Archive for August, 2013

Doctor’s Orders: Have a Cup of Cocoa a Day

Monday, August 26th, 2013

828353_79331045A new study released in the August 7 issue of Neurology possibly found a new preventative measure for aging adults fighting memory loss and dementia. No, it’s not eating a greater quantity of healthier foods and exercising – although that helps! Researchers found that seniors who drank two cups of hot cocoa every day for a month performed better on memory and thinking exams than those who didn’t have the chocolaty drink.

The study included 60 people with the average age of 73, all of whom did not have dementia. For 30 days, the individuals were asked to consume two cups of hot cocoa each day, but refrain from eating any other chocolate for the duration of the study. Of the patients studied, 18 of them had impaired blood flow at the start of the study. Before partaking in the study, researchers also conducted MRI scans, which revealed that those with impaired blood flow had small clusters of brain damage compared to those with normal blood flow.

According to previous outside research, chocolate, and most notably dark chocolate, has many health benefits that can reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, lower risk of stroke and benefit individuals with cognitive impairments.

By the end of the study, researchers did MRI scans on the brain once again to find that those with blood flow impairments at the start of the research showed improvements by more than 8 percent. Blood flow to the brain helped individuals improve their times on memory tests. In fact, the average score dropped by more than 50 seconds by the end of the study.

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Milk can Help Fight Cavities

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

1155002_70100397Did your mom ever tell you to drink a glass of milk each day? She was right. Research conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry found that drinking milk after sugary meals, like cereal, can reduce dental plaque buildup and prevent the erosion of tooth enamel. And no, we don’t mean the sugary milk that’s left at the bottom of the bowl.

The research, published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, was conducted on 20 adults who ate 20 grams of dry Froot Loops cereal. After consuming the product, each individual was asked to drink a different beverage: whole milk, 100 percent apple juice or tap water. Those who drank the apple juice didn’t notice a change in their pH levels, while the individuals who drank water saw their pH levels rise from 5.75 to 6.02 in 30 minutes. Those who drink milk had their pH level rise from 5.75 to 6.48 in the same time period.

“Our study results show that only milk was able to reduce acidity of dental plaque resulting from consuming sugary Froot Loops,”  Shilpa Naval, a fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said. “We believe that milk helped mitigate the damaging effect of fermentable carbohydrate and overcome the previously lowered plaque pH.”

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Did you Celebrate National Beer Day?

Monday, August 19th, 2013

1209276_60041182On a hot summer day, there are few things better in life than an ice-cold, frosty brew. Whether it is in celebration, to relax or de-stress, hoppy beverages serve us in many ways August 5, was a chance to celebrate National Beer Day with a cold one or two, but we hope you didn’t forget about your oral health! Some health experts warn us against drinking too much beer because it can add to our waistline, but others praise moderate drinking for its heart-healthy benefits. Yes, you read that right – benefits. Follow these guidelines whenever you reach for a cold one (presuming you’re of age, of course!) to make sure that your oral health isn’t suffering while reaping the rewards of knocking back a few.

Keep your mouth in peak condition
There are so many varieties of beer with different flavors, levels of carbonation, hops, alcohol and ingredients, and some are worse than others for bad breath. The stronger the flavor, the more it’s going to linger on your breath. You’ve probably encountered someone who drank only one or two beers, but their breath smelled like they finished off a case. While the aroma of a sudsy mug may be pleasing to the nose, something unfortunate happens as it enters the body. There are a number of reasons why beer causes bad breath, such as the acetone and ethanol that are thrown into the mix.

Alcohol also dehydrates you, leaving little saliva in your mouth to wash away the volatile sulfur compounds that let out the stench. This is why you wake up the next morning with dry mouth and bad breath that can clear any room. You can’t hide that beer from anyone!

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Periodontal Disease may Influence Respiratory Health

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

262068_7849Your entire body works on its own to maintain function and a healthy system, so it should come as no surprise that what goes on in your mouth will have a lasting effect on the rest of the body. For example, did you know that periodontal disease can lead to respiratory problems? According to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology, researchers found a strong link between the two, which could possibly be a result of the increased amount of anaerobic bacteria in the mouth.

Researchers studied a pool of 14,000 patients from the Third National Health and Nutrition Survey, all of whom were at least 20 years old and still had at least six natural teeth. Each person was examined for their lung, dental and periodontal health, and they were questioned regarding their respiratory health. When comparing data, the researchers found a direct link between people who had poor oral health as well as lowered respiratory health. An individual with poor oral health was characterized as someone who had bleeding gums, gingival recession and periodontal attachment level. Appropriate adjustments were made based on age, income, race and frequency of dental visits.

“It’s possible that people with periodontal disease and chronic lung disease might find their lung disease perhaps worse than if they did not have periodontal disease,” study author Frank Scannapieco, an associate professor of oral biology at the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, said. “It could be that bacteria in the mouth somehow travel into the lower airway and contribute to the inflammatory process that is involved into the progression of chronic lung disease. It’s also possible that inflammatory mediators in the saliva may somehow play a role in the process.”

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Prepare for Summer’s Most Fun Events and Festivals

Monday, August 12th, 2013

1288797_17766700With the summer in full swing and festival season well underway for music fans across the country, there are a few things that die-hard audiophiles can take into consideration when attending the next big event. And what better way to prepare, than to take advice than from the newest release from 1990s grunge rockers, the Pixies? What kind of advice can festival goers take from the tune “Bagboy?” Watch out for halitosis. That’s right – the group’s newest track is about bad breath. Before heading out to the next concert, street fair or festival in your area, take these pointers to make sure the song isn’t directed toward you. As they say, “cover your breath, polish your teeth.”

Take it easy on the alcohol
Summer seems to bring out an urge to pop open a beer and enjoy the beautiful weather, and when you’re at a festival, it’s hard not to. Unfortunately, drinking alcohol causes halitosis for a number of reasons. Beer and liquor have a strong odor that stays in your mouth while, as well as after, you’re done drinking, especially if you are consuming a lot. Make sure to avoid dark liquors as much as possible as well as strong beers. Secondly, drinking alcohol may cause dry mouth, which in turn causes bad breath. Since it causes you to become dehydrated, your mouth loses moisture. When there isn’t enough saliva to wash down the bacteria that cause bad breath, they just sit in the back of the mouth, on the tongue and along the gums.

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