Archive for January, 2012

Autoimmune Diseases and Oral Disease

posted by Dr. James G. Hood
Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Autoimmune diseases are the result of the body responding in an inappropriate manner to normal tissues and/or substances present in the body, causing prolonged inflammation followed by tissue destruction.  The body is fooled and can’t recognize the difference between healthy tissue and disease.  The body, therefore, mounts an immune response (directs antibodies against its own tissues) against itself, as if allergic to itself.  The cause of this dysfunctional behavior is unknown, it may be caused by a drug or toxin or bacterial or viral infection or environmental exposure to foreign substances.  The result of the body’s inability to recognize the difference between normal tissue and disease results in destruction.  As we age, this alone causes our immune system to decline in effectiveness.  Autoimmune diseases affect over 24 million Americans and are one of our society’s leading causes of death and disability.  Autoimmune diseases are ranked as the number one cause of heart disease, cancer, and all diseases.

A couple of the most common autoimmune diseases are diabetes (Type 1), rheumatoid arthritis, and allergies.  Many autoimmune diseases also may have a genetic or traumatic component.

Here is a short additional list of autoimmune diseases and more are being discovered all the time.  All of these diseases should have the autoimmune prefix:

Achalasia Pancreatitis
Addison’s disease Parkinson’s disease
Behcet’s disease Pemphigus/pemphigoid
Celiac disease Pernicious anemia
Crohn’s disease Polymyositis
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Reactive arthritis
Dermatomyositis Rheumatic fever
Eosinophilic esophagitis Sarcoidosis
Fibromyalgia Scleroderma
Graves disease Sjögren’s syndrome
Guillain–Barre syndrome Systemic lupus erythematosis
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis Ulcerative colitis
Hepatitis Uveitis
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) Vitiligo
Menier’s disease Wegener’s granulomatosis
Multiple Sclerosis Wilson’s disease
Myasthenia gravis


Autoimmune Disease Causes:  The immune system is also thought to be suppressed by multiple factors, including abuse of:

  • alcohol
  • caffeine
  • tobacco
  • sugar (this cannot be over-emphasized)
  • drugs
  • food (poor diet or contaminated with herbicides, hormones, etc.)
  • sleep (lack of)

As well as exposure to environmental pollution, including:

  • automobile exhaust
  • chemical fertilizers
  • cigarette smoke
  • heavy metal
  • herbicides
  • industrial waste
  • pesticides
  • stress

So, what has autoimmune diseases and oral disease (periodontal disease and tooth decay) have in common?  Well, much more than one might think:  Plaque and calculus left on teeth cause inflammation, initially gingivitis, followed often by periodontal disease (which we used to refer to as periodontitis).  Any time you see –itis on the end of a word, it is screaming inflammation.  Remember:  it is always means it is inflammation.  Chronic inflammation causes destruction of tissue.  Periodontal disease causes destruction of all periodontal tissues, gum, bone, and periodontal ligament, causing loss of teeth.  Tooth decay causes loss of tooth structure.  Since periodontal tissues are all tissues supporting teeth in the mouth, without them – no teeth.How periodontal disease (inflammation of all periodontal tissues) leads to loss at of oral tissues, including teeth, is a simple model demonstration for what happens to a body with autoimmune diseases.Anything that a patient can do to minimize or eliminate inflammation will lessen the effects of the disease.  A few of the things a patient can do to lessen the effects of many of these diseases are to avoid abuse of/or exposure to the above mentioned factors.  Also, as always, eat lots of antioxidants found in fresh fruit and vegetables.  Include vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea extract, beta-carotene, grape seed-skin extract, coenzyme Q-10 (coQ10) and selenium in your diet.Also, talk to your dental and medical professionals on current treatments.  Find support groups, ask others with your particular autoimmune disease how they cope.Good luck…keep brushing and flossing,Dr. James G. Hood* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *Dental Care Associates of Spokane Valley, P.S.
Family and Cosmetic Dentistry Welcomes Patients
from Age 2 to 102!
James G. Hood, D.D.S., M.A.
507 North Sullivan Road, Suite A-1
Spokane Valley, WA 99037-8576  USA
Phone: (509) 928-9100  |  Fax: (509) 928-0414
Email: drhood@drhood.comWebsites:


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Online Support: The Perfect Answer for Many Adoptive Parents

posted by Dr. James G. Hood
Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Support can come in lots of ways for people who have adopted children who have special needs. Talking to someone who “gets it” is one of the best things that we as adoptive parents can do to normalize our experience and feel like we are not alone. However, some types of support just aren’t possibilities for us during our most trying of days.

Here are some reasons why “real life” as opposed to virtual, online support aren’t possible for adoptive parents:

1) Traditional support groups require us to leave our homes. This requires child care. Many adoption support groups do not provide child care.

2) Traditional support groups that meet in person sometimes offer child care. However, sometimes our children simply cannot function in that setting — even if it is geared to special needs children.

3) Sometimes we are simply to exhausted to make ourselves look presentable. Even if we want to get out and go to a group, it would require having time for a shower and ttime to find clothes that match and don’t have holes in them, perhaps makeup or perfume… you get the idea. Sometimes we’re just too tired at the end of the day to get there.

4) If we can’t meet in person, phone calls are the next best thing. However, it is quite embarrassing to be talking to someone with the noise of a kid raging in the background or while being called a variety of interesting and colorful names by an angry teenager. After we’ve said, “wait, hold on a second” five or six times it just gets too frustrating to try any longer.

5) Having visitors would be another natural way to connect with others, but I know you can think of 30 reasons why THAT isn’t going to happen. At least I can.

6) Meeting another adoptive parent for coffee or lunch is a great idea IF all the kids are in school and IF the school isn’t calling to interrupt the lunch or coffee time to say that we have to come to the school to intervene, give advice, or bring them home.

So, naturally, those of us who have interesting children at home often can’t find support by going to a “real life” support group. We can’t have people over, go out to meet someone, or talk on the phone. Fortunately, there is the internet and now even those of us in the midst of the battle in the trenches can participate in an online group.

So obviously, after reading the paragraphs above, you should already be able to articulate these reasons why online support has been my favorite type in my fifteen years as a foster and adoptive parent:

I don’t have to get dressed up. In fact I don’t have to get dressed at all. I don’t have to go anywhere. I can do it any time of day or night, it doesn’t matter if everyone is awake, or nobody is. Nobody can hear the noise and chaos in the background.

I also find that the ability to write down what I am feeling (which often is required for online support) helps me understand myself more.

So if you are finding a need to “talk” to “someone who gets it” during the next weeks, why not check out online support options? List servs, message boards, blogs, and other avenues of online connections can be just what you are looking for.

If you have not heard, Adopt America has an online support group via Facebook. You can check us out by searching for Adopt America Network’s Support Group on facebook and asking to join. We’d love to have you be a part of our group. And remember … we couldn’t care less what you look like right now, or what your kids are doing or saying in the background, or if you have lots of energy or very little. We are definitely a “come as you are” group. “See” you soon!