10 Ghoulish Disorders That Will Have You Flying to the Dentist

While most of us love a good horror story, in the world of dentistry, sometimes the truth is more frightening than any Hollywood flick! Curl up and dig in to 10 of the creepiest dental ailments you have ever heard of:

  1. Amelogenesis Imperfecta: Tooth Enamel Disease

10.pngAmelogenesis Imperfecta is a congenital disease. Causing small teeth with very thin tooth enamel, a discolored smile is the tip of the iceberg here. These tiny chompers often suffer from painful sensitivity and lots of breakage. Diagnosed by your dentist, treatments are available for every level of severity.

Source: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center

 9. Hyperdontia: Extra Teeth

This rare condition affects a very small percentage of children. Sometimes tied to a genetic disorder, but can also occur for unknown reasons, a child develops extra teeth hidden in their gums. With extraction often the best course of action, left unattended these extra teeth can prevent or delay the eruption of permanent teeth and wreak havoc on the child’s bite. Yes, even those suffering from hyperdontia should still brush and floss twice a day!

Source: Colgate

  1. Papillon-Lefevre Syndrome (PLS): Premature Tooth Loss

8.pngBy the age of five, kids with PLS usually have many loose primary teeth. This can become a severe issue without regular dental care. But what’s the cause? The root of the problem stems from a missing enzyme causing a connective tissue issue. As skin infections are also common with PLS, routine care requires a team of specialists; usually including pediatricians, surgeons, dermatologists, among of course, dentists, periodontist and prosthodontists.

What’s even more frightening is the possibility of losing all permanent teeth… as a teenager! Such is so, as teens often choose to have any remaining teeth removed and wear dentures.

Source: National Organization for Rare Disorders

  1. Talon Cusps: Claw-Like Teeth

7.pngJust as it sounds, these abnormal tooth sprouts look like the shape of an eagle’s talon at the back of a child’s tooth.  If left to fester, potential problems include crowding, gum irritation, bad bite, and of course the accumulation of plaque.

Dare not scrape these off! Talon cusps require common treatment from your dentist, such as grinding down or a root canal.

Source: Journal of the Canadian Dental Association

  1. Geminated Teeth: Mega Tooth

This is as if the tooth root has had twins. This anomaly manifests itself when two teeth develop from a single tooth bud. Turning into an oversized and disfigured tooth, your dentist will be on the lookout for the trouble it’s causing to nearby teeth.

Your dentist will be on the lookout for a bad bite, tooth decay in the area and overcrowding of neighboring teeth. Depending on size, it’s possible the tooth could cause little impact. However, most cases need extraction or other procedures to bring it down to normal size. Beware! These teeth aren’t easily flossed so using anti-bacterial mouthwash is advised.

Source: National Institute of Health

  1. Tonsilloliths: Tonsil Debris

Ever heard of tonsil stones? When this buildup of bacteria and debris gets trapped in and around your tonsils it’s no joke. Especially considering they range in size from a grain of rice to that of a large grape!

What causes this troublesome throat rubble? Chronic tonsillitis and poor dental hygiene are the usual culprits.  While not always visible, if they’re lurking you’ll likely smell it first! Bad breath, sore throat, and trouble swallowing as the most reported symptoms. Tonsils are delicate, and removing the stones requires the expert hand of a true professional.

Source:  Live Scicence

  1. Black Hairy Tongue: Like. It. Sounds…

Harmless as it may be, this fearsome condition will attract unwanted attention. If not from looks, the radiating smell will turn heads… and your stomach with a metallic taste. Caused by the building up of dead skin cells, this creepy accumulation does offer some relief in how it’s treated. Oral hygiene. Brush your tongue or using a tongue scraper daily should clear things up. If it persists, visit your dentist as reoccurrence risk runs high.

Source: WebMD

  1. Salivary Gland Stones: Clogged Salivary Glands

3.pngThink kidney stones in your mouth. They’re painful and can cause neck swelling. As saliva is full of calcium, these startling stones store up in sucking on sour candy to get the saliva juices flowing. Caution! Stones can grow large enough for surgical removal.

Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information

  1. The Disgusting Truth About Your Toothbrush: dun dun dun!

Your toothbrush is a bacteria magnet. The dirty little secret it hides is really more like 10 million bacteria— including E. coli and Staph. Truly a terrifying thought! Here are some empowering tips to keeping your brush as clean as possible:

  • Replace your toothbrush after 3 months. Sooner if the bristles become frayed and always after the flu or a cold.
  • Not all toothpaste is created equal. Look for ones with triclosan or copolymer to help kill mouth bacteria.
  • Rinse the bristles after every use. Soaking in antibacterial mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide also helps.
  • In this case, sharing is not caring. Each brush is factory built for one mouth. Remember, 10 million bacteria…
  • Air dry between uses and don’t let toothbrush heads touch. Remember, 10 million bacteria…
  • Flush with the toilet seat down. We smell molecules of whatever it is giving off the stench. Remember E. coli…

Source: Huffington Post

  1. Hand-Foot-and-Mouth disease: Virus

1.pngImagine having sores in your mouth, on your hands, feet, and even your legs. A very unpleasant condition, hand-foot-and-mouth disease is easily spread through coughing and sneezing. So, halt the spread with frequent hand washing, and while infected, keep the kisses under wraps.

This nasty virus is most common among children under 10 but adults can contract it as well. With symptoms lasting about a week, see a physician if the sore mouth and throat prevent drinking.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Spook ‘Em in Style!

When was your last dental exam? Call today to schedule your next appointment or request online!

George A. Malkemus DDS
2 Padre Pkwy #200, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Phone | (707) 585-8595
www.malkemusdds.com

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10 Ghoulish Disorders That Will Have You Flying to the Dentist

Taking the Bite Out of Cavities

 

Cavities. They hurt, they look bad, and they are not fun to fix. What’s the best way to deal with a cavity? Try not to get one in the first place. A cavity doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not caused by a single event. A series of events have to line up to create that painful hole in your tooth. Knowing how cavities start may give you some insight into how to stop them.

STEP ONE: Plaque Build up

CavatiesA multitude of bacteria live in your mouth. The ones that produce the acids (mutans streptococci and lactobacilli) live in the plaque on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky, colorless biofilm, filled with bacteria that can cover your teeth. Enamel, the protective, thin coating around the tooth is extremely hard, actually the second hardest substance in nature behind diamonds.  Dentist use diamond impregnated burs to drill through enamel when treating teeth for cavities.  But acids secreted by bacteria can eat through enamel, a process called demineralization. Once through the outer enamel, decay can advance rapidly through the soft internal parts of a tooth.

Every time you eat or drink you leave a little food behind on your teeth for the bacteria to dine on; they secrete acid, which eats away the enamel-producing a cavity. The bacteria especially like it if you’re eating sugary or starchy foods.  Sticky sugary foods are particularly bad, like candy or raisins. Acidic drinks and food add to the demineralization of enamel.

With the first bite or sip, the clock is ticking. Within minutes, the bacteria convert these sugars and starches to acids. Saliva is designed to neutralize the acids and protect the teeth, but it takes in the neighborhood of twenty minutes to do its job. So, the more often you eat the less time your saliva has to repair the damage. If you have a hamburger at noon, cookies at one, then and a cola at 1:30, you’re not giving your mouth enough time to recover from the acid attack.

Leave plaque alone and it will build up on your teeth.  Bacteria double their populations every 20 minutes forming more and more plague until you brush and floss again.  That is why, it is best to brush after every meal, since bacteria just ‘party on’, using new food debris to grow, secrete acid and make plaque.  Plaque essentially forms a shield that prevents the saliva from rinsing away the acids while holding them directly against the teeth’s surfaces, allowing the acids to seep into your teeth. That’s the beginning of the end.

STEP TWO: Demineralization

The older the plaque is, the more acids it holds in place, and the more demineralization it can inflict. The acid-filled plaque that has now found a comfortable spot on your teeth, if left undisturbed, will begin to dissolve the teeth’s mineral layer, essentially turning it from a solid to a liquid. Over time, that demineralization leads to the formation of a cavity.

Recently, a 17-year-old boy, who had been a patient for many years with no cavities, came in for his 6-month dental examination.  Amazingly, he had gum line black cavities on every tooth.  It turns out he had been working, flipping burgers at a fast-food restaurant for the last 3 months.  Due to the heat while cooking, he had been sipping continual on coke.  The acid and sugar from the coke, constantly bathing his teeth, had cause the decay to occur in a short time.  Many ‘health’ drinks contain high concentrations of sugar and acid as well as soft drinks, so be careful.

Sometimes you can tell the demineralization process has begun. If you see a white or brown spot on your tooth, or you have an area that is sensitive, you probably have demineralized enamel and an early cavity.  Sometimes if caught early enough your body can repair the enamel through a process called remineralization.

STEP THREE: Remineralization

Just like when you break your leg or cut your finger, your body kicks into action to try and heal the damage. When demineralization begins, your body immediately tries to shore up the weakening spot. If you continually add fuel to the fire with constant eating, you create a standoff situation. Your body is trying to repair the damage but your eating is adding more sugars that create more acids that increase the damage that your body is trying to repair. And because the acids work faster than your saliva does, the acids have the unfair advantage.

The most important time to brush and floss is after your last meal before bedtime.  Salvia flow stops during sleep, so bacteria continue to grow with the food debris left on the teeth during the night.  Some people only brush their teeth in the morning.  They wake up with a nasty taste in their mouth in the morning; brush their teeth to remove the bad taste.  Then they have breakfast and start the whole bacteria grow cycle again.  By the time they brush again the next morning, after numerous meals and snacking, there are billions of bacteria forming a thick plaque. This continual process forms an ever-deeper cavity.

STEP FOUR: Reversing the Process

Ironically, one of the things you can do to rebuild the damage done from eating is…eating. But this time, choose foods rich in minerals. Unprocessed, organic spinach and squash high in calcium, tuna, and eggs loaded with iron, bananas and broccoli full of potassium; all of these will add to the mineral supply your body needs to rebuild your teeth’s enamel.

Cavaties (1)Of course, the most important thing is good brushing and flossing techniques done frequently with regular dental checkups and cleanings.

To be your dentist’s star patient, you would only eat three meals a day, with no snacks, and brush and floss after every meal. But that’s unrealistic for most people. What you can do is reduce sugary, acidic foods and drink and rinse your mouth with water after eating – or use any device, such as a toothpick or a brush without toothpaste to remove food debris after eating.

One day, cavities may be a thing of the past. If you combat demineralization now, you will be on the leading edge of dental health and on your way to keeping your healthy smile for a lifetime.

ENJOY LIFE AND KEEP SMILING!

George A. Malkemus DDS
2 Padre Pkwy #200, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Phone | (707) 585-8595
www.malkemusdds.com

Taking the Bite Out of Cavities

Tips & Tricks for Teeth Grinders

Bruxism, the medical term for teeth grinding and jaw clenching, affects both kids and adults. While often caused by high levels of stress, bruxism can also be triggered by a misaligned bite and sleep disorders. Regardless of your underlying issue, here are a few tips and tricks to help:

  1. Take Notice –Throughout the day notice if you’re clenching or grinding. Take a few deep breaths and place the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This helps the muscles in your jaw relax.Untitled design (1)
  2. Stop Chewing – On non-food items that is! Pencils, ice, etc. This also includes avoiding gum because it trains your jaw to clench and encourages teeth grinding.
  3. Cut Back – Avoid foods with added sugar, especially for children. Adults may find drinking alcohol intensify their condition. Cutting out liquor and limiting caffeine is recommended.
  4. Relax! – Especially before bedtime. Take a long bath, listen to mellow music, find what works best for you and enjoy it.
  5. See Your Dentist – It’s important to be properly diagnosed. We’ll partner together to find the best treatment plan for your well-being! Call and schedule an exam today (707) 585-8595

George A. Malkemus DDS
2 Padre Pkwy #200, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Phone | (707) 585-8595
www.malkemusdds.com

Tips & Tricks for Teeth Grinders

Gum Disease and Improved Treatments

Gum disease is rampant in our society.  More than half of all people over 18 have at least the early stage of gum disease called periodontal disease.  After age 35, three out of four adults are infected.   The major cause of tooth loss is gum disease.   Gum disease affects the entire body being correlated with heart disease, diabetes, strokes, ulcers, and pre-term births. Luckily, there are new advances in periodontal treatment. One of the best is the use of antibiotics put directly in the gums, a product called Arestin.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection of the gums that causes damage to the gums, tissue, and bone around your teeth.  Periodontal disease is often painless, and usually develops slowly over many years, but may progress in rapid destructive stages.  The destruction of tissue and bone causes pockets around teeth that can lead to tooth loss.  Being warm and moist, gum pockets are an ideal environment for bacteria. The bacteria can feed on the sides of the pocket, increasing the pocket depth, which adds instability to the teeth. Bacteria form rough deposits, which are an irritation to the gums, causing gum bleeding and swelling.

Improved Treatments

Scaling and Root Planing

Often called a ‘Deep Cleaning’, scaling and root planing (SRP) is the first step in treating gum disease. Scaling removes plaque, tartar, and stains from the surface of the tooth and its root; planing smoothes the rough areas on the roots of teeth to promote healing.  Root Planing sounds like a rough carpenter term but actually is the fine smoothing of root surface using numerous light strokes.  The objective is to make the root surface super smooth by removing all the rough tartar and making it more difficult for the bacteria to adhere to the root surface.  Ultrasonic scalers comfortably speed up the process using ultrasonic vibration and warm water.  Depending on a person’s comfort needs, numbing with topical gel, anesthetic, headphones, nitrous oxide or conscious sedation can be used.

Arestin – Antibiotic Treatment

A recent advancement in periodontal treatment is the use of Arestin, an antibiotic treatment that is put into deep gum pockets during root planing.  Antibiotic treatment has been tried for many years but without an effective method of keeping the antibiotic in the gums until the advent of Arestin.

Arestin contains “Microspheres”, tiny, bead-like particles that are smaller than grains of sand and are not visible to the eye. The Microspheres are filled with the antibiotic minocycline, and they release the drug over time into the infected periodontal pocket, killing the bacteria that cause periodontal disease. Arestin Microspheres continue to fight the infection for up to 21 days.

Arestin is placed inside infected periodontal pockets just after the scaling and root planing (SRP) procedure is finished. Even though SRP removes a great deal of the bacteria that cause periodontal infection, the instruments used during this mechanical procedure can’t always reach the bacteria that hide in the bottom of pockets or in difficult to reach areas. Adding Arestin helps to kill the bacteria left behind, plus the slow release of Arestin allows the gum tissue to heal without the reinvasion of bacteria.

Amazing Results with Arestin

Since using Arestin for the past 3 years, I have seen amazing improvements in gum health. In the past teeth that were very loose with extremely deep gum pockets would be considered not savable and need an extraction. With the use of Arestin, many of these teeth have tightened up with major gum pocket reduction.  Two years ago, a 45-year-old woman had a loose first molar with a 12 mm pocket; extreme bone loss and I recommended extraction.  She wanted to try and save the tooth so I said we could try Arestin with scaling and root planning.  Amazingly the tooth tightened up.  She works hard on her dental hygiene and continues to have cleanings every three months. During those appoints, Arestin is added as needed. The tooth is still going strong today.

Avoiding Surgery

Arestin has helped avoid the need for gum surgery.  Surgery is very affective treatment, but is much more invasive and costly.  Plus with Arestin, the gum pocket can be retreated much easier. The most important aspect of periodontal treatment is the regular on-going maintenance visit, usually every 3 months.  It always bothers me when patients would have gum surgery, their gums would look great afterwards, and they would have regular cleaning appointments for awhile, doing great and then disappear for a few years, return and need surgery again.  Scaling and root planning with Arestin can often prevent that need. Often a periodontal pocket can be controlled with the retreatment of SRP and Arestin.

Periodontal Disease is often called ‘The Silent Killer’, because it can occur gradually and painlessly over time.  The good news is that gum disease can be stopped with professional treatment, such as SRP and Arestin.   So, please don’t wait until it hurts!  Have regular dental exams and cleanings.

Enjoy Life and Keep Smiling!

George Malkemus has had a Family and Cosmetic Dental Practice in Rohnert Park for over 22 years at 2 Padre Parkway, Suite 200. Call 585-8595, or email info@ malkemusdds.com.  Visit Dr. Malkemus’ Web site at http://www.malkemusdds.com

George A. Malkemus DDS
2 Padre Pkwy #200, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Phone | (707) 585-8595
www.malkemusdds.com

Gum Disease and Improved Treatments

Antibiotics and Your Heart

New Guidelines from the American Heart Association

If you have had to take antibiotics prior to dental treatment because of your heart condition, you may not need to anymore.  The recent guidelines from the American Heart Association recommend not taking antibiotics prior to dental treatment in most heart condition cases.  You should contact your cardiologist, physician, and dentist to see if you should stop.

For decades, the American Heart Association [AHA] recommended that patients with certain heart conditions take antibiotics shortly before dental treatment.   This was done with the belief that antibiotics would prevent infective endocarditis [IE], an infection of the heart’s inner linings or valves.  The idea was bacteria in the mouth could enter the bloodstream during dental treatment and travel to the heart.  It was thought that with a heart mummer, turbulence in the blood flow caused by the heart valve would allow the bacteria to eddy out and start a growth on the valve – not a good thing.  However, a growing body of scientific evidence has shown this is not the case.

The scientific evidence shows that the risks of taking preventive antibiotics outweigh the benefits for most patients.  The risks include adverse reactions to antibiotics and development of drug-resistant bacteria.  Adverse reactions range from upset stomach, nausea and diarrhea to allergic reactions such as hives or life-threatening anaphylactic shock.  Allergic reactions to medications, as well as, foods, environmental substances including insect bites and stings can occur after years of never being allergic.  If you have redness, swelling or itchiness after taking medication, stop future pills and call your doctor.  If you have accelerating symptoms including shortness of breath, seek immediate emergency help, i.e., call 911.  Use an epi pen if available, which is found in some emergency kits or carried by people who are allergic to bee stings.

The overuse of antibiotics causing the development of drug-resistant bacteria is another reason the ADA guidelines have changed.   Drug-resistant bacteria are formed from antibiotic use.  The inappropriate use of antibiotics increases the risk of drug-resistant forms and prevents their effectiveness when antibiotics are really needed.

Scientists also found no compelling evidence that taking antibiotics before a dental procedure prevents infective endocarditits in patients who are at risk of developing a heart infection.  There is actually more exposure to bacteria from their mouths during basic daily activities such as eating, drinking, brushing or flossing.  People with gum disease are at a much higher risk of having bacteria enter their bloodstream and causing endocarditis and heart disease.  A person’s best defense against endocarditis is preventing gum disease through good oral hygiene, brushing and flossing, healthy diet, and regular professional cleanings with a registered dental hygienist.

The AHA guidelines state that patients who have taken prophylactic antibiotics routinely in the past, but no longer need them include people with mitral valve prolapse, rheumatic heart disease, calcified aortic stenosis, or most congenital [present from birth] heart conditions.

Certain heart conditions still require pre-medication with antibiotics in patients who would have the greatest danger of a bad outcome if they developed a heart infection.  Preventive antibiotics before a dental procedure are advised for the following patients:

-Artificial heart valves

-A history of infective endocarditis

-Certain specific, serious congenital heart conditions

-A cardiac transplantation that develops a problem in a heart valve

If you have any of these heart conditions, you should consult your cardiologist for the use of antibiotics prior to dental procedures.

The new recommendations apply to any dental procedures that could involve possible bleeding in the gums or oral tissues.  Antibiotic use prior to dental treatment is not necessary for an examination or x-rays, but is mandatory for teeth cleanings and oral surgery treatment like extractions.

The ADA guidelines emphasize that maintaining optimal oral health and practicing oral hygiene are more important in reducing the risk of endocarditis than is taking preventive antibiotics before a dental visit.   So keep brushing and flossing and have regular dental cleanings.

ENJOY LIFE AND KEEP SMILING!

George Malkemus has had a Family and Cosmetic Dental Practice in Rohnert Park for over 22 years at 2 Padre Parkway, Suite 200. Call 585-8595, or email info@ malkemusdds.com.  Visit Dr. Malkemus’  Web site at http://www.malkemusdds.com

George A. Malkemus DDS
2 Padre Pkwy #200, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Phone | (707) 585-8595
www.malkemusdds.com

Antibiotics and Your Heart

Health of the Planet

Our earth seems vast on an individual level, but there is a finite livable space on our globe with a thin surrounding breathable atmosphere layer.  We now have over 7 billion human beings on planet earth, nearly tripled from 2.5 billion in 1950, which had doubled from 1.25 billion in 1850.  [Currently one billion humans are at the starvation or near starvation level.]  We have 70 billion farm animals.  Together with our animals, we are 98% of the animal biomass on earth, creating  pollution for the air, sea and land with our waste products.

What follows is an overview of the current state of the health of the Earth and our current treatment of the Earth.   It is not a pretty picture, but do not give up hope.  In my next article, I will discuss positive changes that are already on the way and things that can be done in the near future to reverse the current trends and make our lives sustainable

Green House Gases

The air is polluted with CO2 from 7 billion humans. The biggest contributors are burning fossil fuels [coal, oil and gas] and wood for energy use, as well as livestock food production.  Methane production is also a major pollutant of the atmosphere, particularly from live stock [heavily from cattle].  Also methane release from the thawing of arctic tundra is an accelerating air pollutant.

CO2 and methane [ 30 times stronger than CO2 ] are what are called Green House Gases, because they reflect and trap heat radiating from the earth, thereby causing increased captured heat in the atmosphere.  Increased CO2 in the atmosphere causes an increase in CO2 dissolved in the oceans, which increases the acid levels in the seas, which in turn leads to less sea life.  To put it in perspective, we are now trapping as much extra heat energy in the atmosphere as would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs exploding on the Earth’s surface every day.

Hotter Atmosphere and Hotter Oceans

2016 was the hottest global year in recorded history, with 2015 the second hottest and 2014 the third hottest.  In fact, 16 of the 17 hottest years ever measured with instruments dating back to the 1880s have occurred in the past 17 years.  And it looks like 2017 is going to beat them all.

The warming planet leads to more extreme weather. More than 90 percent of all the heat energy trapped by man-made global warming pollution goes into the ocean, causing aglobal temperature increase in sea water.  High ocean temperatures have caused unprecedented severe weather events, including Superstorm Sandy on the US East Coast and Super Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines after crossing areas of the Pacific Ocean 5.4 degrees warmer than normal.

Increased ocean temperatures leads to more evaporation and increased air temperatures can hold much more water vapor.  This leads to extreme, intense storms, releasing record-breaking downpours. The comprehensive 2016 NOAA [U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] report found a 13% higher than normal number of tropical cyclones and hurricanes in 2016.  Water vapor is also a green house gas, so higher concentration of water in the air adds to higher temperatures.

High coastal ocean temperatures [90 degrees and above] kill coral, a process called bleaching, because the small animals, which form and live in coral, die and only leave their white skeleton.  In  2016 and 2017,  extreme hot ocean temperatures caused The Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Sitein Australia, to lose nearly 50 percent of its coral to bleaching. The combined impact of these back-to-back years of bleaching stretches for 1,500 km (900 miles).The northern third of The Great Barrier Reef has over a 90% die off, with many areas having less than 1% live coral.

Droughts

The same increased heat that is evaporating water off the oceans is also sucking moisture out of the soil, causing more droughts, deeper droughts, and longer droughts.  The recent NOAA report found that nearly one-eighth of the world’s land mass is in severe drought, which is far higher than normal.  This is causing massive starvation, political upheaval, and refugee migration.

A multi year drought in Syria played a major part in it’s civil war and paved the way for ISIS to gain traction in that country. From 2006 to 2010, Syria had a record breaking drought [the worst in 900 years] causing the destruction of 60% of their farms and 80% of all their livestock.  This drove 1.5 million people into Syria’s already crowded cities.  We can expect more refugee migration problems as people are unable to live on their historic lands due to severe weather.

Burning

Increased heat is also causing unprecedented fires. When vegetation dries out, fires increase.  Fires are becoming much larger and occurring much more frequently throughout the world. This adds to the Green House gases in the atmosphere.  The burning of Amazon Rain Forest in Brazil, largely for cattle grazing or cattle feed production is a significant global warming problem.  An acre a second is being burned with the loss of 100 animal and insect species a day.

Melting

Earth’s ice is melting away and raising sea levels.  The world’s glaciers receded for the 37th year in row at an accelerating rate – by an average of 3 feet a year.  The Arctic is warming faster than any other place on Earth.  Last year, Greenland’s ice sheet lost 341 billion tons of ice and has lost 4,400 billion tons of ice since 2002.  On February 10, 2017, a polar winter night, which is normally extremely cold with no sunlight, the north pole was 50 degrees above normal and began thawing.

Antarctica is warming too.  Last month an iceberg the size of Delaware broke free from the Larsen C ice shelf, losing 10% of the peninsula’s area. Cracks are spreading in the huge iceberg and it has begun to drift away from the mainland.  More cracks are growing on the Larsen C ice shelf and if all of the ice shelf should collapse, it would add another 4 inches to world sea levels.

Sea Level Rise and Flooding

Sea level rise has all ready began to cause coastal flooding worldwide in low lying areas.  The Global Mean Sea Level has risen by 8 inches over the past century and has been accelerating due to global ice melting and thermal expansion. When water heats up, it expands, so warmer oceans simply occupy more space.When sea levels rise rapidly, as they have been doing, even a small increase can have devastating effects on coastal habitats. As seawater reaches farther inland, it can cause destructive erosion, wetland flooding, aquifer and agricultural soil contamination, and lost habitat for fish, birds, and plants.  Loss of fresh water to salt intrusion is a major problem for low lying areas.

When large storms hit land, higher sea levels mean bigger, more powerful storm surges that can strip away everything in their path.  Hundreds of millions of people live in areas that will become increasingly vulnerable to flooding. Higher sea levels would force them to abandon their homes and relocate. Low-lying islands could be submerged completely.Island atolls with little elevated land are particularly at risk.  The Pacific Ocean nation of Kiribati has begun to purchased land in Fiji to move it’s populace.  Miami is averaging 8 floods a year due to sea level rise during high tides even without any storm surge. Miami expects flooding to increase to 45 times a year by 2030 and 260 times by 2045 if sea level continues to increase at the same rate.It is possible that sea levels could rise 23 feet by 2100 if global ice melting continues to accelerate, that would be enough to submerge most the cities along the U.S. East Coast and even London, England.

Livestock Agriculture

According to the United Nations, 33% of Earth’s arable land—land capable of growing crops—is used to grow feed for livestock and 26% of the ice-free terrestrial surface of Earth is used for grazing livestock.  In all, almost a third of the land on Earth is used to produce meat and animal products.  The 2006 report Livestock’s Long Shadow, released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, states that “the livestock sector is a major stressor on many ecosystems and on the planet as a whole. Globally it is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases and one of the leading causal factors in the loss of biodiversity, while in developed and emerging countries it is perhaps the leading source of water pollution.”

It takes much more land, water and energy, with much more waste, to produce meat than to produce grain or vegetables.  Meat produced on the current massive scale is not sustainable.

Also, globally our fisheries are dwindling from massive net fishing factories.  Over 75% of world fisheries are being over fished.

Bummer…… This information can be overwhelming and hard to take.  It puts us face to face with the reality of a rapidly changing planet, and catastrophic consequences for human beings – consequences that emerge as a result of our shortsighted actions.

But do not to give up hope.  Many positive responses are emerging and will be discussed in the next article.  There is still a small window of time to slow and change this human destructive phase of planet Earth.

Enjoy Life and Keep Smiling!

George Malkemus has a Family and Cosmetic Dental Practice in Rohnert Park at 2 Padre Parkway, Suite 200.  #585-8595  info@malkemusdds.com

George A. Malkemus DDS
2 Padre Pkwy #200, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Phone | (707) 585-8595
www.malkemusdds.com

Health of the Planet

4 Tasty Foods That Are Actually Horrible for Your Teeth

Even those with outstanding oral hygiene can fall victim to a few unknown cavity causing culprits. Some of our favorite treats, while seemingly healthy, can be responsible for tooth stains, bad breath and other forms of mouth destruction.  Most tooth-conscious consumers already know to limit sugar and steer clear of things like soda and hard candies to keep their dental hygiene top notch. But, here are a few surprising snacks just as capable of damaging your smile.

  1. PicklesPickling

Pickles? Yes, while not typically considered something to avoid for oral health, pickles are soaked in vinegar during the pickling process.  Vinegar is highly acidic, and acid is notorious for quickly wearing down tooth enamel. So, it’s important to keep this in mind when eating anything pickled. Drinking water or rinsing your mouth can help clear some of the acid once your meal’s over.

  1. Peanut Butter

You either love it or hate it. You may even be particular in how you eat it, straight from the jar or only in a sandwich… Have you ever tried it with pickles? This childhood staple can be a healthy snack when opting for the “no added sugar” variety. Sugar helps peanut butter better grip your teeth. While it may take some getting used to, it’s a healthier choice all around.

  1. Dried FruitDried Fruit

In small doses, dried fruit is a healthy alternative to sweets such as chocolate bars and ice cream. However, dried fruit has high sugar content, and is often sticky making this treat more likely to get caught in between your teeth for days. When something high in sugar is stuck in your teeth it feeds the bacteria and contributes to dental erosion. Checking nutrition labels can help you weigh the best choice for your sweet tooth.

  1. Crackers

This appetizer favorite is not typically associated with dental problems, yet consuming refined carbs is a known cause of inflammation. The significance here is that inflammation can be linked to a number of dental dangers such as gingivitis and other stages of periodontitis. Limiting carbs such as white bread and pasta, pretzels and white rice can be a treat to your weight, overall health and your smile.

Regular dental check-ups with a dedicated hygiene routine will keep your smile on a healthy track. At a glance, it looks like limiting sugar in all forms is what it’s all about. Remember sticky and pickled foods also pose a risk. No need to stress. While your teeth may thank you for cutting out these items entirely, moderation and awareness will serve you best.

George A. Malkemus DDS
2 Padre Pkwy #200, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Phone | (707) 585-8595
www.malkemusdds.com

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