An t i - Ag i ng DENT I STRY
Dr. Kourosh Maddahi
C O S M E T I C & A N T I - A G I N G D E N T I S T R Y
Striving for the Best in Oral Health
3 MAJOR TRENDS HURTING OUR HEALTH — AND THE SEARCH FOR ANSWERS
A few years ago, I wrote the book “The Hidden Epidemic: Restoring Oral Health, One Smile at a Time.” It’s a book that continues to be relevant for many people today — especially for people who struggle with cavities, tooth sensitivity, and other dental issues. I was first inspired to write “The Hidden Epidemic” after I began to notice destructive trends among some of my patients. For instance, more patients were complaining of tooth and gum sensitivity. In this case, the trend followed the increased use of teeth-whitening products. More people were using at-home teeth whitening products because they were drinking more beverages that led to stains and discoloration. These drinks include coffee, tea, red wine, and a number of juices. This also goes hand in hand with juice-based diets and cleanses. Another trend I noticed was an increase in clenching and grinding. People were wearing down tooth enamel and experiencing sensitivity, headaches, and jaw pain. Much of this was caused by stress. But one age group was experiencing this more than any other: teenagers. Many teenagers feel stress from school and life in general, and that stress can manifest itself with tightening facial and jaw muscles. While asleep, instead of relaxing their facial muscles, they clench and grind. It’s remarkable that stress can do this, but it seems to have become a reality of modern life. The rise in the use of prescription medications has also affected dental health. Over the past 10–15 years, I have witnessed an increase of uncontrolled cavities and tooth decay. When I first began my career as a dentist, the rate of cavities was going down. In general, the oral health of my patients was improving. But that started to change. The positive trend had reversed, and I wanted to know why. I started asking patients questions that might lead me to an answer, and I found out that more medications now list dry mouth as a major side effect. This condition can have a detrimental effect on
the health of your entire mouth. Dry mouth allows bacteria to get a foothold, and the bacteria causes tooth decay.
Many people don’t realize their medications cause dry mouth. While a general feeling of dryness in the mouth is a common sign of the condition, many people carry a bottle of water with them wherever they go and drink water at night. Drinking water all the time can temporarily hide the feeling of dry mouth. But if you feel the need to drink water all the time, dry mouth will continue to be an issue. Water and hydration alone won’t help prevent cavities. It’s the lack of saliva that leads to cavities. Saliva contains natural antibiotics and helps create a barrier between your teeth and harmful bacteria. All of these trends moved me to write “The Hidden Epidemic.” In addition, I introduced the Oral Essentials line of products. Identifying an issue is one thing, but giving people solutions is what truly matters. These trends aren’t going to go away on their own. All of us need to be more proactive, either by using oral care products that are better for our health or finding ways to reduce stress in our lives. My hope is that one day we can begin to reverse these trends and strive for the best in oral health and whole-body health.
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