Implications of Pizza on Oral Health

Pizza Pie with Tomatos
Pizza can be healthy for you, especially with your teeth if eaten in moderation

Although pizza was first invented by the Italians, it’s the Americans who developed a voracious appetite for this delight. In fact, around three-billion pizzas are sold in the U.S. on an annual basis, enjoyed by people from all demographics and age groups. When it comes down to it, the numbers are staggering. An estimated 251 million pounds of pizza go into our bellies each year.

But while satiating your never-ending desire for pizza, have you ever considered the health implications of it, more specifically, your oral health?

Unlike most fast foods which we also tend to rapidly consume, pizza actually has a GOOD effect on our health. You heard right. Contrary to the hype about pizza and weight gain, it is not a big weight gainer and it doesn’t cause cancer or a heart attack, compared to everything else we may eat, but pizza does contain copious amounts of cheese, so eating it in moderation is recommended.  

According to researchers from Italy, the consumption of pizza reduces the likelihood of a heart attack. This is also true for people who are obese. The main source of fat in pizza is from the cheese and oregano oil, but as mentioned, taken in moderation should not be a major factor. As far as our dental health is concerned, pizza is extremely beneficial.

Cheese contributes to bone health. According to a study published in the Journal of General Dentistry, chest and dairy products in general actually help to protect the teeth against cavities and the gradual build-up of plaque.

68 participants between the age of 12 to 15 were segmented into four groups. Each was assigned a particular type of food to eat, these were cheese, milk, yogurt and paraffin. The participants chewed the food for three minutes and then cleansed their mouths with water. The pH (measure of acidity) of their dental plaque level was then measured at 10-minute intervals after consumption.

The groups who consumed milk, paraffin and yogurt showed no pH changes in their mouths. The group with cheese, however, showed significant changes in their pH values, which rapidly increased after each interval.

Cheese effectively decreased the cavity in their mouths. Low pH levels indicate an environment which has been contaminated with acidity, putting the person at risk of tooth erosion, a gradual process which eats away at tooth enamel.

Here are the few things to keep in mind before choosing your pizza

 

Vegetable pizza is even more healthy
Pizza with vegetables and meat

What Sauce to Choose?

Any binge eating pizza session is incomplete without incredulous amounts of tomato sauce thrown into the mix. Now tomatoes are a great source of manganese, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin K. And they all have a great role to play in our teeth. Vitamin K helps to stop tooth decay by increasing the process of calcium absorption in the body. Potassium helps to improve bone density

The Type of Crust

Scientists claim that eating those chewy crusts helps release a chemical which can protect against bowel cancer. This chemical has antioxidant properties that prevents changes in the body which can lead to a tumor. The chemical reaction is a result of baking only… an essential process for making good pizza.

Meat

Most pizzas typically come packed with meat. And if you choose a pizza which mixes in different kinds of meat such as beef and chicken, that serves to increase the protein intake. Teeth rely on protein to help maintain their structure while increasing muscle development. This is extremely important if a child is using braces for correcting the posture of their teeth in accordance with the jaw.

Man Eating Pizza
Pizza is good for your teeth and digestive system

Pizza has TONS of Fiber

Pizza contains an incredibly high amount of fiber. This helps to keep the saliva flowing, which in turn helps to increase our mineral defenses against tooth decay. In addition, fiber also helps individuals who tend to be more constipated because of their troublesome bowel movements and it helps to maintain  healthy weight (there’s some compensation for all that cheese). It also lowers your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Unhealthy Pizza

Pizza can be unhealthy if you choose the wrong ingredients or if you eat too much of it. Although it’s incredibly tempting to have a binge eating session with pizza, if you combine processed meats which include salt and nitrites, it could become a factor in heart disease and cancer.

Our Thoughts

If eaten in moderation, pizza can be a boost to our oral health, but if you choose the wrong ingredient, overwhelm yourself with cheese or end up eating too much of it, the negative health effects might just outweigh the positive ones. Moderation is a key component here and our recommendation is to eat pizza from outlets which do not contain processed meat and use whole grain for their crusts. Finally, it works wonders for your teeth, especially if you choose vegetable-based toppings.

 

Myths and Facts About Nursing Homes

As people age, most of the older people are moved to nursing homes or are provided a nurse for care. Deciding to move a loved one to a nursing home can be stressful for them and it is sometimes difficult to manage the emotions of elderly seniors. There is so much one needs to think about before going into a nursing home. To make a well-versed decision, you first need to wipe clean the and myths about nursing facilities and learn the true facts about them. The many ways nursing homes help the elderly may actually surprise you!

Myth #1: I Cannot Take Care of My Father

Children often get so busy in their lives that they find it difficult o properly look after their senior parents. This is why they may come up with thoughts like this one; to admit parents in the nursing home.

Nowadays, nursing care centers have several options to help older adults. If your parents are physically well, but it concerns you that they are living alone, you can opt for assisted living centers. Otherwise, a skilled nursing care center would be your best choice. (Assisted living facilities have care centers where the option of nursing homes can be discussed if that time comes).

Myth 2: Nursing Homes Do Not Have a Proper Maintenance System

On the contrary. Nursing care centers are solely made for the purpose of taking care of the elderly. Therefore, credible nursing care facilities do provide superior care and assistance to your loved ones. You should do some research and make a few visits to see which particular nursing home is good for your parents. You might want one that is near where you reside or where their doctor resides or perhaps one has a better therapy center than the other or even, which one provides more opportunities for entertainment? So not all nursing homes are the same, but most certified nursing facilities do provide excellent care. A little research can go a long way. If you want to know more about the services and staff of these elder car centers, you should survey and ask the people inside or families of loved ones who are there.

This is the farthest from the truth. Nursing care centers are regulated and many, especially those by Sentosa Care have strict rules of quality care. Patients are looked after by skilled nurses and staff on a routine basis. Much to the surprise of some, nursing homes are a good option should you have a loved one who may need to go to one.

Myth 3: Nursing Homes Have Old People Whose Family Members Never Cared for Them

This is one of the most common and negative connotations people have about nursing homes. People strongly believe that elders should be taken care of and must be looked after. However, people who are working and are struggling likely have work conflicts, not enough resources, other chronic illnesses and much more difficulties which make it difficult for them to look after their parents or older ones. Considering these factors and understanding that people do care for their families, nursing homes are a great option if older people in your family are ill or are not looked after properly at home.

Outside the hospital, nursing homes provide the highest level of care to older people. From custodial care to skilled medical care, nursing homes provide assistance to older people at every step. Available 24/7, your beloved parents, grandparents or old guardians will never feel sad about being in a nursing home. But, you should try to visit them regularly, or at least once in a week, to make them feel loved and cared for.

Things to Consider When Selecting a Nursing Home for Your Loved One

Navy Officer Visits Nursing Home in Phoenix during Navy Week
Navy Officer Visits Nursing Home in Phoenix during Navy Week

When it comes to loved ones and their best care, nobody likes to make any compromises. In case of parents, children want them to be tended to in the best manner possible. But that requires a sensible, well researched and well thought of decision on their part. Among the various services offered in different nursing homes, you have to make a call to choose the best one for you loved ones. The key factors that should guide your decision should include:

The Location

Many a times, advertisements reflect the picture of a highly sophisticated and comfortable vicinity that is visually appealing. But you have to see for yourself if the location and the in-house facilities being promised are realistic or not. Also, it should be in an area that is favorable for their health condition as well as physical and mental comfort.

Have a Look at the Stats

Check out the official standing and record of the places you are considering. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services conduct yearly checks to keep a track of the quality of services being provided at such institutions. The data and reports are available for public use as well. This will give you an idea about the statistical standing of nursing homes according to their services.

The Cost

Of course we want to give the best care to our loved ones in their old age but money is a shackle that ties us down at times. In order to get the best services within an affordable range, keep an eye on the costs of nursing homes. It basically depends upon the level of nursing required for the elderly, the facilities being provided and the location of the nursing home. Just to give you an idea, the stats reported by Genworth Financial’s Cost of Care Survey indicated the cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home to be approximately $5,870 per month. The cost peaks up to an average of $6, 479 per month for a private room.

Special Care Services

In case your loved one is suffering from dementia, Huntington’s, or any other degenerative disorder for that matter, you will also need to consider if the nursing home provides special care for such conditions. They will need exclusive attention at times. So, it is very important to keep this in mind while deciding on a nursing home.

There are several other questions and concerns that should also guide your research and the final choice you make, like the staff available, their input in the services, facilitation in minor concerns like sores and the regulation of everyday matters. All these factors make a huge difference in the experience an elderly has at a nursing home. So make sure you have researched well and done your homework properly before making the final call.

How Nurses Play an Important Role at Nursing Homes

Nurse with Elderly ManIf a negative incident occurs at a nursing home, it is given an unbalanced and biased amount of attention, as good news and standard procedures that are not newsworthy never get to top billing; subsequently, very little appreciation is shown for the staff at nursing homes, specifically, the hard work nurses do to tend to the elderly.

It may look easy but caring for people in their old age can be quite of a challenge. They have their moods and preferences, their emotions are often heightened and meltdowns over the smallest of things can be an everyday routine; some also completely shut themselves up. They have health conditions that require constant attention and understanding in order to be handled well. Being in such an intense environment can often take a toll but a significant majority of nurses try to give their best to make the lives of the elderly and their stay at senior homes worthwhile.

Mental Illnesses

The most challenging part about senior living is dealing with mental illnesses. The life events and harshness of experiences often leaves them with a lot to deal with in old age. Additionally, the age and physical condition also take their toll. Many people fall victim to degenerative diseases in their old age. More often than not, they also face comorbid disorders and diseases which further worsen their condition. Disorders like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s leave them completely dependent on others and unable to manage their most basic needs as well. Depression, too, is very common in old age. Nurses play a very important role as a communicator, supporter, friend and even more in giving the elderly the kind of attention they need. Their presence is often the source of happiness for many. A lot of nurses go out of their way to make sure that they are happy and comfortable.

Physical Illnesses

Physical healthcare is very important in the old age. The healthcare system itself is burdened with the problem of understaffing due to the increasing number of people in old age; which is expected to increase further in the coming years. Attending to their medical needs, keeping everything up to date and organized, and providing instant care in case of an emergency constitutes the regular job of nurses. However, there are times where things take a turn for the worse and their condition deteriorates even further. We need to consider how emotionally and physically stressful the job of a nurse is. It is not easy to see people fighting diseases, loneliness, disorders and heartbreak.

Nurses work beyond their capacity in many places. A little appreciation can lift up their spirits and encourage them to give their best in the future too. A few black-sheep should not malign the hard, laborious and selfless efforts of the many.

What Activities to Look For When Selecting a Nursing Home

Nursing HomeWhen you are looking for a nursing home for yourself or for a loved one, it is important to check their safety measures, hygiene standards, staff services and testimonials. And once you have shortlisted the final choices, you need to go for something beyond the comfort of living at the nursing home facility— leisure activities. These should be taken into consideration as much as the other factors mentioned.

It is important to not only look for a place that keeps you healthy and in good shape, but it is also important to look for a facility which helps with mental stimulation as well. Mental exercises help to strengthen and/or build new neurons in the brain, which subsequently helps to keep the brain healthy and stimulated.

Here are some of the basic activities which should be offered by a nursing home to its residents:

Exercise programs

Exercise programs and fitness options are a must have and this activity should not be ignored when browsing through nursing home options. Exercise regimen is not only good for the physical health but it is also an essential tool to ward off the traces of depression, which tend to occur with some patients during their stay at a nursing home.  

Religious Activities

Everyone has a right to practice the religion they follow in the manner which they are comfortable with; and that is a right which has to be freely exercised at any nursing home facility. It is important to look for nursing homes for your elderly loved ones where it is a common practice to hold religious events. These  activities should be encouraged in order to help them stay connected to their faith, which can keep them hopeful and calm.                  

Support Groups

Seniors often go through eccentric phases in their lives. Hence, many of them fail to comprehend what is actually going on with them. Some have addictions while others find it difficult to accept certain drastic changes in their lives. However, when people have the same or similar ailments at a nursing home facility, they can confide in one another through the help of the support group leader.

Hobbies

The cultivated minds of the elderly often crave for something which satiates their desire to express themselves in a manner which doesn’t require regular communication tools, and for that they may want to express themselves in art in one form or another. It is thus important to look for a nursing home which encourages the need for this hobby. To assist them engage in artistic exercises, the nursing home should offer hobbies such as craftwork, music, literature and photography.

Outdoor Activities

It is also important to engage the senior patients with healthy outdoor activities along with the indoor activities so that they can enjoy the atmosphere around, the world outside the cocoon of the home and within the limitations of the safety measures that are provided by the facility. Pick out a nursing home, which offers tours, trips to beaches, parks and other recreational facilities.   

It has to be kept in mind that these activities not only help the elderly stay connected with others around, but also induce a sense of competition thus resulting in a healthy atmosphere and life

Reducing Use of Antipsychotic Drugs in Long-Stay Nursing Homes

A coalition of consumers, advocacy organizations, providers, and professional associations is called to reduce the use of antipsychotic medications in long-stay nursing home residents, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS).

Some members of the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care include CMS, the American Health Care Association, LeadingAge, Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes, and AMDA — The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. The coalition established the goal of reducing use of these medications by 25% by the end of 2015 and by 30% by the end of 2016.

There is some controversy with the numbers being proposed. Representatives from California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care and the Long Term Care Community Coalition wrote to CMS in July that they could not endorse the goals set.

“…we feel the proposed goals do much too little to protect nursing home residents from overuse of antipsychotic medications and will not meaningfully improve current drugging practices, which place too many nursing home residents at risk of harmful treatment,” the authors wrote to Karen Trist, CMS director of Nursing Home Survey and Certification.

The use of antipsychotics in long-stay nursing home residents has already been reduced by 15.1% between the end of 2011 and the end of 2013 to a rate of 20.2% nationwide. Over the last 21 months use has reduced even further to a rate of 19.8%. However, the coalition is looking to reduce the rate even further.

All 50 states and ever CMS region showed at least some improvement, according to a report from CMS. Hawaii led the charge with a 31.4% reduction in the use of antipsychotic medications, followed by North Carolina (29.9%) and Vermont (28.2%).

In 2011, Medicare Part D spending on antipsychotic drugs totaled $7.6 billion, accounting for 8.4% of spending.

“We know that many of the diagnoses in nursing home residents do not merit antipsychotics but they were being used anyway,” said Patrick Conway, MD, deputy administrator for innovation and quality and the CMS chief medical officer. “In partnership with key stakeholders, we have set ambitious goals to reduce use of antipsychotics because there are — for many people with dementia — behavioral and other approaches to provide this care more effectively and safely.”

Ultimately, the Partnership is aiming to enhance use of non-pharmacologics and person-centered care. As the use of antipsychotics is reduced, CMS will monitor the situation to ensure nursing homes are not replacing antipsychotics with other drugs.