Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Morning Drill: February 8, 2012

Good Morning!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

Educators, dentists consider mobile dental vans

Educators and dentists in Rockingham County are working together to try and provide a way to reach the population of Medicaid-eligible children who are still not seeing a dentist on a regular basis.

Several groups approached Rockingham County Schools three years ago wanting to come in and provide dental services to students. Dr. Jean Steverson, assistant superintendent for instructional services, said the service was initially turned down when they said they would only offer cleanings, X-rays and sealants. She said they wanted a more comprehensive program.

She said they were particularly interested in one that offered restorations because their goal is to provide the most comprehensive care for county students.

“We wanted to help because 36 percent of Medicaid-eligible students are not receiving dental care,” she said. “As much service as local people can provide with the dental clinic, Give Kids a Smile and other programs…we still have kids that aren’t seeing the dentist. There has to be a way to address those concerns.”

She said the conversation among local dentists and officials with the health department is having a positive impact on the problem.

“We’re thinking about what we can do with the resources we already have to make a difference,” she said. “We’ve set a common goal and it’s critical for us to come together on this. We don’t have a complete answer now – maybe it’s a mobile dental van – but we need to continue this dialogue.”

Obama boosts funds for Alzheimer's research

The Obama administration plans to spend an additional $156 million over the next two years to help find an effective treatment for Alzheimer's, a fatal brain-wasting disease that affects more than 5 million Americans.

The White House said on Tuesday it will spend and extra $50 million this year, and it will seek an extra $80 million in fiscal 2013 to bolster Alzheimer's research. Obama also plans to spend an additional $26 million in programs to support people who care for Alzheimer's patients.

The spending increase is intended help make good on a U.S. target set last month to find a way to treat or prevent Alzheimer's by 2025, a goal some experts fear is too ambitious.

Current drugs help manage symptoms but so far no therapy can stop the progression of Alzheimer's, which can start with vague memory loss and confusion before progressing to complete disability and death.

Experts predict that without an effective treatment, the number of Americans with Alzheimer's will double by 2050 and related healthcare costs could soar to more than $1 trillion a year.

Sports drinks can spell dental disaster

Dentists say kids are literally drinking their teeth away.

The culprits: energy drinks, sports drinks – the beverages every kid wants.

Milk is no longer the No. 1 drink in America. And sports drinks got a boost when schools brought them in to replace pop. It was meant to be a healthier option. But sometimes, it’s exactly the opposite.

Indiana dentists say the drinks can be devastating.

"Twenty years ago, I thought we had decay on the run,” said Dr. Diane Buyer, a dentist in Nora. “It has come back with a huge vengeance.”

She showed the teeth of a 21-year-old with rampant decay. Five years ago, he didn’t have any cavities.

She also showed the teeth of a 30-year-old man who admitted drinking a 2-liter bottle of Mountain Dew every day.

She said now that man’s mouth is undergoing major rehabilitation.

And she introduced us to Wes Bruemmer, a Brebeuf High School graduate who played baseball. Bruemmer said because he was so active, he drank a lot of sports drinks. He thought it was just as good as or better than water. He said he drank three sports drinks a day.

“After practice I was gulping them, but during school I was sipping,” he said.

Bruemmer had no cavities before braces. But 18 months later, he had 12 cavities.

Bread, Bologna, Cheese Top List of Salty Foods

Just 10 types of food account for nearly half of the nation's excessive sodium intake, government researchers found.

About 44% of Americans' mean daily sodium consumption -- almost 3,300 mg -- comes from breads, cold cuts, pizza, poultry, soups, sandwiches, cheese, pasta dishes, meat dishes, and snacks such as popcorn and chips, Mary Cogswell, PhD, of the CDC, and colleagues wrote in an MMWR Vital Signs report.

Although some of those foods, like bread, aren't inherently high in salt, the frequency with which they're eaten during the day ups their contribution to the total sodium count, the researchers said.

Brands also matter, they said. Sodium in different types of chicken noodle soup, for instance, can vary from a low of 100 to as much as 940 mg per serving, while a slice of bread can range from 80 to 230 mg.

Cogswell and colleagues wrote that food bought at supermarkets and convenience stores accounts for a majority -- 65% -- of the salt in Americans' diets, while another quarter is traced to restaurants, where it's often hard to tell how much salt is in each dish.

Almost all Americans (90%) consume more salt than they should, and the national average -- not including salt added at the table -- is 3,266 mg of sodium daily.

That's almost 1,000 mg more than the government's recommended daily intake, they wrote, and almost twice as much as the 1,500 mg per day recommended for specific groups: patients over 5o, blacks, and those with high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease.

Enjoy your morning!

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