Brushing Teeth in the Shower—Just Fine or Totally Gross?

It’s a debate you can really sink your teeth into.

Just like the debate around whether pineapple — a FRUIT — should be on a pizza, or if tomato sauce should live in the fridge or pantry, the correct location to brush one’s teeth is dividing popular opinion in the United States, and no doubt here in Aus as well.

The question that’s getting everyone all riled up is, should dental hygiene be restricted to the bathroom sink, or is it okay to brush your pearly whites while taking a shower?

Let’s talk figures first. About 4% of Americans, or about 15 million people, brush most frequently in the shower according to a 2014 survey, with those aged 18 to 44 twice as likely as older Americans to brush while they wash.

So what’s the big deal?

Shower-brushing advocates claim that the practice not only saves water, but time. Plus, they say that it’s simply a joyous experience.
Let’s break down the pros and cons of this controversial hygiene habit. The argument that multitasking in the shower saves precious minutes rings true in our opinion. Cleaning your teeth while letting your conditioner soak into your hair, for example, means that you kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

On the other hand, brushing in the shower means you can’t check your technique in the bathroom mirror, which some dentists say might mean that you fail to scrub some crucial spots in your mouth.

We’ve done some math and claims that shower brushing saves water seems legit. While a ten-minute shower uses about 150 to 200 litres of water, teeth brushing at a sink uses about five litres per minute.
Even though a ten-minute sink teeth brushing session would only use 50 litres — up to a quarter of what you’d use in the shower — you’re still better off combining the two activities if you want to limit water wastage.

That’s only if you keep your shower to the ten-minute mark, otherwise you start eating into that 50 litres you’re trying to save. Maths, eh.

Then there’s the whole ‘gross’ factor. Some people would rather stick pins in their eyes than clean their teeth at the same time they’re washing their pits and bits. Fair enough.
The bathroom, especially the shower, is certainly a damp environment which we know bacteria adores, so if you do choose to brush while you shower it’s best to store your toothbrush at the basin and not with your shampoo in the shower caddy.

So which camp are you in? Are you a shower or sink brusher? Were you once a staunch advocate for one side before switching to the other and never looking back?

Credits: Ten daily Lifestyle Reporter

What causes teeth to turn black?

What causes black teeth?

Teeth turn black from either extrinsic or intrinsic causes.

Teeth owe their color to the high amount of calcium found in the outer layer of the teeth, known as the enamel.

Over time, additional elements left behind by foods and drinks can start to make teeth yellow or gray. If the teeth turn black, however, a person should visit a dentist as soon as possible.

Extrinsic causes

Woman with black teeth <br>Image credit: Calvin Smith, 2009</br>

Black teeth may be caused by tartar buildup and stains.
Image credit: Calvin Smith, 2009

Extrinsic causes of the teeth turning black come from the outside of the tooth.

These can include:

  • damage to the enamel
  • stains
  • tartar buildup

Some direct causes of staining include:

  • frequently eating or drinking a dark food product, such as coffee
  • taking certain medications, such as liquid iron supplements
  • using certain mouth rinses and toothpastes
  • using tobacco
  • having crowns and fillings made with silver sulfide

Intrinsic causes

The tooth may appear black when damaged from the inside. The most common culprits of black teeth in these cases are decay or cavities. For example, a pulp infection or dead tooth may turn a tooth black.

The damage starts on the inside and works its way to the surface. The black color of the tooth may first appear in spots and eventually cover the entire tooth if left untreated.

If you notice any of the symptoms come in for a visit and we will examine the teeth, diagnose the underlying cause and will then determine the right treatment.

credits: 

Do You Drool When You Sleep? You Are Lucky…

Drooling is expected in babies, who do not yet have full control over their mouths or swallowing muscles. But drooling is often embarrassing for children and adults. Many people may avoid discussing this symptom.

Drooling can occur for many reasons. Most people drool every once in a while. It is especially common while sleeping, when a person swallows less frequently. This can cause saliva to accumulate and seep from the sides of the mouth.

You would tell the truth or you would lie if a friend asks you if you drool oversleeping. The most common answer is no, because for some, it is embarrassing to imagine it in that situation.

Drooling while sleeping is usually frowned upon or can make you feel uncomfortable. But the reality is that it is not only common, but it can be an indicator that you rested very well.

The dream has several phases of more or less equal duration. The main phase is known as rapid eye movement (REM). During the REM phase, the body enters a deep sleep and we experience a restful sleep. In this stage, certain neurotransmitters are inhibited to avoid the muscular movements that would make us run away before a nightmare. Therefore, the famous drooling occurs when you get to deep sleep.

So, if you fall asleep and drool, you are achieving the quality of sleep, something that is very positive for your health.

 

An A.I. distinguishes between biological males and females based on a smile

A new artificial intelligence system has found an accurate way of distinguishing between images of biological males and females — and all it needs to do is to take a quick look at their smile!

Developed by researchers at the U.K.’s University of Bradford, the system is based on a previously discovered insight that the facial muscles move differently when men and women flash a grin. By incorporating this into an image recognition system, the researchers were able to create an A.I. that is 86 percent accurate in distinguishing between the sexes.

“We have studied extensively how people smile, from video clips and with the help of the computer,” lead researcher Professor Hassan Ugail told Digital Trends. “From such detailed analysis, we are able to confirm that the smile of women and men are distinctly different. For example, females tend to have broader or wider smiles and their smiles tend to last longer.”

The algorithm works by analyzing 49 distinguishing features of the face, such as the way that the mouth, cheeks, and areas surrounding the eyes move when a person smiles. Once developed, it was tested on video footage of 109 people smiling to test efficacy.

“The technology can be used as part of a toolkit for person identification,” Ugail continued. “For example, police might want to identify a person from a blurry CCTV footage where the person in question is physically unrecognizable — say, from the facial features, color or the shape — but the facial emotions, such as the smile, may be somewhat clear. In such cases, knowing the person’s gender would immensely help the police to narrow down their search.”

Potentially far more useful than that is the suggestion that smiles may not just break down into male or female categories, but could actually be a unique biometric identity. If it turns out to be correct that each and every one of us smile slightly differently, it might be incorporated into a future Face ID-style biometrics security system which asks users to flash a quick grin in order to unlock their phone or other mobile device.

A paper describing the work was recently published in the journal The Visual Computer.

Smile! It can add (happy) years to your life.

Who knew? According to U.S. News Health, Smile and dental health are on top of the list of small habits you can incorporate in to your days to live a happy and longer life.

Smile

Smiling big and wide is related to living longer, according to research published in the journal Psychological Science. These researchers looked at professional baseball players’ photos and compared the lifespan of players with big smiles, no smiles and partial smiles.

Even after controlling for factors that are related to longevity such as education level and marital status, bigger smiles were still related to a longer life. The researchers found that the biggest smilers lived to an average of almost 80 years, while their straight-faced teammates reached only an average of 73 years. Why? In part because smiling builds your immune system and improves your mood and stress levels. And as an added bonus, smiling makes you more attractive.

Floss daily

Although there is some debate, it appears that daily flossing decreases low-grade inflammation, which increases the risk of early heart attack and stroke. Flossing also reduces gingivitis (a gum disease that causes irritation, redness and swelling in the part of your gum around the base of your teeth) compared to brushing your teeth alone, according to a review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. That’s probably because flossing not only gets rid of food trapped between your teeth, but it also removes the bacteria that forms before it has a chance to harden into plaque – something your toothbrush cannot do.

The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day to get rid of plaque in areas between the teeth that are difficult or impossible to reach with a toothbrush. As long as you floss once a day, it doesn’t matter when. Unfortunately, only 3 out of 10 Americans floss at least once a day, and over 32 percent never floss, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Improve your posture

Turns out that mom and dad were right: Sitting up straight is important. Your body is designed so that your heart and lungs work better when you have good posture since it reduces the excessive force that muscles and joints need to absorb. A long-term University of London study of about 4,000 men found that those who lost height as they aged – in other words, their posture worsened over time – were more likely to die prematurely from cardiovascular or respiratory conditions than their counterparts who maintained good posture. And, slouchier postures cause neck and back pain and makes you look less confident and feel less competent.

To have good posture when sitting down, keep your chin parallel to the floor; your shoulders, hips and knees at even heights; and your knees and feet pointing straight ahead.

 

Wash your hands

Washing your hands is a simple way to longer life. In fact, hygiene is a main factor in why our life expectancy has almost doubled in the last 150 years. That’s because hand-washing kills bacteria and keeps us healthier. Improper hand-washing accounts for nearly half of all foodborne illness in the U.S. In one study, almost half of the participants had bacteria on their hands of potential – brace yourself – fecal origin. But rinsing with water cut that number in half, and adding soap left just 8 percent of people’s hands dirty.

Although two-thirds of adults typically wash their hands in a public restroom with soap and water, few people scrub for the recommended 20 seconds. To avoid being another dirty statistic, wet your hands under clean, running water and apply soap. Then, lather your hands – including the backs of your hands, between fingers and under nails – for at least 20 seconds. Rinse your hands with water and dry them using a towel or allow them to air dry.

 

Credits: U.S. News Health,  Heather Hausenblas

Grapes May Help Prevent Tooth Decay

Grapes are the new wonder berries that are being praised for their powerful antioxidants called flavonoids. These help in fighting free radicals in the body and reduce the incidence of inflammation that can be a cause of many chronic ailments. They are also rich sources of vitamin A and vitamin C in addition to essential minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and selenium. Regular consumption of grapes has been known to be helpful in treating constipation, indigestion and kidney disorders and now; a new study indicates that they may also prevent tooth decay. A group of Scientists from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry have found a natural compound in grapes that can strengthen your teeth and also boost the strength of fillings.

The team suggests that grape seed extract may help reduce the incidence of tooth extractions by increasing the longevity of resin fillings or tooth-coloured fillings that typically last for only five to seven years. Grape seed extract is derived as a by-product of wine making and has been credited for health benefits like improved heart function and better blood circulation. The results of this new study, published in the journal of Dental Research, show that the grape seed extract can toughen dentin which is a type of tissue that makes up the bulk of the tooth and it lies beneath the hard external enamel. Therefore, when any damage is caused to your teeth, the remaining structure is retained with the help of fillings and grape seed extracts can make the bond with the materials used stronger.

A lot of people opt for resin fillings as they are look better, but a big problem with them is that they may not be as tough as amalgam fillings that can last up to 10 to 15 years or more. Researchers suggest that this problem can be fixed by using grape seed extract. When tooth decay occurs, the fillings start to deteriorate and the seal is lost.  In this case, the resin bond to the dentin can be strengthened with the help of grape seed extract and that may also help in preventing further tooth decay.

The researchers explain that one of the main causes of tooth decay is the production of acid from plaque which builds up on your teeth. If plaque is not cleared frequently, the acid it releases can begin to damage the surface of your tooth causing holes that are commonly known as cavities. The cavity begins to eat away at the second level of tooth material that lies beneath the enamel which is the dentin and that can impact the fillings too. According to the, interlocking the resin and the dentin provides better adhesion and reduces the chances of tooth decay.

…remarkably attractive to the opposite sex!

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner,  it is the perfect opportunity to pucker up and take a look at our oral health. But, dental advice from the Britts?

The British Dental Health Foundation says a simple smile can make others feel at ease around you and can be a powerful show of emotion, which can prove remarkably attractive to the opposite sex!

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, believes we should be showing off our smiles more often and it could be the key for a successful Valentine’s date.

Dr Carter says: “When preparing for a date we probably spend more time and money on our hair or the clothes we wear, rather than caring for our teeth. Smiling shows confidence and can be particularly endearing. Studies have shown smiling can have a positive effect on our relationships, careers and overall image.

“We can also tell a lot about a person from their smile. A great smile can be a good measurement of overall hygiene and general lifestyle, demonstrating someone’s cleanliness while revealing what they eat and drink, as well as if they smoke or not.”

While a healthy smile can be beneficial for attraction, the opposite can be said of poorer oral health.

A new poll by the charity has revealed our partner’s biggest smiles crimes, with men named as the guiltiest culprits of bad oral health habits.

Respondents cited ‘food stuck between the teeth’ as their greatest turn-off ahead of the most romantic day of the year, claiming 40 per cent of the overall vote.

Bad breath (24 per cent), stained teeth (21 per cent) and not brushing twice a day (16 per cent), made up the remainder of our partner faux pas.

In a battle of the sexes, more than three quarters (76 per cent) pointed the finger firmly towards the men, marking them as the ones with the worst oral health habits.
“It doesn’t matter how expensive your bouquet was or how posh the restaurant is, if you haven’t got clean teeth the chances are your date won’t be impressed. All of these smile crimes are an instant turn-off, but they continue to affect many of us on a regular basis,” Dr Carter adds.

“By adopting a simple but effective daily oral hygiene routine we can eliminate all of these bloopers.

“Brushing your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste, cutting down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks and visiting your dentist as often as they recommend, are some of the most basic things we can do but all will make a positive difference to the health of our mouths.

“Food being stuck between the teeth may be our number one oral health bugbear when it comes to romance but only one in five regularly clean between their teeth. To help remedy this, use interdental brushes or dental floss to clean between your teeth at least once a day.”

OK, we all know that. But, it may be a stretch that a dental cleaning will get you a date, however one thing is for sure  – ahead of Valentine’s Day, if you stop by for a dental cleaning and pucker up with a beautiful smile, you just may get a second date :))