Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bad Breath

Need to take mints right after your each meal to help cover your bad breath? Familiar? If yes, please make sure you avoid taking in sugary mints, as it will only help with the bad breath temporarily, and next thing you know the bad breath is getting even worse.

The term for bad breath is halitosis. The smell is from substances called volatile sulphur compounds caused by the breakdown of protein in the mouth by bacteria. When breaking down the protein, bacteria produce compounds which have aromas characteristics of rotten eggs, cabbage, sulphur, gasoline, mothballs, faeces, corpses, urine, decaying flesh, sweat, rancid-cheese, and off-milk.

The bad breath also occur in the morning when we wake up, or after we finish exercise. The underlying reason is that when we sleep and/or exercise (dehydrate), the flow of saliva diminishes, and thus less flushing of food by saliva. This causes the food to stay longer in our mouth to be broken down by the bacteria.

Another cause of halitosis is poor oral hygiene, such as gingivitis and periodontitis. When foods are gathered in damaged gums and teeth, the bacteria have plenty of time to break down the foods.

Less common cause of halitosis include infections such as bronchitis, post nasal drip, or sinus infection; chronic conditions such as diabetes, kidney or liver failure, reflux oesophagitis (when oesophagus is inflamed by acidic food entering from stomach).

Smoking can cause bad breath, since it cause mouth to dry and possible gum disease.

Foods such as onions and garlic can give bad aroma, however the smell would not last long.

So save yourself from embarassment. Make sure you do one or more of the following:

- Brush teeth after meal. You can use mouthwash if you prefer, however brushing is more effective
- Floss your teeth after each meal
- Brush back of your tongue or scrape with a tongue scraper
- Take sugarless sweets to help stimulate saliva production
- Drink plenty of water (the easiest way for us working people!)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Alcohol as a Cause of Cancer

It has been told that moderate consumption of red wine, on average 2 glass per day will be beneficial for our health. For other alcohol in general, the suggested consumption is 4 drinks a day for men, and 2 drinks a day for women. Apparently, this no longer hold true. Red wine consumption is particularly good for cardiac disease, however consumption of wine and alcohol in general would increase the risk of cancer.

A new report "Alcohol as a Cause of Cancer" is released today, 8 May 2008, showing alarming link between alcohol consumption and particular types of cancer.

An international audit of cancer and alcohol research was conducted by The Cancer Institute New South Wales. The study found that even as little as 2 glass of alcohol per day can significantly increase the risk of cancer. And thus, reducing alcohol consumption will lower risk of cancer.

The types of cancer associated with alcohol consumption include:
- bowel cancer,
- breast cancer,
- head and neck cancer,
- oesophageal or gullet cancer.

The average risk increase per average drink is around 10-20% for some of the above cancers.

I myself have received news in less than a week that 3 men I know of have been diagnosed with colon or prostate cancer. All 3 of them smoked and/or drink wine on regular basis.

Cancer, in fact, is a very common disease. On average, 1 in 2 men, and 1 in 3 women will most likely get cancer in their lifetime. The prevention strategies would include, but not limited to, eliminating the risk factors such as alcohol and tobacco. For more tips on cancer prevention, please refer to my previous post on cancer.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Does Watching TV Cause Damage to Children's Eyes

Most of us grow up listening to our parents telling us not to watch television all the time as it would damage our eyes. For us, grown ups, maybe the length of time spent on watching TV would not be of our concerns anymore. But how about your children? Would you allow them spending 2-3 hours watching their favorites TV cartoons? Does watching TV actually affect our children's eyes?

In general, just like any other muscles in our body, the longer the time spent on doing certain thing will cause muscle strain. The same rule applies for watching TV. Focusing our eyes on certain object will make our eye mucles work harder. The longer the time spent on focusing on TV, the harder the eye muscles have to work.

Well parents, you should follow a few guidelines when allowing your children to watch TV:

- Make sure your children sit at least 4-5 metres away from the screen. The closer they are to the TV, the harder their eyes have to work, and thus the more tired the eyes will become.

- Watch TV in a bright room, but avoid causing any glare or reflection of light on the TV screen.

- Take a break. You can ask your children to look away or move about during commercial break.

The above tips are contributed by Optometrist Andrew Hogan, the president of the Tasmanian division of the Optometrists Association Australia.

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Small Survey To Help Going Green

A little survey I took on a web. Questioned about how do people get to work/school.