The year was 1950, and The Magic 8-Ball had just arrived in stores. It looked like a toy, but it wasn’t. It was a future-telling device, powered by the unknown superpowers that lived inside its cheap plastic shell. Despite a bit of an attitude—”Don’t count on it,” “My reply is no”—it was a huge success. Americans, apparently, want to see their futures.
A few decades later, Congress passed the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act that, among other things, turned the 45,000 food products in the average supermarket into fortune-telling devices. Americans inexplicably yawned. I’m trying to change that. Why? The nutrition label can predict the future size of your pants and health care bills.
Unfortunately, these labels aren’t as clear and direct as the Magic 8-Ball. Consider the list of ingredients: The Food and Drug Administration has approved more than 3,000 additives, most of which you’ve never heard of. But the truth is, you don’t have to know them all. You just need to be able to parse out the bad stuff. Do that and you’ll have a pretty good idea how your future will shape up—whether you’ll end up overweight and unhealthy or turn out to be fit, happy, and energized.
This preservative is used to prevent rancidity in foods that contain oils. Unfortunately, BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) has been shown to cause cancer in rats, mice, and hamsters. The reason the FDA hasn’t banned it is largely technical—the cancers all occurred in the rodents’ forestomachs, an organ that humans don’t have. Nevertheless, the study, published in the Japanese Journal of Cancer Research, concluded that BHA was “reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen,” and as far as I’m concerned, that’s reason enough to eliminate it from your diet.
You’ll find it in: Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Pebbles
These synthetic preservatives are used to inhibit mold and yeast in food. The problem is parabens may also disrupt your body’s hormonal balance. A study in Food Chemical Toxicology found that daily ingestion decreased sperm and testosterone production in rats, and parabens have been found present in breast cancer tissues.
You’ll find it in: Baskin-Robbins sundaes
Partially Hydrogenated Oil
I’ve harped on this before, but it bears repeating: Don’t confuse “0 g trans fat” with being trans fat-free. The FDA allows products to claim zero grams of trans fat as long as they have less than half a gram per serving. That means they can have 0.49 grams per serving and still be labeled a no-trans-fat food. Considering that two grams is the absolute most you ought to consume in a day, those fractions can quickly add up. The telltale sign that your snack is soiled with the stuff? Look for partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredient statement. If it’s anywhere on there, then you’re ingesting artery-clogging trans fat.
You’ll find it in: Long John Silver’s Popcorn Shrimp, Celeste frozen pizzas
Nitrites and nitrates are used to inhibit botulism-causing bacteria and to maintain processed meats’ pink hues, which is why the FDA allows their use. Unfortunately, once ingested, nitrite can fuse with amino acids (of which meat is a prime source) to form nitrosamines, powerful carcinogenic compounds. Ascorbic and erythorbic acids—essentially vitamin C—have been shown to decrease the risk, and most manufacturers now add one or both to their products, which has helped. Still, the best way to reduce risk is to limit your intake.
You’ll find it in: Oscar Mayer hot dogs, Hormel bacon
This additive wouldn’t be dangerous if you made it the old-fashioned way—with water and sugar, on top of a stove. But the food industry follows a different recipe: They treat sugar with ammonia, which can produce some nasty carcinogens. How carcinogenic are these compounds? A Center for Science in the Public Interest report asserted that the high levels of caramel color found in soda account for roughly 15,000 cancers in the U.S. annually. Another good reason to scrap soft drinks? They’re among the ’20 worst drinks in America’.
You’ll find it in: Coke/Diet Coke, Pepsi/Diet Pepsi
Castoreum is one of the many nebulous “natural ingredients” used to flavor food. Though it isn’t harmful, it is unsettling. Castoreum is a substance made from beavers’ castor sacs, or anal scent glands. These glands produce potent secretions that help the animals mark their territory in the wild. In the food industry, however, 1,000 pounds of the unsavory ingredient are used annually to imbue foods—usually vanilla or raspberry flavored—with a distinctive, musky flavor.
You’ll find it in: Potentially any food containing “natural ingredients”
Plenty of fruit-flavored candies and sugary cereals don’t contain a single gram of produce, but instead rely on artificial dyes and flavorings to suggest a relationship with nature. Not only do these dyes allow manufacturers to mask the drab colors of heavily processed foods, but certain hues have been linked to more serious ailments. A Journal of Pediatrics study linked Yellow 5 to hyperactivity in children, Canadian researchers found Yellow 6 and Red 40 to be contaminated with known carcinogens, and Red 3 is known to cause tumors. The bottom line? Avoid artificial dyes as much as possible.
You’ll find it in: Lucky Charms, Skittles, Jell-O
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, used as a flavor enhancer, is plant protein that has been chemically broken down into amino acids. One of these acids, glutamic acid, can release free glutamate. When this glutamate joins with free sodium in your body, they form monosodium glutamate (MSG), an additive known to cause adverse reactions—headaches, nausea, and weakness, among others—in sensitive individuals. When MSG is added to products directly, the FDA requires manufacturers to disclose its inclusion on the ingredient statement. But when it occurs as a byproduct of hydrolyzed protein, the FDA allows it to go unrecognized.
You’ll find it in: Knorr Noodle Sides, Funyuns
By David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding/Mens Health via Yahoo Health
When it comes to a toothache, the brain doesn’t discriminate. A new imaging study shows that to the brain, a painful upper tooth feels a lot like a painful lower tooth. The results, which will be published in the journal Pain, help explain why patients are notoriously bad at pinpointing a toothache.
For the most part, humans are exquisitely tuned to pain. The brain can immediately distinguish between a splinter in the index finger and a paper cut on the thumb, even though the digits are next-door neighbors. But in the mouth this can be more difficult, depending where and how intense the ache is.
“We don’t know much about tooth pain,” comments dentist and neuroscientist Alexandre DaSilva of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who was not part of the new research. The new study is one of the first to address the puzzle of toothache localization, he says.
In the study, researchers led by Clemens Forster of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany analyzed brain activity in healthy – and brave – volunteers as they experienced tooth pain. The researchers delivered short electrical pulses to either the upper left canine tooth (the pointy one) or the lower left canine tooth in the subjects. These bursts of electrical stimulation produced a painful sensation similar to that felt when biting into an ice cube, Forster says, and were tuned such that the subject always rated the pain to be about 60 percent, with 100 percent being the worst pain imaginable.
To see how the brain responds to pain emanating from different teeth, the researchers used fMRI to monitor changes in activity when the upper tooth or the lower tooth was zapped. “At the beginning, we expected a good difference, but that was not the case,” Forster says.
Many brain regions responded to top and bottom tooth pain – carried by signals from two distinct branches of a fiber called the trigeminal nerve – in the same way. The V2 branch carries pain signals from the upper jaw, and the V3 branch carries pain signals from the lower jaw.
In particular, the researchers found that regions in the cerebral cortex, including the somatosensory cortex, the insular cortex and the cingulate cortex, all behaved similarly for both toothaches. These brain regions are known to play important roles in the pain projection system, yet none showed major differences between the two toothaches. “The activation was more or less the same,” Forster says, although he adds that their experiments might have missed subtle differences that could account for why some tooth pain can be localized.
Because the same regions were active in both toothaches, the brain – and the person – couldn’t tell where the pain was coming from. “Dentists should be aware that patients aren’t always able to locate the pain,” Forster says. “There are physiological and anatomical reasons for that.”
DaSilva agrees that the brain’s inability to tell top-tooth pain from bottom-tooth pain “pairs really well with what we see in the clinic.”
Understanding the pathway from tooth to brain may help researchers devise better treatments for acute tooth pain, such as cavities or infections, and more-chronic conditions, DaSilva says. One such condition is phantom pain that persists in the mouth after a tooth has been removed.
By, Laura Sanders, Science News
I am now on my last Stage (3) of the Smart Moves treatment. My lower anterior teeth are noticeably straighter AND I am getting lots of feedback with many of our patients who are undergoing this same procedure. I am now used to not snacking as much when my tray is in place mainly because of the need to take the tray in and out.
Today, Amy took a ‘transitional photo’ of where my teeth are currently aligning. You can appreciate by the appearance of the two central teeth that the change has been pretty dramatic since I started this at the tale end of August.
The original sensitivity I experienced following the initial polishing & modifications to the interproximal surfaces of my teeth prior to receiving my first set of trays no longer exists. I truly did tell Dr.Artemenko the day after he did the modifications that if he were standing next to me, I would have likely given him a kick to his knee. (small lol) Ah, but let me digress, I am getting really talented at getting my trays in and out rather discreetly and don’t feel like I’m talking with a hockey puck in my mouth. (That actually only took a day or two to get my tongue to cooperate with its new “friend” in my mouth).
So, keep tuned and in approximately one month, I should be at the finish line. Until then, if you have any questions about the Smart Moves treatment available in our office, don’t hesitate to give us a call or email. Until then, Keep Smiling!! Carolyn~ As you can see in the current photo on the top, there are spaces between her front teeth. These spaces will become in contact with one another as the teeth ‘rotate’ into the desired position.
You are relaxing on your deck with a good book one sunny autumn afternoon. Your children and the rest of the neighborhood kids are scrambling on the lawn next door, tossing a ball, jumping in piles giggling. Ahh… life is good! Then amidst the mayhem you
Owww!!! Oh, Noooooo!!!! “My tooth is knocked out!!! MOM!!!.
OK, ok…Don’t panic….Which kid?….Which tooth?…..How
did this happen? …What do I do??
Knocking out a tooth can throw you and the injured party for a loop, but it’s not necessarily a permanent out. It’s just important to remember a few simple steps. There’s a good chance that with quick attention the tooth can be saved. If the tooth is broken and part of it is still in place, attention will still be necessary.
1-The first thing to do is find the tooth and keep it safe because you may be
able to salvage it. DO NOT pick the tooth up by the root. Instead, gently pick it up by the crown.
2- Next, rinse the mouth with warm water. If there’s bleeding, apply a piece of gauze or a moistened teabag to the injured area in order to stop the bleeding. You can rinse the tooth in a bowl of tap water, but do not scrub it
3-Place the tooth back in the socket if possible.
To help the tooth stay in place, gently bite down using a gauze or moistened teabag as a cushion. If not, place it in a container and then cover it with a small amount of milk or saliva. Maybe you already have a
“tooth-saving kit” to use that’s handy.
4- Time is of the essence. A knocked out tooth can often be saved if a dentist can begin repair within a few hours, especially if it is an adult tooth. Give your dental office a call right away or visit the emergency room of your local hospital.
From: Kathy the Hygienist
To all our dear patients,
Oh, what a ride it’s been!
In May 1974, I graduated from the University of Michigan as a registered dental hygienist. It was the fulfillment of my dreams. However crazy, no one could love teeth more than me. I was so excited to begin my career.
Little did I know that forty years later, I would still feel that same excitement and enthusiasm. For me, dental hygiene has been so very rewarding with each day a chance to meet someone new, encourage and watch lives change. I have had the honor and privilege of spending the last 23 years of my career working with Dr. John Artemenko and a very talented group of co-workers through the years. What could be better?
Here’s the answer. It’s each and every one of you that has ever sat in my hygiene chair! The bond, connection and depth of relationship that has evolved through time have been the gift of a lifetime. I could not be happier.
On that note, for me, it’s off to a new adventure. My husband and I are retiring to Texas, ready to motorcycle any day of the year, be on the lookout for Longhorns and Armadillo’s and just plain, “kick back”.
You’ll get to see a new smiling dental hygienist on the other side of the door when you come in for your next hygiene visit. Kim has a skill level combined with a fresh approach that will put you at ease immediately. It gives me a great sense of calm knowing that dental hygiene in Dr.Artemenko’s office will continue to be well represented.
Again, to all of you, thank you for everything, especially for your warm friendship and never-ending belief in me.
I had a couple “ahh-haa moments this past month when I turned the infamous “Double Nickels”. Number one was that it’s not soooooooooooo bad to order off the “senior meal menu” when I took my sweet 87 year-young momma out for breakfast to the local IHop. The food was just as tasty, portions were sizeable AND the price seemed, well……..very reasonable.
My second realization was that I wasn’t getting any younger; I work for an amazing dentist and… I have crooked lower anterior teeth. It’s not that they are horrifically messed up, but the esthetics of how they shifted over the years was just something that always bothered me. I figured it was just about time to ‘straighten out my act”. So, with that said, at my last hygiene visit, we discussed re-aligning my pearly whites with something called, Smart Moves orthodontic trays. Amy took the initial impressions & sent my poured up models off to the lab.
So, stay tuned, for more information, updates & my own personal perspective on this very ‘moving’ experience. ? ~Carolyn~
Dry mouth can cause dental health problems, including an increased risk of cavities. And dry mouth is especially common in older adults.
The American Dental Association lists these tips to help manage dry mouth in seniors:
- If you are using an over-the-counter mouthwash or spray, it may be contributing to dry mouth.
- Talk to your doctor about the medications you are taking and ask if you can make any adjustments to help with dry mouth.
- Carry a water bottle with you and drink throughout the day.
- Suck on sugar-free lozenges or chew sugar-free gum to help with saliva production.
- Run a humidifier in your home.
- Avoid irritating foods and drinks, including coffee, soda, alcohol and fruit juice high in acids.
Eating healthy is especially important when you have braces. That means avoiding sugary foods, which could lead to plaque build-up and tooth decay.
The American Dental Association’s website offers this additional advice for people who wear braces:
- Don’t eat corn on the cob, popcorn and whole apples.
- Avoid sticky foods, such as chewing gum and chewy candies.
- Eat a nutritious, balanced diet.
- Practice good oral hygiene and ask your orthodontist or dentist about any other foods you should avoid.
It’s never too early to begin caring for the teeth, so your baby should visit the dentist soon after the first tooth emerges.
The American Dental Association offers these suggestions to help parents plan baby’s first dental visit:
- Schedule the appointment in the morning, when children are often well-rested and tend to be more cooperative.
- Focus on the positive and minimize your own worry. Don’t let your child pick up on any of your concerns or anxiety.
- Never threaten your child with a visit to the dentist.
- Do not bribe your child to visit the dentist.
- Have a discussion about going to the dentist so your child can prepare.
A recenty study out of the University of British Columbia has found that acetaminophen can reduce anxiety
One of the most ubiquitous over-the-counter medicines is Tylenol, used for general relief of pain and headaches. What differentiates Tylenol from other options, like Advil or ibuprofen, is the ingredient acetaminophen. And while acetaminophen provides a good fix for a stubbed toe, it may also offer psychological relief for feelings of anxiety and social rejection.
Pain and Stress Similar in the Brain
Researchers from the University of British Columbia knew that acetaminophen could dull reactions to physical pain and theorized that it could also neutralize anxiety cues from the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), the part of the brain that responds to social and physical pain.
“Physical pain and social rejection share a neural process and subject component that are experienced as distress,” the study authors wrote. As it turns out, acetaminophen, even in a nonprescription dose, dulls feelings of anxiety and psychological responses to questions about life and death.
Their work was recently published in Psychological Science, and while these findings won’t result in an acetaminophen-based anti-anxiety medication any time soon, they’ve uncovered yet another use for Tylenol.
The Anxiety of David Lynch?
The researchers chose unsettling questions about death and the surrealist works of filmmaker David Lynch (Twin Peaks, Mulholland Dr., etc.) to provide participants with a controlled, but particularly unsettling study experience. Acetaminophen, it turns out, was effective in dulling emotional reactions to what Lynch had in store in his short-film Rabbits.
More than 300 student participants were recruited and offered either $15 or course credit for their time. In two different studies, participants were either given 1,000 mg of Tylenol-brand acetaminophen or a placebo, both packed in gel capsules. Because acetaminophen is hard to detect if a user isn’t actively experiencing physical pain, study subjects were unaware of which they took.
In the first study, 121 participants were asked to write two paragraphs about their feelings on death and then to respond to a hypothetical situation in which they judged the bail amount set for a prostitute. In the second study, 207 participants watched either a David Lynch movie—typically disturbing—or a benign video clip and then judged the punishment handed down for local rioters.
Both studies required participants to consider their mortality. And the Tylenol? It was effective in dulling the emotional reactions of participants who had to consider their mortality or watch a Lynch film, indicating that an OTC dose of acetaminophen is effective in limiting dACC reaction and feelings of anxiety.
“Participants in the mortality-salience condition who had taken acetaminophen responded in ways similar to those who had not contemplated their mortality. In the second study, this pattern of findings was replicated using a surreal video clip,” the study authors concluded.
By Nina Lincoff