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Brush Up on Oral Health

Did you know that your oral health offers clues about your overall health? Or, that problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body? Like many areas of your body, your mouth is full of bacteria—most of them harmless. Normally, the body’s natural defenses and good dental hygiene such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. But without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections such as tooth decay and gum disease.

In addition, certain medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics and antidepressants can reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease. Studies also suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis—a severe form of gum disease—might play a role in some diseases. Your oral health might contribute to various diseases and conditions including:

Endocarditis. This is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.

Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.

Pregnancy and birth.
Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.

Smile! 10 Fun Facts

Here are 10 fun facts about your mouth that you probably didn’t know:

  • Without saliva, you couldn’t taste anything.
  • The inside of your mouth contains as many bacteria as there are people on Earth.
  • Children have 20 teeth, while adults have 32.
  • There are about 10,000 taste buds in your mouth, of which most are located on the tongue.
  • Smiling helps you live longer. Every time you smile, your body produces greater amounts of antibodies, giving you an immunity boost.
  • The enamel on the surfaces of your teeth is the hardest substance in your whole body.
  • If you don’t floss, you miss cleaning approximately 40 percent of the surfaces of your teeth.
  • Relative to its size, the tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body.
  • If you’re right handed, you tend to chew food on your right side. If you’re left handed, you favor chewing on your left side.
  • Green tea contains antiseptic properties, which can help keep your gums healthy.

Tooth Fairy Payouts

How much is a tooth worth these days? Looks like the Tooth Fairy tightened her moneybag last year. According to the Original Tooth Fairy poll, sponsored by Delta Dental, the Tooth Fairy’s cash gifts dropped to an average of $4.13 in 2017.

Traditionally, the poll has served as a good indicator of the economy’s overall direction, tracking with the movement of Standard & Poor’s 500 index for 12 of the past 14 years. The 2017 poll shows the Tooth Fairy hasn’t been able to keep up with the market’s hot pace—with an 11 percent cash payout decrease from 2016, while the S&P 500 experienced a total return in 2017 of nearly 18 percent.

Though the average price for a tooth dropped, the Tooth Fairy still paid out a whopping $271 million for lost teeth across the nation. Those looking under their pillow for their first lost-tooth payout too far less of a hit—receiving an average $5.70 per tooth, only a minor drop from 2016 which saw a $5.72 payout.


Wildfire Study for Pregnant Women & New Moms

Women who were pregnant during or right after the October 2017 wildfires are invited to participate in a new study conducted by the University of California, Davis, to determine if the fires affected their health and the health of their babies.

The study—named the Bio-Specimen Assessment of Fire Effects Study (B-SAFE)—will test blood, hair and breast milk from women, and if possible, placenta, umbilical cord, saliva and blood samples from their babies for toxic exposures related to smoke and ash from the fires.

Study participants must have been living or working in Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Solano, Sonoma or Yuba county in October 2017.  The also must be: at least 18 years of age; able to understand and respond to written questions in English (researchers plan to expand the study to include Spanish-language speakers); and currently pregnant with an expected due date no later than October 31, 2018, or a new mom who was pregnant at the time of the fires. .

B-SAFE researchers will visit participants up to three times a year to collect samples and information. All women who enroll are eligible for compensation and will be the first to know overall study outcomes; participants may be able to enroll their children in ongoing health assessments related to the fires. For more information, email or call (916) 703-0228.


Got Magnesium?

If you often feel exhausted or experience muscle cramps that are throwing off your workouts, you may be deficient in magnesium. About half of Americans don’t get an adequate amount of magnesium in their diets, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Initially, symptoms can be minor, but a magnesium deficiency may eventually cause noticeable problems with muscle and nerve function such as tingling, cramping, numbness and contractions (like that annoying eye twitch you can’t shake). Good sources of magnesium include spinach, squash, pumpkins seeds, almonds, cashews and most types of fish.


Almond or Peanut—Which is the Better Butter?

Nut butters are a great source of protein, and a long-standing staple in American households since the beginning of the sack lunch. Almond butter, the new trending nutty spread, is gaining in popularity as a potentially healthier option. The question remains: Which is healthiest—peanut butter or almond butter?
While both nut butters contain nearly the same amount of calories per serving, a two-tablespoon serving of almond butter contains roughly 25 percent more monounsaturated fat (the good fats linked to reducing heart disease and blood sugar) than the same serving of peanut butter. A serving of peanut butter also contains twice as much saturated fat as almond butter—which can raise your cholesterol.

Both butters contain levels of vitamins and minerals, but almond butter takes the slice with twice as much vitamin E, twice as much iron and seven times the calcium than peanut butter. However, peanut butter does contain more protein, with 7.1 grams of protein per serving compared to almond butter’s 6.7 grams.


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