THE TRUTH ABOUT SOME COMMON DENTAL MYTHS

The profession of dentistry has experienced an amazing evolution over its lifetime. References to tooth decay can be found in various ancient texts. At one time, a local barber would provide haircuts and pull troublesome teeth in the same shop. Dentistry evolved from these humble beginnings to what we know today: a structured medical discipline where patients benefit from evidenced-based care. Oddly enough, though, several oral health myths and misconceptions have failed to fade away....

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SIMPLE STEPS TO MAINTAIN YOUR ORAL HEALTH

On the list of common reasons people avoid the dentist, cost is usually near the top. It is a fact — some dental treatments are expensive. However, you have some control in working to avoid pricey dental procedures. Two of the best ways to avoid needing expensive dental treatments are to visit a dentist regularly for an exam and cleaning and following proper dental hygiene advice every day.

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COMMON SLEEP DISORDER WREAKS HAVOC ON THE BODY

The National Sleep Foundation estimates over 18 million adults in the United States, or about one in every 15 people, suffer from sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that interrupts breathing, resulting in disruptive sleep. Individuals suffering from obstructive sleep apnea will experience a repetitive (partial or complete) airway collapse throughout their sleep, which prevents air from reaching the lungs.

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RISKS OF E-CIGARETTES


Scientists have had a significant amount of time to study the dangers of smoking traditional cigarettes. While e-cigarettes have been available in the United States since the early 2000s, they did not start to become popular until several years ago, which slowed the start of research. As of right now, scientists are still uncovering possible long-term health effects of e-cigarettes. For example, some common e-cigarette ingredients used for flavoring carry the FDA “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) designation when used in other products. However, less is known about their potential health effects or possible byproducts when these ingredients are inhaled during e-cigarette use.


Oral Health Issues to Watch For

Current and past e-cigarette users should talk to their dentist if they notice any of the following symptoms:



Tips for a Healthy Smile

For adults using e-cigarettes as a means to stop smoking, it’s essential to practice the following oral health tips:



Parents and guardians looking for tips on talking to children about e-cigarette use and the potential health impacts should visit e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov.

DR. LUCIANA SHADDOX

Dr. Luciana Shaddox is a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry and serves as the college’s associate dean for research. Her research interests include aggressive periodontitis (gum disease) and genetic and inflammatory factors involved in aggressive periodontal disease susceptibility in children and adolescents, as well as the relationship between diabetes and periodontitis.  More information about UK Dentistry is available at www.ukhealthcare.uky.edu/dentistry.

more articles by dr Luciana Shaddox

What started as a way for cigarette smokers to kick the habit is shaping into another health challenge. Increasingly, a growing percentage of youth are discovering e-cigarettes, not to replace traditional cigarette smoking but as a gateway to starting tobacco use. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports 1 in 5 high school students, surveyed in 2018, confirmed using an electronic cigarette or e-cigarette within the past 30 days, a 78-percent increase from the previous year. The popularity of using e-cigarettes, vaping or JUULing (using a popular brand of e-cigarette) has grown for both middle school and high school students over the past five years. Due to the growing nature of this issue, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently launched a nearly $60 million campaign to educate teens about the risks of vaping because many of them are unaware of the actual potential dangers of this activity.


Oral Health Dangers of E-Cigarettes/Vaping

E-cigarettes are not just harmless water vapor. Hundreds of options are available in the marketplace. There are black-market options as well. The types of chemicals and amounts of nicotine delivered through these options vary. For example, the American Lung Association says some JUUL pods may offer users about as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes. Of course, the amount of time one pod lasts will depend on the habits of the individual device user. While some studies point to e-cigarettes in general as being less harmful than traditional cigarettes, there is growing evidence they may still lead to a variety of adverse health consequences: