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Posts for: December, 2011

WE ARE ALL PROGRAMMED TO LIKE SUGAR. New research shows some are genetically much more prone to sugar and food addiction than others.  In his article, Mark Hyman discusses the science and genetics of sugar addiction.  He even states that, “Bingeing and addictive behaviors are eerily similar in alcoholics and sugar addicts.” 

I don’t want to get into the background right now, but Dr. Hyman does give some ideas to help overcome your sugar addiction.  He states:

Despite being stuck with the sugar addiction low pleasure gene, you may be able to modify its activity by modulating your brain chemistry and receptor function with the use of specific nutrients that either improve gene expression, or modify the activity, the enzymes, or the receptors, even if they are somewhat impaired.

I have used some of these in my practice, such as glutamine and other amino acids, with success. Regulation of hormones and neurotransmitters that affect appetite and cravings is complex and involves many factors including how quickly food spikes our blood sugar, stress, getting enough sleep, nutritional deficiencies, chemicals such as artificial sweeteners, food sensitivities which drive inflammation, and more.

For those with personal struggles with food addiction, remember it is not a moral failing or lack of willpower. Here are a five suggestions I offer my patients to help them break their food addictions.

1. Balance your blood sugar: Research studies say that low blood sugar levels are associated with LOWER overall blood flow to the brain, which means more BAD decisions. To keep your blood sugar stable:

  • Eat a nutritious breakfast with some protein like eggs, protein shakes, or nut butters. Studies repeatedly show that eating a healthy breakfast helps people maintain weight loss.
  • Also, have smaller meals throughout the day. Eat every 3-4 hours and have some protein with each snack or meal (lean animal protein, nuts, seeds, beans).
  • Avoid eating 3 hours before bedtime.

2. Eliminate sugar and artificial sweeteners and your cravings will go away: Go cold turkey. If you are addicted to narcotics or alcohol you can’t simply just cut down. You have to stop for you brain to reset. Eliminate refined sugars, sodas, fruit juices, and artificial sweeteners from your diet. These are all drugs that will fuel cravings.

3. Determine if hidden food allergies are triggering your cravings. We often crave the very foods that we have a hidden allergy to. For a simple allergy elimination program, consider trying The UltraSimple Diet, or The UltraSimple Diet Challenge Home Study Coaching Program.

4. Get 7-8 hours of sleep. Research shows that lack of sleep increases cravings.

5. Optimize your nutrient status with craving cutting supplements

  • Optimize your vitamin D level: According to one study, when Vitamin D levels are low, the hormone that helps turn off your appetite doesn’t work and people feel hungry all the time, no matter how much they eat.
  • Optimize omega 3s: Low levels of omega three fatty acids are involved in normal brain cell function, insulin control and inflammation.
  • Consider taking natural supplements for cravings control. Glutamine, tyrosine, 5-HTP are amino acids that help reduce cravings. Stress reducing herbs such as Rhodiola can help. Chromium balances blood sugar and can help take the edge off cravings. Glucomannan fiber is very helpful to reduce the spikes in sugar and insulin that drive cravings and hunger.

Now I’d like to hear from you.

Have you ever been addicted top sugar? What was it like?

Do you think the food industry is feeding us products we become addicted to so they can increase profits?

Have you tried overcoming food addiction using any of these steps? How did they work for you?

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

To your good health,

 

Robert G. Berger D.D.S.


By rgberger50
December 19, 2011
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A stunning smile and clean, fresh breath never go out of style. It’s not often that nature gives us a second chance, but when it comes to teeth it does just that. As the old sayings go: God gives you two sets of teeth, but you have to buy the third; Teeth are like friends, ignore them and their needs and they’ll go away, be kind to them and they’ll stick with you forever.

As we age, our smiles show signs of aging just like the rest of our body. But barring injury, there’s simply no reason why most of us should lose teeth as we age. Once we know our teeth are healthy and our gums are sound, we can add a little cosmetic magic to take a smile to a higher level. You can use bonding to close gaps, or invisible veneers for front teeth, or even use bleaching for a truly dazzling smile. Looking inside the mouth provides a unique opportunity to detect other potential health problems, such as liver, kidney, diabetes, and lung diseases. That’s why regular hygiene appointments are so important.

The mouth is a busy place with millions of bacteria constantly on the move. While some bacteria are harmless, others can attack the teeth and gums. Harmful bacteria are contained in a colorless sticky film called plaque, the cause of gum disease. If plaque is not removed, it will build up on teeth and ultimately leads to gingivitis, causing the gums to become swollen, red, and bleed easily. Untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, where the gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that become infected. If untreated, the bones, gums and connective tissue that support the teeth can be destroyed. Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. If you want to keep your teeth, you must take care of your gums.

Your teeth are great for chewing, but you also need them to talk. While healthy-looking teeth and gums are essential to having a beautiful smile, people often don't spend the time to take proper care of them. Most people see brushing as a chore and don't brush for the recommended two minutes.

Follow these tips to keep your teeth and mouth clean:

  • Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste to help protect your teeth from decay.
  • Brush your teeth after eating or at least two times a day. It’s especially important to brush before bedtime.
  • Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth, allowing you to reach all areas easily.
  • Brush your teeth in little circles. Go around and around until you have covered every surface of every tooth. Brush up and down, rather than side to side.
  • Clean between your teeth with dental floss at least once a day to remove food and plaque.
  • Brush your tongue to help keep your breath fresh! Don't forget to clean all the way in the back.
  • Clean your upper and lower mouth pockets between the teeth and the lips. - Brush all surfaces of the teeth, tongue-side and cheek-side. Pay special attention to the front teeth and all surfaces of the back teeth.
  • A battery-powered toothbrush, such as a Rota-Dent, cleans up to 49 per cent better than an ordinary manual toothbrush. Your tooth brush should be changed every three months.

By taking care of your teeth, eating a balanced diet, and visiting your dentist regularly, you can have healthy teeth and an attractive smile your entire life.

Remember, your teeth are more precious that diamonds!


Ted R. (name changed for privacy) was slammed by two seemingly unrelated disorders. First, he suffered a heart attack, then he was diagnosed with a severe dental infection the next morning. The double whammy may have been more than just bad luck, since a recent study found that on average, heart attack victims have significantly worse oral health than other people of the same age and sex.

Research also shows that people with periodontal disease are nearly twice as likely to have heart disease than those with healthy gums. What’s more, oral infections also raise risk for stroke, says Amy Doneen, ARNP, medical director of the Heart Attack & Stroke Prevention Center in Spokane, Washington. “We’ve started checking patients for periodontal disease because it can sometimes lead to a heart attack or stroke, while treating infected gums reduces risk.”

What’s the link between oral health and the heart? “The bacteria that cause gums to become swollen and inflamed can also spark systematic inflammation that silently damages blood vessels,” explains Doneen. “Heart attack and stroke are opportunistic problems that are driven by inflammation of plaque in the arteries, which can rupture, causing a blood clot to form.” That clot can trigger a heart attack (if the clot travels to vessels that supply the heart) or stroke (if it goes to the brain).

Warning signs of periodontal disease include red, swollen, tender or receding gums, bleeding when brushing or flossing, persistent bad breath, mouth sores, and pockets of pus between gums and teeth. One in three adults over 30 has periodontal disease—and millions of them don’t know it.  Ask your dentist to check your gums, which typically involves taking painless measurements with a periodontal probe to check for pockets of disease.

The good news is that once diagnosed, gum disease can be treated, adds Doneen. “Repairing the problem has huge benefits for your blood vessels.” One study found that after six months of intensive treatment, patients with periodontal disease not only had healthier gums, but also improved endothelial function, indicating that the inner lining of their blood vessels also benefited.

Good oral health—including brushing and flossing two to three times a day, and seeing your dentist at least once a year—can give you a lot to smile about.

CONNECT THE DOTS

Wondering if you might have gum disease? The American Academy of Periodontology has a risk assessment test and oral health tips.  University of Maryland has a detailed report on prevention and daily dental care.


By rgberger50
December 09, 2011
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When I started in dentistry, over 35 years ago, the vast majority of people did not have dental insurance.  In the 80s and 90s that all changed.  Now over 80% of the working populations have dental insurance.  This is both good and bad! 

Let’s get the bad out of the way first.  Some insurance policies limit the procedures that they will pay for.  If the dentist treats the patients by their insurance limits they don’t always offer the patient the best service for their particular needs.  In our office we have always recommended the most appropriate care for our patient’s needs, not their insurance policy’s benefits.  If the patient chooses not to have that procedure done, alternate care is offered whenever possible.

Now for the good news!  Dental Insurance has made dental care a lot more affordable and attainable for many people that could never go to the dentist in the past!  Our office accepts most traditional insurance plans.

Until recently, we have also been in Network for a few dental insurance plans.  That is about to change.  As of January 1st 2012 we will be In-Network providers for over 50 different dental insurance companies.  This is something we have been working on for several months and are very excited to extent our services to a larger segment of the Central Ohio area. 

Most dental insurance policies do have annual maximums and only pay a portion of the total treatment charge. We are well aware of this.  If our patients’ needs extend beyond their policy’s maximum we do offer several payment options and financial arrangements which are outlined on the OFFICE page of our website.  We will do everything possible to help our patients attain the dental health that they need!

If you are looking for a new dentist or are in need of quality dental care please contact our office to verify acceptance of your planYou can find out more about our office by visiting our website at www.bergerfamilydental.com, or feel free to contact our office at (614) 866-3368.


By rgberger50
December 05, 2011
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Here are some great tips from Dr. Dean Ornish to help fight holiday weight gain

Statistics show most midlife weight gain comes from overeating at the holidays. Making healthy food choices throughout the holidays doesn’t have to be hard, but it does mean remaining aware of triggers that can lead to overeating.

Eat something before you go to a holiday party

One of the first things to fight holiday weight gain is eat before you get where you’re going. Otherwise, you’re likely to eat anything in sight when you arrive.

Go to the party a little late

Being ‘fashionably’ late for a holiday gathering means more of the indulgent food will be gone.

Pay attention to visual cues

Eating less at the holidays is harder when you’re handed or choose a bigger plate. Studies have shown weight loss efforts are more successful when we make small changes to our environment. A big plate is simply a visual cue to eat more. Place just two or three foods on your plate and try to serve yourself.

Put more fruits and vegetables on your plate. Dr. Ornish suggests if you add 20 percent more low calorie foods than high calorie you probably won’t notice the difference.  Then, eat the healthier foods first so you won’t overindulge in high calorie foods.

Choose food that leaves evidence on your plate. Examples include shrimp tails and chicken wing bones.

Don’t drink too much alcohol

Too many mixed drinks, beer or wine can slow metabolism and impair judgment. Try to go easy on the alcohol so you can maintain control of your food intake – drinking too much impairs judgment.

Skip the high calorie toppings

If possible, Ornish advises skipping the gravy and substitute for cranberry sauce that’s lower in calories and high in antioxidants. For potato toppings choose low-fat yogurt and non-fat sour cream in lieu of butter, cheese, bacon or sour cream.

Eat slowly and savor each bite

Eat slowly and savor your holiday meals. According to Dr. Ornish, “The faster we eat, the more we eat. Sip water between bites. Holiday meals last longer than typical meals. If you wolf down your food, your plate may be clean while others are still eating, which will lead to seconds.”

Eating slowly leads to more satisfaction with food. Savoring each bite can help us eat less to avoid holiday weight gain.

What about dessert?

There’s no need to avoid holiday desserts altogether, but instead of eating an entire serving, just take one or two bites. Dr. Ornish reminds us “the first and last bites are always the best, anyway.”

Stay active
Avoid holiday weight gain by staying active. Even a stroll around the block helps burn calories, aids digestion and prevents bloating.

We, at Berger Family Dental, wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  May you have a Safe, Happy, and Healthy Holiday season!




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