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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Healthy Teeth and Gums Help Prevent COPD and Pneumonia

A recent study has connected poor dental health with poor respiratory health. The study was done on 200 subjects. Half were patients hospitalized for respiratory illness, and the other half were regular healthy people. After receiving extensive oral exams, it was discovered that the hospitalized patients had worse oral hygiene than the control group. Their logic is that the bacteria in your mouth can be inhaled into the respiratory tract, particularly during heavy exercise when mouth breathing is most prevalent.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How Your Teeth Can Prevent Dementia

Japanese scientists have come forward with the results of a study linking tooth loss with dementia in the elderly.
   In a study done on 4,200 individuals, those who reported symptoms of memory loss were the ones who also had fewer of their own teeth. Dr. Nozomi Okamoto, the chief investigator of the study, has a couple of theories about this link. He says that the death of sensory receptors int he mouth can be linked with dying neurons in the brain, and that inflammatory substances released from infected gums can contribute to inflammation in the brain.
Food for thought, indeed.

Monday, January 10, 2011

How to put an end to stubborn bad breath.

   If you're like me, you've always been a tiny bit obsessive about stopping bad breath, You've brushed two or three times a day, used mouthwash after every meal, and carried around packs of gum or mints; but that bad breath always seems to linger. Why? chances are, the problem isn't your teeth; it's your tongue.
    What color is your tongue? Is it the rosy, unblemished pink that you see in most pictures? More realistically, it's covered in a thin gray film. This film is made up of colonies of bacteria that stubbornly survive brushing, flossing, and rinsing. To get rid of these puppies you have to up the ante. Scrape your tongue. You can go out and buy a real tongue scraper, but it's probably expensive. Being stingier than Scrooge, I just use a disposable plastic knife. Hey, we're scraping our tongues, it doesn't exactly require high end products.
    If you're trying to scrape your tongue but have trouble with your gag reflex when you get towards the back, where much of the bacteria congregates, you can suppress your gag reflex by pressing your thumb against a flat surface for twenty seconds. I don't know why, but it works.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Brush Your Teeth For Heart Health?

     That's right; stopping plaque in your mouth can stop plaque in your arteries! And how? Are arterial and oral plaque the same thing? Well, sort of, yes.

    You see, in your mouth there's a certain bacteria, called Streptococcus. When Streptococcus is in your mouth, it's mostly harmless. But say you've cut your lip, or bitten your tongue, or otherwise opened the blood vessels in your mouth. Congratulations, you've let Streptococcus loose in your bloodstream. And once it gets in, it doesn't come out.

     What's more, streptococcus can encase itself in a cocoon that shields it from your immune system and antibiotics. It's a near perfect defense. And naturally, these bacteria stick together, forming an armored clot in your arteries, coming closer and closer to cutting off your blood supply. Don't be a heartless bastard; brush your teeth.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Flossing; is it worth it?

Go into your bathroom right now, look at your sink, and go over what things you have there for your daily routine. You've probably got a toothbrush and toothpaste, maybe a bottle of mouthwash, but I'm willing to bet that there's one thing you haven't got; a roll of dental floss. And I can imagine why. It's hard to like flossing. It tastes bitter, it's uncomfortable sliding that minty cord between your teeth, and more often than not you'll find that you've ended up with bleeding gums. Besides, those old Listerine commercials said that their product killed more germs in harder to reach places than floss. Really, there's no point in it, right? Wrong. 

According to the university of Iowa, flossing twice a day can provide a number of benefits to your health. Flossing can improve circulation in the gums, which will actually reduce bleeding caused by harder brushing or flossing. Also, flossing can excavate tiny particles of food and plaque that your toothbrush would be powerless to remove. These little chunks of unpleasantness would otherwise sit in the back of your mouth and fester, resulting in cavities and utterly putrid breath. So go ahead and floss. It'll do a body good!