STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY DURING THE HOLIDAYS

With the holidays coming up, the highlight for many people during this season is gathering with family and friends and enjoying favorite holiday treats. Here are some tips that will help you enjoy your holidays to the fullest while not increasing your waistline.

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MAKING AND KEEPING NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

Only 8 percent of individuals achieved their resolutions in 2016, according to Statistic Brain. This is likely due to most people having unrealistic expectations about the speed, ease and consequences of the resolutions they make. People attempting self-change rarely succeed the first time; most need five or six attempts, according to a paper published in American Psychologist by Janet Polivy and Peter Herman. The authors suggest false hope syndrome is the cause for failure.

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HEALTHY HOLIDAY OPTIONS

The holidays are a wonderful time to gather with family and friends to celebrate. These celebrations often consist of many delicious treats and hardy meals. You can still maintain a healthy diet with a little thought and planning in advance. Research from a recent Web-based survey found 18 percent of people feel they cannot eat healthily during the holidays because they don’t want to miss out on their favorite foods. You can still eat the foods you enjoy this season, just in moderation.

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factors, such as diabetes or smoking, that may contribute to gum disease.


Treatment and prevention are critical to maintaining good oral health. The number and types of treatment will vary, depending on the extent of the gum disease. The main goal of treatment is to control infection. The doctor may also suggest changing certain behaviors, such as quitting smoking, as a way to improve treatment outcome.


Preventing gum disease begins with brushing your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste. Flossing daily to remove plaque from between teeth is also important. Visit your dentist for a check-up and professional cleaning at least twice a year.


More research is needed to clarify whether gum disease actually causes health problems beyond the mouth and whether treating gum disease can keep other health conditions from developing. It’s clear that controlling gum disease can save your teeth and gums and your smile – a very good reason to take care of it. For more information, contact the Kentucky Dental Association at (502) 489-9121 or visit its Web site. It has a link to find a qualified dentist in your area.


Sources and Resources:


Kentucky Dental Association (2017) Dental Information and Find a Dentist.

Do you smoke? Did you know smoking is one of the most significant risk factors associated with the development of gum disease? Smoking can lower the chances for successful treatment.


Has your physician told you that you have an autoimmune disease such as diabetes? Then you are at higher risk for developing infections, including gum disease. Other diseases such as AIDS and its treatments can also negatively affect gum health, and so can some cancer treatments. Hormonal changes may also be a risk factor; they cause gums to be more sensitive, resulting in gingivitis. There are also genetic factors that may lead to gum disease. Dental researchers have observed that people with gum disease are more likely to develop heart disease or have difficulty controlling blood sugar when compared to people without gum disease.


The basic cause of periodontal or gum disease is the bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless plaque on teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form tartar that brushing doesn’t clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dental hygienist a couple of times a year can remove tartar. The longer plaque and tartar are on teeth, the more harmful they become. The bacteria cause inflammation of the gums, a condition called gingivitis,

THE CHALLENGES OF GUM DISEASE

in which the gums become red and swollen and bleed easily.


Gingivitis can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing and regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. This form of gum disease does not include any loss of the bone and tissue that hold teeth in place. When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontitis, or inflammation around the tooth. In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces called pockets that become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums and tissue that support the teeth can deteriorate. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.


The signs and symptoms of gum disease include bad breath that won’t go away; red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums; pain when chewing; sensitive teeth; and receding gums. Any of these symptoms may be a sign of a serious dental problem and should be checked by a dentist. At your visit, the dentist or dental hygienist will likely ask you about your medical history to identify underlying conditions or risk

DR. THOMAS W. MILLER, PH.D, ABPP

Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a professor emeritus and senior research scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut; retired service chief from the VA Medical Center; and tenured professor in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky.

more articles by Dr thomas w. miller