americans to visit emergency departments for dental issues.

Read more about the issue of Medicaid and dental coverage and the difficulty finding dental care in America here: Dental Coverage For Patients With Medicaid May Not Prevent Tooth Related ER Visits.

Fluoride Isn’t The Answer Sugar IsThe Problem

fluorideMany people use fluoride to help keep their teeth healthy and strong.  While fluoride may help strengthen teeth, what you eat is more important to the health of your teeth. An article from Dr. Mercola suggests that fluoride isn’t the answer, sugar is the problem.

Cavities are caused by the demineralization of your teeth because of acids formed by fermentation of sugars. Studies have shown that the more sugar you eat, the more chance of getting cavities, regardless of fluoride use.

In order to minimize your risk of cavities, sugar should make up no more than 3 percent of your total calorie intake. Read the full article from Dr. Mercola here: Fluoride Isn’t the Answer, Sugar Is the Problem.

Bruxism Caused By Social Anxiety

bruxismSome recent studies have shown that bruxism, teeth grinding, can be caused by anxiety experienced in social circumstances. Bruxism can cause tooth wear and even fractures in teeth as well as jaw pain.

Some people may be prone to biting their nails when faced with uncomfortable circumstances or in social situations that are out of their comfort zones. It is now found that many people suffer from teeth grinding in these same situations.  The research studied men and women who had suffered from social phobia.  Some were on medications to help with these disorders. Some were not.  And some did not suffer from social phobia.  The subjects underwent psychiatric and dental exams.

See the outcome of the research here: Nail biters, beware: Teeth grinding is next – Medical News Today.

The Impact of Oral Health on Athletes’ Training and Performance

impact of oral health on athlete performanceEvery Olympic athlete engages in intense training with the hope of winning a gold medal. But oral health is not usually regarded as an important part of the routine. However, the toothbrush is set to become as important as athletic shoes to these athletes. It has now emerged that the impact of oral health affects Olympic athletes’ performance. This is according to a study led by Professor Ian Needleman of the University College London Eastman Dental Institute.

According to the publication of this research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the research team recruited 302 athletes from the London 2012 athletes’ village to participate in the study. It entailed an oral health check-up as well as an individual assessment of how oral health affected their quality of life and sports training and performance.

Most of the athletes, who represented 25 sports, were from Africa, North and South America, and Europe. And 34% were from track and field, while 14% were from boxing and 11.4% from hockey.

Out of these, 55% of the athletes were found to have tooth decay (dental caries). Those who were found to have tooth decay into the dentine (meaning it cannot be reversed), were 41%. But more than 75% of the participants had gingivitis (a primary stage of gum infection), while 15% had symptoms of periodonti (a non-reversible gum disease).

The researchers noted that a significant number of sports men and women who took part in the London 2012 Olympic had low levels of oral health that were just the same as the problems seen in most of the underprivileged people.

The research established that nearly half of the Olympic athletes who took part in the investigation had neither undergone a dental examination nor had a hygiene appointment in the preceding year. Also, 8.7% of them had never visited the dentist.

According to the study, 42% of the athletes said that they were concerned about oral health issues, while 28% said the quality of their life was affected by it. Besides, 18% of them said that their training or performance was being negatively affected by bad oral health.

Professor Needleman is of the view that an oral health assessment should be included in every single athlete’s normal medical care. The researchers assume that the relation between oral health, wellbeing and performance may be as a result of oral disease, and also inflammation and a low self-esteem.

Prof. Needleman was quoted by Medical News Today as saying that it is obvious that the aching and discomfort arising from tooth decay, dental erosion, infected wisdom teeth or periodontal disease will affect one’s performance. There are psychological effects from, for instance, bleeding gums, bad smell and poor looks. Regular dental care as well as general maintenance of the oral environment will go a long way in preventing these conditions.

So the upshot is that irrespective of whom you are – an athlete preparing to go to the Olympics in Rio in 2016, or just a member of the general population, picking up a toothbrush might enhance your performance on the track or in the gym!

Tooth Fillings With BPA Could Cause Behavior Problems

bpaThe topic of BPA is controversial in the field of dentistry. BPA, short for bisphenol A, is a chemical used to make plastics. It has been found in some food packaging and canned goods. It is also used to make dental fillings that are tooth colored.  These are becoming more popular than the sliver colored amalgam fillings. Some research has found that tooth fillings with BPA might cause behavior problems in children.

The research is not totally clear.  The study tied prenatal exposure to BPA to hyperactivity and anxiety, especially in girls.  But the effect was small and researchers pointed out that they didn’t measure the levels of BPA in particular.  This means that there was no way of knowing if any other chemicals were leaching out of the fillings. It is generally assumed that the amounts that leach out are very tiny.

So, while it sounds like more research needs to be done on the topic, it is good to know that we may want to be cautious when it comes to our children’s fillings. Read the full article about BPA in fillings from Genervra Pittman here: Tooth Fillings With BPA Tied To Behavior Problems|Dentist.Net