Archive for September, 2011

Laugh Lines

It’s no joke. Those laugh lines might just reveal the health of your bones. A recent study at Yale School of Medicine has found that there is a connection between the health of your bones and the laugh lines around your mouth. Results show that for women in their 40s and 50s, the worse their skin winkles are, the lower their bone density is. The researchers gave each woman a score for her face and neck wrinkles based on the number of sites with wrinkles and on the depth of the wrinkles. They measured the firmness of the skin on the women’s foreheads and cheeks. Then they measured their bone densities with an X-ray analysis. Bones and skin cells share common building blocks called collagens, and they change as we age. Paying attention to laugh lines could be helpful in identifying postmenopausal women at risk for fractures at only a glance and without the need of expensive tests.

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Osteoporosis

As we age, our bones begin to lose density and strength, especially after age fifty. Many factors affect bone density, from diet to medications. Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones and makes them more apt to break. The disease affects about ten million Americans and causes more than two million fractures each year. Another thirty-four million Americans have low bone density and are at risk of developing osteoporosis. Many people with low bone density or osteoporosis take a medication from a group of drugs called bisphosphonates. These medications greatly help, but in recent years dentists have reported a condition known as osteonecrosis of the jaw in patients taking the medication. Osteonecrosis of the jaw is a rare but serious condition that can cause severe damage to the jaw bone. Tell your dentist if you are taking a bisphosphonate medication so they can best monitor you for any symptoms.

Are You Biting Off More Than You Can Chew?

Do you ever feel that you are biting off more than you can chew? Well according to a new study by the Academy of General Dentistry- you just might be!

In our fast-paced lives many of us are in a hurry to eat so we can jump into our next task. Hurried eating can result in bigger bite sizes. With fast-food restaurants advertising giant burgers sometimes larger than the human mouth, taking big bites is understandable, but not good for you. Taking bites that are too big to chew can be bad for your jaw and teeth. At an increased risk are people with temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD. TMD restricts the range of acceptable bite size and people who have it need to avoid opening their mouths too wide. Large bites can aggravate anyone’s jaw and teeth, but especially people with TMD. Always remember to avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels, and opening nuts with your teeth. All these rough endeavors could lead to chipping or breakage of natural teeth and even restorations. Always remember, if you need to open your mouth more than what feels comfortable to take a bite, then you should be cutting the item into smaller portions that are easy to chew.

Why Does My Dentist Prescribe Medication?

Dentists prescribe medications for many reasons. As a patient it is very important to understand your regular medications and your once in a while prescriptions. Some drugs dentists might prescribe can be formulated to fight oral diseases; others are used to prevent infections after procedures. Certain drugs are used prior to dental treatment, sometimes to control existing conditions like heart murmurs and valve problems that might be affected with some dental work. You should always discuss your medications with your dentist. Make sure to ask him or her about what to expect, possible side effects, and if the new prescription will affect any existing medications you are currently on. Never discontinue a medication before consulting your dentist and always remember to finish any prescriptions that are prescribed. Most importantly, always share your medical history with your dentist. Make sure your files are constantly updated so you can receive the best care possible.