Posts Tagged ‘gum disease’


Lessons Learned from my Dentist…

dental office

Warning: Get your favorite beverage first. 

Today is Dentist’s Day. Since I just had my dental check-up last week and the mother-in-law had to endure oral surgery last week, it seems only fitting to talk about someone I have been “seeing” for over 20 years. I have been blessed with great dentists throughout my life, despite a mouth that wears out the most ardent proponent of the “choppers.” And they are probably a much under-appreciated group of professionals, so here’s what they have taught me thus far:

1. I miss the little white spit sink. Don’t ask me why. There are some reading this who have no idea what I’m talking about.

2. Since some of my fillings have been around since prehistoric times, I am deeply concerned about the loud sucking sound emanating from the end of my dental hygienist’s hand.

3. Pictures of my dental hygienist skydiving with my beloved dentist do not add to my sense of calm.

4. I need a blood transfusion after hanging upside down in that dental chair. I’m waiting for them to strap in my ankles  the next time. I’m also waiting for the NASA countdown to begin.

5. I’m convinced that dental syringes are what they feature as a torture device in Hollywood movies about Frankenstein.

6. I pay for the privilege of someone grinding on my teeth with a drill that puts a minty gritty substance in my mouth for the next 2 hours. This probably means I need to turn in my Phi Beta Kappa pin.

7. My dentist keeps asking if he can take out my wisdom teeth. I keep reminding him he did that in 2006. He says it would be easier this time around, as a result. Maybe we should revoke his Phi Beta Kappa pin, too.

8. Dentists apparently have to finish Stand-Up Comedy School in conjunction with finishing dental school. See # 7.

9. If your oral surgeon refers to your husband as Little John, it might be time to get a new oral surgeon. See # 8.

10. The nerve between your two upper front teeth has to be the most sensitive part of your body and your dentist is well aware of that and is apparently a sadist. See # 5.

11. You can kiss your husband, even with the bottom right side of your mouth and face being completely numb, but he will keep wondering why you shift your face towards the right to do so.

12. We can do panoramic x-rays by just having a machine go around your head. We can MRI entire bodies by simply inserting ourselves into a tube. Yet, when getting a check-up, the dental staff insist on invoking my gag reflex by inserting inflexible, awful-tasting, large pieces of plastic in my mouth. Why don’t they just insert a large serving spoon in the back of my mouth so that I can at least make an ’80’s joke about it??? Again, there is an entire generation who doesn’t get that reference, either.

13.  The people who invented the mammogram machine must have invented those dental x-ray pieces. They must be sadists, too.

14. All dental offices have the same tooth “cutaway” model in their offices. And I can live without seeing the inside of my molar. Thank you.

15. All dentists give you a complimentary toothbrush that might take the plaque off a flea, if you brush really, really hard and use an entire tube of toothpaste. But, I never receive a complimentary tube of toothpaste.

16. After you grow up, dentists will tell you that you should have had your wisdom teeth out 20 years ago because it would have been easier. What’s the statute of limitations on suing your childhood dentist?

17. After you grow up, dentists will tell you that you should have had braces. If I find my childhood dentist, he can pay for the braces’ deductible and my unemployment insurance for being the only adult to wear headgear when interviewing for a job. Wearing headgear to a job interview somehow does not convey maturity and responsibility.

18. After you grow up, dentists will tell you that your mother should not have taken certain drugs while pregnant with you and that that is why you now need whitening treatments. Since I had no control over what the woman took during her pregnancy, what is the point of this??? Can I sue my mother? Oh. Wait. She died 10 years ago. Never mind.

19. While your children are growing up, the dentist will demand that you pay for all of your children to have braces, whiten their teeth, and to take out their wisdom teeth. My sense of fair play is not exactly happy. Neither is our dental insurance carrier.

20. As children we regularly saw commercials for how Grape Nuts cereal was good for us. As adults our dentists tell us eating Grape Nuts every morning as children is why we are losing enamel and have cracks in our teeth. I should have listened to my Scottish grandmother, who suggested eating oatmeal every day. At least that is a cereal I can gum my way through, should I lose all my cracked teeth.

21. Foods with high acidity are bad for the precious enamel on our teeth. What do our doctors want us to eat? Foods with high acidity. Hmmmm….Will the doc pay for my caps?

22. Anything my dental insurance will pay for is not tooth-colored. Just call me metal-mouth and no, I’m not wearing braces.

23. Colored braces came out…after I grew up. I sense a conspiracy here.

24. Dental office waiting rooms come equipped with a fully-stocked playroom, complete with DVD player and lots of Disney movies. You guessed it…this occurred after I grew up.

25. The “grown-up” dental office waiting room is “decorated” with an antique soda-pop machine. This is the definition of irony, right??? I need to give that definition to Dr. Comedian. Maybe that’s his way of working on job stability in a recessionary economy????

Point to Ponder Challenge: Gum disease and other dental inflammatory diseases are now being linked to much more serious disease, such as heart disease. Have you brushed and flossed today??? Is it time to get a new toothbrush? Has it been too long since you’ve been to the dentist? Work on improving your dental health in some tangible way today!

Tomorrow’s Post: Do you believe in miracles?


Heart Attacks Give Me a Headache…

           Heart - Sky

What do psoriasis, migraines, arthritis, and gum disease all have in common? They are all newly-discovered risk factors for heart disease. If I had my two heart attacks today, I could no longer answer “No” to every heart disease risk factor question. Why?

Because I have had migraines for nearly 47 years and they don’t appear to be permanently going away any time soon. But, they, in and of themselves, are a huge risk factor for heart disease now. The kicker is that one of the meds I was taking to prevent migraines in 1999 actually increased my risk for heart attacks! In fact, several medications that I was taking back then for various “routine” health conditions were all huge problems for someone at risk for heart attacks!

Those who experience auras with their migraines are much more at risk for heart attack than those who don’t. So, if you are a migraine sufferer with auras, that means you need to eat right, exercise regularly and talk to your doctor NOW. You might be on a medication that could throw you into a heart attack just like me, since this is a relatively new finding!

Also, not getting enough sleep can increase your risk! What?! Yep, that’s right. Why? Because a lack of sleep increases your stress level and stress can increase the inflammatory response of the body. So, knock off the coffee in the afternoon and choose decaf or better yet, simple little water.

What else does this mean? We should all be brushing and flossing our teeth regularly. Such a simple thing to do, but how many of us slack on this? And if your arthritis is out of control or your psoriasis is out of control, you need to be talking to your doctor as well. Why? Because these are all inflammatory diseases and there is now a link between inflammation in the body and the potential for having a heart attack.

In addition, you should know the heart attack symptoms and get yourself to an ER or doctor’s office immediately if you experience these symptoms. Lastly, you need to be eating right, taking your vitamins, and exercising regularly, not only to prevent heart attacks, but also to increase your chances of surviving one, should you have one. A woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 2.5 minutes; a woman has a heart attack every minute. Heart attacks are the # 1 killer of women and I came ridiculously close to being a part of that statistic in 1999.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are too healthy to have a heart attack like moi. Be smart. Be the hero. Do your job for those you love–take care of you!

Point to Ponder Challenge # 1: Visit this link to learn more about how migraines (and taking certain contraceptives) can increase the risk for heart attacks. 

Point to Ponder Challenge # 2: Are you getting enough sleep at night? (Preferably 7-8 hours per night) What can you do to change that pattern, if not? No more caffeine after 3 pm? Yoga or pilates before bed? Drinking warm milk (has tryptophan and is actually pretty tasty with some sweetener and Mexican vanilla!) before bed? Turning off the TV? Reading a book? Praying? Singing (Probably best to do this in your head, if you have “roomies”!)? Taking a warm shower? Lavender Pillow Spray? Make a “sleep log” and see if any of your interventions are working.

Point to Ponder Challenge # 3: Psoriasis sufferer? Visit this link and then make a visit to your doc if new meds may be warranted.

Point to Ponder Challenge # 4: Bad about brushing/flossing your teeth regularly? No? Visit this link to learn why it’s important. Then, get busy and brush those teeth and keep that floss handy!

Point to Ponder Challenge # 5: Arthritis bringing you down? Visit this link and learn what you can do to reduce your risk for heart disease by curbing arthritis’ impact on your life. Then, go exercise! Yes, exercise. It actually reduces arthritis over time. And I highly recommend a Tempur-Pedic bed, if you can afford it…my arthritis is almost 100% gone because of exercise and that cushy bed. And I sleep a whole lot better, which just took care of Challenge # 2! Boom! I love it when a plan comes together. 🙂

Tomorrow’s Post: The Man of Misdirection