Another Reason to Brush

There have been so many studies on Alzheimer’s Disease.   Causes? Cure?  This disease causes brain changes that gradually get worse. It’s the most common cause of dementia. In Alzheimer’s disease, brain cells degenerate and die, causing a decline in memory and mental function.  Some days I am sure this is why I can’t find my cell phone!  A recent study correlates daily brushing with dementia.  The article below was posted by teethcenter.com, and while the study doesn’t seem definitive, it points strongly towards the benefits of brushing.   Hoolulu Denist

Daily Brushing Associated with Lower Risk of Dementia

The Journal of American Geriatrics has released a study claiming that daily brushing is associated with a lower chance of developing dementia late in life. The study observed 5,468 people over a period of 18 years. All participants in the study resided at a retirement community in Southern California.Senior Center

Of the 5,468 studied, 1,145 developed some form of dementia and those who developed dementia were much less likely to brush daily and maintain good oral health habits. Richardson, a spokesperson for TeethCenter said, “This report leaves plenty of room for interpretation. I think it’s safe to say that the adults that exercised healthy oral health habits had a lower case of developing dementia, but, why is that the case?”

Researchers on the study warned that the study “did not prove a cause and effect between oral health and dementia”. It has been long suggested that oral health is directly related to overall health as people who care for their teeth tend to care for their bodies, but, the direct correlation and causation is still unclear.

Source: http://www.teethcenter.com/daily-brushing-associated-with-lower-risk-of-dementia/  Sept 14, 2012.  Reprinted by permission.

In my Honolulu dental practice, we really focus on preventative care.  Good oral home care is the cornerstone of good oral health and should be supplemented with regular exams and cleanings.   It makes sense that all of our bodies systems are connected, and oral health is connected to overall health.  As a dentist, I know this is a fact.   We are learning, more and more.  Someday we will have all the answers… but until then, I’ll just brush at least twice a day… unless I forget.

Advertisements

Honolulu Dentist does Molokai

I was on Molokai this week for the first time to work at the Molokai Community Health Center– Dental Clinic.  From Oahu it is a short plane ride, and incredibly beautiful, so I wondered why I never went before.  To get there I took a flight on Mokulele Airlines.  Small 9 seater.  It was fast- 20 minutes. No hassles, no long lines.   That should have been a clue of more to come.  

Molokai Community Health Center- Dental Clinic

The Molokai Community Health Center (MCHC) strives to provide accessible health care for the island of Molokai with respect and aloha.  Dental health services are provided by a full time Dental Director, Dental Hygienist, several assistants, and a Dental Receptionist.  Dental hygiene and patient education of dental care are among the priorities of the staff.   I was fortunate enough to be able to participate and see the good work they do first hand this last week by filling in for the director who was off island.  The dental clinic was busy attending to people of all ages, from children to seniors.  We were fully booked each day I was there!  One concern of mine was the amount of dental disease in the youngest patients.  One child at 16 months had the condition referred to as “baby bottle caries”.  This term refers to the pattern of decay in baby teeth caused by allowing infants to sleep with their bottle containing milk or juices etc.  Sadly, Hawaii has a higher incidence of this decay as compared to children on the mainland.

In the “State of Children’s Dental Health: Making Coverage Matter”, the PEW Center on the States gave Hawaii an “F” for its performance in the area of children’s dental health.   Hawaii was the worst overall performer among the fifty states and the District of Columbia.  Auwe!

I was proud to be able to provide care.  The Molokai Community Health Center- Dental Clinic’s priority of education and adoption of good dental hygiene habits, habits are so important to having good oral health.  As a preventative dentist, I also emphasize regular dental cleanings and exams, consistent home care, consisting of tooth brushing, flossing and rinses, and timely intervention for any dental issues.

Kamehameha V Highway (Highway 450)

Molokai is quiet, remote, and beautiful.  It is most famous for the Kalaupapa Leper Settlement, and Father Damien who recently achieved sainthood for the work he did for the people of Molokai.  There is a mule trip that you can take down to visit the historic Settlement that I did not take this time.  Instead, I chose to explore Highway 450 to East Maui.

We planned to head out to Halawa Park at the very end of the road.  Before the trip, we were advised to stop at the Saint Joseph’s Church in Kamalo, established by Father Damien, and sign the guestbook.  It is the second oldest church in Molokai, and worth a stop.  Thus fortified, we were on our way.  I was reminded of the ‘road to Hana’ another famous Hawaii road on Maui.  Highway 450 was curvy, narrow and scary with speeds of 20 miles per hour or less in some areas, and seemed to take forever.  In fact, the trip from Kaunakakai took an hour and a half, but was not very far! 

Highway 450 was scenic and definitely worth the trip.  Along the way we passed the Pu’u O Hoku Ranch which is a beautiful resort that you can visit and also stay at.   Keep on going though, and you will be rewarded with Halawa Bay.   This beach park was definitely worth the drive.  We couldn’t stay long as it was getting dark. Next time we will start early, and bring a picnic lunch!

Back to Honolulu

I enjoyed my week, but back to Oahu and my Honolulu dental officeI could tell that the need for dental care was great in Molokai and am so grateful for the opportunity.  It was such a great feeling to be doing what I love, providing dental care, in such a beautiful place.re almoana

Hello world!

Welcome to my blog!  I started this blog as a way of connecting with you, and to have a dialog about all things relating to dental health… from new technologies and scientific learnings, to basic oral care information that will be useful to you as you go about your daily life.   I have a passion for everything dental, so in addition to great oral health,  I am also  interested in products on the market, products for caring for your teeth.. and products we put in our mouths..  I guess in my case, that is mostly food.. and yes, we will talk about that as well… as it relates to oral health of course.

There is so much information out there… some really good… but sadly, some  misinformation as well.   I promise that the information on the topics we discuss will be well researched, and if it is just my opinion, I will let you know.  I hope to engage you.. so please comment and let me know what you are thinking.  I also hope you will find this blog entertaining, and enjoy reading this.  Ask me anything, I will try my best to provide you with the information you need.

I was raised on the island of Oahu.  In the summer when the surf is up on the South Shore,  you will find me in the water at the crack of dawn.  I can’t think of a better life, living in Hawaii, and doing dentistry.  Every day, I get to live in paradise and take care of Hawaii’s oral health.  I love the islands and the community.  Through our discussions, I hope to give you insight into Hawaii and its’ oral health, and how it is to live and work in this beautiful place.