In today’s society, people don’t seem to exercise their option to consistently take in healthy food. Consequently, many people are not getting many of the critical vitamins that they require. B12 vitamins are actually one of the essential nutrients in the B complex of vitamins that the body needs to function well.
When an individual does not have the proper vitamins, it takes a toll on their body. Vitamin B12 deficiency warning signs can fall into the categories of both mental and physical .
Individuals that don’t have an adequate intake of B12 might find it difficult to concentrate. They can experience both confusion and disorientation even if they are quite young. If the deficiency is sufficiently extreme, it can cause a person to experience episodes of delusion. Vitamin B12 deficiency affects the nervous system.
This can cause a person to experience numbness in the arms or legs. People that suffer from a Vitamin B12 deficiency might also have trouble maintaining their balance and could possibly experience frequent headaches.
A lack of Vitamin B12 can also affect the digestive system. A person may experience nausea, which can also lead to vomiting. Heartburn and bloating are two additional problems that could be actually associated with having a B12 deficiency. Many individuals experience unwanted weight loss.
A vitamin B12 deficiency can even cause constipation or, conversely, diarrhea. The latter can lead to anemia, which is actually a complication that, when severe, may generate serious illness.
There are a few other side effects that are not always recognized as a vitamin B12 deficiency. Many people manifest depression which was actually initiated by a vitamin B12 deficiency. Certain other sources directly link a deficiency of B12 to fatigue. B12 vitamins are needed to provide the body with the stamina people need to get through each and every day.
When a person does not receive enough of the vitamin, it can become remarkably difficult to do execute some of the most seemingly mundane activities. Persons may additionally experience shortness of breath while executing those actions. That is why it is recommended that folks who experience symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency to consult a physician immediately. There are a number of treatment choices available for those that have such a deficiency, but it is always better for the person to seek help before it becomes a problem.
We all know the drill when we go to a new doctor’s office. Provide your health insurance card and ID card for them to copy, fill out contact and emergency information, complete a comprehensive medical history form, and sign the HIPAA form. This last form generally provides you with information as to the privacy of your medical records, and while it is an important part of HIPAA, it is by far not the entire act.
HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, offers an “umbrella of protection” to consumers. It eliminates the previous fear of changing employers due to the potential loss of health coverage for one’s family in more than one way.
This act prevents employers (new or old) from excluding any employee from their group health insurance plan due to pre-existing conditions. It also prohibits any discrimination against an employee or family member based on medical history, any genetic information, and previous claims.
However, HIPAA still makes some provisions to allow for group health insurers to limit pre-existing condition coverage under certain circumstances. If care or advice was provided in the previous six months for a specific condition, it may be excluded from coverage or limited for up to 12 months after enrollment, while all other plan benefits are still in effect. Some plans have much shorter exclusion periods, while others have none at all.
In cases in which a pre-existing condition is eligible for an exclusion period, creditable coverage comes into the picture. Any medical coverage that was obtained for the previous 12 months will be considered creditable coverage, as long as the period between policies was less than 63 days. This coverage is then accounted for on an equitable basis: for every month of creditable coverage, the exclusion period is reduced by one month.
In cases of creditable coverage, proof will be required for it to be counted against the exclusion period. If you are leaving a job, a certificate of creditable coverage may be requested free of charge. In addition, when COBRA or other health insurance coverage ends, you will receive a certificate as well. If one is lost or not received, it may be requested for two years, free of charge, from the insurer.
This act also ensures that employees are able to obtain health insurance from an employer in cases of a significant qualifying event. These include the birth or adoption of a child, death of a spouse, divorce, or loss of previous health insurance. Referred to as special enrollment, this is not subject to the terms of open enrollment, but must be requested within 30-60 days of loss of coverage or qualifying event depending on the particular situation.
As you have seen, there is much more to HIPAA and health insurance than just the privacy of your medical records. Designed to help bridge some of the previous gaps in our health care system, it is just one of the legislative acts that aspires to improve health care in our country.
Recently, I saw four new patients in my dental office during a given week. All four of those patients scheduled their visits because they perceived pieces of their tooth chipping away. In three out of four of those cases, the offending tooth was so badly decayed that the tooth couldn’t be saved. Yet only one of those patients came in with any discomfort.
The common thread in each of these cases is that the patient waited until the tooth was actually breaking apart to seek dental care. All too often, the trigger that brings people to the dentist is pain. Yet here, we had at least three cases where pain was not a factor and yet the tooth was decaying.
How is this possible?
A little understanding of dental anatomy helps here. The outer layer of teeth, the enamel, is the hardest substance in your body. Because its composition is predominantly mineral, it is possible to have decay throughout that layer without experiencing any sensation. In fact, it is even possible for your dentist to drill that part of the tooth (in most cases) without pain. The next layer under your enamel is called dentin. Decay can travel into the dentin – where it usually spreads more quickly, because it is not as hard – and a person still may not experience pain.
By the time a tooth that is decayed hurts, the decay has generally travelled so far that it nears the innermost layer – the pulp. The pulp contains nerves and blood vessels – so, naturally, pain becomes a factor. If a patient is lucky enough to have enough tooth structure remaining, chances are that the tooth will need a root canal if it is to be saved. Otherwise, extraction is the usual alternative.
One lost tooth can lead, in turn, to still other dental problems. Most notably these include shifting teeth, TMJ problems, periodontal problems, cosmetic difficulties or simply difficulty chewing. It may even lead to the loss of more teeth – not to mention the fact that tooth replacement options can become rather expensive.
Hopefully, just understanding that a lack of pain does not equate to a lack of problems will prompt some readers that haven’t seen a dentist in a long time to do so. Sometimes people fear learning that they have cavities that need to be treated, and so they put off the examination. Consider, however, that it is better to learn you have five teeth that need fillings, than to learn you have several that have to be extracted.
As a dentist, it’s not unusual to find me browsing the dental aisle from time to time. I like to see what’s new. What I find particularly interesting, though, is watching people as they make their product choices.
My impression is that one area which seems to attract the most indecision relates to the subject of which toothbrush to buy. With manual toothbrushes people ponder over whether to get a soft bristle, a medium hardness, or an outright hard bristle. Then, the question becomes should it be angled or straight?
In my office, people also frequently ask: “How often should I replace my toothbrush?” (As often as once every other month. Don’t let it go beyond three months on average, however. Also, replace your brushes after being sick. The bristles retain germs.)
Then there is the question: is an electric toothbrush really better than a manual? If so, what kind of electric brush? Sonic, rotary, or oscillating?
It can get pretty confusing. So let me sum it up for you.
While I’m not sure every dentist will agree with me (only “three out of four” of us agree on anything anyway) 🙂 here is my opinion:
If you’re buying a manual brush, get a soft bristle. If you are deciding between a manual and electric – go for the electric. In my experience battery-powered brushes are fine, but rechargeable brushes are more convenient and eliminate the cost of frequent battery changes. Rotation-oscillation is usually preferred, but I have seen excellent results with the sonics as well.
Soft bristles are kinder to the gums, and since you should be paying attention to your gum-line when you brush, this is important. When I was in dental school I recall a lecture explaining that soft bristles were also “end-rounded,” which means that if you looked at the tips of the bristles under magnification, their ends are, well, rounded. This is in contrast to bristles that are cut off at sharp angles on the harder brushes. I guess the manufacturers figure if you’re going to buy the harder bristle, “What the heck. There is no point to rounding off these babies, let’s keep ’em really rough.” The trouble is this can be abrasive to your gums.
As for the electric brush, I think a consensus exists that — per time spent brushing — more plaque is removed. So this is worth the extra investment. If finances are tight, I believe that you still can achieve excellent results with a manual brush – if you use it correctly. This means brushing in the correct directions, with the right motions and with the appropriate amount of force. Have your dentist or hygienist demonstrate the recommended technique to you. Also, if you have all of your teeth, you should spend at least two minutes brushing them. In my observation, the trouble is that most people simply don’t brush long enough. So time your brushing. One study showed most people think they are brushing much longer than they actually are. Since human nature seems to be inclined to “rush the brush,” this is where electric brushes have an advantage over the manual variety. Many of the electrics have built-in timers. You can still cheat, but at least you will know you are doing it.
Here is an interesting exchange I had with a patient not too long ago. I’m getting ready to start a cleaning after completing my examination. His gums are red (he has gingivitis), there is plaque visible, and I just know those gums will bleed when I start to clean them. I’d like to help him get this under control, but I suspect he doesn’t floss, so I ask “Do you floss?”
His answer: “Whenever I need to.”
I’m thinking: “That would be, like, EVERY DAY.” But instead I ask: “How often is that?”
He replies: “Whenever food becomes noticeably stuck between my teeth.”
I’m actually detecting just a little annoyance now, and then he says: “Yeah, every dentist I have ever been to mentions the flossing thing.”
Well, I suppose I could talk about his favorite color, or maybe something equally inane, like the weather — but somehow the ‘flossing thing’ seemed appropriate. And then it occurred to me, maybe that IS “flossing” for this guy. And how many others, I wondered?
Therefore, in my quest to help rid the world of gingivitis and periodontal disease, (which just may be the shared goal of “every other dentist” who has recommended flossing) I’d like to clarify a few points about what it is and what it isn’t. While floss is unquestionably effective at removing food particles from between your teeth, just picking out the occasional chunk of steak from between your teeth doesn’t classify as “flossing.”
Flossing involves taking a piece of floss – say, about eighteen inches or so – grasping it between your thumb and index finger (just a few inches apart), then holding it in a “C” shape against the side of your tooth. Pre-threaded flossers are just fine in my opinion. Use whatever you are most comfortable with and whatever will get you to floss regularly. Rub the floss up and down the sides of every tooth. You actually want to slide the floss under the gum line. This cleans out areas your toothbrush cannot effectively reach.
Imagine not cleaning some parts of your teeth – ever. Or maybe, you just clean some teeth and not others. Do you think the unclean teeth might become more subject to tooth decay? If you answered “Yes!” then you would be right. This is exactly what occurs when you don’t floss. The parts of the teeth that are in contact with each other never get brushed. It’s not physically possible. So, a sizeable portion of all the fillings I end up having to place for patients are between the teeth. This is so easily helped . . . floss!
If you are just beginning to floss, you can expect your gums to bleed. Don’t let this ‘freak you out.’ A number of patients have said to me over the years “I tried flossing but it made my gums bleed, so I quit.” No. Bacteria, gingivitis, and nutritional deficiencies made your gums bleed. Flossing will help. You just need to stick with it until you notice less and less bleeding.
It is important to have your teeth and gums examined regularly. While gingivitis and periodontal disease are bad enough, there are a few even more serious conditions that could contribute to bleeding gums.
I actually could go on for quite a while about the many benefits to your overall health that flossing brings, but I’ll spare you for now. Or shall we just talk about the weather?
I’m in the smile business. I can take an ugly smile and, in most cases, make it a very attractive one. Sometimes it’s something simple. At other times it’s not. Often, it depends upon how much I have to change to get there, as well as what people, themselves, are willing to do toward an end.
But the smiles I really care about the most are those that start on the inside.
Sure, I treat diseases. I also repair things that are broken down, replace things that are missing, prevent things that shouldn’t happen from happening, and more. It’s all part of the job. But at the end of the day, the thing I value the most are the smiles.
In today’s day and age, it seems that people are so focused upon the problems around them; they find it harder and harder to find the smile within them. After all, the media works hard to put our attention on earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, unemployment, inflation, recession, terrorist attacks, famine, wars – and that’s just before breakfast. Who the heck wants to smile after that?
It’s really enough to make someone want to give up, to lose hope, or maybe even feel sorry for themselves. I sometimes think that’s actually the point: to beat us down. If we are all depressed, maybe they can sell us happiness in the form of something material thing, or package it in a pill. Maybe Madonna was right when she sang “Material World” after all.
So what can we do about it?
Start with a smile.
If it doesn’t feel natural, go ahead and force yourself. It actually takes courage to smile in the face of adversity, but that resolve is one thing no one can take away from you. It is also the gift you can give to another that costs you nothing – yet it will be cherished long after you have given it.
A smile is powerful because it emanates from you and when given genuinely, is truly valued.
Over the years I have accomplished many things both within my immediate profession and outside of it. People have paid me good money to help them with their problems but, when the time comes to hang up my dental handpiece, I know that it won’t be the dollars that mattered most or that I am even likely to remember. It will be the six year-old who came back and gave me a hug after I finished her filling, or drew me a picture. It will be the young man who made a special trip back to my office one evening, just to take me aside and say “Thank you. You don’t know how much fixing my smile has helped my self-esteem.” It will be the young lady who gasped, and finally took her hand away from her mouth (after always covering it up), when I showed her her new smile. Okay, she cried, but she was really happy. That made me happy too. And so I smiled. In fact, when I think about those moments I still smile.
Smiling and kindness are the two “secret” weapons we have to battle the insanity surrounding us. I say, let’s use them as weapons of mass destruction. If destruction is to be the order of the day, then let’s destroy the pessimism, the fear, the cynicism, and the hatred. Think of it as a form of biological warfare. Wouldn’t it be great if smiling and kindness went viral?
If you are starting to think, “Oh, that sounds great, but it’s a little naïve,” then maybe the “Dark Side” is winning. I don’t think happiness is at all sentimental or corny. It is the pay we get for living.
People search for happiness their entire lives. Yet, someone much wiser than I once stated that all the happiness you will ever find lies within you. So why not start with a smile?
I hope you enjoy the following video. May it make you smile. 🙂 If it does, why not send it to a few friends?
Smile though your heart is aching Smile even though it’s breaking When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by If you smile through your fear and sorrow Smile and maybe tomorrow You’ll see the sun come shining through for you
Light up your face with gladness Hide every trace of sadness Although a tear may be ever so near That’s the time you must keep on trying Smile, what’s the use of crying? You’ll find that life is still worthwhile If you just smile
That’s the time you must keep on trying Smile, what’s the use of crying? You’ll find that life is still worthwhile If you just smile
How likely are you to keep your teeth and gums for life?
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Scoring is not scientific and is primarily for your entertainment. 🙂 When it comes to your health, the more you know, the more you can prevent painful or costly situations that “get you” when you least expect them. Go ahead and take the quiz now:
Dr. Richard Walicki is a dentist practicing general and cosmetic dentistry. While we hope you find the information contained herein interesting and useful, this blog is for informational purposes and is not intended to diagnose any oral disease. Dental conditions should be evaluated by your dental health professional or a qualified specialist.
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