Americans are Living Large but not in a Good Way
The United States has been considered the land of milk and honey. But judging from the size of Americans’ waistlines, we are the home of milk chocolate the size of bricks and honey-drenched cereals.
An estimated 160 million American citizens are dining out mostly in fast-food restaurants. So what’s eating America? Smoking cessation, medications, and insufficient sleep are among the other contributors to our overweight and obese population. In addition, genetics, illness resulting in limited activity, food companies marketing to young children, and fast food with inexpensive cost and expanded portions, as well as 24/7 availability, are all factors.
In short, the “knife and fork” have become “weapons of mass destruction” for us and our children. The statistics are frightening; 1 in 5 children are overweight, and 1 in 3 children are at risk for type 2 diabetes. There are some projections suggesting that today’s kids will not live as long as their parents.
The fact is, Americans are overfed but undernourished with foods that are calorie dense but not nutritionally dense. Being overweight or obese (Body Mass Index of 30+ for obesity) has the potential for significant dental consequences:
Poor food choices and habits can increase the decay rate of teeth.
- Signs of iron or vitamin deficiencies may occur.
- Conditions of glossitis (inflammation of the tongue), stomatitis (inflammation of the tissues of the mouth), ulcerations in the mouth, and angular chelitis (inflammation at the corners of the mouth)
- Periodontal (gum) disease Patients who are overweight or obese can be proactive to lose weight with the help of a physician and/or registered dietician, or with the help of a respected program like Cedars-Sinai’s Weight Management Program.
Our dental office can provide you with dietary information, instruction on decay control, regular dental prophylaxis, frequent fluoride treatments, intensified instruction on oral hygiene, restoration of any decayed, missing, or broken teeth, and treatment for periodontal disease.
If you have any questions or would like a consultation, please call Dr. Gerber at 310-652-0450.
(Parts of this article were taken from the CDA Journal, August 2008)