:DentalPlans Weekly Dental and Healthcare News Roundup


Great Athletes, Bad Teeth

The glories of the United Kingdom do not include its citizens’ teeth.  And apparently British professional athletes in particular suffer from horrible dental health.

A recent study has found that nearly 40 percent of football (soccer, to Americans) players in the United Kingdom have teeth that are far worse than that of the average Brit. The study’s lead researcher, Ian Needleman of the UCL Eastman Dental Institute, said that jaw infections were running rampant throughout England’s soccer leagues.

The study, which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that roughly 37 percent of the footballers had ongoing tooth decay, and 50 percent had teeth that were eroded by acids in the mouth. A full 80 percent of the players also suffered from gum disease. Roughly one in six players reported pain in their mouth, and about 25 percent were sensitive to cold and hot foods.

A study of American athletes found that their teeth may suffer due to training practices which both reduced salvia flow and made salvia more acidic. The research also found a significant correlation between the time athletes spend training and the number of cavities that they have.


Don’t Wake Me Up

Most people get grumpy when they don’t get enough sleep. But a new study indicates that bad moods aren’t caused by fewer hours of sleeping – it’s the amount of uninterrupted sleep that is the issue.

When your sleep is disrupted the end result can be short-tempered hissy fits. The study also notes that not only is steady sleep better, but that people who have trouble getting to sleep tend to become more nocturnal, which can lead to depression (of course, there are some people who are happily and naturally nocturnal).

Night owl or not, when your sleep is disrupted throughout the night, you don’t have the opportunity to progress through the sleep stages to get the amount of slow-wave sleep. Slow wave sleep is the deepest phase of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. Dreaming and sleepwalking can occur during slow wave sleep, and it is believed to be essential to proper brain functioning and waking up refreshed and ready to tackle another day.

A shortage of slow-wave sleep is definitely associated with a bad mood. Study participants also reported “a reduction of positive emotions—like friendliness and sympathy—when they experienced sleep interruption… It appears that losing slow-wave sleep impairs the ability to recover or stabilize positive emotions in response to stressors. So we should be paying attention to not just the quantity or quality of sleep, and not simply the quantity or quality of mood or emotions, but the combination of the two.”

The research found that sleep interruption resulted in a 31 percent reduction in positive mood while those with a slightly delayed bedtime had a 12 percent reduction in positive mood when compared to their mood before their bedtime was delayed.


Yes, You Can Be Addicted to Pizza

A team of researchers has confirmed what we all suspected – you can get addicted to a specific type of food. And – no surprise – the list of foods that people are most likely to get addicted to does not include broccoli, boiled chicken, or salad.

What does top the list: pizza, chocolate, chips, cookies, ice cream, French fries, cake, soda, cheese and bacon.  Fruits and vegetables (strawberries, carrots and broccoli, etc.) were at the bottom of the list.

What the most addictive foods tend to have in common is that they cause a spike in blood sugar. The ensuing crash makes us want more of the food that made us feel perky, and a vicious cycle ensues. And as far as bacon and cheese goes – delicious also can create an addictive craving.

The really bad news is that only way to beat your food addiction is to avoid the foods that you find addictive.


No Fish in Your Beer

Guinness has decided to tweak its 256-year-old recipe and remove isinglass—a gelatinous byproduct of fish bladders that helps filter yeast particles—from its brewing process.

Vegans who love beer have pressured the company for years to pull the fish bladders from the magic recipe.  But Guinness resisted, saying isinglass provides a “very effective means of clarification,” and there is no replacement that is “as effective and as environmentally friendly.”

No word yet the specifics of what Guinness will be doing to clarify its brew going forward, only that the company will begin to use a new filtration plant at its flagship brewery in Ireland at some point in 2016. There are also no details on what will be happening at the dozens of other Guinness breweries.

Obligatory dental tip:  Light pilsners and ales brewed with unroasted barley and hops are better for your teeth that darker beer such as porters, stouts, and Scottish ales that are brewed with roasted barley or black malt. Darker beer can stain your teeth and also has a higher natural acidity than the lighter beers. Acidy foods can weaken tooth enamel.


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