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Bigger Patients — Bigger Problems

Partners In Prevention 1“People today are about 10 percent heavier than people were in the 1980s, even if they follow the exact same diet and exercise plans.” This was a disturbing conclusion of a recent study of American adults, which has also been reported in The Atlantic.

What might be the reasons?

  • First, people are exposed to more chemicals that might be weight-gain inducing. Pesticides, flame retardants, and the substances in food packaging might all be altering our hormonal processes and tweaking the way our bodies put on and maintain weight.
  • Second, the use of prescription drugs has risen dramatically since the ‘70s and ‘80s. Prozac, the first blockbuster SSRI, came out in 1988. Antidepressants are now one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S., and many of them have been linked to weight gain.
  • Finally,  the microbiomes of Americans might have somehow changed between the 1980s and now. It’s well known that some types of gut bacteria make a person more prone to weight gain and obesity. Americans are eating more meat than they were a few decades ago, and many animal products are treated with hormones and antibiotics in order to promote growth. All that meat might be changing gut bacteria in ways that are subtle, at first, but add up over time. The proliferation of artificial sweeteners could also have a role.

So, dental practices have bigger patients. And with bigness, comes diabetes, hypertension, inflammation, arthritis …. And dry mouth and often,  a preoccupation with these other medical problems rather than on good oral health.

As previously reported in this blog and in a recent NY Times article, the North American diet is changing, in part to address bigness. But bigness is a big factor in the kinds of dental services which are needed and which are also preferred.

For more information, please visit: http://partnersinprevention.ca/.

By: Ross Perry
SOURCED: Partners In Prevention

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