oral hygiene

  1. Mouthwash linked to oral cancer symptoms

    Why you shouldn't use mouthwash

    It's another "good" habit that's actually bad for you -- and millions of people do it two or three times a day or more.

    It's a quick swish with some mouthwash. It's supposed to kill germs, freshen your breath and protect your teeth. That's what it says on the label anyway, and you certainly feel fresher and smell better after that rinse.

    But new research confirms it's also doing something else: It could be causing oral cancer symptoms.

    People who use mouthwash -- especially people who use it three times a day or more -- have a higher risk of oral cancers symptoms, new research confirms. So do people who don't take care of their mouths at all.

    In other words, a mouthwash habit could be about as bad for you as poor dental hygiene, at least when it comes to your cancer risk.

    While some people are surprised by the new study, I'm not. Alcohol is a known carcinogen, and when you let it circulate in the delicate tissues of the mouth several times a day, of course it's going to do some damage.

    That's why heavy drinkers and alcoholics have a higher risk of oral cancers (among other problems).

    Smoking can also boost the odds, and smokers who use mouthwash have the biggest oral cancer risk of all.

    That's a pretty common combination, too, since many smokers are always using mouthwash.

    They're trying to mask the nasty smell of nicotine breath. It doesn't really work -- you can still smell a smoker a mile away -- but it does do something else: alcohol and nicotine, when combined, form a highly cancerous compound called acetaldehyde.

    It's so dangerous that a 2009 study found that smokers who use mouthwash have 9 times the cancer risk.

    If you need to freshen up, use an all-natural alcohol-free rinse instead.

    But if you're just looking to care for your mouth, you don't need any type of mouthwash or rinse at all. All you need is some floss and a quality all-natural (and fluoride-free) toothpaste.

    Brush and floss after meals, and you'll have the cleanest mouth in town.

  2. Oral bacteria one of the causes of dementia

    Two ways to fight dementia

    The best way to beat dementia is to make sure you never get the disease in the first place -- and new studies reveal two simple actions you can take right now to help slash your risk and avoid the causes of dementia.

    First, take care of your mouth.

    Bleeding gums are an invitation for oral bacteria to enter the body, where they can cause all kinds of problems -- and one of the new studies finds these germs may even play a role in some cases of and causes of dementia.

    The oral bacteria responsible for gum disease were found in the brains of four out of 10 Alzheimer's patients tested -- versus none of the brains of the 10 healthy patients tested.

    It's a sign these germs not only can get into your bloodstream, but they can also cross the blood-brain barrier. And once inside your head, they can do to your brain what they've done to your gums.

    Since these same germs have been implicated in heart disease, heart attack, stroke and more, you want to keep them out of your mouth and away from your bloodstream -- so remember mom's advice and be sure to brush and floss after meals.

    And that's not the only change you can make to help avoid the causes of dementia. If you've let your belly go over the years, it's time to tighten the belt and bring it back down to size -- because a second new study confirms the link between obesity and dementia.

    The key is a protein called PPARalpha, used by the liver to metabolize fat. When you get too fat, levels of this protein fall -- and not just in the liver. You can also fall short in the brain, where the same protein is used by the hippocampus for memory and learning.

    Studies on mice show that injecting PPARalpha into the brain can restore memory, and the researchers want to see if this works in humans as well -- but injecting anything into the brain sounds like a bad idea to me, especially when there's a much simpler solution: Lose some weight.

    Finally, remember that not all dementias are really dementia - they're cases of mistaken identity. And in many cases, they can be treated and even reversed.

    Read this free report from my House Calls archives to learn more.

  3. Brushing your teeth can keep cancer away

    A clean mouth can keep the rest of your body healthy -- and filthy one can ruin it. Now, a new study shows how poor oral hygiene can lead to cancer.
  4. The risks of 'dental health'

    For too many dentists, the X-ray machine is more like a cash machine. They don't use it when they absolutely need images to diagnose a problem in your mouth. They use it the moment your insurance company will allow them to make a new set of images.
  5. Brush away pneumonia risk

    Here's the easiest way yet to avoid pneumonia: brush your teeth.
  6. Bleeding gums can kill you

    Researchers say they've found the missing link between dental health and cardiovascular risk--and it turns out the same bacteria responsible for toothaches and gum disease are making their way right into your cardiovascular system.
  7. Gum disease linked to dementia

    Dental floss might really be mental floss--because a new study finds that gum disease can actually increase your risk for Alzheimer's disease.
  8. Put some teeth in your heart health plan

    It turns out your mouth may play a bigger role in heart health than anyone could have imagined.

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