Dr. Judith Y. Ko

Dr. Judith Y. Ko
Hemet Valley Dental Care

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Scoop on Children's Vitamins

Vitamins are generally thought of as a good thing. They give people more of the stuff they need. Right? Well, that depends on the vitamin, as well as on the age of the person taking it.

Before you give vitamins to your child, you should, of course, consult your pediatrician or a poison control hotline. However, there are some general guidelines available online.

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According the American Academy of Pediatrics, most children should take vitamin D supplements. However, parents should be careful not to overdo it. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble, and any excess is stored in the child's tissues. Too much of these vitamins could make the child sick.

Vitamin A can also be toxic of taken in large doses. According to the "Today" show's resident nutritionist Joy Bauer, "Chronic intake of excessive amounts through fortified food and supplements can cause big problems." Ditto for zinc. "Too much zinc can depress your immune system and lead to a copper deficiency."

As WebMD puts it, if you give your child low-fat milk and dairy products, protein (like chicken and fish), fresh fruits and veggies, and whole grains (try brown rice or oatmeal), he or she probably won't need a vitamin. But giving your kid a perfectly balanced meal every day may not always be possible Additionally, children who follow a vegetarian diet may need supplemental vitamins B12 and D, riboflavin, and calcium.

When it comes iron, kids who don't get enough can suffer from anemia, "a condition that limits the ability of the blood to carry oxygen" according to HealthyChildren.org. "Drinking large quantities of milk may lead to iron deficiency anemia, as the child will be less interested in other foods, some of which are potential sources of iron." If your kid is downing24 to 32 ounces of milk or less each day, "there's little cause for concern."

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Bauer writes that parents should consider the kid. If the child is a picky eater, a multivitamin might be a good thing. However, if he or she is eating a well-rounded diet, then a multivitamin probably isn't needed. She points out that parents should keep vitamins out of their kids' reach, especially because some children's vitamins look and taste like candy, and they can be toxic in large doses.

Also, if you do give your children vitamins, be sure to pay extra attention to their teeth. Many kids' vitamins, especially chewable multivitamins, contain sugar.

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Bottom line: Opinions on vitamins vary, and you should consult an expert. Keep in mind that your child is probably getting more vitamins and minerals through his or her diet than you might think. And, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the income level of parents often plays a part. Wealthier parents are able to provide better food and, as a consequence, more natural nutrition. Lower income families may be more likely to need a children's multivitamin.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Breast Cancer and Oral Health

Breast Cancer and Oral Health

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Most people realize the major risk factors of cancer.

These include smoking, alcohol use and others. The surprising fact is how your oral health has a connection to breast cancer. You may be 11 times more likely to develop breast cancer if you have poor oral health or gum disease. Journal of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment conducted a survey of 3,273 people and found that individuals with chronic periodontal disease (gum disease) had a higher occurrence of breast cancer.
Another study was reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and was conducted between 1985 to 2001. This study also concluded that gum disease increases the risk of breast cancer.
Gum disease has been linked to several general health chronic illnesses, including pneumonia, prostate cancer, stroke, heart disease, problem pregnancy, diabetes and breast cancer.
  • Pneumonia: Bacteria in the oral cavity can be aspirated into the lungs and cause respiratory diseases including pneumonia.
  • Prostate cancer: In 1986, over 48,000 men were involved in a study conducted by Dr. Dominique Michaud, Imperial College of London. The study concluded gum disease increases the risk of prostate cancer by 14 percent.
  • Diabetes: According to the American Academy of Periodontology, diabetic patients are more likely to develop gum disease, which in turn can increase the risk of infection.
  • Heart disease: Researchers have found that people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer with coronary artery disease as those without it. As oral bacteria enters the blood stream, it attaches to fatty plaques in the heart blood vessels and contributes to clot formation. These blood clots can then obstruct normal blood flow, which can lead to heart attack.
  • Pregnancy problems: Pregnant women who have gum disease may be more likely to have babies that are born too early and too small.
Connecting the Dots
In general, gum disease causes inflammation. Inflammation has been found to be the precursor of heart disease, stroke, pregnancy problems and over all fatigue. In other words, it is a marker for generalized ill-health. This has been confirmed through blood work and C-reactive protein. C-reactive protein is a inflammation marker which decreases when gum infection is brought under control, and increase with advanced gum disease.
Inflammation: The Warning Sign Not to be Ignored
The first sign of gum disease is inflammation. You’ll know when this is present as your gums appear slightly red, tender, and may even bleed when you brush or floss. The main cause of inflammation is bacteria that form a film called plaque, and stick to the gum and teeth surfaces. If this plaque is not removed at least once per day, the problem can advance to severe gum disease. As inflammation advances, the disease effects destruction of the gums and eventually bone. The teeth develop tooth decay, become loose and may have to be extracted. This is why dental visits are very important at least every three months to monitor the health and condition of your teeth and gums, especially with the presence of cancer.
The bacteria that causes gum disease forms a thin biofilm called plaque and accumulates on the gums and teeth. This same bacteria is found in hardened plaque in arteries that lead to arteriosclerosis. A study by the Karolinska Institute reported the bacteria in gum disease can result in the Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegatocirus. These viruses may result in the suppression of the body’s immune system, which can contribute to the incidence of breast cancer.
There are other connections between breast cancer and oral health. Chemotherapy and radiation may be used to kill or slow breast cancer cells by interfering with growth and multiplication of cells. If chemotherapy or radiation is prescribed as part of treatment for breast cancer, side effects can be severe and include:
  • Mucositis, a severe form of inflammation of the mouth.
  • Increase risk of infection in the mouth. If the drug suppresses white cells, which normally protect against infection, deep cleanings and other invasive procedures such as tooth extraction can result in infection.
  • Difficulty in swallowing.
  • Taste alterations ranging from unpleasant to tasteless.
  • Due to dry mouth, difficulty with speech and eating.
  • Oral yeast infection from the fungus candida.
  • Poor nutrition due to difficulties in eating, dry mouth or loss of taste.
  • Deep aching and burning pain that mimics toothache.
Most patients are treated with chemotherapy or radiation. However, some patients may be treated with bisphosphonates, such as Fosamax, Boniva, and others. Recent studies from University of Southern California suggest long-term use of such bisphosphonates may develop into destruction of the jaw bone. The risk is low but increases with chemotherapy.
How to Minimize Side Effects
Most people are aware of hair loss with chemotherapy. But most don’t realize that more than one-third of people being treated for breast cancer can develop complications that affect the mouth. These complications can affect your quality of life. Preexisting or untreated oral disease can even complicate cancer treatment. This is one reason to make sure you visit your dentist at least one month before beginning cancer treatment.
The mouth is made of cells that renew themselves daily. Since chemotherapy and radiation target certain types of cells that regenerate quickly even under normal circumstances, your mouth will be susceptible to damage. If you minimize bacterial plaque buildup by practicing good hygiene, you can decrease the side effects of treatment for breast cancer. The following recommendations are important to follow:
  1. Brush with a soft toothbrush or sponge brush to clean your teeth and gums.
  2. Floss gently.
  3. Only use alcohol-free mouthwash, preferably one free of saccharin, but one containing xylitol.
  4. When white blood cells counts are reported by your physician to be low, avoid dental treatment.
  5. Avoid dental treatment for about a week after chemotherapy.
  6. Inflammation starts with red gums that may bleed. Even slight bleeding should not be ignored.
  7. Use toothpaste and chewing gum with xylitol.
  8. Regular dental visits to identify problems before they develop.
  9. If you wear dentures, make sure you keep them clean and that they fit well. Make sure to take them out at night.

Dr. Flora Stay has been in the wellness industry for over 30 years. After graduating from University of California at San Francisco with her doctor of dental surgery degree (D.D.S.), she knew her path was clear towards health and wellness. She became passionate about helping others take responsibility towards their health.
She is an author (Secret Gateway to Health), speaker, practicing dentist and professor at University of Southern California. Dr. Stay noticed the need for a truly safe and effective toothpaste in 1993. Since then due to popularity of her dental products and demand from loyal customers, the Cleure line has grown to include personal care, skin care and makeup.

Website: www.cleure.com/Dr-Flora-Stay-s/296.htm

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Another Strike Against Diet Soda

If you’ve been looking for a reason to nix your soda-drinking habits, the latest research may offer you the perfect inspiration.
Drinking a single can of diet soda each day can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, reports a recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
The researchers monitored the soda-drinking habits of more than 2,500 individuals and compared them with the number of vascular events—heart attacks and strokes—that occurred over a 10-year period. After factoring in pre-existing conditions—diabetes, high blood pressure, BMI, and others—they found that those who were downing diet drinks on a daily basis were 43 percent more likely to experience a vascular event than those who drank none. But people who drank anywhere between 6 diet sodas per week and 1 diet soda per month had the same risk as people who never drank soda.
More from MensHealth.com: What Your Soda Can Doesn’t Tell You
What’s even more surprising: In contrast to previous research, the report found no association between regular soft drink consumption and risk of  vascular events.
So what does this mean for you? Frankly, very little. The research only found an association between drinking diet and having a heart attack or stroke—that doesn’t mean diet soda causes heart attack or strokes.  Since no other studies have found a link between diet soft drink consumption and heart attacks, more research is needed, explains lead researcher Hannah Gardner, PhD, from the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami.
The researchers have several theories for the connection. Even though they adjusted for weight at the beginning of the study, they didn’t collect weight measurements at the end of the 10 years or throughout the study. Since diet soda has also been linked to weight gain, it’s possible that the diet drinkers gained more weight, which increased their heart risks. (Again, just a theory.) And as we reported in our story The Truth About Diet Soda, diet soda drinkers may have worse dietary patterns overall. (Although the researchers conducted dietary surveys to adjust for this, food surveys are notoriously unreliable.) Basically, no one knows for sure what’s going on.
So what do you do while scientists search for a solution? Simple: Make H2O your main beverage. (Squeeze in lemon or lime if you need some extra flavor.) Research even shows that drinking it can improve your mood.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Appointment You Should Never Skip

Even if you hate the thought of a dentist’s chair—or just always lose your yearly check-up reminder card—here’s reason enough to schedule a visit today: going to the dentist may lower your risk for heart attack and stroke, according to a new study from Taiwan.
Researchers tracked more than 100,000 people for an average of 7 years. People who had their teeth scraped and cleaned by a dentist or hygienist twice or more in a 2-year period had an overall 24 percent lower risk of heart attack and 13 percent lower risk of stroke overall compared to those who had less frequent dental cleanings.
But how does keeping your mouth clean help your ticker? Regular dentist visits and oral hygiene reduces inflammation-causing bacterial growth—bacteria like Porphyromonas gingivalis and Fusobacterium nucleatum found in dental plaques. Not only does bacteria like P. gingivalis cause periodontal disease, but also the chronic inflammation at the initial site of infection in your mouth can accelerate inflammation that causes atherosclerosis, says Zu-Yin Chen, M.D., coauthor of the study.
More from MensHealth.com: 12 Foods Your Dentist Won’t Eat
“Atherosclerosis is seen as an inflammatory process, so the more inflammation you have, the likelier you’ll have plaques forming in the blood vessels leading to potential heart attack or stroke,” says Chen.
Even if you haven’t been to the dentist lately, there are ways you can mimic professional cleaning at home. Regularly use these five best teeth products for men to not only keep your teeth pearly white, but also cavity and plaque free.
And to remember to visit your dentist (or any doctor for that matter), add your next appointment into your phone or e-mail calendar while you’re still in the doctor’s office. No more wondering “when do I need to have that next cleaning?”

Monday, April 9, 2012

Treatment of Gum Disease Benefits Diabetics

Since oral health is directly linked to diabetes, it's important to maintain healthy gums and dental care if you are diabetic. Diabetes can initiate the development of gum (periodontal) disease, putting one at risk for further complications and causing an influx in health care costs if left untreated.
There are two types of diabetes along with gestational diabetes, which is developed during pregnancy when blood sugar levels become too high.
Type 1 diabetes is when the body destroys the production of insulin, while type 2 diabetes produces insulin that is then produced in insufficient quantity, or is not used in a correct fashion by the body.
Diabetes occurs when the body cannot regulate blood sugar levels. While type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, type 2 diabetes can.
Since blood sugar levels are unstable for a diabetic, dental problems such as gum disease, split between two stages — mild gum (gingivitis) disease, and severe gum (periodontal) disease — can occur.
Diabetes thickens blood vessels after impairing white blood cells, causing the flow of nutrients and waste to slow to and from body tissues, including the mouth. Since periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, and the diabetic's ability to fight infections is greatly reduced, gum disease causes severe complications when left untreated.
A recent three-year study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in Philadelphia involved diabetes patients who were then placed in either a control group (no treatment) or were randomly selected to receive periodontal therapy.
Receiving treatment within the first year for periodontal disease, and undergoing maintenance for the next two years, those who underwent periodontal therapy were hospitalized less than those who were in the control group with no treatment. The total cost for medical care, hospital admission and doctor visits per patient was an average of more than $1,800 less than the control group, with the treatment group constituting for 33 percent less admissions to the hospital than those diabetics that received no treatment for gum disease.
Diabetics suffering from periodontitis are more likely to suffer from complications of poor glycemic (sugar) control than those who have good oral health maintenance. Without glycemic control, the risk for heart attack or stroke, which are linked to diabetes, increases.
When the bacteria caused by periodontal disease in the mouth enters the circulatory system, the body is burdened by an increased inflammatory response in diabetics. This added stress on key organs working to fight the infection, and chronic inflammation can also cause those who are seemingly healthy to develop diabetes.
Not only does a diabetic's health benefit from healthy gums and teeth, avoiding complications that diabetics are prone to such as heart attack or stroke can keep one's health insurance lower after treatment for periodontal disease.
The key to an advantageous and brighter life as a diabetic starts with a healthier smile.

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