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Friday, August 14

Avoid Brain Plaque with a Toothbrush

The next time your son or daughter has a test for school, in addition to hitting the books, s/he may also want to hit the brush - the toothbrush, that is. Scientific discoveries are increasingly uncovering the links between oral health and physical health, but a new round of study is investigating the links between oral health and mental health - with a specific focus on memory.

This new foray into investigating the links between memory and the health of one`s bicuspids and incisors was touched on after a study out of West Virginia University`s School of Dentistry indicated that elderly with poor oral hygiene fared far worse in memory tests than those who were good stewards to their pearly whites. The testing of approximately 300 older adults involved cognitive function tests, blood work and dental check-ups.

This latest study will be undertaken by researchers from the University of North Carolina, and they will have quite the dowry from which to conduct their testing: a cool $1.3 million, awarded by the National Institutes of Health.

Using the West Virginia researchers` findings as a backbone to their analysis, the UNC researchers will try and expand on it, supporting and/or identifying other contributing factors that weren`t apparent to the West Virginia University researchers, whose work is not yet finished.

While the world of natural health typically revolves around the food, it doesn`t stop at the produce aisle. Maintaining good oral hygiene requires natural tooth-defending formulas.

For instance, some may think that they`re protecting their pearly whites by rinsing and gargling with mouthwash twice a day. They may be, but only if their mouthwash is non-alcohol based.

As has been documented in a variety of newspapers and television news outlets - including CBS News - alcohol-based mouthwashes create a breeding ground for bacteria, as the alcohol dries out the lining of the walls inside the mouth. This enables cavities to develop more easily.

More serious than cavities, oral cancer can develop from alcohol-based mouthwashes - disease so prevalent that 34,000 people will be diagnosed with it this year alone (and they likely won`t be alive five years from now). The prevalence rate may have something to do with alcohol-based mouthwash.

Michael McCullough, an associate professor of dental medicine from the University of Melbourne found in a study of his that people who used alcohol-based mouthwashes were five times more likely to develop oral cancer than those who don`t use mouthwash.

This shouldn`t preclude the use of mouthwashes, however. All-natural mouthwashes work wonders. However, all-natural are not necessarily those that are simply "alcohol-free." Natural mouthwashes include those with ingredients like "organic tree oil," "aloe vera gel" and "oil of spearmint." "Witch hazel" is another natural ingredient that`s great for healthy teeth and gums.

There are of course many other aspects to maintaining good oral hygiene, like eating foods that are good for the teeth, like apples, celery and carrots, as these three foods help remove plaque buildup.

Besides flossing and brushing, another way to maintain good oral hygiene is with 100 percent xylitol chewing gum. Xylitol naturally removes the bacteria that camps out inside the mouth when sugars are left behind from the foods we eat.

As the West Virginia study found - and as the University of North Carolina will likely support - one of the many ways to promote a great memory is right beneath our noses. Help your "pearly whites" live up to their namesake by practicing good oral hygiene the all-natural way. -naturalnews

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