Children and adults with cerebral palsy are at an increased risk of oral health problems. While cerebral palsy does not involve any defects of the mouth, teeth or gums, other problems such as acid reflux and vomiting can lead to damage of the teeth and soft tissues in the mouth. Understanding how cerebral palsy affects oral health can help you plan for your loved one's current and future oral health care needs.
Oral Health Risks Associated With Cerebral Palsy
Children, teens and young adults with cerebral palsy typically have weak jaw muscles. The muscles may be tight, which makes it hard to brush the teeth. Swallowing disorders are common in people with cerebral palsy, which could lead to food sitting in the mouth for an extended period of time. This promotes tooth decay. Other aspects of cerebral palsy that increase the risk of tooth decay, gingivitis and other oral health problems include:
Caring for Oral Health at Home
A person with cerebral palsy may have a difficult time holding a toothbrush and cleaning all of the surfaces of each tooth. Drool, sensitivity and a fast gag reflex may also impede good brushing. Maneuvering dental floss could be difficult for a person with cerebral palsy. Parents or caregivers may have to handle the person's oral hygiene needs in order to ensure that all of the teeth are cleaned every day.
Dental Treatments for People With Cerebral Palsy
The increased risk of cavities and gingivitis in people with cerebral palsy may require additional dental treatments beyond what is usually done for a child, teenager or young adult. It is a good idea to locate a dentist who is experienced in providing care to people with special healthcare needs. Fluoride treatments and dental sealants may be recommended in order to lessen the risk of tooth decay. A prescription toothpaste may also be recommended. Working with a speech therapist for assistance with swallowing disorders could also help with the oral health care needs of a person with cerebral palsy.
Extra Dental Costs for Oral Health Care
People with cerebral palsy may have higher oral health care costs than people without the disorder. They may need more frequent dental cleanings because of the higher risk of tooth decay. Most insurance companies only cover dental cleanings twice per year, so extra cleanings would be out of your pocket. In 2018, a dental cleaning costs $75 to $200. Cerebral palsy may also lead to misalignment of the teeth, necessitating orthodontic care. The costs of orthodontic care range from $3,000 to more than $10,000 in 2018, and that does not include any extractions or implants. Overall, the lifetime cost of oral health care for someone with cerebral palsy will be higher than the costs for people without the condition.
Oral hygiene is important for everyone for maintaining good dental health, but for someone living with
cancer, like mesothelioma, that hygiene becomes even more important. Mesothelioma is a devastating
cancer of the tissue lining the lungs and is caused by exposure to asbestos. Dental complications are
common in these patients, which can cause added discomfort and pain. Practicing good oral hygiene can
help patients prevent these uncomfortable complications.
What Cancer and its Treatment Does to Dental Health
Cancer can impact the mouth and dental health , but it is treatment for cancers like mesothelioma that
really have a detrimental impact. Chemotherapy, for instance, can cause mouth pain, dry mouth that
can lead to infections, blooding in the gums, difficulty eating, and a condition called oral mucositis,
inflamed and painful sores in the mouth. Radiation therapy may also cause dental complications,
including many of the same caused by chemotherapy, but also by increasing the risk of cavities and
See the Dentist Before Treatment
If you are facing chemotherapy or any other treatment for mesothelioma, it is important to see your
dentist in advance. A dentist can check for any existing problems and treat you before beginning
treatment so the issues don’t get worse. You will also get good advice on how to care for your teeth and
mouth as you go through treatment. Going into chemotherapy or radiation in good dental health sets
you up for a better outcome and a lower risk for complications.
Oral Hygiene During and After Treatment
Even if you have excellent oral health before starting mesothelioma treatments, you still need to
practice good oral hygiene to maintain that good health. Here are some things you can do to keep your
mouth healthy and happy:
Oral hygiene is always important, but as a mesothelioma patient going through chemotherapy your
dental health may be compromised, and good hygiene practices suddenly become so much more important.
Don’t let dental health slide. Talk to your doctors and your dentist about oral health before, during, and after treatment so you get the best care.
It's that time again when everyone is making their new year’s resolutions in an attempt to make changes in their lives. One of the primary objectives of my dental practice is to educate my patients about the importance of prevention. In doing so, I stress the impact of daily flossing, brushing, reducing sugar intake, and maintaining a regular dental check-up schedule. With every person, my hope is that I can influence their mindset, not only about their teeth, but their overall health and lifestyle. After all, when it comes to your health, the changes you make now will impact the rest of your life. Whatever resolutions you have made for this year, whether they are dental-related or not, use the well-known acronym “SMART” to help you achieve your goals. Effective goals are:
S- Specific: Be very clear about what it is you want to accomplish.
M- Measurable: Determine how you can track your progress by keeping score and making yourself more accountable.
A- Achievable: Sometimes it’s better to start small and take baby steps towards perfection. Be honest and realistic.
R- Relevant: Do something that hits close to home, and will hopefully inspire changes that are life-changing.
T- Time-bound: Make sure you give yourself enough time to accomplish your goals.
Have a happy and healthy 2018, everyone!
Simply put, probiotics are beneficial bacteria that exist in our gastrointestinal tract. Prebiotics promote, or feed the bacterial colonies and work synergistically with probiotics. In other words, prebiotics nourish and maintain probiotics, which restores and can improve gut health. Probiotic sources include yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and cultured non-dairy yogurts. Some good sources of prebiotics are bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans and whole-wheat foods. Products that combine both together are called synbiotics. For best results, try combining both in your usual diet by enjoying bananas atop yogurt or stir-frying asparagus with tempeh.
Are probiotic supplements needed? Probably not. By consuming regular food sources of probiotics, you can maintain the integrity of your gut and avoid disrupting your body's natural microbiome. At a minimum, prebiotics and probiotics are keys for good gut health. Research indicates that the gut bacterial environment is important for more than just digestive health.
Incorporating health-promoting functional foods, such as foods containing prebiotics and probiotics contributes to a healthier you!
For more advice on obtaining prebiotics and probiotics for your own specific health needs, especially if you have GI issues or a weakened immune system, our registered dietitian, Nasira, is here to help. Contact her today!
(425) 445-3914 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to Perfect Illusions, Eating Disorder and Family, five to ten million American women suffer from eating disorders, which means they also are facing body image issues as well. Females can have body image issues even without being diagnosed with an eating disorder. Children can easily pick up on comments about dieting concepts that might seem harmless, such as setting a boundary to high fat foods or eating less. When girls enter their teen years, they develop perceptions about dieting can lead to body distortion. Many factors can be stimulus for weight anxieties in girls and add influence to their eating habits in harmful ways, including:
Signs a Child Has a Negative Body Image
Warning signs of an unhealthy body image in children can help parents recognize problems early. Parents should watch for these signs:
Encourage open dialogue: Talk with your children about weight and try to inspire them to share their thoughts and feelings about body image whenever they arise. Children need to feel supported when they want to share their feelings about their weight struggles. Be sure to listen and recognize that all feelings are real. It is okay to share your experiences if you have had body image issues. It is best to explain that children and teens come in all different shapes and sizes and support inner beauty exploration.
Take action: Children learn quickly, and they learn best by example. Teach children habits that assist them to stay healthy for life. If your child is elementary age or younger and you have weight concerns, don’t talk about it negatively, rather start making lifestyle changes as a family. The goal should be to serve regular, balanced family meals and snacks. Try to reduce the time a child spends watching television or playing video games. Be creative in finding ways to spend time together actively.
A united front: Parents and other important adult relatives are should be on the same page. Mixed messages about weight can make unhealthy concerns for a child’s self-esteem.
Talk with a doctor: Speak with your family doctor privately about weight concerns without your children being present. Talk about precise concerns and solutions about a growth pattern and ask for suggestions for positive changes in your family’s eating habits and activity levels.
Seek advice: Check out local programs and professionals who specialize in youth advocacy. Look for a registered dietitian nutritionist with experience in pediatric weight management. Many hospitals and clinics have comprehensive programs with educational activities for both kids and adult family members. Some of these options may be covered by reliable health insurance plans.
Personal perceptions of weight gain for individual teens can be a struggle. All communication between parents and teens should be a fair and non-judgmental interaction; otherwise, teens will not want to talk to their parents when they most need their support. Parents need to have open communication with other teen advocates, such as family doctors and registered dietitian nutritionists to find healthy solutions to teen weight problems.
These five simple measures will provide the majority of people with a lifetime of excellent oral health. The key is to start our children out with this knowledge and these good habits in order to stop the destructive cycle that continues to plague mankind.
Join our practice in our crusade to promote preventive health care for all!
Do you have a persistent sweet tooth? Are you aware of the many dangers of giving into your cravings? In general, Americans consume too much sugar and the supporting statistics are appalling. The daily average consumption of added sugar by individuals is 300 calories (20 teaspoons or 80 grams). The current recommendation for added sugar by the American Heart Association is less than six teaspoons (24 grams) per day for women and nine teaspoons (36 grams) per day for men. That means the average American is consuming 11-14 teaspoons (44-56 grams) above the recommendation. Although most people could not imagine eating 14 teaspoons of white sugar, it is easy to do consume that quantity because our food has so much sugar added to it.
The most common sources of added sugar in our diets (Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare in 2015) are:
There are several alternatives to high-calorie sweeteners, such as sugar alcohols (Xylitol, Sorbitol, Maltitol, Mannitol), which naturally exist in plants, are not completely absorbed, have lower glycemic index than white sugar, have fewer calories per gram and do not promote tooth decay. The FDA recognizes Erythritol, Stevia, Isomalt, Sorbitol and Maltitol as being safe alternatives to white sugar because they are extracted from fruits, fermented foods, natural herbs, beets, stone fruits, berries, and starches.
Another alternative to traditional sweeteners is to use one of the FDA-approved sweeteners, such as Saccharin (Sweet-n-Low), Aspartame (NutraSweet/Equal), Sucralose (Splenda), although several of these have a bitter after taste and are chemically altered. Even though sweet foods exist naturally, like fresh fruits, our food supply has been overtaken by highly stimulating and overly sweet foods, so that natural sugars are less satisfying to a sweet tooth. This can be changed by replacing sugary desserts with fresh fruit, or fruit and yogurt-based desserts. Consuming less refined sugar will readjust your taste preferences so that you find natural sweetness more satisfying.
What are the dangers of added sugars?
Added sugar consumption contributes to weight gain and obesity. More than 60% of the global disease will be associated with obesity by 2020. In addition to extra calories, excess sugar elevates cholesterol imbalance and deregulates the body’s insulin response so that it takes more insulin to balance blood glucose. Excess sugar also promotes visceral and intrahepatic fat deposition and increases triglyceride levels and blood pressure. Sugary treats displace nutrient-dense healthy foods, so vitamin and mineral intake is compromised.
How can we take control of added sugar intake?
If you love sweets, consider taking some important steps to control your sweet tooth to improve your oral health and to avoid systemic disease.
Bones and teeth are made of the same material, and diet has an important role in maintaining bone tissue. Weakened bones can cause osteoporosis and increase fracture risk. This silent disease often goes undetected until a fracture occurs. It can strike at any age, however, osteoporosis most often occurs in people over age 50, and according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, half of women and one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Maintaining bone health in youth will impact the density of your bones as you age. A healthful diet and regular weight-bearing activity are extremely important to ensure bone tissue continues to build.
Bones are living tissue, constantly under construction. Special cells break down bone tissue (osteoclasts) and other cells (osteoblasts) use the calcium and nutrients from foods you eat to build new bone. If you are not physically active or getting the nutrition you need, bones become less dense, weaker and more likely to fracture.
Calcium, is the major nutrient needed to form new bone cells. Dairy foods are calcium-rich foods including milk, yogurt and cheese, and calcium-fortified soy milk, and fortified cereal. Some plant sources also provide calcium, such as soybeans, dark green leafy vegetables and calcium-fortified tofu.
Calcium needs vary at different stages of life, and the following lists the calcium need for various age groups:
Your oral health may be a window to your overall health. The mouth, like many areas of the body, is loaded with bacteria. Proper oral hygiene (i.e., flossing and brushing) along with your body's natural defenses help keep these bacteria under control. Research suggests that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with gum disease may play a role in chronic diseases, such as:
Talk to your dentist as soon as an oral health problem arises. Taking good care of your teeth is a long-term investment in your overall health!