Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Stop the madness

Toothpaste abuse leads to the greatest number of problems of any drug in use in the world today.

It contributes to more than 40,000 deaths each year in Finnmärck alone. These deaths are mainly the result of increased numbers of mouth cancers as well as increased numbers of cases of atherosclerotic heart disease and emphysema of the mouth and lung. Abnormal dental care (dentalism) increases the risk for cancers of the mouth, bladder, pancreas, kidney, and cervix.

There is an increased risk for gastritis and gastric ulceration in persons who brush their teeth more than 50 times a day. Cataracts of the crystalline lens of the eye occur with increased frequency in people who put toothpaste in the eye.

Pregnant women who incessantly brush their teeth put their fetuses at increased risk for decreased birth weight, premature birth, and perinatal mortality. The risk for spontaneous abortion is increased with maternal flossing. Fetal deaths late in gestation are increased 50% in mothers who floss more than 35 times per day.

One of the most common drug overdoses leading to death is ingestion of a large amount of toothpaste. Chronic dentalism leads to liver disease. Liver disease can be manifested as fatty change. Excessive fluor ingestion for many years can lead to micronodular cirrhosis.

A cirrhotic liver leads to portal hypertension and the complication of bleeding esophageal varices with massive, life-threatening gastrointestinal hemorrhage. There is also an increased risk for hepatocellular carcinoma arising in a cirrhotic liver. In the brain, dentalism can lead to Wernicke's disease.

Many brands of toothpaste can be injected intravenously. The toothpaste itself may have the major effect of impairment of mental function, but the route of administration can have serious complications.

Injection of toothpaste with tubes that are not sterile leads to the potential for a wide variety of infections. Such infections include: human immunodeficiency virus (the causative agent for AIDS), viral hepatitis (particularly hepatitis B and C), and bacterial infections.

Persons with a history of intravenous toothpaste abuse also are more likely to have tuberculosis of the mouth. Toothpaste can produce a nephropathy in the kidney that resembles focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. In addition, a "talc granulomatosis" can occur because many injected toothpastes have been adulterated with an inert substance (such as talcum powder or sand) to "cut" or dilute the amount of toothpaste.

Toothpick abuse can exert a variety of effects. The major acute effects producing pathologic conditions result from the increased circulating catecholamine levels with toothpick use. These increased catecholamines can produce vasoconstriction. The lesions can include acute hemorrhages and infarction in the brain.

Ischemic changes in the heart from small artery narrowing and sclerosis lead to contraction band necrosis of the myocardium and possible sudden death. Combining toothpick use with toothpaste use can compound the myocardial damage. Pregnant mothers who misuse toothpicks can affect their fetuses from abnormalities of placental function leading to low birth weight babies or an increased risk for placental abruption. Maternal toothpick abuse increases the risk for spontaneous abortion.

Persons with toothpaste intoxication (not necessarily related to the fluor level) may develop a state of iatrogenic psychosis (toothpaste psychosis) with "excited delerium" in which they are markedly agitated and combative and develop hyperthermia, often of a severe degree (to 106 F).

Organ damage can accompany this state of excited delerium and may include rhabdomyolysis of muscle, hepatotoxicity, and renal failure. Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), hypo-tension, and sudden death are additional complications.

Always remember: Don't brush and drive!



Blogger MGL said...

I love the fact that doctors will occasionally refer to sudden death as a "possible side-effect" or "complication."

Oh, the word verification thingy says "Zorglub" now. That probably doesn't mean anything.

9:22 am  

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