Archive for August, 2012

Licorice Reduces Bad Breath? Umm…

Monday, August 13th, 2012

It seems like a new study comes out every month or so touting the miraculous, bad breath-fighting power of some herb, oil, fruit or even candy. It’s hard to take these too seriously, even though many appear in the industry’s leading publication, the Journal of Breath Research. The most recent oddity to grace the pages of that storied journal is a study alleging that two compounds in licorice eliminate halitosis.

While this may technically be correct, in real-world practice it probably won’t amount to much. Here’s why.

The study itself

Researchers from Quebec’s Laval University conducted an investigation to determine whether concentrated Chinese licorice extracts can be used to fight bad breath. Specifically, the team tried to find out whether (a) the extract’s compounds ward off bacterial growth, and (b) if this stuff can also neutralize volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), the molecules that make your mouth funky.

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You’re a Walking, Talking, Bad-breath-having Bacterial Colony

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

The revelation the we’re not alone is always a little shocking. No, we don’t mean that aliens exist. Instead, we’re referring to the fact that even when no one else is in the room, you’re not all by yourself. In fact, every second of the day, you play host to trillions – you read that right, trillions – of bacteria. They give you bad breath and tooth decay, they cause your ear infections, they help you digest food.

And they’re legion.

Study: Body is coated with bacteria, inside and out

A recently completed project puts this issue into perspective. In a massive investigation funded by the National Institutes of Health, researchers from 80 different institutions got together to identify (and map the genes of) all the bacteria living on or in the human body. All of them.

Now, after taking samples from 242 volunteers and recording 3.5 trillion genetic base pairs, scientists think they’ve reached a number. So take a guess: How many different species of bacteria do you think are crawling around you right now – 100? 500? 750?

Try 10,000.

The results of the investigation, which is called the Human Microbiome Project (HMP), indicated that the average person is host for (to use the word literally) a myriad of microorganic strains.

But how many are in the mouth?

As the researchers themselves noted, different regions of the body have different microbial counts. For instance, in some participants’ GI tracts, scientists could count the number of bacterial strains on one hand. Yet in other regions, like the mouth, the numbers are much higher.

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Studies say Teeth Whitening kits Preserve Enamel

Monday, August 6th, 2012

They’re already the most effective teeth whitening products on the market, but researchers have now confirmed that gel-and-tray bleaching kits also preserve tooth enamel, rather than eroding dental minerals. This means that you can whiten your teeth and neutralize bad breath while maintaining strong, healthy chompers.

JADA confirms

In a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, researchers from Sao Paulo, Brazil, set out to test the effects of teeth whitening kits on tooth enamel. To do so, the team recruited 80 volunteers, each of whom received one of four bleaching agents.

The authors then regularly took enamel samples during and after the bleaching process, analyzing them for levels of calcium and phosphorus.

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