Nail fungus producing unsightly nails is one of the most common health issues faced by people, especially those who reside in hot, humid climate zones. Previous therapies for fungal nails including surgical excision, oral medication, and application of prescription and over-the-counter medication to the nails have produced marginal results, and some have produced undesirable side effects such as post-operative pain and disability, liver damage, and ineffective results. Laser treatment kills the underlying pathogens that cause nail fungus. This effective laser light works through the nail. It is safe, painless, and has no side effects like surgery or oral medications.
Fungal infection of the toenail is also known as onychomycosis. Just like any other infection (bacterial or viral), is important that the condition be treated so as not to lead to more serious complications, especially in the diabetic. The disease is characterized by a change in nail color, thickening of the nail, debris under the toenail, a lifting of the leading edge of the nail, and a foul odor. Patients complain that toenail fungus is ugly and embarrassing. This condition is often ignored because the infection can be present for years without causing any pain. If ignored, the infection can spread to other toenails, the skin on the feet (athletes foot), and even the fingernails. Severe cases can impair one’s ability to walk or lead to painful ingrown toenails. Secondary bacterial infections may occur on or around the toenail plate.
Contributing factors for developing nail fungus infection include: a history of athlete’s foot, injury to the nail bed, sports/shoe trauma, excessive perspiration, diabetes, circulatory problems, and immune-deficiency conditions.
When treating nails with the near-infared diode laser, the laser kills the fungus that lives in and under the toenail. During the treatment there is a gentle warming sensation. This walk in and walk out treatment takes only 15 minutes and nail polish can be worn immediately after the treatment. The device operates at physiological temperatures that are thermally safe for human tissue. The 1064 nm wavelength has unique photolethal effects on fungal pathogens. This wavelength is also safe and does not present a danger to normal tissues like ultraviolet light.
In clinical use, most of the time only one treatment is needed, and the nails are photographed, cultured, and evaluated in 6-8 weeks. Total cosmetic results occur gradually as the new nail grows out.
Do you have bleeding gums, a sore mouth, loose teeth or bad breath? If so, you may be among the majority of Americans who have gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. And if you have it, you should take it seriously (by making an appointment with a periodontist today) not just because of the problems it can cause in your mouth, but because it may increase your risk of developing a range of full-body diseases, from heart disease to cancer.
Between Mouth and Body
Just like bacteria, which invade the body through a cut or other break in the skin, germs can gain access to the bloodstream when they get far enough under the gums. Periodontal disease causes pockets between the teeth and the gums, which are ideal breeding ground for some nasty bacteria. And, unlike external bacteria that invade through obvious routes and cause obvious infection and swelling, periodontal bacteria are silent invaders from within, traveling from the mouth to all the crucial organs of the body undetected until they cause or contribute to a number of deadly diseases. There may be few symptoms and no pain, until your gums start to bleed and your teeth loosen and actually fall out.
Periodontal Linked Diseases
Periodontal disease is linked to diabetes, as both a cause and exacerbating factor. Studies have shown that treating periodontal disease can improve blood sugar, and just going in for regular cleanings improves diabetic control. There is also a strong association between periodontal disease and low birth weight babies. Studies have found periodontal bacteria in amniotic fluid. When bacteria get into the mouth and travel to the bloodstream they elevate prostaglandins, the same inflammatory markers that stimulate uterine contractions, causing early labor. Since pregnant women are more likely to get gingivitis because of elevated hormone levels, it’s crucial that they pay attention to dental care. Periodontal disease can be a factor in lung disease as well. Bedridden elderly patients who don’t or can’t take good care of their teeth can breathe in bacteria, which can cause pneumonia. People with COPD need to be especially careful to avoid periodontal disease since their lungs have a reduced capacity to fight off infection.
Dentists With Super Powers
Periodontists are dentists who specialize in the treatment and prevention of periodontal (gum) disease. They are experts in the treatment of oral inflammation, plaque and bacteria as they receive extensive training in these areas during their three additional years of education beyond dental school, plus continuing education throughout their careers. Periodontists are familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease, and are also trained in performing cosmetic periodontal procedures, and dental implants.
How to Get a Healthy
Mouth and Body
Fortunately, remedying gum disease may help lower these overall health risks. When an inflammatory condition is suspected or diagnosed, it is important to quickly consult with a periodontist, as sometimes the only way to detect periodontal diseases is through a periodontal evaluation. A periodontal evaluation may be especially important if you:
• Have a high risk for periodontal diseases.
• Have heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease or osteoporosis, or are thinking of becoming pregnant.
• Have a family member with periodontal disease. Research suggests that the bacteria that cause periodontal disease can pass through saliva. This means the common contact of saliva in families puts children and couples at risk for contracting the periodontal disease of another family member.
• Have a sore or irritation in your mouth that does not get better within two weeks.
Take control of your preventative dental health. Make an appointment for a periodontal evaluation with an experienced periodontist today. Taking care of your teeth and gums will not only help enhance your smile, but will help you maintain your overall health.
Coming down with a cold during the holidays can turn your holiday season into drudgery.
You catch a cold when a virus invades your nose or eyes. You might breathe in airborne droplets, but far more often, you catch a cold by touching a germy surface or having direct contact with a person who has a cold and then touching your nose or eyes.
Steering Clear of Colds
for the Holiday Season
Your risk of catching a cold is greater when you are indoors most of the time, when the air is dry, and when you have close contact with other people. During the holiday season, people travel in trains, planes, and automobiles and are probably sharing the ride with some of the 200 viruses that cause the common cold.
What can you do to lessen your risk?
Avoid prolonged close contact with people who have colds. Handshaking, hugging, and sharing meals and good times are so much a part of the holiday season, exposure to cold viruses is probably inevitable.
Keep your hands away from your nose and eyes because cold viruses can live up to three hours on your skin.
Wash your hands, with soap and water, often. Scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails – not just your palms – for a full 15 seconds and rinse well. Dry your hands with a disposable towel, and turn off the faucet using the towel. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Clean your personal items. Cold viruses can live on surfaces (especially nonporous surfaces such as plastic, metal, or glass) for up to 48 hours. Use disinfectant wipes to clean the surfaces you regularly touch this holiday season – your laptop keyboard, your cell phone, your car’s steering wheel.
Treating a Cold on the Road
The saying goes that there’s no cure for the common cold, but even so, you can feel more comfortable—even when you’re far away from home. Your goal is to relieve your symptoms.
Try natural ways to feel better:
Drink lots of water. Doctors recommend eight glasses a day to keep your nose and throat moist and to loosen congestion. Avoid alcohol and caffeine drinks because they dry out – or dehydrate – your system. A salt-water gargle may soothe your sore throat.
Get plenty of rest. If possible, adjust the temperature and humidity of your sleeping area to be moist and warm, but not overheated.
Eat right. No scientific evidence backs the old adage, “Starve a cold; feed a fever.”
Don’t smoke. Smoking can dehydrate your body and make your symptoms worse.
Use over-the-counter medications to treat your symptoms.
Your regular pharmacy back home probably has a branch near your holiday travel destination. Find out the location of the nearest pharmacy before you leave home. Some common products that may help include the following:
Saline nasal sprays can fight stuffiness and congestion.
Decongestants and pain relievers may relieve your symptoms, even though they will not shorten the duration of your cold. People sometimes complain of feeling feverish with a cold, but colds and fever don’t usually go together. However, you may run a temperature of 100ºF – enough to slow you down a bit.
Ask the local pharmacist about complementary or alternative treatments such as:
Homeopathic remedies (used within the first 24-48 hours of symptoms) such as zinc lozenges and intranasal zinc gluconate. Recent clinical studies have demonstrated that treatment with intranasal zinc nasal gel is effective in reducing the duration and severity of common cold symptoms within 24-48 hours of symptom onset.
Vitamins and herbal supplements such as vitamin C and Echinacea.
Information obtained from American Pharmacists Association.