News / Asia

Dentists Warn Asians Not to 'Super-Size' Their Food

Two Chinese men walk past a billboard advertising US fast-food giant McDonald's, in Yichang, central China's Hubei province, 8 July, 2010.
Two Chinese men walk past a billboard advertising US fast-food giant McDonald's, in Yichang, central China's Hubei province, 8 July, 2010.
TEXT SIZE - +

Despite the widespread problem of hunger in Asia, growing economies have lifted many out of poverty. And as incomes expand, so too, are diets. Some health officials say this is causing new problems for Asia's growing middle class.

So, the next time you step into a fast food joint, you may want to choose a regular cheeseburger instead of a Big Mac. Why not super-size your burger?  Because there is a risk of a jaw injury. Dentists in Southeast Asia say they are seeing an increase in the number of jaw disorders and they are blaming stress and the growing popularity of big-sized, Western-style fast food.

Specialized dentist Ansgar Cheng runs a clinic in Singapore. In fact, he is a prothodontist. This reporter asked Cheng what exactly that means.

"We are specialists in reconstructions and the biomechanics of jaw joints," explains Cheng, whose training makes him an expert in temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ. The painful condition occurs when the joint that connects your jaw to your skull becomes inflamed, making chewing painful.

Over the past few years, Cheng says he has seen a considerable increase in the number of TMJ problems, adding that a lot of it can be blamed on people eating super-sized burgers.

"On average most Asians are petite-sized people so, in general, we could say our jaw openings are somewhat smaller than Westerners," he notes.

Dentists Warn Asians Not to 'Super-Size' Their Food
Dentists Warn Asians Not to 'Super-Size' Their Food

Cheng explains that Asians trying to fit a Big Mac into their mouths could over-stretch their chewing muscles, damage mouth cartilage or even dislocate their jaw.

Cheng, who received his training in the United States and Canada, says most people are unaware of TMJ problems, which confuses people when the symptoms arise.

"Like most joints we have two bones riding against each other," he says. "In between the bones we have cartilage, but what happens with TMJ is there is a thin piece of floating cartilage in between the two bones. When we overwork the jaw joints the piece of cartilage gets worn down and we start to experience clicking or pain in the jaw joints."

The injury itself is not necessarily serious at first. But the dentist says that because of the unique conditions in the mouth, and our need to eat food everyday, the problem can become serious.

"If you have a cut on your skin, it takes seven days to heal, no big deal. You break a piece of bone it takes seven to eight weeks to heal. But cartilage is notoriously hard to get healed," Cheng points out. "It takes up to four months and that's the period that causes people problems. What ever noise happens to be in jaw joints it magnifies a lot and you hear that clicking sound."

I suppose we could go on and on about the danger of eating over-sized burgers, but wouldn't it just make a lot of sense to simply cut our food in half so we do not overdue it with our jaws?

Cheng agrees. "That's exactly the case. Instead of getting a giant burger, just go to the same burger joint and ask for a regular burger."

Although it is a rather odd idea that big hamburgers are causing health problems among the small-mouthed people of the world, dentists warn that TMJ is not something to take lightly.

Without treatment, the situation could get worse and become a chronic problem. So remember to cut your hamburgers -- and do not ignore your dentist.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Resigns

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid