I can actually see a halo Where the nerve used to be…..

 

You may have heard Dr. Artemenko mention at your restorative appointment that he can actually see a halo to wear the nerve in the tooth has previously been…..
With most restorative dental work, we remove the decay from the tooth without anticipation that a root canal will be needed unless Dr A has reviewed an Xray and related to the patient a concern of nerve exposure once the decay would be cleaned out of the tooth completely.  In the cases when we let the patient know it may be a possibility we have removed the decay to run into an area that seems to appear as a pink/brown halo indicating where the nerve had been prior to secondary dentin or reparative dentin had been laid down inside the tooth as we mature in age. In most cases it could be said that if the person had been 5-10 years younger the nerve would’ve been exposed at that point but (as seen in the picture) we get to a point where inside the tooth, the dentin continues to lay tooth structure down at a very slow rate. We can place a medicated liner to help with any future sensitivity knowing we are within paper thickness of the nerve away.  Although I have heard Dr A mention this to patients over the years, I have not been able to see this appearance myself as Dr A uses ‘loops’ (magnified glasses) and I do not. I thought I would share this information to those who have been fortunate due to maturity to avoid a root canal procedure, to see it for themselves!


After existing restoration had been removed, the chalky/black area of decay exposed


After removal of the decay the ‘Halo’ is now visible


The final completed restoration

Foods and Habits That Stain Your Teeth

Determined to keep those pearly whites their whitest? You already know how important it is to brush and floss daily and to see a dentist periodically — and to avoid smoking or chewing tobacco. But dentists say you should also be mindful of certain foods and beverages that stain teeth.

As you might imagine, intensely colored foods and beverages tend to be the biggest offenders. “If you’re worried about spilling [the food or beverage] on your white tablecloth, you can be sure it’s got the potential to stain teeth,” says Matthew J. Messina, DDS, a dentist in private practice in Cleveland. “The more intense the color, the more potential there is for staining.”

The color in these foods and beverages comes from chromogens, intensely pigmented molecules with an unfortunate penchant for latching on to dental enamel. But the presence of chromogens isn’t the only thing that determines the staining potential of foods and beverages.

Acidity is another factor. Acidic foods and beverages — including some that are not brightly colored — promote staining by eroding the dental enamel, temporarily softening teeth and making it easier for chromogens to latch on. And finally, a family of food compounds known as tannins promotes staining by further boosting chromogens’ ability to attach to enamel.
The Top Teeth-Staining Foods and Beverages

1. Wine. Red wine, an acidic beverage that contains chromogens and tannins, is notorious for staining teeth. But white wine, too, promotes staining. In a study conducted recently at New York University School of Dentistry, teeth exposed to tea were stained more severely if they previously had been exposed to white wine. So if you’re fond of following up that glass of Chardonnay with a cup of Earl Grey, you may be giving your teeth a double whammy.

2. Tea. Like wine, the ordinary black tea most people drink is rich in stain-promoting tannins. Dentists say it’s a bigger stainer than coffee, which is chromogen-rich but low in tannins. “Tea’s pretty aggressive,” says Mark S. Wolff, DDS, PhD, chairman of the department of cariology and comprehensive care at New York University School of Dentistry in New York City. Herbal, green, and white teas are less likely to stain than black tea.

3. Cola. Acidic and chromogen-rich, cola can cause significant staining. But even light-colored soft drinks are sufficiently acidic to promote staining of teeth by other foods and beverages. “Carbonated beverages have similar acidity to battery acid,” Messina says, adding that cola-stained teeth are most common among “people who have a can on their desk all the time and sip all day long.”

4. Sports drinks. Recent research led by Wolff found that highly acidic sports drinks can soften tooth enamel — setting the stage for staining.

5. Berries. Blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, cherries, grapes, pomegranates, and other intensely colored fruits (and juices, pies, and other foods and beverages made from them) can cause stains.

6. Sauces. Soy sauce, tomato sauce, curry sauce, and other deeply colored sauces are believed to have significant staining potential.

7. Sweets. Hard candies, chewing gum, popsicles, and other sweets often contain teeth-staining coloring agents. If your tongue turns a funny color, dentists say, there’s a good chance that your teeth will be affected, too. But unless they are consumed regularly, these sweets probably play a minor role in teeth staining, says Maria Lopez Howell, DDS, a dentist in private practice in San Antonio

Ironically, many of the foods and beverages that stain teeth are loaded with antioxidants, which, of course, have key health benefits. So if you’re worried about stained teeth, you might want to cut back on these foods and beverages rather than cut them out entirely. “Moderation and a balanced diet are key,” Howell says.

In addition, consider taking steps to minimize the contact between your teeth and stain-promoting substances. Dentists offer several suggestions:

Use a straw. Sipping beverages through a straw is believed to help keep teeth-staining beverages away from the teeth — the front teeth, in particular. No, you’re probably not eager to use a straw for coffee or wine. But it shouldn’t be too much trouble to use a straw for cola, juices, and iced tea.
Swallow promptly. Swallowing stain-causing foods and beverages quickly is also believed to help protect teeth from stains. Obviously, it’s important to chew foods thoroughly before swallowing. And gulping can, of course, cause choking. But don’t retain things in your mouth for long periods of time. In other words, savor flavors — but not for too long. “There’s no question that the quicker you drink something the lower the exposure [to stain-promoting substances],” says Debra Glassman, DDS, a dentist in private practice in New York City.

Swish with water. It’s not always convenient to brush your teeth after having something to eat or drink. Even when it is, it might be better not to: dental enamel is highly vulnerable to abrasion from tooth brushing for up to 30 minutes after the consumption of an acidic food or beverage. So it’s safer simply to swish with water — and brush later, once the enamel has had a chance to re-harden. Another way to remove stain-causing substances without brushing, Howell says, is to chew sugarless gum after eating or drinking.

By David Freeman
WebMD Feature

Tongue cleaner

From Wikipedia

A tongue cleaner (also called a tongue scraper or tongue brush) is an oral hygiene device designed to clean the bacterial build-up, food debris, fungi, and dead cells from the surface of the tongue. The bacteria and fungi that grow on the tongue are related to many common oral care and general health problems.In addition, decaying bacteria produce volatile sulphur compounds on the rear of the tongue; these molecules account for 80 to 95 percent of all cases of fungi (bad breath)

The top surface of the tongue can be cleaned using a tongue cleaner, a tongue brush/scraper or a toothbrush. However, toothbrushes are not considered as effective for this purpose because they are designed for brushing the teeth, which have a solid structure unlike the spongy tissue of the tongue

Ergonomic tongue cleaners are shaped in accordance with the anatomy of the tongue, and are optimized to lift and trap the plaque coating and effectively clean the surface of the tongue. There are many different types of tongue cleaners; they are made from plastic, metal or other materials. Their effectiveness varies widely depending on the shape, dimensions, configuration, quality of the contact surfaces and materials used. In addition, tongue cleaning gels used in association with the tongue cleaners as anti-bacterial agents may enhance cleaning effects.

Tongue cleaning may remove some of the millions of bacteria (up to 500 different types, decaying food debris, fungi (such as Candida), and dead cells, from the rear surface of the tongue. Tongue cleaning is generally viewed as an effective solution for many cases of halitosis, or bad breath.

Scientific studies have shown tongue bacteria produce malodorous compounds and fatty acids, that may account for 80 to 95 percent of all cases of bad breath.The remaining 5–20% of cases originate in the stomach, from the tonsils, from decaying food stuck between the teeth, gum disease, tooth decay, or plaque accumulated on the teeth.

Clinical studies have shown that using tongue cleaners on a daily basis has a significant effect on eliminating anaerobic bacteria and decreasing oral malodor. Dental specialists generally assume that a majority of cases of halitosis originate on the back of the tongue, an area that can be cleaned efficiently by using an ergonomically designed tongue cleaner.

In the past several years, dental professionals (dentists and hygienists)have studied the importance of tongue cleaning as a way to maintain a high level of oral hygiene.

The surface of the tongue may be viewed as an excellent breeding ground for different bacteria. These microorganisms colonize and multiply on the protein-rich areas of the tongue, and eventually, through the saliva, reach all areas of the mouth including the teeth and gums. These bacteria are considered as major contributors to periodontal problems, plaque on the teeth, tooth decay, gum infections, gum recession and even tooth loss.

In addition, physicians have reevaluated the link between oral health and pathologies of the rest of the body. Many clinical studies concluded that oral bacteria are associated with a number of serious systemic diseases.

+ Cardiovascular problems (heart attack, cerebral stroke),
+ Pneumonia due to inhaling bacteria present in the mouth,
+ Premature birth, and low fetus weight at birth time,
+ Increased risk of diabetes patients,
+ Osteoporosis of the jaw and generalized,
+ Infertility problems for men.

How Root Canals Work

To understand how a root canal works, we need to have a basic understanding of the anatomy of the tooth. A tooth is hollow, like our bones, and is composed of several layers. The outermost layer (above the gum-line) is called the enamel. Enamel is the hardest and most mineralized substance in the body. Beneath the gum-line, a substance called cementum covers the tooth roots. Under the enamel and cementum is the dentin. The dentin is about as hard as bone, and, unlike the enamel, dentin contains nerve endings. Beneath the dentin is the dental pulp. The pulp is a vascular tissue, composed of capillaries, larger blood vessels, connective tissue, nerve fibers, and cells including odontoblasts, fibroblasts, macrophages, and lymphocytes. The pulp is needed to nourish the tooth during its growth and development. After a tooth is fully mature, the only function of the pulp is to let us know if it is damaged or infected by transmitting pain.

Sometimes the pulp becomes infected. When this happens, it must be removed with root canal therapy. A root canal is the only way to save the tooth. A mature tooth can survive very well without the pulp.

How Does the Pulp become infected?

The most common way for the pulp to become infected is from an untreated cavity. A cavity is formed by acid in a rather unexpected way. Inside everyone’s mouth is a legion of bacteria – they are completely normal and there is nothing you can do about them. Some of these bacteria metabolize (eat) carbohydrate-containing foods or beverages and make acid as a by-product. The acid is strong enough to eat through the enamel and dentin. If left untreated, it will eventually expose the underlying pulp to bacteria inside our mouths and it gets infected. The pulp can also get infected from trauma to the tooth. A blow to a tooth can cut off the blood supply to the tooth from our jawbone, and cause the pulp tissue to slowly die. Interestingly, a tooth that breaks within the enamel and dentin during trauma is less likely to need root canal in the future because the fracture may absorb the trauma, sparing blood flow to the tooth.

A third way a tooth can become infected is if there is long standing periodontal (gum) disease around the tooth. Bacteria from the infected gums can enter the tooth through small opening on the root surface (accessory canals) and cause a retrograde infection. Whatever way the tooth becomes infected, the pulp eventually dies, and over time, will cause a painful dental abscess within the surrounding jawbone.

How will I know if I have an infected tooth?

A tooth that becomes sensitive to hot or cold food or beverages or hurts when biting down may indicate an infected tooth. A tooth that becomes discolored or that causes the gums to swell around a tooth may also indicate a dental infection. In some cases, a tooth will have no symptoms, but a dental exam and x-ray will reveal a tooth that requires root canal.

An infected tooth as seen in an x-ray.
The dark circle around the root tip is an advanced dental abscess.

 

If the tooth is infected, why can’t I use an antibiotic to treat it?

If a tooth has an infection of the pulp, the only options are root canal therapy or extraction. As the pulp dies, the hollow tooth becomes a reservoir for bacteria to hide from the body’s immune system and any drugs that could fight the infection. In some cases a dentist will prescribe antibiotics during or after root canal therapy to kill bacteria within the jawbone and tissues surrounding the tooth, but recent research has shown that this is usually unnecessary.

What’s involved in getting a root canal, and does it hurt?

Root canal therapy is a complex procedure that requires both skill and experience. The dentist numbs the area of the infected tooth with local anesthesia. A clamp is placed over the tooth, and a rubber membrane (rubber dam) is spread over the clamp to isolate the tooth and prepare it for the procedure.


An infected tooth
A small hole is made through the enamel and dentin, and into the pulp. The pulp is then removed with small stainless steel files of increasing diameter. After the pulp has been removed, the inside walls of the roots are shaped, almost like a sculpture. Nickel/Titanium files that fit on a slow speed drill can aid in shaping the canals. During the procedure, fluids (irrigants) such as sodium hypochloride (bleach) and a compound containing ethylenediamine-tetraacetate (EDTA) are used to both kill remaining pulp tissue and bacteria within the roots, and remove dentin shavings produced by the files.


Files are used to remove the pulp
After the pulp is removed and the inside of the roots shaped, the canal is dried with paper cones. The canal(s) are then filled with Gutta-percha. Gutta-percha is a miraculous substance that was first introduced by Bowman in 1867. It is a purified form of Mazer Wood Trees indigenous to Indonesia and Malaysia that is combined with zinc oxide and other materials to form the rubbery filling that is placed into the tooth roots. The Gutta-percha is then cemented into the roots with a sealer that usually contains zinc oxide and eugenol. The goal of the filling procedure is to hermetically seal off the tooth against bacteria.

The tooth is filled with gutta-percha

X-ray of a tooth filled with gutta-percha using the warm vertical condensation technique. Accessory canals are visible.
There are two main techniques to filling a root canal, lateral condensation and warm vertical condensation. Although research is scanty, warm vertical condensation appears to have the advantage of more completely filling the tooth roots, especially the accessory canals.Root canal therapy is usually not painful. With the effective use of anesthesia and modern techniques, most root canal therapy can be completed in one visit, and within one hour. A tooth will be sensitive for a few days after root canal therapy, and your dentist can prescribe you medication to alleviate the pain. In the meantime, do not eat on the side of the mouth that has the root canal for a few days.Do different teeth have different numbers of root canals?

Teeth in the front of the mouth called incisors and canines usually have one root, and one nerve canal within the root. Teeth on the side of the mouth called premolars usually have one or two roots and one or two root canals. The upper back teeth (molars) usually have three roots, and three or four root canals. Lower back teeth (molars) usually have two roots and three or four root canals. Generally speaking, the more nerve canals the tooth has, the more complicated the root canal is to complete.

Can any dentist do a root canal?

All dentists are trained to do root canals in dental school; however, skill levels and experience vary widely from dentist to dentist. An experienced general dentist can do almost all root canal therapy successfully, but some general dentists prefer to have a root canal specialist (an endodontist) perform root canal on their patients.

How successful are root canals?

Root canals are successful about 90% of the time when they are done properly. Teeth that have had root canal can become brittle and are susceptible to fracture. In most cases, it is advisable to have a crown (cap) placed over a tooth that has had root canal to rebuild and protect it.

Why do some root canals fail, and how will I know?

A tooth that has root canal can fail if some of the pulp is left inside the roots (a canal is missed), the gutta-percha does not completely seal off the tooth from bacteria, the tooth is damaged during the procedure (perforation), or the tooth fractures between the roots. In most cases, a tooth with a failing root canal will cause pain, usually when biting down.

What can I do if the root canal fails?

In some cases, the root canal can be re-treated. The old gutta-percha filling is removed, the tooth is reshaped and cleaned, and then re-filled. If this is not possible, a procedure called an apicoectomy can be preformed. In an apicoectomy, the tip of the root is surgically removed, and a filling is placed over the cut root tip. If these measures fail, the tooth may have to be extracted.

 

Article: How Root Canals Work DR. JERRY GORDON

Occlusal Guards or Nightguard

Eliminate jaw pain, headaches and damage to your teeth from grinding and clenching

Headaches, jaw pain and damage to your teeth can all be caused by grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw while you sleep. Dentists term this condition bruxism, and it is much more common than you’d think.

Most patients who brux are completely unaware that they are doing it. Often, it is the spouse of the bruxer who becomes aware of it first, as he or she is disturbed by the grinding or chomping of teeth in the night.

In addition to causing pain and discomfort, bruxism will grind down your teeth or dental work, causing damage well beyond normal wear and tear.

A nightguard or “occlusal guard” is shaped by Dr. Artemenko so that it fits most comfortably. It is placed on one jaw – generally the top – and it acts a protective layer between the two sets of teeth.

Nightguards look similar to mouthguards, but are much less bulky and act only as protection for grinding.

It is a good idea to use a nightguard to avoid major, permanent damage to one’s teeth that is often associated with bruxism.

Beyond the head or jaw pain often caused by bruxism, damage may be caused to the teeth by the constant grinding: cracks, fissures, chipping, weakening and removal of protective tooth enamel that can lead to increased sensitivity to cold and heat.

10 Tips to Help You Overcome Dentist Phobia

 

1. Tell the dentist about your fears. This information will help the dentist determine how to best manage and address those fears. By letting the dentist know exactly why the experience is difficult for you, you will feel more control in the examination chair.

2. Remember that dental procedures have greatly improved in the past few years. Modern dentistry offers new methods and treatment options to make you feel comfortable.

3. Your dentist can explain the entire procedure to you beforehand, as well as walk you through step-by-step while the procedure is being performed. You always have the right to fully understand the work being done on your teeth.

4. Consider additional medication to relax. Many dentists recommend nitrous oxide, sedation or anti-anxiety medicine for extremely nervous patients. Find a dentist who offers these options to help you get through the visit.

5. Find a dentist you are comfortable with and establish a trusting relationship. There are many personalities in the dental profession. Find a dentist who makes you feel at ease and is willing to work with you on your fears.

6. Breathe deeply and try to relax. Some dentists recommend practicing relaxation techniques before and during the appointment. Other dentists find that listening to music, or scheduling an appointment first thing in the morning, before the stresses of the day add up, also help patients to relax.

7. Talk to the dentist about stopping if you’re uncomfortable. Many of the dentists surveyed said they establish a signal to “stop” with their patients. This puts you in control of the procedure and alerts the dentist if you’re uncomfortable or need to take a break during the appointment.

8. Visit the dentist regularly to prevent problems. For fearful patients, just going for a check up can be nerve-wracking, but the more you go to the dentist for routine cleanings, the more likely you are to avoid larger problems that result in extensive procedures.

9. Visit the office and talk to the staff before your first appointment. You should feel free to meet with the dentist and to ask questions before scheduling your appointment. Meeting the dentist and his or her staff first will help you find a dentist you like and trust.

10. Go slow. Dentists are happy to go slow with nervous patients. If possible, make sure your first visit is a simple one, such as a cleaning. This will help you build your relationship with the dentist before going in for a more difficult procedure.

 

provided by: http://psychcentral.com

How does Coffee Stain Teeth?

Posted December 1st, 2014 by Amy & Robin and filed in Ask the Dentist, Dental Articles, Dental Tips

Coffee is the favorite daily beverage of many people throughout the world and a lot of them cannot start their normally without it. They are always at a risk of getting their teeth stained. The stains can be brown, yellow and black in color. The unsightly stains can appear as spots or cover the whole or certain areas of your teeth. Coffee is considered to be a bigger culprit in causing teeth stains as many factors are combined in this drink.

How Coffee Causes Teeth Stains

The tooth’s enamel, the hard protective layer all around that protects it, is porous. That is why the enamel can be easily stained because it is not difficult for substances such as coffee to fill the pores. The nature of enamel also varies from person to person. In some it is rough while in others, it is smooth. Rougher enamels are more likely to get stained as compared to the smooth ones.

Some other factors have an effect on coffee’s staining impact on teeth. Genetic differences such as thicker enamels or natural yellowing due to aging can cause differences in staining due to coffee. At times, some people wrongly make the culprit out of coffee when it is actually their advancing age to blame for yellowing of teeth.

Foods and beverages with high acid content can speed up the teeth staining because they have a corrosive effect on your enamel. Coffee has high acid content. Some other drinks with high acid content are tea, orange juice, tomatoes and many citrus fruits. Coffee with its dark color has to take the blame for causing teeth stains more easily than other foods or beverages. The more you drink these beverages, particularly the dark ones such as tea, coffee and colas, the more you run the risk of staining your teeth.

The wise thing would be to limit your coffee consumption to one or two cups daily. Moreover, you should avoid keeping the drink in your mouth for too long as it increases the exposure to teeth. Having coffee with a straw can also help. Brushing your teeth or rinsing it water every time you have coffee is also a very good way of keeping teeth stains away. Teeth stains from coffee or any other substance may not require a special dental visit, but if you want to try any sort of whitening or teeth cleaning product, do so only after your dentist’s advice.

Article by www.onlymyhealth.com

Hand washing! Do’s and Dont’s

 

Frequent hand-washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness. Hand-washing requires only soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer — a cleanser that doesn’t require water. Find out when and how to wash your hands properly.
When to wash your hands

As you touch people, surfaces and objects throughout the day, you accumulate germs on your hands. In turn, you can infect yourself with these germs by touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Although it’s impossible to keep your hands germ-free, washing your hands frequently can help limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes.

Always wash your hands before:

Preparing food or eating
Treating wounds, giving medicine, or caring for a sick or injured person
Inserting or removing contact lenses

Always wash your hands after:

Preparing food, especially raw meat or poultry
Using the toilet or changing a diaper
Touching an animal or animal toys, leashes, or waste
Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands
Treating wounds or caring for a sick or injured person
Handling garbage, household or garden chemicals, or anything that could be contaminated — such as a cleaning cloth or soiled shoes

In addition, wash your hands whenever they look dirty.
How to wash your hands

It’s generally best to wash your hands with soap and water. Follow these simple steps:

Wet your hands with running water.
Apply liquid, bar or powder soap.
Lather well.
Rub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Remember to scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
Rinse well.
Dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel or air dryer.
If possible, use your towel to turn off the faucet.

Keep in mind that antibacterial soap is no more effective at killing germs than is regular soap. Using antibacterial soap may even lead to the development of bacteria that are resistant to the product’s antimicrobial agents — making it harder to kill these germs in the future.

How to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, which don’t require water, are an acceptable alternative when soap and water aren’t available. If you choose to use a hand sanitizer, make sure the product contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Then follow these simple steps:

Apply enough of the product to the palm of your hand to wet your hands completely.
Rub your hands together, covering all surfaces, until your hands are dry.

Antimicrobial wipes or towelettes are another effective option. Again, look for a product that contains a high percentage of alcohol. If your hands are visibly dirty, wash with soap and water.

 

article credited to: http://www.mayoclinic.com

8 Ingredients You Never Want to See on Your Nutrition Label

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.

 

BHA

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

Parabens

 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

 

Sodium Nitrite

 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

Caramel Coloring

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

 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”

Food Dyes

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

Why It’s So Hard to Tell Which Tooth Has the Ache

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.3d_dentist 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