EP 185: Is There Nursing Shortage with The Nurse Erica

EP 185: Is There Nursing Shortage with The Nurse Erica

Is There Nursing Shortage with The Nurse Erica

Is there a nursing shortage in the United States? That is the question in everyone’s mind. But according to the American Nurses Association, more nursing jobs will be available through 2022. It is the fastest-growing profession compared to any other job in the US. 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that more than 275,000 additional nurses are needed from 2020 to 2030 while employment opportunities are predicted to grow at 9% until 2026. That said, the nursing shortage is not entirely true. And what that in mind, we introduce to your our guest, The Nurse Erica as we discuss this topic. 

The Nurse Erica, as she is known on social media, is a prolific advocate for nurses. She says the things we all want to say but are too afraid of retaliation. 

We talk about her journey from being a nurse to a nurse manager, the fake nursing shortage, and the lack of nursing unions. 

QUESTIONS FOR GUESTS

The questions below are some we’d like to tackle. We often go off-topic, so we don’t expect to hit them all. If you have any ideas, please let us know.

Looking forward to our conversation!

These are the questions you had in Calendly. We’ll go off your questions and wherever else our conversation goes.

  1. Erica, can you give a little background about yourself?
  2. What shift have you noticed in the nursing community pre versus post-pandemic?
  3. Do you have a personal first-hand experience that made you advocate for nurses?
  4. What are some nurses’ rights that are non-negotiable for all nurses to navigate the complexities of care properly?
    • We are big on safe work environments that prioritize and protect nurses’ well-being and provide support, resources, and tools to stay psychologically and physically whole. 
  5. What are the benefits of nursing unions?
  6. What should nurses know when it comes to reporting?
  7. Why do you say there is no nursing shortage?

ENDING QUESTIONS

Before we end the show, we have one last question we like to ask all our guests.

If you had the opportunity to have a Cup of coffee with anybody one last time, who would it be & why? 

Connect with Nurse Erica through her Instagram at @the.nurse.erica and Facebook Page at Nurse Erica for more updates. 

You can also visit and subscribe to her YouTube channel at The Nurse Erica or follow her on TikTok at @the.nurse.erica for the latest. 

Learn more about nursing shortage by watching the full episode here 👇

 

TIME STAMPS:

00:00 Introduction
01:42 About the guest
02:32 Nursing school vs nursing
06:15 Changes in healthcare post-pandemic
09:26 How managers and nurse leaders can help nurses
14:08 Corruption in healthcare
19:51 Setting boundaries as a nurse
23:20 The powerlessness of nursing and where to file reports
26:29 Are nursing unions worth it?
33:20 Why hospitals hate unions
43:48 Is there a nursing shortage?
51:13 End remarks

The Together While Apart Art Project

The Together While Apart Art Project

The Together While Apart Art Project

The Together While Apart Project is a project made for nurses. Being a nurse in this pandemic is undoubtedly trying. We’ve been placed in a situation that most of us are unprepared for. No matter how good you are in your job as a nurse or anywhere in the world, the pandemic tested our strength, knowledge, skills, patience, and mental health. 

As frontliners, we trudge on to battle like soldiers, fighting this invisible enemy to help protect the community and country we serve. It is why we are so grateful for the people who rallied and supported us, nurses, all the way. We thank the community for sending their help and for people like Deane Bower, artist, founder, and creator of The Together While Apart Project. 

What is The Together While Apart Art Project?

The Together While Apart Project is a collaborative art project and fundraiser for the American Nurses Foundation, created in 2020 at the height of the ongoing pandemic. It features the fantastic artworks of 19 artists from across the country, representing nine states and coasts.

The painting represents Hope, Healing, and Light, the characteristics that Healthcare Professionals so beautifully epitomized in such a complex and unprecedented period. It also describes the love and support of all healthcare workers, especially nurses. 

The Campaign

After its completion, the artwork traveled around the country for ten months. By June 2022, it finally found its home in the halls of The University of Virginia Medical Center, which now hangs in the lobby of their Main Hospital. It also received national recognition from the Smithsonian Institute, ChannelKindness.org, and NOAH (National Organization of Arts in Health), among many other well-known organizations. 

The American Nurses Association has established a fund in the name of The Together While Apart Project as part of ANA’s Foundation and Wellness Initiative Programs to give back to all nurses. It will provide nurses throughout the country free services such as mental and physical wellness, job enrichment programs, and financial planning. The goal is to reach $20,200, where funds raised are already up to $12,000.

In light of this campaign, Cup of Nurses encourages everyone to help our fellow nurses. Let us all find a way to honor nurses and thank them for their tireless efforts in serving everyone during this pandemic here in our country and across the globe. 

To learn more about this campaign and fundraising or if you would like to donate to this cause, click on the link below 👇

https://bit.ly/togetherwhileapartproject

You can also Google the American Nurses Foundation, Inc. – Together While Apart Fundraiser for more information. 

We believe that we can fight this pandemic together. So, let us help each other. Now is the best time to show our love and support to our heroes in healthcare; let us give back to our nurses! 

 

Soil Degradation and Human Demise

Soil Degradation and Human Demise

Soil Degradation and Human Demise

Soil degradation and retrogression are two regressive evolution processes associated with the loss of equilibrium of stable soil. So we think that soil degradation and human demise are the end results if this kind of soil condition continues. 

Retrogression is primarily due to soil erosion and corresponds to a phenomenon where succession reverts the land to its natural physical state. 

  • Soil is lost due to erosion from wind and water— for example, rivers washing upland or wind blowing dirt away.

Degradation is due to the replacement of primary plant communities by secondary communities. This replacement modifies the humus composition and amount and affects the formation of the soil. 

  • It is directly related to human activity. 

What is Soil?

The definition of soil is “The unconsolidated mineral or organic material on the immediate surface of the Earth that serves as a natural medium for the growth of land plants.” [1].

Soil is one of the world’s most needed resources. We think about animals and this idea of going “plant only” but don’t understand that this might not be the best thing for ourselves and our environment. 

When was the last time, if ever, we thought about soil health? It isn’t something that comes to mind as necessary, even when we think about human survival. Ask yourself what do humans need to survive? Water and food.

Water is found in natural bodies of water, but where do you get food from? Soil is required for plants, animals require plants, and as humans, we need to eat animals and plants. 

The Soil Profile

As soils develop over time, layers (or horizons) form a soil profile. Most soil profiles cover the earth as two main layers—topsoil and subsoil.

Soil horizons are the layers in the soil as you move down the soil profile. A soil profile may have soil horizons that are easy or difficult to distinguish. [2]

Most soils exhibit 3 main horizons:

  • A horizon: humus-rich topsoil where nutrient, organic matter, and biological activity are highest (i.e., most plant roots, earthworms, insects, and micro-organisms are active). The A horizon is usually darker than other horizons because of the organic materials.
  • B horizon: clay-rich subsoil that is often less fertile than the topsoil but holds more moisture. It generally has a lighter color and less biological activity than the A horizon. Texture may be heavier than the A horizon too.
  • C horizon: underlying weathered rock (from which the A and B horizons form).
  • Some soils also have an O horizon, mainly consisting of plant litter accumulated on the soil surface.

The properties of horizons are used to distinguish between soils and determine land-use potential.

What is in the soil we use?

Soil contains air, water, minerals, and plant and animal matter, both living and dead. These soil components fall into two categories. 

  • In the first category are biotic factors—all the living and once-living things in the soil, such as plants and insects. 
  • The second category consists of abiotic factors, including all nonliving things—minerals, water, and air. 

The most common minerals found in soil that support plant growth are phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen gas. Other less common minerals include calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. The biotic and abiotic factors in the soil make up the soil’s composition.

Minerals

The most significant component of soil is its minerals, accounting for about 45% of its volume. The most common ones are phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen. While the less common ones are magnesium, calcium, and sulfur. 

Water

Water is the second essential component of soil. It makes up approximately 2% to 50% of the soil volume. It is vital for transporting nutrients to growing plants and soil organisms and facilitating biological and chemical decomposition. Soil water availability is the capacity of a particular soil to hold water available for plant use.

Organic Material 

Organic matter is the next primary component found in soils at levels of approximately 1% to 5%. This matter is derived from dead plants and animals and has a high capacity to hold onto and provide the essential elements and water for plant growth. An organic matter has a tall “plant available” water-holding ability and CEC, which can enhance the growth potential of soils. 

Gas

Gases and air are the following essential component of soil. They make up approximately 2% to 50% of the soil volume. Oxygen is necessary for root and microbe respiration, which helps support plant growth. 

Carbon dioxide and nitrogen gas are also crucial for belowground plant functions like nitrogen-fixing bacteria. If soils remain waterlogged (where gas is displaced by excess water), it can prevent root gas exchange, leading to plant death, a common concern after floods.

Microorganisms

Microorganisms are the final fundamental element of soils. They are present in the ground in high numbers but make up less than 1% of the soil volume. An estimate is that, one thimble full of topsoil hols more than 200,000 microbial organisms.
 
Earthworms and nematodes are the largest organisms found in soil. The smallest are algae, fungi, actinomycetes, and bacteria. Microorganisms are the primary decomposers of raw organic matter. Many decomposers eat up organic matter, water, and air. This is to recycle natural organic matter into humus, rich in plant nutrients [3].

Nutrient Depleted Soil

Nearly 99 percent of the world’s daily calorie intake can be traced back to the soil. The plants and animals we eat require soil to grow. Soil is vital for human survival, yet modern farming and agricultural practices quickly destroy it. 

Worldwide, one-third of the Earth’s soil is at least moderately degraded, and over half of the land used for agriculture has some soil degradation.

Due to intense, mismanaged farming, soil nutrients are declining. 

  • Nitrogen stores have decreased by 42 percent
  • Phosphorus by 27 percent
  • Sulfur by 33 percent. 

Plants require these nutrients for photosynthesis, enzymes, protein synthesis, and more to grow optimally.

As a result of declining soil fertility and selective breeding, the nutritional contents of some fruits, vegetables, and grains have also been compromised. 

  • In a 2004 study using USDA data, 43 garden crops were analyzed to compare nutritional content in 1950 versus 1999. Some nutrients were unchanged, but calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin, and vitamin C were lower in 1999 compared to 1950, ranging from a 6 percent to 38 percent drop [4].

The protein content in corn declined from 30 percent to 50 percent from 1920 to 2001, while the starch content increased [5].

The magnesium content of vegetables and wheat has declined by up to 25 percent. There are trace minerals in vegetable crops. Minerals like manganese, zinc, copper, and nickel, have decreased over the last decades. Toxic minerals like aluminum, lead, and cadmium have increased [6].
 
Grains, soy, and corn are low on the nutrient density scale. Far below organ meats, meat, eggs, dairy, vegetables, and fruits.

Modern Agriculture and Soil

The current agriculture methods produce higher yields but deplete and erode soils. Currently, industrial agriculture is destroying the soil. It is being destroyed at 100 to 1,000 times the rate where it is replenished. It is according to the United Nations estimates. According to their report, we only have 60 years left of harvest in many farming regions.

What contributes to soil degradation and human demise?

Monoculture

Many industrial farms grow one single crop, year after year after year. This kind of practice depletes the soil and contributes to carbon loss and soil erosion. Agricultural farms must include perennial crops, legumes, and forages in rotation. This returns the organic matter in the soil, prevents decay, and replenishes nutrients.
  • For example, legume crop residues can be converted into nitrogen by soil bacteria, reducing the need for synthetic nitrogen-based fertilizers.

Additionally, monocropping can threaten food security. With a single crop species on millions of acres, one disease could potentially wipe out an entire food system.

Synthetic Fertilizers

Instead of using organic fertilizers, including crop rotations, cover crops, and manure, modern farms require massive amounts of synthetic fertilizers to grow crops continually. 

  • Nitrogen-based fertilizer production has increased by 9.5-fold since 1960. Fertilizer production consumes fossil fuels in a very energy-intensive process, with non-negligible environmental consequences. 

Not all the fertilizers applied are used up by the crops. Fifty percent or more of the nitrogen leaches into the environment. Many inorganic fertilizers destroy soil microbes that have roles in soil homeostasis.

  • Ammonia, nitrate, and other nitrogen residues make their way to groundwater, rivers, and eventually, the ocean. They reduce oxygen levels, increase algae growth, and damage or death to aquatic life. 

Tillage-Based Farming

Farms today till fields to remove crop residues, flatten the land, and generally mix up the topsoil. However, tilling reduces microbe populations in the soil, promotes soil erosion, and releases greenhouse gases. Today, 93 percent of the world’s cropland uses tilling-based methods for production.

Herbicides, Pesticides, and Fungicides

Herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides can help increase crop yield. By keeping weeds and harmful organisms under control. The benefits come with costs. And when this problem continues soil degradation and human demise is going to be our future. 
 
Pesticides destroy the microbial populations in the soil too. It can also disrupt honeybee and butterfly populations, impacting pollination.
  • Additionally, pesticide residues make their way into water systems and food. Many health problems have been linked to pesticide exposure, including asthma, neurological issues, and even cancer. 
  • The most well-known herbicide is glyphosate, which is applied to crops for hundreds of millions of pounds each year. Glyphosate has profound environmental and health consequences, covered in this article.

Mismanaged Grazing

Cows and other ruminants have the unique ability to convert grasses and other plants that are inedible for humans into nutrient-dense, edible animal products.
 
Best practices dictate that ruminants should rotate among different fields, allowing sections of grass to rest and regrow
 
But when cows graze on the same land as in many conventional farms, it contributes to soil erosion. It lowers soil carbon reserves. Overgrazing contributed to the loss of about one-fifth of the world’s grasslands

[7].

  • Unfortunately, the importance of ruminant animals has been almost forgotten. Due to rocky terrain, hills, and climate, much of the world’s land isn’t even conducive for growing crops. 
  • In contrast, cows, sheep, and goats can often thrive on these marginal lands. Yet these areas aren’t being fully utilized to raise ruminants for food and to sequester carbon properly. Instead, we have concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFO, where grazing is limited, cows are fed grain residues from an outlying farm.

Unity Between the Human Body and Soil

Our body is from soil and water. Without those 2, there is minimal to no possibility of human life. The quality of soil impacts the quality of our physical, spiritual, and mental selves. 
 
Think about evolution or spirituality – if we stem from one at one point. We were the soil or some component of it, so now we are forever bound to the ground. In that soil, there is life, and from that life, there comes bigger life. Not only does it help in a physical sense but spiritual sense too.
 
When you eat bad food, you feel sick. This sickness manifests physically, mentally, and even spiritually. If you have food poisoning, how do you move? How does it then change your thinking? How does it influence your beliefs? Soil connects to us.
 
We are treating soil like some infinite disposable thing. Now take a look at how some humans treat other humans? How toxic people in power treat people below them.
 
The word human stems from the word “humus” in Latin, which means soil. As translated to “living soil” – as in the ground needed for growth. Less and less nutrient-dense foods can lead to the shunting of human growth and function.
 

To learn more about soil degradation and human demise, watch the full Episode 96 in this video 👇

SHOW NOTES:

00:00 Intro
00:52 Plugs
02:08 Soil Degradation and Human Demise
07:25 What is soil?
09:54 The layers of soil
12:35 The essential life-building blocks in soil
16:43 Nutrient Depleted Soil
20:37 Soil Erosion: Monoculture
21:58 Soil Erosion: Synthetic Fertilizers
24:21 Soil Erosion: Tillage-Based Farming
25:19 Soil Erosion: Herbicides, Pesticides, and Fungicides
27:35 Soil Erosion: Mismanaged Grazing
30:14 Unity Between the Human Body and Soil
35:20 Wrapping up the episode

Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The Russian Invasion of Ukraine

In our latest episode, we will be talking about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and their attempts to seize control over this country. 

A Story in History

We all want to know what is the reason behind this attack, so we did a little digging and found out interesting facts regarding Ukraine and Russia’s conflict:

Ukraine

Ukraine is the second-largest country in Europe after Russia. The country also shares boulders with Poland, Slovakia, Hungry, Romania, and Moldova. The government also has a coastline along the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. 

After the Russian Revolution, a Ukrainian national movement for self-determination emerged and was internationally recognized as the Ukrainian People’s Republic on 23 June 1917. 

In 1922 the Ukrainian SSR helped establish the Soviet Union. Ukraine then regained its independence in 1991 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. 

Kiev

Kyiv is said to be the birthplace of Russia. So naturally, Ukraine’s move toward the Western bloc has made the Russian establishment feel betrayed in the name of having a democratic state. 

The national identity and history of Kyiv are more linked to Russia than Turkic states in Central Asia or Baltic states in Eastern Europe. 

In addition to that, Moscow’s ruling establishment feels so emotional because the first Russian state was called Kievan Rus, which was established in Kyiv 12 centuries ago. 

Even the name of Russia originated in the name of this loose confederation of Eastern Slavic, Baltic and Finnic nations. 

Rurik, the founding leader of the Kievan Rus dynasty, has been considered one of the godfathers of the Russian state. Interestingly, Rurik did not have Slavic origins, but he had Viking blood in his veins.

Russian Aggression 

Russia has been aggressive with shifting its borders for the past decade. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the breakdown of the KGB, rumors started circulating. The story was that Russia wanted to regain its lost lands, and this began with Crimea in 2014. 

Crimean Peninsula became a part of post-Soviet Ukraine in 1991, of which Crimea was a part since 1954. In 2014, Russia annexed the peninsula and established two federal subjects there, the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol. 

However, the territories are still internationally recognized as being part of Ukraine. In 2022 Russia again stepped into Ukraine, this time with unknown goals. 

Why did Russia attack Ukraine?

There is much speculation about the rationale for Russian President Vladimir Putin to launch an invasion of Ukraine. No one knows what is going on, and it is hard to tell. We live in the age of the internet and the age of information. 

The problem with that is that there is so much information that it is hard to tell what is correct and false. We know that the U.S. has been involved in Ukrainian politics for many years now. 

Ukraine’s natural resources may be a reason for this Russian invasion

Ukraine has an abundance of some of the most valuable resources. The extraction of natural gas in Ukraine accounted for one-third of the Soviet Union’s total output in the early 1960s. Although largely unexploited, the country also has the second-biggest known gas reserves in Europe, apart from Russia’s gas reserves in Asia. 

Ironically enough, Ukraine depends on gas imports primarily because the USSR began extracting gas on a large scale in Siberia in the 1970s. Germany is also a big consumer of Russia’s natural gas. The country gets 55 percent of its natural gas from Russia, and the bulk of it goes through Ukraine, which earns a transit fee equivalent to $7 billion. 

Much of the gas exploration and production have been transferred to Russia, due to which Ukraine’s resources remain untapped. Presently, Russia supplies 40 percent to 50 percent of Europe’s gas consumption via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline and the Ukrainian network. 

Apart from natural gas, Ukraine is rich in minerals such as iron, coal, titanium, and other non-metallic raw materials. It’s the leading nation for reserves of titanium, iron, and non-metallic raw materials. Many believe that Ukraine’s abundance of minerals could also be one of the probable reasons for this Russian invasion. 

Ores such as iron, titanium, and non-metallic raw materials are some of the country’s major exports, iron ore ($3.36 billion), corn ($4.77 billion), semi-finished iron ($2.55 billion), and seed oils ($3.75 billion). Ukraine was the fifth largest exporter of iron ore in the world in 2019, and in the same year, iron ore was the third most-exported product in the country. 

Lithium and titanium are some of the precious metals on earth today. The Dobra and Donetsk mines were up for grabs, and there has been cut-throat competition between Chinese Chengxin Lithium and Australia-listed European Lithium. Both the companies want a foothold in the European lithium industry. Some estimates indicate that up to 20 percent of the world’s titanium reserves are situated in Ukraine [1]. 

Fear of Ukraine Entering NATO and the E.U.

Relations between Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) started in 1992. Ukraine applied to begin a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) in 2008. However, plans for NATO membership were shelved by the country following the 2010 presidential election, where Viktor Yanukovych won. He preferred to keep the country non-aligned with NATO.

Following the Russian military invasion in Ukraine and parliamentary elections in October 2014, the new government prioritized joining NATO. ​​According to polls conducted between 2005 and 2013, Ukrainian public support for NATO membership remained low. However, since the Russo-Ukrainian War and Annexation of Crimea, public support for Ukrainian membership in NATO has risen dramatically. 

Since June 2014, polls showed that about 50% of those asked supported Ukrainian NATO membership. Some 69% of Ukrainians want to join NATO. According to a June 2017 poll by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, it was compared to 28% support in 2012 when Yanukovych was in power. 

President Putin has made clear that he sees the country’s aspirations to join the group as a threat to Russia’s borders and its sphere of influence. “Ukraine is an inalienable part of our history, culture, and spiritual space. These are our comrades, those dear to us – not only colleagues, friends, and people who once served together but also relatives, people bound by blood, by family ties.” [2].

Putin’s speech from 2/24/2022 mentions how NATO has broken treaties and international law, instead emphasizing the circumstances they interpret as they think necessary. One reference is the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, and the airstrikes lasted from 24 March 1999 to 10 June 1999. 

NATO’s intervention was prompted by Yugoslavia’s bloodshed and ethnic cleansing of Albanians, which drove them into neighboring countries and had the potential to destabilize the region. Then he mentions Iraq, Lybia & Syria. The illegal use of military power against Libya and the distortion of all the U.N. Security Council decisions on Libya. 

Syria is another example of the combat operations conducted by the western coalition in that country without the Syrian government’s approval. He quoted, “In many regions where the United States brought its law and order, this created bloody, non-healing wounds and the curse and international terrorism and extremism.” 

The U.S. Sanctions that they gave to Russia

Banks/Financials

U.S. President Joe Biden announced sanctions on VEB bank and Russia’s military bank, referring to Promsvyazbank, which does defense deals. The Treasury Department said, “All assets under U.S. jurisdiction will be immediately frozen, and U.S. individuals and entities are prohibited from doing business.”

  • According to Russia’s central bank data, total Russian banking foreign assets and liabilities stood at $200.6 billion and $134.5 billion, respectively.

One of the harshest measures would be to disconnect the Russian financial system from SWIFT, which handles international monetary transfers and is used by more than 11,000 financial institutions in over 200 countries.

Individuals

The U.S. imposed sanctions on working directly with individuals based out of Russia. They also imposed sanctions against Russian elites close to Putin.

Energy Corporates & Nord Stream 2

America and the E.U. already have sanctions on Russia’s energy and defense sectors, with state-owned gas company Gazprom, its oil arm Gazpromneft and oil producers Lukoil, Rosneft, and Surgutneftegaz facing various types of curbs on exports/imports and debt-raising.

  • Nord Stream is a system of offshore natural gas pipelines in Europe, running under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.

Chips

The White House has told the U.S. chip industry to be ready for new restrictions on exports to Russia if Moscow attacks Ukraine, including potentially blocking Russia’s access to global electronics supplies [3].

Final Thoughts on This Russian Invasion

We don’t want another world war to erupt at this point. The ongoing crisis has left many of us on the edge of our seats. Hopefully, it can still be resolved so that we can all live in peace.

And if you want to watch the full episode on this, click here for more:

TIME STAMPS:

00:00 Intro
00:41 Plugs
01:54 Episode Beginning
06:04 About Ukraine
09:54 Is the birthplace of the Russian Empire in Ukraine?
12:57 When did Russian aggression start?
13:58 Possible reasons why Russia attacked Ukraine
16:39 Ukraine has a lot of natural resources
19:32 Russia’s fears of Ukraine entering NATO and the EU
25:52The Hypocrisy of the West
29:54 The sanctions only affect innocent citizens
36:00 The Financial Sanctions
39:44 Cryptocurrency dragged into war. Is it good or bad?
43:20 The dangers of the government abusing its authority
47:42 Wrapping up the episode

 

 

How Dental Health Affects Overall Health

How Dental Health Affects Overall Health

How Dental Health Affects Overall Health

In this episode, we would like to talk about dental health. Many people don’t know that dental health provides valuable information on someone’s overall health.

Today we know that most chronic illnesses are not down to coincidence, bad luck, or bad genes. Instead, they are the result of constant, silent inflammation in the body and the resulting chronic stress. This kind of inflammation often occurs in the mouth.

It can be found hiding in the tips of inflamed tooth roots, gingival pockets, around implants, in dead teeth, or in the cavities that are left behind whenever a tooth has to be removed.

Although research is constantly revealing new relationships between teeth and the body, doctors and dentists work in two different spheres, our medical care system is structured such that we can’t see the forest for the trees.

Importance of Dental Health

Looking inside someone’s mouth gives clues to their overall health. Did you know that many problems can stem from poor oral health? Good oral health gives a person the ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow, and impacts facial expressions to show feelings and emotions.

Just like in other parts of the body, the mouth houses a lot of beneficial bacteria. But remember that the mouth is the initial entry point into the rest of your body and sometimes these bacteria make a home elsewhere where they can cause damage.  Proper oral hygiene keeps these bacteria in stable conditions.

What Contributes to Poor Dental Health

Untreated tooth decay. More than 1 in 4 (26%) adults in the United States have untreated tooth decay. Gum disease. Nearly half (46%) of all adults aged 30 years or older show signs of gum disease; severe gum disease affects about 9% of adults [1].

The main factors that cause oral health are:

  • Poor hygiene
  • Diet high in sugar
    • Sugar changes the acidity in your mouth.
      • There are 2 bacteria, streptococcus mutants, and streptococcus sobrinus. These bacteria feed on sugar and create plaque on your teeth. When you get your teeth cleaned your dentist removes this plaque. If left unchecked this plaque will eat away at your enamel.
      • Sugar also attracts bacteria that eat away at your gums and cause gingivitis and gum disease [2].
  • Alcohol use
    • Alcohol drinks are usually high in sugar like beer, liquor, and mixed drinks. This leads to the breakdown of enamel, long-term tooth decay, and gum disease.
    • Alcohol also decreases the amount of natural saliva that acts as a natural antibacterial agent. 
    • Depending on what alcohol you consume it can stain your teeth. 
    • Normal Saliva PH: 6.2-7.6
  • Smoking 
    • Smoking weakens your body’s infection fighters (your immune system). This makes it harder to fight off a gum infection. Once you have gum damage, smoking also makes it harder for your gums to heal.
      • You have twice the risk for gum disease compared with a nonsmoker.
      • The more cigarettes you smoke, the greater your risk for gum disease.
      • The longer you smoke, the greater your risk for gum disease.
      • Treatments for gum disease may not work as well for people who smoke.

Prevention

  • Proper oral hygiene
  • A well-balanced diet low in free sugars and high in fruit and vegetables, and water as the main drink;
  • Stopping the use of all forms of tobacco, including chewing
  • Reducing alcohol consumption
  • encouraging the use of protective equipment when doing sports.

What Conditions are Linked to Oral Health

Your oral health might contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:

Endocarditis

This infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves (endocardium) typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to certain areas in your heart.

  • The study looked at 94 participants where participant’s portal hygiene, gingivitis, and periodontitis statuses were evaluated. 
  • The authors found that oral hygiene and gingival disease indexes were associated significantly with IE-related bacteremia after toothbrushing.
  • Participants with a mean plaque and calculus scores of 2 or greater were at a 3.78- and 4.43-fold increased risk of developing bacteremia, respectively.
  • The presence of generalized bleeding after toothbrushing was associated with an almost eightfold increase in the risk of developing bacteremia [3]. 

Cardiovascular Disease

 Although the connection is not fully understood, some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.

There are a few theories on why this can occur, according to Harvard: 

  • The bacteria that infect the gums and cause gingivitis and periodontitis also travel to blood vessels elsewhere in the body where they cause blood vessel inflammation and damage; tiny blood clots, heart attack, and stroke may follow.
  • Supporting this idea is the finding of remnants of oral bacteria within atherosclerotic blood vessels far from the mouth.
  • Rather than bacteria causing the problem, it’s the body’s immune response – inflammation – that sets off a cascade of vascular damage throughout the body, including the heart and brain.
  • There may be no direct connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease; the reason they may occur together is that there is a 3rd factor (such as smoking) that’s a risk factor for both conditions.
  • Other potential “confounders” include poor access to healthcare and lack of exercise – perhaps people without health insurance or who don’t take good care of their overall health are more likely to have poor oral health and heart disease [4].

Pregnancy and birth complications

Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.

  • Nearly 60 to 75% of pregnant women have gingivitis, an early stage of periodontal disease that occurs when the gums become red and swollen from inflammation that may be aggravated by changing hormones during pregnancy.
  • If gingivitis is not treated, the bone that supports the teeth can be lost, and the gums can become infected. Teeth with little bone support can become loose and may eventually have to be extracted.
  • Periodontitis has also been associated with poor pregnancy outcomes, including preterm birth and low birth weight. However, how periodontitis may lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes is not yet fully understood [5].
  • One systematic review looked at periodontal status looked at 22 totaling about 17,00 subjects and concluded that “The present systematic review reported a low but existing association between periodontitis and adverse pregnancy outcomes.” [6].

Pneumonia

Certain bacteria in your mouth can be pulled into your lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.

  • A study looked at over 122,000 participants with no history of pneumonia with a median age of 52.4.
  • The mean systolic blood pressure and fasting glucose were 125.5 mmHg and 96.7 mg/dL. While 49.6% of participants had periodontal disease, 2.7% and 6.0% had five or more dental caries and missing teeth, respectively. 
  • According to the self-reported questionnaires, 45.0% of participants brushed their teeth three times or more per day, and 26.0% replied having professional dental cleaning at least once per year.

It concluded that:

The risk of pneumonia was higher in groups with more dental caries and missing teeth. In contrast, the risk of pneumonia was lower in the frequent tooth brushing group and the regular professional dental cleaning group. 

  • There was no significant difference in the risk of pneumonia between groups with and without periodontal disease. 
  • A number of dental caries and missing teeth, and the frequency of tooth brushing and professional dental cleaning, were associated with the incidence of pneumonia. 
  • The risk of pneumonia was significantly higher in the group with a higher number of dental caries and the group with more missing teeth. 
  • Risks of pneumonia decreased significantly in the frequent tooth brushing group and the regular professional dental cleaning group [7].

Fluoride: Is it the best means of fighting tooth decay?

Fluoride is considered an essential part of dental care. Almost all toothpaste contains it. Roughly 73.0% of the U.S. population with public water access in 2018 received water fortified with fluoride. In Germany, however, no fluoride is added to drinking water—and yet rates of tooth decay have dropped.

Fluoride can store and lock calcium and other minerals in tooth enamel, which sounds like a beautiful, helpful attribute. But just like many things, it also comes with unwanted side effects.

There are ongoing studies linking fluoride to chromosomal changes, bone cancer, and impairments to intelligence, while many other studies declare its innocence of these allegations.

The concept of holistic dentistry is based on avoiding overburdening the body with artificial substances as far as possible. If we eat well and get all the nutrients we need, there is no need for additional fluoride. Saliva’s job is to store minerals in teeth. That is its natural function, and it does not require extra fluoride to get the job done.

Tough Foods Make You Tougher 

Chewing food is easier to digest. But did you know that adequately chewing our food can protect us from infections? Researchers recently discovered this when they took a closer look at what is known as Th17 cells in our mouths.

These cells are part of the immune system and can ward off harmful bacteria to our health while leaving friendly bacteria in peace.

Furthermore, Th17 cells form in the mouth, so the more we chew, the more cells are produced. In addition to this, eating foods with a more rigid consistency, or simply chewing well, ensures a better immune defense in the mouth.

Good Dental Hygiene Practices

Taking care of your oral health may take a lot of effort. However, if you add them to your daily routine and practice them daily, it will not feel like a chore but more of a natural habit. Here’s how you can practice good dental hygiene:

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day
  2. Use mouthwash daily
  3. Floss daily
  4. Drink more water
  5. Eat more crunch fruits and vegetables
  6. See your dentist twice a year

Watch the full episode on this by clicking here:

TIME STAMPS:

0:00 Introduction
1:00 Sponsor Ads
2:15 Cup of Nurses Introduction
4:04 Episode Introduction
6:36 Importance of Dental Health
10:44 Statistics About Gum Disease
13:28 What Contributes To Poor Dental Health
13:39 Sugar changes the acidity in your mouth!
15:42 How Alcohol Affects Dental Health
18:08 How Smoking Affects Dental Health
21:59 How to Prevent Poor Dental Health
22:45 Conditions Linked to Bad Oral Health: Endocarditis
23:23 Study About People with Endocarditis
25:13 Conditions Linked to Bad Oral Health: Cardiovascular Disease
28:24 Conditions Linked to Bad Oral Health: Pregnancy & Birth Complications
31:51 Conditions Linked to Bad Oral Health: Pneumonia
37:36 Fluoride: The best means of fighting tooth decay?
44:13 Tough Foods Make You Tougher