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.

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Cambodia… Open Wide !!

cropped lizardGroup PicA Honolulu Dentist on a mission to Cambodia

A lot of things have happened since November… here in Hawaii we get caught up in the holiday season, if you can imagine coconut trees strung with Christmas lights. 

As if the holiday season was not busy enough, I spent all of February off island.  I worked again at the Molokai Community Health Center, and then spent several weeks in Cambodia where I was blessed to participate with the Cambodia Health Professional Association of America (CHPAA) and their medical mission to Cambodia.  Cambodia is one of the world’s poorest nations.  The civil war from 1970 to 1975, the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979, and the Cambodia-Vietnam War from 1978 to 1979 virtually destroyed Cambodia’s economy.  Although progress is being made, as of 2007 the latest year UN Statistics are available, 30% of the population falls below the national poverty level. Poverty in Cambodia is overwhelmingly a rural phenomenon.  Over 93% of the country’s total number of poor live in rural areas, 6.2% live in urban areas, with a tiny percentage in urban Phnom Penh. CHPAA’s mission is to provide medical and dental care to those desperately in need. 

Patients came from miles around, lining up overnight with the hopes of being treated

Patients came from miles around, lining up overnight with the hopes of being treated

In Cambodia, one of the free clinics was set up at the Khmuonh Health Center in Khan Sen Sok, a municipality of Phnom Penh and one of the most underserved areas in the Cambodian Capital.  Seen on a first-come, first-served basis, patients came from the surrounding areas, other parts of Phnom Penh and distant provinces.  The need for care is great.  In addition to this clinic, radio and television announcements brought many patients to outlying clinics where part of the medical/dental team travelled to each day.  It was a busy week.  By midmorning of our first clinic day, there were thousands of people lined up.  They came from surrounding villages, overnight and got in line.. hoping for their chance. 

There were 11 dentists total participating in this 3 week clinic.  About half of us stayed at the Khmuon Health Center, and the rest of us, travelled daily to outlying communities.  The day started at 6am with an average of an hour bus ride and each day, we would visit a different location.   I was responsible for making sure that all the equipment and supplies needed for the day was available, and was theClinic set up only dentist who was assigned to the travelling clinic for the entire mission. 

Once there, our first task was to set up the clinic.    

Dental chairs ready to treat patientsAgain, patients lined up with the hopes of being treated were triaged, and the dental patients were sent our way.  Many of the people had never seen a dentist, and were experiencing dental pain.  Unfortunately, most teeth were not able to be saved, and needed to be extracted. 

working on a patientIt was a truly humbling experience.  Poverty rates are high among those whose household heads have little or no education, dental education is non-existent at its most basic level.  Many patients were unfamiliar with the use of a toothbrush and still had fears that an extraction of a tooth would result in blindness.  My heart went out to them and I look forward to returning again.

ItCambodia agriculture is dry season in Cambodia.  It is beautiful and exotic.  On the way to the outlying clinics, we saw some beautiful areas which were dedicated to agriculture. 

Tarantula Dinner

True to form, I love to eat and found the food delicious and different.  Most exotic?  fried tarantulas… quite tasty actually.

             

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.