Archive for March, 2012

Are Video Games One of the Causes of Halitosis?

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Could video games be one of the many causes of halitosis? Before you scoff or write the idea off as balderdash, remember that many activities can contribute to bad breath in subtle but undeniably real ways.

A similar question was asked in a recent edition of The Straight Dope, a nationally syndicated question-and-answer newspaper column. A reader wrote in to inquire of writer and resident expert Cecil Adams: What is the influence of video games on the human mind?

In responding, Adams made this comment: “The common view…is that video games rot your mind, sap your strength and probably give you acne and bad breath.”

This statement begs the question, can video games actually give you bad breath? And if so, how might they do it? While there’s not a lot of research on the subject, it’s pretty easy to demonstrate that, yes, video games are indeed one of the causes of halitosis. Fortunately, this form of bad breath is easily resolved through the use of specialty breath freshening products.

Studies have addressed dozens of health problems related to video gaming, including dark rings under the eyes, joint stiffness, vision damage, muscular strain and repetitive stress injuries with whimsical names, like “Playstation thumb” and “Nintendinitis.”

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A Drug used to Treat Osteoporosis may Help Reverse Inflammatory Gums and Teeth

Monday, March 12th, 2012

In a post on intelihealth.com, the News ReviewFrom Harvard Medical School has released an article stating that a drug call teriparatide (Forteo) may actually help bone repair for those suffering from periodontitis.

What is periodontitis? Well, most of us know its precursor, gingivitis. Gingivitis symptoms include red, swollen gums that bleed easily.

Periodontitis is when the gum disease has been left untreated as gingivitis and has become more severe. Periodontitis can lead to bone loss under teeth as well as teeth themselves. Symptoms of periodontitis include pus between teeth and gums, gums pulling away from teeth and permanent teeth that are becoming loose.

Teriparatide is currently used to help build bone in people suffering from osteoporosis. According to intelihealth.com, “It [teriparatide] actually stimulates new bone formation. But doctors also know that this drug, if given for more than two years, might increase the risk of developing bone tumors.” Thus, it is not the most commonly prescribed drug to help with osteoporosis.

However, in terms of people with periodontitis, teriparatide might really help, as it “did seem to help stimulate bone growth in the mouth.”

There are plans for more testing with periodontitis suffers. As intelihealth.com states, “We clearly need larger studies of this drug in the treatment of periodontitis. I think we also will see trials of this drug in the treatment of osteonecrosis of the jaw and of other areas of bone.”

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Ingredients in Your Oral Care Products May Hurt More than Help

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Day to day oral care really shouldn’t be rocket science: You brush, floss and rinse twice a day. Seems simple, right? It is to a degree, but it’s important to be aware of what ingredients you are putting in your mouth when you brush your pearly whites. Here are some recent articles that discuss which ingredients to avoid in your oral care products and why.

Many oral care products (especially children’s) such as mouthwash, toothpaste and gum often contain dyes to give them an attractive and bright appearance. There’s nothing wrong with a product wanted to be appealing to eye, right? Well, there might be. According to one article the HealthDay News reports the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will gather a panel of healthcare experts to discuss whether to not these dyes are linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Almost 10 percent of US children from age 4 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD according to the Centers to Disease Control and Prevention – that’s roughly 5.4 million youngsters in America alone. The link to ADHD and food dyes has yet to be confirmed, but many health experts already suspect a connection. David Schaub, a psychiatric researcher, professor at Columbia University and FDA panel member told HealthDay News that this pending meeting is “a big step forward” in discussing this issue. While the jury is still out, it’s probably best to stay clear of oral care products that contain dyes to avoid the potential risk of excess dye absorption.

Some people may brush, floss and rinse twice a day but shortly after the deed is done, feel that their bad breath comes back. With good intentions, these same people may purchase and use alcohol-based mouthwashes with mint or cinnamon flavors to cure bad breath. As one article states, while these mouthwashes may mute halitosis for a little while, over time they may actually contribute and cause bad breath. Robin Seymour, as restorative dentist told the UK Daily Mail that some mouthwashes may contain as much as 13 percent of alcohol (by volume). The alcohol in mixed with other natural compounds such as menthol to target oral odor and plaque. While this sounds good in theory, Seymour stated that alcohol dries out the palate and tongue, leaving the anaerobic bacteria that cause bad breath to thrive. With time, the cycle of using an alcohol-based mouthwash, drying out the mouth and having the bacteria multiply may actually make the bad breath bacterial strains more resilient and will allow the microorganisms to thrive in the dry mouth environment. Seymour commented that over time, these types of mouthwashes may stain teeth a pale brown.  Seymour also noted a study that was published in the Dental Journal of Australia that links alcohol-rich mouthwashes to an increased risk of oral cancer.

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Is Bad Breath Ever a Good Thing?

Monday, March 5th, 2012

It’s hard to make the case that bad breath could ever be a boon to anyone. After all, we’re talking about the kind of lingering dental odor that can offend coworkers, irritate fellow bus passengers, strain relationships or even ward off potential suitors. Yet just this past Leap Day, news sources nationwide announced that, in at least one situation, halitosis might actually help rather than harm.

Consider this headline from MSNBC’s The Body Odd: “This Is the Only Time Bad Breath Is a Good Thing.” Or this one from BBC News, which reveals a little bit more about what’s at issue here: “Chemical in Bad Breath ‘Influences’ Dental Stem Cells.”

It’s time we got to the bottom of this. Is there ever a time when bad breath is good for you?

Well, if there is, it doesn’t have anything to do with stem cells. As you can see from the BBC headline above, it isn’t so much oral odor that’s making news, so much as a single compound found in halitosis that’s being used for the greater good. Here’s the 411.

This all started when the Journal of Breath Research published a new study written by researchers from Japan’s Nippon Dental University. The paper discusses the uses of hydrogen sulfide, or H2S, the organic chemical that makes bad breath smell a little like rotten eggs.

The majority of the H2S in your body comes from the bacteria in your mouth, which emit the stink compound into the air you exhale. Your cells also use a tiny amount of H2S to relax involuntary muscles and dilate blood vessels.

However, for the most part, this gas doesn’t belong in your blood in any significant quantity. In fact, in high doses – say, 200,000 times the level found in even the stinkiest halitosis – H2S is lethal, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

So how is H2S a good thing? According to the new study, it helps turn dental stem cells into liver cells.

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A Look at Canker Sores

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Few things evoke a wincing quite like the mention of a canker sore.  Not to be used confused with cold sores (although those are equally disliked) canker sores are those annoying and painful sores that develop in your mouth, making it hard to eat, drink and even talk when they are at their prime. Canker sores are fairly common and short-lived (although it doesn’t seem like it while you have one). Here are some articles that discuss these pesky sores and how you can avoid them.

Having a canker sore is hard to ignore. A canker sore is an erosion of the inner membranes of the mouth and along with pain; they can also cause bad breath. What causes a canker sore? They occur because of bacterial infections but sometimes a small cut or other vexation is the culprit for inviting this microbial growth. What is the best way to try to avoid canker sores? Stay away from mouthwashes and toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or alcohol. These ingredients can irritate and dry out your tongue, checks and gums which can lead to inflammation of the delicate tissue in your mouth where canker sores occur.  These inflammations may attract bacteria, leading to a canker sore. Avoiding products with these ingredients can reduce your risk of getting an aphthous ulcer (which is what a canker sore is). If you do get canker sores frequently, you aren’t alone. An article in the British Medical Journal stated that canker sores are the most common condition of the mouth’s membranes in developed countries. Also, don’t worry about spreading the sores to your friends – they aren’t contagious.

Looking for another way to possible eliminate getting canker sores? David Zabriskie, a 32 year old road bicycle racer that participated in his sixth Tour de France this year told the UK Daily Mail what he plans to do to stop canker sores. He’s gone vegan! Not only has eliminating eggs, dairy products and meat from his diet and replacing them with protein-rich seeds and rice stopped his canker sores and saddle rash, but he also stated that this change in diet has actually boosted his performance. Is this just a rare occurrence that David is lucky enough to reap the benefits of? According to several sources, it has been noted that dietary changes can help stop and treat canker sores. Specifically, a study in the Journal of American Board of Family Medicine found that by increasing one’s vitamin B12 levels can help to heal canker sores more quickly. No doubt a change in Zabriskie’s diet gave him a boost of B12, which is also known for increasing energy. Experts still aren’t fully endorsing becoming vegan to eliminate canker sores, but it could be a healthy side effect of making the switch. Rather, since these aphthous ulcers are caused by irritation, dentists are telling patients to avoid oral care products that contain harsh chemicals like SLS and alcohol which can inflame the tissue of the cheeks and gums where canker sores often appear.

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