Exposing Substance Use Disorder in Jefferson County
January 25, 2019
As we ring in the New Year, it is important to bring awareness to issues that affect our community.
National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (January 22 – 27) is recognized to raise awareness of the impact of substance use disorder in adults and adolescents.
In a 2018 report on the use of substances by adolescents, the Missouri Department of Mental Health exposed that 1/3 of students consumed alcohol, 1/3 of students used electronic cigarettes, and 17% of students used marijuana.
There are multiple reasons why students begin using substances at a young age.
“We work with many adult patients who began using opioids in their teens, which may have begun by receiving prescriptions to treat injuries or taking a parent’s or friend’s prescription,” said Rachael Bersdale, Vice President of Adult Behavioral Health at COMTREA.
“These medications can be overpowering to the brain, creating physical and psychological dependence that continues when the prescription ends. This dependence includes intense withdrawal and cravings which make it difficult to stop using and can lead to use of other opioids including heroin,” said Bersdale.
Other possible reasons for addiction are peer influences at parties or relying on substances as a coping mechanism after experiencing a traumatic event.
National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week explores common myths about drugs and alcohol. Rod Campbell, Associate Vice President of Youth Behavioral Health at COMTREA states, “We need to dispel the myth that substance use is an adult disease or best treated in adulthood. The reality is the factors contributing to problems with substance use can be identified and treated in childhood. The belief here is that treating these factors early on will equip individuals and families with skills necessary to develop in a healthy manner. In doing so, the hope is to bypass a substance use disorder in adulthood altogether”.
Another common myth is that “substance use disorders only happen to certain kinds of people” said Bersdale. “Many patients say, ‘I didn’t think this would ever happen to me.’ We have patients from all professions, socioeconomic and education levels, races, and ages”.
If a loved one or close friend struggles with substance use disorder, it may be difficult to know the best way to approach the situation.
“The most important thing is to get educated and start the conversation. Let them talk about what they are going through, that you have learned about how difficult this is for them, and that they are loved and have your support,” says Bersdale.
“Finally, let them know that there is hope for recovery, this is something they don’t have to do alone, and there are resources available for getting effective treatment. With withdrawal, cravings, and trauma that many individuals with substance use disorder experience, they may not be ready to stop using,” said Bersdale.
“I think it is really helpful for families and friends to have support in dealing with how a loved one’s substance use has affected them,” continues Bersdale. “We are creating a group at COMTREA to help support families and friends, which will be available to the community at no charge”.
Treatment and resources for support are available from many organizations and providers in Jefferson County and across the state, including inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and self-help groups.
COMTREA provides personalized services based on the level of care a patient needs. Visit the COMTREA Welcome Center at 2310 North Truman Blvd, Crystal City, MO 63019 for immediate care, call 636-220-5397, or attend the Open House on February 22 from 2-4 PM.
Dental Education: How Exercise Helps Your Teeth
January 8, 2019
With the New Year upon us, many people take this as an opportunity to improve their health with various resolutions. Some will vow to start working out, attempt to eat better, or even replace bad habits with good routines.
This poses a very important question about your oral health! Do any of these New Year’s resolutions help your teeth and gums? The answer is YES!
According to newteethforme.com, exercise can actually improve your dental health, while improving overall health.
Exercise helps reduce the toxins found in your body, and also helps reduce C-reactive proteins. This is all part of the inflammatory response in your body.
Reduction in the C-reactive proteins and inflammation improves the healing ability of your gum tissue, which helps support your teeth.
Along with exercise, making good choices when eating helps improve your oral health, and of course, your overall health.
When your body is receiving the correct types and amounts of nutrients needed, it functions much better. This includes being able to heal and support the needs of your teeth, gum tissue, and the bones supporting your teeth.
As you think about New Year’s resolutions, consider adding physical activity and a great dental care routine, like visiting your dentist twice a year!
Dental Education: "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth"
December 11, 2018
Why does it seem like your children’s teeth fall out all at once?
When should my child expect to lose their two front teeth?
Tooth losing patterns may vary from child to child, but typically follow the same pattern and timing.
With infants, you might see a little smidge of a tooth start showing around the six month mark. But do not worry if your child is older and has not had anything visible begin to poke through their gums. In most cases, they may be on their way!
Some children have been known to be toothless all the way up until their two year birthday!
If you are worried, most children should go to see the dentist at the age of six months, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends they see a dentist prior to their first birthday. Take this opportunity to speak to a dental professional about any questions or concerns you may have for your child. They can help with questions about pacifier use, sippy cups, thumb sucking or other habits and nutritional needs for your child.
So, when does the old holiday song, “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” come into play?
Well, most likely your child will start singing this tune around the age of 6 or 7. This is the most typical age when the two front teeth have wiggled their way out of your child’s mouth and under their pillows for the Tooth Fairy!
Even if they lost their two front teeth a while ago, rest assured, they may be singing this tune even around Christmas.
And unfortunately, you may not be able to give them what they really want for Christmas since their two front teeth will decide when they feel like appearing.
Additionally, you may notice that children lose all of their back teeth around the same time.
Between the ages of nine and twelve, your child will lose about twelve teeth. Children will have twenty primary teeth in their childhood, and thirty-two teeth as adults. Their first adult tooth should appear at the young age of 6 years old.
This is why having a parent helping them brush their teeth is so crucial. Most kids don’t develop the needed brushing dexterity and ability until age 8 or 9, which is necessary for removing plaque and keeping them healthy, even if they insist they don’t need help!
Whether your child is just starting to teeth or is singing “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth,” remember that your role in their dental health can be crucial.
Dental Education - Is Thanksgiving Food Bad for You?
November 6, 2018
Is Thanksgiving food BAD for you??
The short answer is it could be! But, that does not mean you cannot partake!
Many traditional Thanksgiving foods can be slightly harmful for your teeth, but there’s hope. As long as you take care of your teeth, you can indulge, especially since it’s only once a year.
It seems that the general public tend to know what foods or drinks are good and bad for you.
What do you do when you don’t know? Go ask the professionals! Several websites offer great advice for navigating your holiday meals.
Some of the worst foods to partake of on your holiday retreat would be starchy and sugary foods. Items like candied yams, stuffing, candied nuts, and rolls all contain sugar or starch. These can help feed the bacteria responsible for cavities. And yes, unfortunately, this includes the infamous pecan pie! It’s always best to eat these foods followed by a swish of water or even brushing, if possible.
Another cavity culprit is soda! We should all know by now that soda contains sugar and acids that help bacteria hosting the perfect environment to thrive. Again, if you drink soda, swish with water or brush, if possible.
Now that we have an idea of what foods to either avoid or swish after eating, let’s look at foods that might actually be good for your teeth!
The following advice is available on www.colgate.com about the best foods for your oral health around this grateful holiday.
Some foods that actually combat the bacteria include some holiday appetizers like cheese, raw veggies, and mixed nuts.
Cheese helps buffer the acid that is needed to break down foods, but this acid can have a negative effect on your teeth if left too long. Eating cheese after drinking soda, for example, would help prevent those negative effects caused by the acid in soda. We also recommend indulging in fresh fruit trays. These can meet your sweet treat needs, but not create damage to your oral health.
Lastly, let’s talk about drinks. Although there are several options to quench your thirst around the holidays, there are two main drinks that we would recommend: water and tea.
Water is always the best choice when you are thirsty, holiday or not. Tea contains fluoride and helps keep you hydrated, a home run for oral health!
So, eat well, drink well, and make great Thanksgiving meal choices. You will have those pearly whites for many Thanksgivings to come!