Chemicals and Drugs used to treat Periodontal (Gum) Disease

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Dental health is important for the prepared. Gum disease can be avoided.Considering the way we have grown up, we always think a pill or an ointment will help our medical problems.  I was born way back when penicillin was discovered.  Back then, a small amount of that antibiotic would do wonders for an infection.  As time went on, it took more and more penicillin to kill the same type of bacteria.  The bugs had developed a resistance to that specific type of penicillin.  Now we have super bugs, untreatable with any medicine.  So, it follows that treatment of periodontal disease, caused by your body’s inflammatory response to bacteria, has become more difficult to treat with antibiotics.   Of course, there are many types of bacteria and many types of response that your specific body will have.  Nevertheless, there are some things that you can do to have a healthier mouth without relying on drugs or medicine.

In previous articles I mentioned that the main two problems human beings have with their teeth is decay and periodontal disease, both caused by bacterial plaque.  Decay comes sooner, as soon as a mother leaves a bottle in a baby’s mouth overnight.   A Pedodontist can instruct young families how to prevent and treat early decay.  Later in life periodontal disease rears its ugly head.  There are some early types of periodontal disease, so timely visits to the dentist are important.  But in most cases, bone loss is not noted until some bone loss is seen between the teeth on x-rays.  Most dental insurance companies will not pay for treatment until bone loss is seen, and I think that is terrible.  That bone will seldom regenerate, and with a little more bone loss, the tooth is well on its way to the wastebasket.  When the crevice around the tooth becomes deeper than three millimeters it becomes difficult to clean all of the damaging plaque away, no matter how hard you try.  And try you may.  People use hard toothbrushes, overly forceful efforts, and all kinds of chemicals and drugs to get to the plaque way down below the three millimeter space.  If those efforts and drugs were effective, we dentists wouldn’t be making dentures and implants!!

If you have been missing the bacterial plaque, your gums respond with a kind of allergic reaction, each person has his own response.  Some have none, others lose their teeth in their twenties.  You can’t change your genetic response, but there are some things you can do before you have some disaster that limits your seeing a dentist for a week or much longer.  Get a dental exam by a dentist or a periodontist, and get treatment as needed.  Get a second opinion if you wish.  It is your mouth, and unlike medical insurance, you must always pay  part or all of the bill.  You don’t always need to get the most expensive treatment, which I will mention next time.  But get your disease treated.  Antibiotics won’t fix decay or gum disease, but may give some temporary relief.   Good reason for preppers to stockpile antibiotics that do not give you an allergic reaction.  If you have pain or swelling in the mouth, take the antibiotic as the bottle directs for at least a week, even if the problem gets better in a few days.  Get to a dentist as soon as possible.

Using the cleaning methods as described in a previous article will clean to about three millimeters into the crevice between the tooth and the gum and should result in no pain or bleeding when done properly after a week or two.  It is important to have professional cleanings every six or three months, as your dentist suggests.  But if the spaces are deeper, they are harboring bacteria which may very well cause a periodontal abscess in the future and loss of a tooth.  Your general dentist or hygienist may not be concerned with a five millimeter pocket, but as a periodontist, I am concerned.  Long term use of antibiotics can help the gum disease a little, but will cause loss of the bacteria in the gut system and causes super bugs.  Mouthwash doesn’t get  into a pocket, the  space deeper than three millimeter and the alcohol and other strong products may cause other problems with long term use.  Hydrogen peroxide is useless, too.    If you insist on a mouthwash, buy one that has no alcohol and has fluoride.  Mouthwash and periodic cleanings alone won’t stop gum disease.   As a prepper, I  stockpile food instead of mouthwash.

Invest in dental health for your family.  Prevention is much cheaper than treatment.  A periodic dental exam is much nicer than a dental emergency!  And clean every day like I mentioned, with brush, floss, rubber tip and proxybrush.  Next time I will discuss some of the dental treatment options that you may consider for yourself and your family to save money.  Prepping is expensive, but well worth it when the lights go out.

photo by: SuperFantastic

Most People Deny any Possibility of Gum Disease

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Gum disease is best dealt with by a periodontist.When I see a patient for the first time they try to talk me out of finding gum disease in their mouth.  “But Dr, I brush my teeth every day!”  Or, “I have been going to my dentist for years and he never mentioned gum disease.”

I have been a practicing Periodontist for over 30 years, and my opinion is that most dentists and dental hygienists don’t understand periodontal (gum) disease like a specialist like me.  Around 1983 some dental research came out showing that root planing (deep cleaning with anesthesia) was just as effective as Periodontal Surgery.  The research was flawed as it only concerned the front teeth with single roots, but the damage was done.  Ever since, the general dentists have been avoiding sending their patients to a Periodontist.  Instead, they have kept the money in the office by sending them to their in-office Dental Hygienist.  Since dental disease is often very slow and symptom-less until it is time for an extraction,  everyone is happy.  Then you have pain or swelling,  and your friendly dentist notifies you that you need an expensive implant or two.

What I suggested in my last article was getting an exam and basic treatment to get a level of dental health. That is dental prepping.  What I will tell you is what I teach my patients.  Most dental offices skip past teaching oral health quickly because dental insurance doesn’t pay for it.  But, good oral cleaning at least once a day is the most cost effective thing you can do.  Dental disease is usually decay early, gum disease later in life.  Both are caused by dental plaque.  Treatment only repairs the damage, the disease continues.  If you use a water pick device you will notice food particles coming out.  That is not enough, ten per cent of the invisible plaque remains, and the disease continues.

I teach with the patient holding a mirror and watching how to use the following:  any soft toothbrush, any type of floss, a rubber tip stimulator, and a proxybrush in between the teeth and under bridges if there is room.  Lecturing doesn’t work, and that is all you get at most dental offices.  Many patients brush back and forth, and that misses the target and causes grooves in the teeth with time..result, root sensitivity to hot or cold.  I suggest the modified Bass method, which is holding the toothbrush and rubber tip at a 45 degree angle to the tooth and vibrating into the crevice along the gum line, with any kind of fluoride toothpaste.   If your gums are sick, this will bleed and hurt, but improve after several weeks.  The problem with all of these cleaning efforts is that you can only get about three millimeters below the gums, and if you have deeper measurements you are not able to stop the plaque from causing slow bone loss (periodontal disease).  Mouthwash really doesn’t get down there either, a waste of money.

I have retired, but I suggest that you might consider seeing a Periodontist first.  You will get the best diagnosis of your possible gum disease, and may ask for a referral to a top notch dentist.  Periodontists get referrals from many general dentists and see a wide variety of competence.  It was not unusual for me to have seen a patient who has been seeing a dentist regularly, and then the patient is ready for dentures!!.   How shocked and angry the patient becomes.  They have noticed how their teeth have started to drift and get spaces, but nothing was said..or they were sent to the hygienist for a series of deep cleanings,  over and over.  By the way, those cleanings you get every six months are probably regular cleanings that your insurance pays 100%.  They don’t help much.

The inflammation of gum disease can help cause other health problems.  See www.perio.org , the periodontist’s official web site for the best information.  Next time I will talk about alternatives to implants.  Save your money for prepping supplies.  Dr. GrumpyMarine

photo by: Conor Lawless

Getting Prepared: A Primer for Beginners Series, part 11

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Emergency medical supplies and prescription drugs of are the utmost importance, right up there with food, water and shelter.

One of the predictions made about when SHTF is what can be called the circles of death.  The first round of deaths will be due to the event itself.  These people will die of injuries sustained during the event immediately or some time shortly after due to infections or other contracted diseases.  Included in this group are also people in nursing homes and hospitals who may be left to fend for themselves.

Getting Prepared and MedicineThe second circle will be old and infirm people who need more medicines, care and support than a normal healthy person.  This circle includes older persons who rely on heart medications, statin drugs, diabetic medications and other life prolonging medications.  Second circle members will die in their homes because their oxygen bottles ran out.   This group will also consist of people who could not find enough food and water.

The third circle will include people who have found themselves exposed to the environment rather than living in their comfy prepper homes.  This exposure will allow extra risks of infections for even the slightest cuts.  They will be prey to any and all manner of parasites that find people inhabitable.  In many regions of the country, wild animals will also find humans to be tasty.

If you make it through the first three circles, you should be congratulated.

You were prepared, or someone took pity on you.  However you made it to this point, you will agree that being prepared with as many prescription OTC drugs and meditations as possible has made it possible for you to survive the event.

Most people can stock OTC drugs because they are relatively cheap and easy to get.  Simply buy a bottle of this or that pain killer, a tube of antibiotic ointment, and assorted bandages.  The prescription meds are a different story.  They run in price any where from $50.00 to $500.00.

You can buy a year’s supply, or pretty much any quantity of non-narcotic drugs as long as you have a prescription that says how many to dispense and the money to pay for it.  Insurance companies now require prescriptions to be refilled on a monthly basis and no sooner.  They don’t care if you have to come home from Europe to get your medications before you run out and die.

With all this information in hand, you should of course fill your prescriptions according to the monthly plan of your insurance company.

But, you should also grab your list of most commonly prescribed medications and make notes as you ask for a price list from your pharmacy, and the other three down the street.

The cash price is usually higher than the price pharmacies charge the insurance company.  Compare the price lists and list which products you will purchase from which pharmacies.  To hep save money on medicines join the pharmacy’s loyalty programs if available and apply those points to the price of prescription and OTC medicines.  Look on manufacturer websites for coupons for the drugs you need.  They can be as much as $50 off per month.  Lastly, talk to the pharmacist.  They may give you discounts for bulk cash purchases.  This should be enough information to begin planning and budgeting to acquire the medications your family will need for the duration of the event.

Getting Started: A Primer Series for New Preppers, part 4

Welcome back beginning Preppers. Today we’re going to talk about some of the things that were in your inventory.  For instance, your bank account needs to have enough money for three months. That is the amount of time most financial advisers say you need to be financially prepared should you lose a job or should there be an emergency.  In the case of a dear family member, this turned out to be important.  He became ill and over a period of time he became so ill that he was no longer able to work. He had saved money and was able to remain in his own home for an additional four months. He was able to get the extra month because he had not used any money unnecessarily for gas and entertainment. Unfortunately when he lost his job he also lost his health insurance, life insurance, and any other benefits being employed offers. At over 30 years old he discovered he would have to move in with his parents in order to survive.  Having been on his own for more than a decade, this was a bitter pill to swallow.

While most preppers don’t think about a debilitating illness as something to prepare for, it speaks to the fact that anything can and does happen.  We should be prepared for as many contingencies as possible, and illness is something that happens in every family.

We need to consider having cash reserves in a bank or elsewhere.  While I don’t condone burying money in the backyard, I know that some people do.  When you consider that all it takes to find your cash reserves in the backyard is to wait for you to leave and a metal detector, it seems silly to use that method of cash storage.  Some people think that it’s okay to bury paper money because it’s not hard metal like coins. This could be a mistake because today’s currency has metal and can be found by a metal detector if it’s not buried deep enough. I don’t know how deep you would have to bury it but who would want to take a chance.

Hiding cash is always a difficult problem.  Most of the money in the world will test positive for cocaine and K-9s have been known to hit on it.  Law enforcement officers know right where to look, no matter how sneaky you think you were.  I’ve seen them work.  They look in places I would have never thought.  I guess I am not sneaky enough.  Thugs and thieves won’t hesitate to dismantle your property plank by plank if they think there might be a substantial gain for them.

It seems the best protection against the loss of your cash reserves is a multi-faceted approach.  Keep information to yourself, that includes not sharing information with your teenage kids who might tell because they think they can trust their friends.  If you feel you have to tell your kids, only provide them enough information so they can access one emergency store of money.  If TSHTF you can fill them in as needed.  Have a number of secured locations for safes.  Divide the money in your safes according to your plan of how you will access your emergency stashes.  Do not carry large amounts of cash on your person or in your car.  People get mugged and cars are burgled the same as homes.

 

 

Let’s Talk About Glorious, Sometimes Dangerous, Sunshine

Whether you want to call it solar wind, solar radiation, or a solar flare, there is a great deal to be considered if you are prepping for a geomagnetic event. When one realizes the seemingly limitless power of the sun you have to take a step back and wonder if a geomagnetic storm is the one event that everyone should prepare for as if they expect it to happen tomorrow.

Geomagnetic storms are increasing in frequency and severity even as I write this. The government has created special tools that any user can use to monitor the activities of the sun. Geomagnetic-Storms-effects-space-weather-technologyWhile the instrumentation used to collect and interpret the data is quite complicated, the reporting features used by NOAA are as simple as clicking a few check boxes.  Now, solar activity is monitored like the weather.

When insurance companies like Aon Benfield begin producing products to insure the losses of their customers because a geomagnetic storm caused severe damage,we should pay attention. While Aon Benfield believes that the risk is small they believe it is a viable market because the damage would be severe and have far-reaching consequences for both industry and the economy.   Aon Benfield has determined that the graphical representation of the risk is pear-shaped. This means they believe the likelihood of a geomagnetic event has a relatively low probability, but a high consequence.  Most likely, a solar event will cause damage in a localized area, much like a blizzard or hurricane.  Such a situation happened some years ago in Canada causing people in the local area to be with out power for a few days.

In the past insurance companies have covered damages to property as it normally occurs.  Except, in some incidents where they have been allowed to call an incident an act of God. An act of God is considered non-insurable. An example of such an event may include a cow standing in the middle of the road, in the dark of night, and someone would hit it with their car.  Most locations have since legislated that insurance companies must cover such things. The act of God clause still exists along with some added things such as government, military and terrorist act exclusions.

Another example of how an insurance company may or may not cover damages to property is mold. When toxic mold first became known as a danger to health and structure, people had to sue their homeowners insurance company to get them to pay for damage caused by mold. Shortly after these lawsuits were made public, insurance companies began specifically excluding mold from homeowners policies because it was a high frequency and high consequence risk. For a while the same companies sold a rider policy to cover mold damage. Today most companies do not ask if you would like mold coverage.

In the same way, many insurance companies may or may not cover damages caused by solar events.This is important to know because many things in your home and car could be damaged and you might want your insurance to pay the cost of repair or replacement.  Because Aon Benfield is launching an insurance program to cover this specific cause of damage, it would be my guess that this event will not be covered and could very easily be considered an act of God and not covered under a standard auto or home insurance policy.

Aon Benfield believes it can only cover minor to moderate solar events and that severe events would be catastrophic beyond the scope of their new insurance policy.  Their plan is to use the fears of people to make money selling policies while they hope there are no solar events.  Since terrorist attacks and military actions are excluded from almost all policies, they would not have to pay out for an EMP event as a part of war.  In the case of a naturally occurring, wide scale event, insurance companies are willing to take the risk that they may not be able to afford to pay out claims and could bankrupt themselves.  As a prepared society, we should measure the risks for ourselves and determine if we need to plan for such an event, maybe even buy a little insurance.

 

References:

http://dahasry.blogspot.com/2012/01/geomagnetic-storm-today.html

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2013/01/14/277348.htm

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/