Health Watch: Trick or teeth?
Millions of Americans will not be smiling this holiday season. They will be the teens and adults whose teeth and/or braces fall victim to the hard, sticky, chewy and gummy treats that make the holidays so yummy . . . and perilous to oral health.
"The week after Halloween is one of the busiest times of year for orthodontists," says Dr. Gib Snow, a Los Angeles-based orthodontist. "Emergency visits spike as we see children, teens and even adults who have suffered dental injury or damaged metal braces as a result of eating candy and other treats."
If your overall dental health is good, and you practice good oral hygiene, you can probably safely indulge in some holiday treats as long as you do so in moderation. However, if you have a history of weak teeth (lots of fillings, crowns or breaking) or wear metal braces, you may want to take some precautions.
Dr. Snow offers some simple tips:
- Try to avoid treats that are sticky, extremely hard, chewy or crunchy. This means no taffy, peanut brittle, caramel or nuts, which can break teeth, pull out fillings and compromise crowns and other forms of dental work.
- Stick with soft treats that melt in your mouth, such as peanut butter cups or chocolate kisses.
- When you finish a holiday cocktail or soft drink, don't chew on the ice. It can damage tooth enamel and metal braces.
- After indulging in holiday treats, brush and floss thoroughly. Adults who drink a lot of caffeinated beverages over the holidays may want to consider using teeth-whitening toothpaste.
- Biting into hard candy canes can spell disaster for metal braces. Replace high-risk treats with safer options, like soft or liquid treats, fresh fruit, smoothies or milkshakes.
- Be especially vigilant about dental hygiene. Food trapped in, under or behind metal braces can cause staining and tooth decay.
New Research: Vitamin D deficiency found in pre-surgery patients
According to a study published this month in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 43 percent of patients scheduled to undergo orthopedic surgery had insufficient levels of vitamin D, and two out of five of those patients had levels low enough to place them at risk for metabolic bone disease.
"This study should serve as a wake-up call to orthopedists that vitamin D deficiency is widespread, not necessarily tied to age, sex or background, and screening for it should be part of routine pre-surgical care for adults," said Dr. Lane, a professor of orthopedic surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York.
-- PR Newswire
Did You Know?
After cancer treatment, you may be eager to get back to a healthy lifestyle. Speak with your doctor about whether it is OK to adopt an exercise regimen. Although the basic guidelines for a healthy routine for cancer survivors don’t differ much from the average (eat right, exercise, maintain a healthy weight, avoid tobacco and limit alcohol intake), they can improve the quality of the years ahead as a cancer survivor.
Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle or misshapen. People can find vitamin D in three sources: certain types of food (including fish, dairy, eggs and mushrooms), sun exposure and supplements.
-- National Institutes of Health
Number to Know
111:Toasted Skin Syndrome, a brownish discoloration of the skin caused by prolonged exposure to heat from a computer, can occur when the heat from your laptop reaches 111 degrees.
Children’s Health: Preemies face dangers in daycare
Exposure to common viruses in daycare puts children with a chronic lung condition caused by premature birth at risk for serious respiratory infections, according to a study from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
Researchers say their findings should prompt pediatricians to monitor their prematurely born patients, regardless of age, for signs of lung disease and to discuss the risks of daycare-acquired infections with the children’s parents. These risks, the researchers found, include increased emergency room visits, medication use and breathing problems.
“Daycare can be a breeding ground for viruses and puts these already vulnerable children at risk for prolonged illness and serious complications from infections that are typically mild and short-lived in children with healthy lungs,” said lead investigator Dr. Sharon McGrath-Morrow.
Children with chronic lung disease of prematurity who attended daycare (22 out of the 111) were nearly four times more likely to end up in the ER with serious respiratory symptoms than those who didn’t attend daycare. They were also twice as likely to need corticosteroids and more than twice as likely to need antibiotics.
Senior Health: Important vitamin supplements to consider
The best way to get crucial vitamins and minerals is with healthy foods. But for people over age 50, even the best diet may not provide enough of some important nutrients.
Here’s a small look at what people over 50 may want to supplement into their diets, according to the AARP Bulletin:
Vitamin A: 900 mcg for men; 700 mcg for women. Promotes good vision and a healthy immune system. Look for beta carotene in supplements (retinol or retinoic acid increases the risk of bone fracture).
Vitamin D: 10 mcg for ages 51 to 70; 15 mcg for ages 71 and up. Helps the body to absorb calcium, and helps to prevent heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Folic acid: 400 mcg for men and women. Helps to form red blood cells and produce DNA. When coupled with vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid may reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Vitamin E: 15 mg for men and women. Helps protect cells from damage and may reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and chronic diseases. Don’t take it in conjunction with a blood thinner.
Supplements may cause side effects. If you have certain diseases, such as cancer or diabetes, your body may have special nutritional needs. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the vitamins and supplements you take.
GateHouse News Service