A new review of studies delves into how to beat bad breath (halitosis) — and gives high marks to mouthwashes.
Researchers led by Zbys Fedorowicz from the Bahrain Ministry of Health reviewed results from five studies with participants who were randomly given mouthwashes or placebo; 293 people in Thailand, the U.S, the Netherlands, Spain, and Israel took part.
According to background information provided by the researchers, halitosis is widespread around the world: Up to half of people in the U.S. say they have bad breath, 50-60% of people in France complain of it, and 24% of Japanese say it’s a problem.
The participants in the data review were adults over 18 years old who did not have any serious chronic gum or mouth diseases or other conditions such as diabetes, which can bring on bad breath. What researchers found when they compared data is that the type of mouthwash can make a difference in either masking or eliminating bad breath.
“We found that antibacterial mouth rinses, as well as those containing chemicals that neutralize odors, are actually very good at controlling bad breath,” Fedorowicz says in a news release.
But researchers also found that mouthwashes that contain chlorhexidine can temporarily stain the teeth and tongue and reduce taste in one trial.
Researchers also found: Mouthwash containing antibacterial ingredients such as chlorhexidine (Elgydium Refreshing Mouthwash) and cetylpyridinium (Crest Pro-Health Mouthrinse, and BreathRx) did the job of getting rid of bad breath better than a placebo. This is likely due to decreasing the amount of bacteria in the mouth responsible for bad breath. Mouthwash with chlorine dioxide (Profresh, and TheraBreath) and zinc (TheraBreath, and BreathRx) helped to wipe out bad smells by neutralizing them. Bad breath is caused by bacteria and traces of food that collect in the back of and creases of the tongue.
Researchers write that these particles and bacteria then “break down into volatile sulphur compounds,” which are responsible for the smell. Dr. Mishaan believes that having good oral health requires proper brushing and flossing habits. Do not forget to brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breathe fresh! Please be aware that if you have chronic bad breath it is a potential sign of infection and you should visit your dentist to have this issue resolved.
Daniell Mishaan, D.M.D. is a Cosmetic and Restorative dentist in the Garment District in midtown Manhattan. He serves patients from all over New York City and is open Sundays for all patients including emergencies.
Source: Kelley Colihan for WebMD Health News
For a healthy smile brush between meals, floss regularly and eat plenty of chocolate
According to Tulane University doctoral candidate Arman Sadeghpour an extract of cocoa powder that occurs naturally in chocolates, teas, and other products might be an effective natural alternative to fluoride in toothpaste. In fact, his research revealed that the cocoa extract was even more effective than fluoride in fighting cavities.
The extract, a white crystalline powder whose chemical makeup is similar to caffeine, helps harden teeth enamel, making users less susceptible to tooth decay. The cocoa extract could offer the first major innovation to commercial toothpaste since manufacturers began adding fluoride to toothpaste in 1914.
The extract has been proven effective in the animal model, but it will probably be another two to four years before the product is approved for human use and available for sale, Sadeghpour says. But he has already created a prototype of peppermint flavored toothpaste with the cavity-fighting cocoa extract added, and his doctoral thesis research compared the extract side by side to fluoride on the enamel surface of human teeth.
I am curious to know what you think of this research. I find it hard to believe! Read more.
Dentists have warned for years that keeping your teeth brushed and flossed can drastically cut down on gum disease, as well as reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Now, researchers at West Virginia University have found a clean mouth may also help preserve memory.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a $1.3 million grant over four years to further build on studies linking gum disease and mild to moderate memory loss.
“Older people might want to know there’s more reason to keep their mouths clean — to brush and floss — than ever,” said Richard Crout, D.M.D., Ph.D., an expert on gum disease and associate dean for research in the WVU School of Dentistry. “You’ll not only be more likely to keep your teeth, but you’ll also reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and memory loss.”
Crout will share the grant with gerontologist Bei Wu, Ph.D., formerly of WVU and now a researcher at the University of North Carolina; Brenda L. Plassman, Ph.D., of Duke University, a nationally recognized scientist in the field of memory research; and Jersey Liang, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Michigan. Wu is the principal investigator.
The team will look at health records over many years of several thousand Americans.
“This could have great implications for health of our aging populations,” Crout said. “With rates of Alzheimer’s skyrocketing, imagine the benefits of knowing that keeping the mouth free of infection could cut down on cases of dementia.”
The research builds on an ongoing study of West Virginians aged 70 and older. Working with the WVU School of Medicine, School of Dentistry researchers have given oral exams and memory tests to 270 elderly people in more than a dozen West Virginia counties.
Funded by a $419,000 two-year grant, they’ve discovered that about 23 percent of the group suffers from mild to moderate memory loss.
A blood draw is also part of the study for research subjects who agree.
“If you have a gum infection, you’ll have an increased level of inflammatory byproducts,” Crout explained. “We’re looking for markers in the blood that show inflammation to see if there is a link to memory problems. We’d like to go full circle and do an intervention — to clean up some of the problems in the mouth and then see if the inflammatory markers go down.”
Researchers don’t yet understand whether microorganisms in the mouth create health problems or whether the body’s inflammatory response is to blame. It may be a combination of both. Researchers also don’t know much about mild to moderate memory loss, even though the connection between severe dementia and gum disease is well-known, Crout said.
In the future, dentists may routinely administer memory tests to their older patients, he said.
“A dentist may see a longtime, older patient with an area of the mouth that’s showing signs of inflammation because of not being properly cleaned daily,” Crout said. “Many times we as clinicians, however, don’t think of this as due to a memory problem. The patient may not be flossing or brushing properly as we have instructed they should. But this research indicates that the problem may be due to memory loss as opposed to noncompliance.”
Daniell Mishaan, D.M.D. is a dentist in the Garment District in midtown Manhattan. He serves patients from all over New York City and is open Sundays for all patients including emergencies.
Source: West Virginia University Health Sciences Center
A few simple changes to your diet can help keep your teeth healthy for life.
You brush, you floss, you see your dentist, but do you eat with your oral health in mind? And it’s not just the usual suspects like sugar that may be harmful. Some surprising–even healthy–foods can cause cavities, while others can help protect you from decay, gum disease, and even bad breath. Here, how to tailor your diet for optimal dental health.
Eat carbs at mealtimes
A handful of potato chips or even a whole wheat roll can be just as damaging to your teeth and gums as a chocolate chip cookie. All carbohydrates break down into simple sugars, which are ultimately converted by bacteria in the mouth into plaque, a sticky residue that is the primary cause of gum disease and cavities. Carb-based foods such as breads and crackers tend to have “a chewy, adhesive texture,” making it easier for them to get caught between teeth or under the gum line, where bacteria can then accumulate, says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Have carbs at mealtimes rather than as a snack: When you eat a larger amount of food, you produce more saliva, which helps wash food particles away.
Black and green teas contain polyphenols, antioxidant plant compounds that prevent plaque from adhering to your teeth and help reduce your chances of developing cavities and gum disease. “Tea also has potential for reducing bad breath because it inhibits the growth of the bacteria that cause the odor,” explains Christine D. Wu, PhD, associate dean for research at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, who has conducted several studies on tea and oral health. Many teas also contain fluoride (from the leaves and the water it’s steeped in), which helps protect tooth enamel from decay.
Sip with a straw
Most sodas, sports drinks, and juices contain acids, such as citric and phosphoric, that can erode dental enamel–even if they’re diet or sugar-free versions. Sipping acidic drinks through a straw positioned toward the back of your mouth limits their contact with your teeth and helps preserve the enamel, says a study in the British Dental Journal.
Increase your C intake
“Vitamin C is the cement that holds all of your cells together, so just as it’s vital for your skin, it’s important for the health of your gum tissue,” says Jones. People who consumed less than 60 mg per day of C (8 ounces of orange juice or one orange contains more than 80 mg) were 25% more likely to have gum disease than people who took in 180 mg or more, according to a study of over 12,000 US adults conducted at the State University of New York University at Buffalo.
Eat 800 mg of calcium a day
People who do are less likely to develop severe gum disease, says a recent study by the Buffalo researchers. The reason: About 99% of the calcium in your body is in your bones and teeth. Dietary calcium–available in foods like cheese, milk, and yogurt–strengthens the alveolar bone in the jaw, which helps hold your teeth in place. The recommended amount is 1,000 mg per day for women younger than 50 and 1,200 mg for those older.
Dr. Daniell Mishaan, is a dentist in Midtown, New York City. For more information about what kind of preventive measures you can take to protect your teeth- please click here.
Learn more about the link between nutrition and dental health, here.
The mouth provides another window into overall health. That’s what inspired New York University’s College of Dentistry to team up with its College of Nursing to check patients at the university’s free dental clinic for other health-related issues. More than 60% of the patients referred from the dental clinic met the criteria for hypertension, and 30% had diabetes or pre-diabetes. “The tooth pain brings them in. Diabetes and hypertension are often silent diseases,” says Edwidge Thomas, the nursing school’s director of clinical practice affairs.
In rarer cases, gums can bleed and become inflamed from leukemia. Bulimia can leave telltale acid marks on the backs of teeth — and missing teeth can be a sign of poor nutrition, advanced gum disease or long-term drug use.
Some body signs are more statistical correlations than causal relationships. Short leg length has been linked to a higher risk for diabetes, atherosclerosis and heart disease, which could all be due to poor nutrition in utero or early childhood. Several studies have found that the shorter a man’s index finger in relation to his ring finger, the more aggressive he’s likely to be. One possible explanation is exposure to testosterone in the womb, but so far, that remains more a curiosity than a clue