Life, Stress and Dental Problems

by Dr Rachel Hall B.Ch.D (Uni Leeds), LDSRCS(Eng), MACNEM, Dental Surgeon, Brisbane, Australia

 

“Stress is a reaction people have when excessive pressure or demands are placed upon them, and arises when an individual believes they are unable to cope.”

At one time or another, we’ve all dealt with the effects of chronic stress, from migraines and backaches to anxiety and depression. We all know that stress can impact the immune system – how often do we happen to get sick or catch a cold when we are stressed or run down? But what is not commonly understood is that stress and our response to it can also impact on the mouth, teeth, jaws and gums as well as our overall emotional and physical wellbeing. It is not possible to point to a particular dental problem and say it’s caused entirely by stress but like the rest of the body, the mouth can be affected. Continue reading “Life, Stress and Dental Problems”

Sugar and Dental Decline

by Dr Rachel Hall B.Ch.D (Uni Leeds), LDSRCS(Eng), MACNEM, Dental Surgeon, Brisbane, Australia

I graduated from dental school having been told that due to advances in preventive care most of my career would be spent replacing failed fillings, doing routine maintenance and cosmetic work as the need to treat dental decay or perform root canal treatments and extractions would be greatly reduced. However, 20 years later I find that I am performing more extractions than ever before, doing more and more root canal procedures and dealing with rampant dental decay and gum disease in all ages. Anecdotally I feel that dental disease is actually on the increase and appears to be more widespread, severe and aggressive. Dental decay rates in children in Australia have increased progressively since the 1990s according to a study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (1,2). It is well documented that poor socio-economic status and poor oral health are linked, and the statistics do speak for themselves (3). However, it is not just the financially disadvantaged who are presenting with increased prevalence of dental problems, it is happening across all levels of income and background.
Why is this? We all know that sugar consumption is linked to dental decay (4,5,6,7,8).

Continue reading “Sugar and Dental Decline”

Responsibility and Dental Health

by Dr Rachel Hall B.Ch.D(Uni Leeds), LDSRCS(Eng), MACNEM, Dental Surgeon, Brisbane, Australia

Dentistry has always aimed to focus on prevention of oral disease rather than solely treatment alone. We all know that too much sugar causes tooth decay and that to maintain the health of our teeth and gums it is important to brush and floss regularly. Our role as dental professionals shifted from drillers and fillers to health care educators where we told our patients how to clean their teeth and advised them to cut down on sugar. However, this culture shift needs to be taken further as despite our efforts, rates of dental decay and oral health issues are again on the increase. Continue reading “Responsibility and Dental Health”