Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What is sialadenitis?

In short, sialadenitis is a disorder of the salivary gland. One of several related disorders, this condition is caused by a painful bacterial infection in a person’s salivary gland. Many times, this infection is caused by staphylococcus or anaerobic bacteria. According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, sialadenitis is most common in elderly adults and very young infants.

Symptoms include a painful lump in the cheek or under the chin, or foul-tasting pus released into the mouth from the salivary duct. In severe cases, the person may experience flu-like symptoms, including a fever and chills. The most severe cases usually occur in elderly people who do not receive treatment for their symptoms. Researchers suggest that several factors may increase a person’s risk of developing sialadenitis, including dehydration, malnutrition, chronic illness, and certain medications like antihistamines and diuretics.

Infants who are born prematurely and people in professions like trumpet-playing and glassblowing may also be at increased risk. If you or someone in your family is faced with sialadenitis, it is important to seek the help of a health care professional. A doctor or dentist can gently examine your head and neck to check for any potential gland issues. Fortunately, sialadenitis can typically be cured with an antibiotic that causes symptoms to subside within a couple days. In more severe cases, surgery can be performed to drain the gland.

So remember: If you ever notice a lump or swelling in your neck, jaw, or mouth, contact a dentist on your True Dental Discounts dental plan immediately – particularly if the lump is painful or makes it difficult to chew or swallow. Awareness of your body is the first step toward remaining healthy, so stay alert and seek help when needed.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Protect your vision from the sun

As the long days of summer wind down, it’s natural to want to go outside and soak in all the warmth you can. But before you do, take care to protect not only your skin from sun damage, but also your vision. Even if you go outside on a cloudy day, the same ultraviolet rays that cause your skin to burn can also damage the surface of your eyes.

According to the American Optometric Association, unprotected exposure to the sun can increase the risk of certain types of cataracts and also cancer of the eyelids. On the interior of the eye, harmful rays from the sun can damage the retina, possibly causing significant vision loss over time. The effects of the sun add up each time you go outside without proper protection, so it’s important to think ahead and take the following simple precautions:
  • Wear sunglasses outside, even on cloudy or winter days. AOA suggests that sunglasses should block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation and screen 75 to 90 percent of visible light. Talk to an eye doctor on your True Dental Discounts, vision plan for recommendations and individualized guidelines. 
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat. Hats block any extra rays from entering your eyes around the sunglasses.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

This prescription can cause what?

Television commercials for prescription drugs today are filled with disclaimers about the risks of side effects. All drugs – even aspirin – have side effects, but they range from minor and slightly irritating to very serious. According to pharmacist Jim Morelli, the most common side effects of medication involve the gastrointestinal system (such as upset stomachs). Fortunately, the FDA must approve all new drugs released on the market to protect consumers and weigh the benefits vs. risks of each medication.

However, many side effects are not known until after the product has been released. Because of this, the FDA recently mandated that all dispensed prescriptions (as well as many over-the-counter medications) must be labeled with a toll-free number. This number gives anyone the opportunity to report adverse effects they experience from taking the medication. The risk of side effects alone should not discourage people from taking medicine that is necessary for their health, so talk to your True Dental Discounts doctor or pharmacist about any potential effects of prescriptions you’ve been taking.

He or she can explain the benefits vs. risks of each drug and show you how to prevent certain irritating symptoms such as dry mouth. If you do happen to notice adverse effects from your prescriptions, it is important to tell your doctor because he or she can help you find a different prescription that works best for your body and your overall health.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

See better with Vitamin C

You might have grown up hearing that eating carrots is a good way to sharpen your vision, but research is showing another excellent way to boost your eye health: Vitamin C. According to the American Optometric Association, nearly all cells in the body rely on Vitamin C to stay healthy, particularly those in the eyes. Research shows that Vitamin C is critical to the health of ocular blood vessels and can reduce the risk of cataracts by more than 50 percent. In addition, studies show Vitamin C, when taken in combination with other nutrients, and can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness for people over 55.

Unfortunately, the body does not produce Vitamin C on its own, so people need to make a conscious effort to get enough of this valuable antioxidant. The FDA suggests that males need 90 mg/day, while females need 75 mg/day. To give you a frame of reference, one medium orange is approximately 70 mg. Other great sources of Vitamin C include fruits such as grapefruits, tomatoes, bananas, apples and peaches. The most concentrated doses of Vitamin C come from the juices of such fruits as oranges and grapefruits – one cup of orange juice has a whopping 124 mg!

An optometrist on your True Dental Discounts, vision plan can give you more detailed information about sharpening your vision with Vitamin C. It’s easy to integrate antioxidants like Vitamin C into your diet if you have a little help and encouragement, so be sure to ask about it at your next appointment.

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Common eye conditions: Blepharitis

Have your eyelids ever been red, itchy, irritated or become crusty? These are all symptoms of blepharitis, a common eye condition caused by bacteria, a skin condition like dandruff, or other factors. Blepharitis is not contagious and generally does not cause permanent damage, but it is important to be aware of its symptoms and keep it under control. According to the American Optometric Association, there are two types of blepharitis – anterior blepharitis, which occurs at the outer area where eyelashes are attached, and posterior blepharitis, which affects the inner edge of the eyelid.

Anterior blepharitis is often caused by bacteria or dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows. Posterior blepharitis can be the result of irregular oil production by eyelid glands and can also be caused by skin conditions like rosacea. Neither version of the condition typically disappears completely, but patients can help keep it away by keeping their eyelids clean and free of crust. Eye doctors often recommend using warm compresses and prescribed antibiotics. Doctors on your True Dental Discounts, vision plan may also suggest not using eye makeup or contacts during treatment. By following their recommendations and taking care of your eyes, you can greatly reduce the occurrence of blepharitis and keep your eyes comfortable and healthy.

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