You may have seen the story: some media outlets are advising people that the best way to prevent cavities is to pick your nose and then eat it. Yes, really. The reports indicate that the advice is based on a new medical study.
Don’t do it.
The Real Science Behind Snot
The study’s synopsis states that “Understanding how the body’s natural defenses function to protect the oral cavity from the myriad of bacteria that colonize its surfaces is an ongoing topic of research that can lead to breakthroughs in treatment and prevention. One key defense mechanism on all moist epithelial linings, such as the mouth, gastrointestinal tract, and lungs, is a layer of thick, well-hydrated mucus …This study focuses on elucidating the connection between MUC5B salivary mucins and dental caries, one of the most common oral diseases.”
So yes, we’re looking at how the body’s natural systems work to prevent cavities.
The study goes on to note that dental decay is caused by colonies of oral bacteria, which forms a film on the surface of the teeth. The bacteria then produce organic acids that dissolve tooth enamel, leading to cavity formation. The production of these acids is accelerated by the presence of sugar (sucrose) in the mouth.
The study goes on to explain that “aqueous solutions of purified human MUC5B protect (tooth) surfaces by acting as an antibiofouling agent in the presence of sucrose. In addition, we find that MUC5B does not alter S. mutans growth and decreases surface attachment and biofilm formation by maintaining S. mutans in the planktonic form.”
Right, so a sterilized solution of a specific component of human salvia and mucus can be used to make teeth surfaces slippery – which makes it harder for bacteria to cling to teeth. Additionally, the solution dilutes any sugar in the mouth. Basically, this is exactly what your body is set up to do, and why dry mouth causes dental problems.
What To Do Instead Of Picking Your Nose
Dry mouth can be caused by stress, smoking, certain low carb diet plans, over-consumption of caffeinated drinks, or just general dehydration.
It is also a side effect of diseases including HIV/AIDS, Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes, and Parkinson’s. Dry mouth can also be caused by malfunctioning salivary glands, or blocked salivary ducts. Your dry mouth may be a side effect connected to medical procedures such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. A dry mouth is also a very typical response to many medications, including
- Analgesics (pain medication)
- Anxiety medicines
- Appetite suppressants
- Blood pressure drugs
Symptoms of dry mouth can include always feeling thirsty, an incessant sore throat, hoarseness, a burning sensation in your mouth, difficulties in speaking and swallowing, and/or dry nasal passages.
What To Do About Dry Mouth
Dry mouth can sometimes be alleviated by simply increasing the amount of fluid you drink, chewing on sugar free gum or candies, or using a vaporizer to add moisture to the air in your home.
People who frequently experience dry mouth may want to try limiting their intake of caffeine and tobacco products. Dry mouth is very commonly experienced by people who use nicotine vaporizers (aka: e-cigarettes). If you vape, stay well hydrated and pay careful attention to your dental hygiene to counteract the potential risk of tooth decay and other oral health problems caused by “vaper’s tongue.”
If the condition is caused by a medication, your doctor may be able to decrease the dose or switch you to a different drug. Your doctor or dentist may also suggest that you use an oral rinse that can help keep your mouth moist, or may prescribe a medication to increase saliva production.
Allergies, colds or other conditions that make it easier to breathe through the mouth rather than your nose can also cause dry mouth. Speak with a health care professional about your sinus problem. If you have become a frequent user of nasal sprays, you may want to ask your doctor for help in weaning yourself off the spray. You’ll probably notice that your dry mouth gets much worse when you’re cutting back on the spray, and then improves rapidly after the rebound congestion clears and you can breathe normally again.
If dry mouth is something that you’ll need to deal with for an extended period of time, due to necessary medications or recovery from medical treatment, it’s important that you take excellent care of your teeth and mouth. Along with regular visits to the dentist, you’ll may be advised to:
- Use a prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste and fluoride rinse to protect against tooth decay
- Avoid sticky, sugary foods that can stick to your teeth and foster decay, or brush ASAP after consuming them.
- Try an over-the-counter dry mouth rinse or saliva substitute product. Look for products containing xylitol, carboxymethylcellulose or hydroxyethyl cellulose.
Regular dental care can help ease the symptoms of dry mouth and ward off the problems that the condition can cause. If you’ve been putting off seeing a dentist due to cost, there is an affordable alternative to paying out of pocket and pricey insurance: a dental savings plan from DentalPlans.com.
So, to sum it up: Don’t eat snot, and get a dental plan. To learn more call one of our :DP AtYourService Customer Care Representatives at 1-800-238-5163.