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Out With Mercury!

Written by Administrator.

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Dr. Lillian Lasaten-Ebuen of Total Body Dentisty and Executive Director of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) in the Philippines joins an IPEN meeting on toxic metals in Minamata this week.

During the meeting, she stated that, “IAOMT-Philippines is reaffirming its stand against mercury use, not only in the dental profession but also in other sectors and industries – from manufacturing to small-scale gold mining.”

Minamata Convention on Mercury signing this week

An international treaty on controlling and regulating the use of mercury is also up for signing this week. Known as the Minamata Convention on Mercury, in honor of the victims of mercury poisoning in Minamata, the convention clearly details steps in the phase-out and eventual elimination of mercury.

“As the Philippines is a signatory,” according to Dr. Ebuen, “The government should enact legislation that fulfils its obligation under the treaty. There are initiatives addressing mercury use in the health sector and small-scale mining,” Dr. Ebuen reports, “But we still have a long way to go with the dental sector.”

Dr.  Ebuen notes that, even while European countries are actively banning dental amalgams and switching to mercury-free alternatives, dental associations and dental schools in the Philippines still endorse dental amalgams for treating patients or for filling much needed school requirements.

Often, recipients of this form of treatment come from low-income families dependent on free dental services offered by dental students and dental missions.

Dr. Ebuen asserts however that these obstacles only demonstrate the need to stress IAOMT’s promotion of equality, social justice, and the people’s right to information. “We are determined to take ongoing action to highlight the damage caused by toxic metal pollution to human health and the environment and to foster international support for further national and global governance measures to reduce, and where possible eliminate, sources of toxic metal pollution such as mercury.”

Dr. Ebuen adds, “We are calling on all dental organizations, the private, and the public sectors to swiftly commence on the phasedown of dental amalgams and to not wait for the law to order them so. This is not only for the health of the patients, the dentists, and laboratory assistants but this is to protect vulnerable populations such as women and children as well.   The signing of the treaty now signifies the global agreement/consensus that dental amalgam is a pre-historic technology and one that is better left in the annals of history.”

It's All About The Patients

Written by Dan Abril.

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A new set of dental standards was recently adapted in the UK last month. Issued by the General Dental Council (GDC), the dental regulatory board of the UK, the new standards state:

1.    Put patients' interests first;

2.    Communicate effectively with patients;

3.    Obtain valid consent;

4.    Maintain and protect patients' information;

5.    Have a clear and effective complaints procedure;

6.    Work with colleagues in a way that serves the interests of patients;

7.    Maintain, develop and work within your professional knowledge and skills;

8.    Raise concerns if patients are at risk;

9.    Make sure your personal behaviour maintains patients' confidence in you and the dental profession.

The new standards is interesting because its puts emphasis on the patients. On the GDC website, the chief executive of the council, Evlynne Gilvarry stated that the principles guiding the new standards were based on previous talks with dental patients regarding their expectations.   “Patients have told us clearly what they expect when they seek dental treatment. The new standards reflect those expectations and guide the dental profession in meeting them.”

The rights of Filipino patients

We see this as an exciting move and further realize the patients – or the individual’s set of rights. While there is an existing Patient’s Bill of Rights and Obligations in the Philippines, we feel that more health practitioners (and even the patients themselves) should be encouraged to discuss or thoroughly inform patients of available treatments, surgeries, and even of alternative therapies.

Our bill of rights, particularly articles 5 and 6 addresses patient’s right to information and the right to refuse treatment based on the information given. This is particularly relevant in cases involving invasive treatments – or to be basic – the use of dental amalgams.

Education and information

After years of research by concerned groups such as the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) attesting to the dangerous effects of dental amalgams, its use as reparative treatment is still a topic of hot debate among dental professionals, institutions, and organizations.

When it comes to oral health care, we also believe that Filipino patients should be educated and have sufficient information on dental amalgams, the long-term effects of mercury exposure, and available alternatives.
 
Sources:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/266792.php
http://www.gdc-uk.org/Newsandpublications/Pressreleases/Pages/Standards-for-dental-profession-put-new-focus-on-patients.aspx
http://www.cmaao.org/cmaao/eventsfl/eve_db_2.html

An Urgent Appeal to Dentsply

Written by Administrator.

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A petition on Change.org is appealing to Dentsply to cease its production of dental amalgams.

The petition, spearheaded by the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry states, “We must end the toxic trade of dental mercury that pollutes our bodies, land, water and air!  We have no capacity to sustainably handle more mercury polluting products, which end up in the food we eat.”

Supported by a large network of NGOs and concerned individuals around the globe, the petition is gaining steam and already has over 9000 signatories as of this writing.

“Wake up call”

Echoing the sentiments of Pennsylvania consumer welfare group, South-Pennsylvania for Mercury-Free Dentistry, the group of NGOs and citizens state that the letter and petition are a wake-up call for the company.

As the leading manufacturer of dental amalgams and its alternatives, Dentsply should immediately halt its production of dental amalgams and instead concentrate on the manufacture of mercury-free alternatives, they assert.

With the new mercury treaty (The New Minata Convention on Mercury) set to be signed this coming October, there is also a growing concern among these NGOs that surplus mercury-containing dental products will wind up in developing countries such as the Philippines.

Effects of mercury

Dental amalgams contain about 50 percent mercury and according to the petition, mercury is

  • An environment pollutant. Discarded dental amalgams can wind up in water or ground systems and will remain persistent for generations.  Likewise, the burning of dental amalgams through cremation releases the toxins polluting the air.
  • A danger to health. Long term exposure to mercury fumes is particularly deadly to women and children. Its effects can lead to chronic illnesses, and degeneration of psycho-motor skills.

Likewise, the petition stressed that dental amalgams are a mark of social injustice as the treatment is relegated for use among lower-income families and developing countries.

You can head over to Change.org and sign the petition asking Dentsply to stop its production of dental amalgams.

For more info:
Full letter to Dentsply:
http://www.toxicteeth.org/letter-with-62-ngos-40-nations.aspx,

World Alliance for Mercury:
www.toxicteeth.org

The text of the mercury treaty aka New Minamata Treaty:
http://www.unep.org/hazardoussubstances/MercuryNot/MercuryNegotiations/tabid/3320/language/en-US/Default.aspx,

Soda as Harmful as Meth

Written by Administrator.

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It is loaded with sugar and undeniably bad for your health. However, dentists have recently discovered that there is something more sinister with sodas: it is that, when it comes to teeth, it is as bad as meth.

In a study published in the Journal of General Dentistry early this year, Dr. Mohamed Bassiouny, professor of restorative dentistry at the Temple University School of Dentistry, found that there are similar patterns of enamel erosion between meth addicts and soda drinkers.

Comparing the oral health conditions of a soda drinker, a meth user, and a crack cocaine user, Dr. Bassiouny discovered that the “the intensity and extent of damage are more or less the same.”

Soda teeth

Dr. Bassiouny pointed out that like meth and cocaine; the highly acidic components in the soda can erode teeth enamel and over time make teeth vulnerable to cavities.

More popularly known as “meth teeth” or “coke teeth”, these are soft, rotting, and discoloured teeth common among drug users. One of the study’s subject – a woman who professed to consume an average of 4 litres of soda every day for the past five years displayed similar teeth.

In fact, Dr. Bassiouny stated that her teeth were in such a bad state that the subject had no other choice but have the rotten teeth removed and then replaced with dentures.

A previous study also published in the Journal of General Dentistry found that teeth immersed in soda lost more than five percent of their weight due to teeth enamel worn out by the high acidity of the sodas.

The American Beverage Association was quick to refute Dr. Bassiouny's study citing the study subject's neglect for proper oral health care. However, Dr. Bassiouny is also quick to answer that the case isn't isolated and he has been seeing similar results with other soda drinkers. 

Breaking bad...habits

As we have pointed out in previous posts, overconsumption of sugar is bad and based on this study, the damage caused by sodas come in two ways.

If you care for your teeth, we strongly encourage you to drop sodas altogether and develop healthier habits. However, we know that habits are difficult to break. To protect your teeth from damage, we suggest:


-    Drink beverages with less sugar and acid. Water is always the smarter choice.
-    Rinse your mouth with water after drinking soda.
-    Practice good oral health care.
-    Visit the dentist regularly.

Total Body Dentistry is a firm believer in the old adage that prevention is better than the cure.  Spare yourself the agony and pain of unsightly rotting teeth and put down that bottle of soda.

The bottom line is, soda is bad. You don't need to be a Walter White to know that.

References:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/28/diet-soda-teeth-similar-to-meth-photos_n_3348158.html

http://rt.com/usa/diet-soda-teeth-meth-963/

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130528122505.htm



It's Mercury-Free Dentistry Week

Written by Dan Abril.

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Total Body Dentistry is pleased to announce that this week (15 -21 Sept) is Mercury-Free Dentistry Week, a week long awareness campaign promoting mercury-free dental treatments and the education of consumers on mercury toxicity.

Initiated in 2011 by osteopathic physician and author, Dr. Joseph Mercola and the non-profit group, Consumers for Dental Choice, the yearly campaign is steadily gaining support from individuals and other concerned groups around the globe.

This year, Total Body Dentistry and the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) here in the Philippines will be joining the week long campaign.

Dr. Lillian Ebuen, of Total Body Dentistry and director of IAOMT-Philippines, stressed that this year’s campaign is particularly special as the phase-down of mercury amalgams has been incorporated in the mercury treaty. “After years of hard work, people are finally realizing problems associated with mercury.”

Dr. Ebuen and IAOMT – Philippines has been around the country, talking to government officials, dental associations, and even academic institutions; expressing concern over the use of dental amalgams.

She stated that based on research studies conducted by IAOMT in the US, toxic mercury fumes emanating from the amalgam can seep into the body and bloodstream and cause complications in the nervous, digestive, and respiratory systems. She also warned that aside from the patients, dental health practitioners are also at risk from handling dental amalgams.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that UNEP estimates global use of dental mercury at between 300 – 400 metric tonnes per year thus justifying a need for a phasedown and elimination.

As Dr. Ebuen prepares for the weeklong activity, she further stated that this is an opportunity for the government and other institutions to seriously focus on the dangers posed by dental amalgams on people’s health and the environment. “There’s an administrative order banning the use of mercury and mercury-containing products among hospitals and clinics, but there are no similar steps when it comes to dealing with the dental sector.”

Emphasizing the need for consumer education and dentists offering alternatives, Dr. Ebuen is ensuring that this year’s Mercury-Free Dentistry week be able to reach out to a greater majority, “We are encouraging both dental professionals and the public, we wish to foster an initiative to learn about mercury toxicity and what they can do to prevent damage.”

Visit IAOMT-Philippines for more info on mercury-free dentistry.

Gum Disease Can Have an Effect on Your Pregnancy

Written by Administrator.

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Listen up, moms! We are all aware that pregnancy is a delicate period and to ensure the health of the baby, expectant mothers are advised to practice extra caution when it comes to their diet and lifestyle. In addition to that however, researchers and dental professionals are also recommending pregnant women to take care of their teeth and gums.

As suggested by the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP), these recommendations are based on research studies showing a possible correlation between periodontal disease and premature birth or low birth weight.

Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy

Periodontal or gum disease is a chronic, bacteria-induced condition that causes the inflammation of the gums. If left untreated, the ailment can worsen and affect the underlying gum tissues, weaken the bones supporting teeth, and even spread to the body. As we’ve noted earlier, there is a growing body of evidence that gum disease is linked to other health complaints such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and respiratory problems.

In a similar manner, bacteria from the gums can seep into the bloodstream, reach the uterus, and trigger the production of chemicals that eventually induces premature birth.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautions that premature birth or babies weighing less than 2.49 kilograms (5.5 pounds) are prone to long-term health problems and may even have  implications on the development of their learning and motor skills.

As periodontal disease can be prevented or treated, expectant mothers are advised to take care of their oral health by adopting a strict regimen of brushing, flossing, and gargling with mouthwash. A visit to the dentist is also recommended as the dentist can assess the overall health of the teeth and gums.

If going for a treatment, surgeries should be avoided until after birth. However, non-surgical and non-invasive procedures such as root planning, scaling, and medicines are available. As always, check with a dentist to see the best form of treatment for during your period of pregnancy.
For more information, please visit our office or email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sources:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130828092310.htm
http://www.babycenter.com/0_bleeding-gums-during-pregnancy_217.bc
http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=p&iid=325&aid=4854
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/07/gum-disease-pregnancy-chances_n_890529.html
http://www.clevelandperio.com/periodontal-disease/mouth-body-connection.asp#respiratory
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/periodontitis/DS00369/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs