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The Sad Reality of the Dental Health of Aboriginals

The Sad Reality of the Dental Health of Aboriginals

Indigenous Americans have poorer dental health as compared to the rest of the people on the continent. This comes as no surprise, as the native communities are not as exposed to modern heath care as the rest of the country. Some of the most common dental health concerns that plague the Pearly Whytes of the aboriginal community are dental caries, missing teeth, and periodontal disease. While they are normally treatable conditions, they can become quite complicated if left unattended for long.

A report released by the Centre for Native American Youth found that dental health care had not changed much in the last ten years; with 70 percent of pre-school children having cases of untreated teeth decay. The early onset of decay means that they go into adulthood with this condition without the likelihood of having it treated. Quite unfortunately, most of the Native Americans still lack access to proper medical care to this day.

Common Dental Concerns among Aboriginals:

  • Caries

Dental caries also dental decay is the most common among aboriginals. The leading cause of tooth decay is the exposure of teeth to sweet and sticky foods without proper brushing to remove the food particles. The food particles cause decay on the enamel, which can be reversed with appropriate and immediate dental care. If the tooth is left without care for long, dental caries becomes untreatable and may result in even further complications involved inflamed pulp. Once the dental pulp becomes infected, the only choice left for the patient is to have their teeth filled or restored with dental crowns.

  • Periodontal Disease

The attribute of this disease is poor dental hygiene. When there is a build-up of bacteria in the mouth, they could cause a condition called gingivitis. Gingivitis presents in the form of inflamed, bleeding gums. It is quite mild and completely treatable if action is taken early enough. If no action is taken, it could escalate to periodontitis, which is quite severe and destructive. It is also almost impossible to treat as it eats into the tissue holding the teeth. The aftermath of periodontitis is spaced teeth and loss of bone that supports teeth. Eventually, a person suffering from periodontitis may lose some or all their teeth. It also causes the person to have perennial bad breath.

Health complications that arise from poor dental health:

There is more to dental health than a beautiful smile. If some of the seemingly simple issues are not tackled at their early stages, they exacerbate quite fast into health concerns that cannot be reversed. The Aboriginals have for the longest time, been disadvantaged in this area and are therefore highly exposed to these health risks.

Some of the serious health issues that can result from poor dental health include;

  • Heart disease

Unchecked periodontal disease can lead to heart disease. What happens, in this case, is that the bacteria from the gums get into the heart arteries and cause them to harden. Atherosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries) causes the arteries to thicken to a point where they can no longer transport blood with ease. It is a known fact that heart disease can be fatal.

  • Dementia

Poor dental hygiene leads to a build-up of bacteria, which leads to gingivitis. If left uncontrolled, the bacteria that cause gingivitis multiplies very fast and could enter the brain through the bloodstream. The bacteria are also known to cause Alzheimer’s disease. Traditionally, Alzheimer’s disease affects people in their sunset years. However, the affected aboriginals feel the blunt of this condition sooner.

  • Respiratory infections

respiratoryThe connection pneumonia and lung infection to dental health is not obvious at first. However, breathing in bacteria-infested breath for long could lead to infection of the vital organs.
It is quite sad that a fraction of the people in the most powerful nation on Earth is still marginalized in health care. There is more to be done to ensure that every person, regardless of age or race has access to basic dental health care. It is in this regard that First Nations Health Authority has partnered with the Ministry of Health to launch the Healthy Smiles for Life campaign that is geared towards giving aboriginal people a chance, not only to smile and show off their pearly whites for life but to also avert some of the more severe health concerns.

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The Importance Of Sleep and Aboriginal Health

The Importance Of Sleep and Aboriginal Health

Many people depend on sleep to perform their job and every day tasks with ease. Sleep is very important and a lot of people do not understand this. Sleep plays a huge role when it comes to your physical health. Feeling the way you do in the morning all depends on what happens while you are sleeping. If you are a teenager or a child, sleep is responsible for supporting growth and development. If you are not getting the proper amount of sleep, it can lead to exhaustion, lack of progress, communication, cooperation and so much more. You are going to have problems making decisions, it will affect how you react to certain things in the environment and your mental health. It is like when a baby does not sleep through the night, they are usually cranky the next day. If your toddler does not take a nap, they are most likely going to be cranky or get over tired. Sleeping well improves learning as well whether it is in school, how to do something, and it helps you pay attention. The scary part of not getting enough sleep is that it can cause depression, suicide and cause some to get involved with risk-taking behavior. Sleep not only affects mental health, but also physical health. Sleep helps to repair blood vessels and your heart. Those who constantly get inadequate sleep tend to have an increased risk of heart disease and many other illnesses.

busy entrepreneurSleeping plays a vital role in our lives. It changes our moods and helps us to function better. Millions of people suffer with a variety of sleep disorders, diagnosed and undiagnosed. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that leads people to stay up all night without thinking about sleeping. For those who just plain have trouble falling asleep due to their surroundings, there are quite a few things that can solve that issue. Turning off technology before bed creates a good routine for sleep, especially if you’re a busy entrepreneur.. always on your phone. When you are staring at a light from your screen, your brain thinks that it is time to be awake when it is not. Turn off your technology and you are more likely to fall asleep easier. The sane goes for sugar, don’t have any before bed. Sugar keeps you awake and if you are consuming it before bed, you are going to have issues falling asleep. Unplug yourself from the world, close your eyes and drift off.

Waking up refreshed after a great night of sleeping, you are going to function so much better. Not enough sleep will lead to all kinds of complications in the near and far future. Being grouchy could get you in trouble at work, being tired all the time will affect your decision making and it could potentially hurt someone if you are too tired to drive correctly. Sleep is extremely important in everyday life. A lot of people do not understand just how important it really is. Your mental and physical health is at risk if you are not getting the proper amount of sleep that is needed to function.

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Healing the Whole Patient: Traditional Aboriginal Health Care

Healing the Whole Patient: Traditional Aboriginal Health Care

Traditional health care as practiced by America’s indigenous peoples has a long history. For thousands of years, herbal remedies and healing rituals have been the basis of medical treatment for native peoples from Alaska to South America. However, in the 20th century, some practices were banned—until the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978. Health systems serving indigenous populations now employ time-honored treatments and ceremonies in restoring their patients to health.

Traditional American aboriginal healing, unlike traditional “white man’s medicine,” does not differentiate between spiritual, mental, and physical health. In fact, the more than 500 nations that make up American indigenous peoples have a common belief: that there is a spiritual cause of almost all illnesses. In order to enjoy good health, an individual must abide by religious precepts, observe community laws, and value all life (human, animal, plant, and even entities such as rocks and rivers). Failure to do so negatively affects the mind-body-spirit balance, with illness as the result.

To restore this equilibrium, patients turn to medicine people. These individuals may receive their healing power from a vision or by being a member of a family of healers. Both men and women may fill this role, and many are shamans (holy people) as well. Their relationship with the people in need of their services goes beyond curing the illness; they instill confidence and hope and often play the role of counselor. Whatever their titles, healers treat the patient, not the disease.

For these reasons, traditional medicine is a combination of ritual and remedy. Sweat lodges are a well-known example of spiritual healing. Not only do sweat baths restore spiritual, mental, and physical harmony, sweating improves endocrine gland function, removes toxins and germs, and stimulates the heart to pump more blood. Ceremonies such as Lakota and Navajo sings, which can last from two to nine days and are led by an adept singer, are reported to cure disorders as varied as diabetes, asthma, and skin rashes.

Herbal remedies play this dual role, as well. Sage, for example, is deemed to have the power to remove bad spirits from body and soul. This attractive flowering plant is used to treat a number of ailments, including digestive disorders, kidney, lung, bone, and skin conditions, allergies, and anxiety. Cedar fruit and leaves, when boiled and drunk, are an affective cough remedy.

Indigenous peoples of the Americas are to thank for many medicines that are used worldwide to treat and cure a variety of diseases. Quinine was initially used by the Incas to remedy heart-rhythm abnormalities, cramps, and more. The drug gained recognition in Europe in the 17th century for its malaria-treating capabilities and eventually began to be employed as an effective fever reducer, pain reliever, and anti-inflammatory. And modern medical care has been revolutionized by a medicine derived from willow bark, better known as aspirin. Even more noteworthy is a traditional method of infection treatment utilizing mold. From this centuries-old remedy was born the life-saving drug known as penicillin.

With a long and successful history of treating the whole patient, traditional medicine plays a central role in restoring individuals and communities to physical, emotional, and spiritual health. It’s a tradition of which native peoples can be proud.

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