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Early Saturday morning - just a few not so random thoughts

by: teacherken

Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 19:13:37 PM EDT

apologies - somehow forgot to crosspost this here on time, as you can tell by the title, but it is an appropriate followup to my last diary here

It is 4:30 in the morning. I am packing, dressing, and about to leave for my 2nd and final day of the Mission of Mercy project in Roanoke, where I will spend from 6 to 3 or so in dental triage.  As I was going to sleep last night I came to several realizations which I wish to share.

You may agree.

You may disagree.

Hell, you may chose not to keep reading.

It is what is on my mind.

So here goes

teacherken :: Early Saturday morning - just a few not so random thoughts
We must stop treating nutrition separately from health

We must stop treating mental health separately from bodily health

We must stop treating dental health separately from bodily health, mental health, and nutrition.

Dental health connects with nutrition because what we eat and drink has a huge impact on our teeth and our gums.

Dental health connects with mental health because people under mental stress or who are depressed often grind their teeth and/or develop TMJ, which can really wreck the teeth.

Dental health connects with bodily health in too many ways to enumerate - mouth bacteria can cause heart disease is just one example.

Dental health connects with poverty - those who are poor often lack access to regular dental care before their mouths become war zones.

Dental health declines in the inner city and in rural areas.  In both case access to health care professionals is far less than in the suburbs and in the "better" neighborhoods of our urban areas.

Health, especially dental health, seems to indicate a lack of concern for the poor and those of color who tend to be more heavily poor.

Many in the dental field care deeply about those not receiving care.  Dentists and their assistants volunteer. Dental students clamor to be allowed to participate.  Medical students at Virginia Commonwealth, which is also the site of the Commonwealth's only dental school, also seek to be allowed to participate in these events.  

IF we do not honestly address the dental crisis in this country, we can far too easily undermine the work we are doing to ensure quality medical care for all in our nation - well, at least all who are not undocumented aliens.

If you have your teeth, take care of them.  

If you care about others, help enable them to take care of their teeth as well.

Now I have to go shower, get dressed, and go volunteer.  Oh yeah, and before I go, I will brush my teeth.

Remember, brush yours as well.  AND FLOSS.

And then please, do something to help the millions in this country who lack full access to dental care.


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I agree
I agree with all of this. Even when I didn't have much income I always went to the dentist. When a tooth is gone it is gone forever.

Also, The kind of food we eat becomes part of our bodies (what a concept!). The body does its best to eliminate the toxins, but some toxins are cumulative and are not easily eliminated.

It all weaves together. Then there is also how we handle stress and this goes along with how we handle people and events we don't like. That's where it's nice to have a good philosophical or religious grounding which works for the individual.

As a closing thought, it has always puzzled me that those who are in most in need of health care are often those who buy into the Republican scare tactics about "Obamacare".

No Separation Between Dental and Health Care
The connection between heart disease, stroke and dental problems has been established. There is no reason that basic dental care should not be part of health care, except the stinginess of the culture in which we live.

There were about 1,000 people who received some dental care in Roanoke this past weekend, thanks to the kindness of teacherken and so many others.

There were, however, probably that many or more who were turned away because the need exceeded the charity available.

That is the disgrace....I stand ashamed of the culture in which I live.

Thanks to you, teacherken, for all you do.

Another excellent article on hc in America
You are right.  I would assert that health care, dental care, vision care, hearing care, nutrition (care), and mental health care are all interrelated.  Yet many policies exclude or significantly restrict coverage of all of these.  Good general health depends upon all of them. And yet bundles including all of them will approach the ridiculously termed "Cadillac" tax by the time that tax sets in, in 2018.  While there are some good things in the bill, it also ultimately punishes those offering (and those purchasing) good comprehensive coverage for their families.  Instead, doing the right thing should be rewarded, not punished.

One other comment, knowledge about good nutrition must always be updated.  What we thought we knew at a given point in time surely will change in light of newer research.  So keeping up-to-date is essential for families.  But it is difficult to sort through all the industry-biased so-called research. News reports don't always tell us whether a particular producer subsidized the study.  And many nutrition departments in universities now have too-cozy relationships with industry sources. Regardless, though, making an effort to become knowledgeable is better for families than not doing it.

The same goes for our knowledge in the area of health care. It's essential to figure out whether studies claiming effectiveness of a drug therapy was funded by the manufacturer.  Was the the medication was subjected to prospective double-blind experimental conditions?  Or were the data merely retrospective correlational studies, with variance attributable to numerous confounds uncontrolled?  It's also really important to study the side-effects of medications via a PDR and to try to track down the research on various treatments.  Some surgical treatments are really inappropriate for certain people.  In some cases surgical treatments dont' even work in the majority of cases.  Being an informed medical consumer is a real, but necessary, challenge.  

"One person, one vote" died at the hands of SCOTUS, January 21, 2010

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