NIH

The Fight Against the Opioid Crisis

February 27th, 2019

The opioid crisis is a major public health emergency that has sadly resulted in the loss of many lives. According to the (NIH) National Institute on Drug Abuse, the deaths from opioid use increased from 18,515 in 2007 to 47,600 deaths in 2017. It has been found that for every day that passes, about 130 people in America die from an opioid overdose. Opioids, including Vicodin, Percocet, Morphine, Codeine, and Oxycodone, to name a few, are categoriezed as narcotics, and can be an effective pain management option prescribed by medical professionals after a procedure like wisdom teeth extractions. However, abuse of opioids has become a dangerous issue, with almost 29% of patients misusing them when prescribed. Opioids do provide pain-relief, but they also trigger your body to release the hormone dopamine, which in turn can lead to addition due to the experience of pleasure signaled to your brain. Even so, abuse of opioids can lead individuals to abuse other dangerous drugs such as heroin. Misusing opioids can lead to depressed airways and ultimately death.

Awareness is a key way to help prevent this epidemic. Dentists and oral surgeons write approximately 12% of opioids prescriptions for pain relief after certain procedures. This percentage is expected to decrease now as combinations of Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and other over-the-counter drugs have been shown to be as effective as opioids in relieving pain after dental procedures. Opioids can only be prescribed for up to 7 days in Massachusetts, which was the first state to adopt this law in 2016. It is important to update your dentist with any current medical conditions, medications, and if you have a past addiction history.

If it is decided by the healthcare professional and the patient to use an opioid for treatment, make sure to ask when and how much you should be taking, the objective of the medication, and the risks involved. Be sure to also store your prescription away in a safe place out of reach of other individuals to help reduce the risk of potential abuse by others. You may also find that you do not need the entire amount of pills prescribed. To dispose of unused pills, be sure to follow these guidelines:

Prescription medication disposal instructions

If you or a loved one is battling with addiction,  you may call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for free at any time 24 hours on any day.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. DerekDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Stephens would be more than willing to help.

References:

https://wellesley.wickedlocal.com/news/20190223/new-focus-on-role-of-dentists-in-opioid-epidemic

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/o/opioids?utm_source=adaorg&utm_medium=OpioidsFeaturedBox&utm_content=mouthhealthy

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High Blood Sugar Increases Risk of Heart Disease

October 27th, 2016

To be heart healthy, you not only need to pay attention to your habits, but also your diet!

According to a study published in the journal Nature, scientists discovered that cardiac arrhythmia, a condition that causes irregular heartbeats, is linked to a biological pathway activated by abnormally high levels of blood sugar. This finding explains why diabetes greatly increases the risk for heart disease.

The National Institutes of Health claims that diabetics are four times more likely to have heart disease, and the American Heart Association notes that about 65 percent of the death of diabetics are caused by heart disease or stroke. Therefore, if you have diabetes or high blood sugar levels, make sure to check on your heart health!

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

Resources:

http://s.doctoroz.com/78815991.jpg

http://dentistrytoday.com/news/science-a-medicine/item/60-how-high-blood-sugar-throws-off-heart-rhythm

Early Exposure to Chemicals is Harming Our Youth

September 15th, 2016

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It seems like chemicals are all around us, often showing up in things we use everyday, including cosmetics, household appliances, and plastic bottles. Unfortunately, these chemicals may be causing many health problems. According to recent research presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology, chemicals in plastics may be damaging children's tooth enamel by interfering with hormones that stimulate tooth enamel development. Enamel is one of the hardest substances in the body and it is found on the outer layer of each tooth. It is made up of mainly minerals and serves the purpose of protecting your teeth from plaque and ultimately tooth decay.

Researchers looked at the effects of daily doses of Bisphenol A  (BPA) alone or with Vinclozolin on rats. BPA is chemical commonly found in plastics including water bottles and food containers, and vinclozolin is a common fungicide typically found on raspberries, lettuce, kiwi, and onions. Both BPA and vinclozolin are referred to as endocrine disruptors, which are chemicals that interfere with mammalian hormones. The doses given were similar to those a human would be exposed to daily from birth to 30 days old. Then, researchers took cell samples from the rats’ teeth and found that the expression of genes involved in mineralization (important for tooth enamel) were impaired due to the exposure to BPA and vinclozolin. They concluded that children with developing teeth who are exposed to these chemicals could be at higher risk of having molar incisor hypermineralization (MIH), which can lead to tooth sensitivity and damaged tooth enamel. It is important to note that once tooth enamel is gone, it cannot be replaced!

In addition, researchers analyzed rat ameloblast cells, which deposit enamel during tooth development. They found that sex hormones including estrogen and testosterone helped boost tooth enamel development. However, exposure to BPA and vinclozolin blocked these hormones from functioning properly, which as a result weakened tooth enamel. Leading researcher, Dr. Katia Jedeon stated, "Tooth enamel starts at the third trimester of pregnancy and ends at the age of 5, so minimizing exposure to endocrine disruptors at this stage in life as a precautionary measure would be one way of reducing the risk of enamel weakening.” Further research on other chemicals found in things we commonly use are currently being studied. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that many endocrine disruptors have the greatest health threat to individuals during early infant development.

If you have concerns about chemicals impacting you children, your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. Van. Dr. Van is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and is passionate about improving the health of all of his patients.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Dr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

References:

http://www.dentalproductsreport.com/dental/article/chemicals-water-bottles-food-containers-may-permanently-damage-childrens-teeth

http://www.medicaldaily.com/plastic-water-bottles-bpa-kids-teeth-dental-enamel-388438

http://www.hindustantimes.com/rf/image_size_800x600/HT/p2/2016/06/01/Pictures/_1542ac3a-27ad-11e6-a271-92fd27615944.jpg

Sharks and Human Tooth Regeneration

May 4th, 2016

Sharks can seem scary, but did you know they can help us learn more about tooth regeneration? In December 2015, we blogged about Lake Malawi cichlids and their process of regenerating teeth. Turns out we can also discover properties of tooth regeneration from other animals underwater!

Tooth Loss (Edentulism)

Before finding ways to regenerate teeth, we need to learn more about the problem of human tooth loss. Take a look at these facts from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention:

  • The average number of teeth that adults aged 20-64 have: 24.92 (as opposed to a full 32)
  • 3.75% of adults between 20 and 64 have no remaining teeth
  • Older, less-educated Black or Hispanic adults who smoke and have lower incomes are more likely to have fewer teeth
  • 27% of adults aged 20-64 had untreated tooth decay
  • 52% of adults between 20 and 64 had lost at least one tooth from dental disease
  • Cavities and untreated tooth decay are the main causes of tooth loss in adults

Fun Facts about Sharks

Now that we've studied human teeth loss, let's take some time to learn about teeth in sharks:

  • The number of teeth that sharks can have up to: 3,000!
  • Human teeth are set in the jaw, but shark teeth are fixed in the gums
  • Sharks can constantly regrow their teeth - they lose over 30,000 in a lifetime!
  • Genes in sharks are linked to the development and regeneration of teeth
  • Humans have these same genes - Dr. Gareth Fraser from the University of Sheffield and his team claim that this conclusion can lead to the development of more treatments for human tooth loss!

What's the Connection Between Sharks and Humans?

By studying gene expression in the teeth development of catshark embryos, Dr. Fraser's team discovered that certain genes contributed to creation of a set of epithelial cells called dental lamina. These cells were responsible for the regeneration of teeth in sharks. What's interesting is that humans have the same genes that help form dental lamina, which lead to the formation of the growth of both baby and adult teeth! However, the dental lamina disappears after all adult teeth have grown in.

The team also observed that these genes have been around for 450 million years in sharks and could be the force behind tooth development of all vertebrates. Sharks have held these genes due to the fact that maintaining their teeth are crucial for hunting, but the ability for humans to regenerate teeth has evolved to disappear.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

References:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/306583.php

http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/ToothLoss/ToothLossAdults20to64.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/

http://public.media.smithsonianmag.com/legacy_blog/SmileyShark.jpg

March 6-13: National Sleep Awareness Week

March 8th, 2016

Have you been getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night? If not, make sure to add "better sleep" to your goals this month, because March 6-13 is the National Sleep Foundation's National Sleep Awareness Week! Check out this list of tips and the 2016 SAW Infographic.

In order to get a good night's sleep, here are some recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Turn off electronics such as mobile devices and laptops (which give off blue light that can prevent you from falling asleep) before going to sleep.
  • Schedule enough hours of sleep. Plan ahead and stick with the same schedule.
  • Even a little exercise can mean better sleep.
  • Create a sleep-friendly environment (a comfortable bed, closed curtains, no loud noises, etc.).
  • Have a bedtime routine (relaxing exercises, deep breathing, light reading, calming music, etc.).

You may think that missing a few hours of sleep is no big deal, but the quality and quantity of sleep you get can have a huge impact (both short-term and long-term) your overall health. Still not convinced? Here are some reasons why sleep is important from the NIH's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:

Mental Health

A lack of sleep can lead to depression, suicide, risky behavior, and other emotional problems. It changes the brain's activity, which can cause children and adolescents in particular to lose focus, feel unmotivated, or have mood swings.

Brain Health

Adequate sleep is crucial for proper brain function, because it allows your brain to solidify what you've learned and get ready to learn more the next day. Don't think that pulling an all-nighter will help you score better on your exam: sleeping well improves learning and helps you solve problems more efficiently.

Physical Health

Sleep is connected to the healing of heart and blood vessels, maintenance of hormone levels, growth, and the immune system. If you don't get enough sleep, you could have a higher risk of heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, or stroke.

Safety

Your safety could be at risk when you don't get enough sleep. Sleep deficiency means a slower reaction time, more opportunities for mistakes, and decreased productivity. You definitely don't want to be driving when you feel sleepy!

Take this Sleep IQ Quiz to find out how much of an expert you are on sleep now!

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

Resources:

https://sleepfoundation.org/SAW

https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-tools-tips/healthy-sleep-tips

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why

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