Dental Hygiene for kids

It is important that your child finds out about cigarettes from you and not his/her buddy who thinks it’s cool.  If you feel like this is a good time to have a conversation with your son or daughter about cigarettes, you may find this interactive website quite useful and fun for both of you.

cleanteeth1

www.mouthpower.org . It provides you with an interactive game/education tool.  Its target group ranges from elementary school to high school. Hey! Even adults can learn from it   If you suspect that your kid is starting to smoke or is old enough to be persuaded into smoking, check out my favorite part, when Mouthy starts smoking.  Click on tobacco section of the game, and watch what happens to his teeth and the rest of the mouth.  Don’t forget to see the list of chemicals that goes into tobacco.

Something to think about; Formaldehyde, substance in tobacco, is what  cadavers  are covered in for preservation.

image source: http://www.mindscapesonline.com/catalog/images/4×2cleanteeth1.jpg

Aspartame

aspartameAspartame is a sugar substitute found in sweeteners such as NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. It is also found in many diet drinks: Diet Pepsi, Diet Coke etc.,which hits closer to home, because I drink Diet Pepsi almost everyday.

I used to think it is better to drink Diet Pepsi than regular sugar containing Pepsi for a few big reasons, number one being the fact that a can of Pepsi contains 10 spoons of sugar. Too much sugar equals to FAT and eventually very possibly Diabetes. One can of Pepsi is about the Recommended Daily Intake, and considering that most of what people eat has some sort of simple sugars in their diets, 10 spoons of sugar in one can is A LOT.splenda-sucrose

So why is it better to drink Pepsi vs Diet Pepsi? [5]Because of the sugar substitute Aspartame. If you really can’t stay away from diet drinks then Diet Pepsi containing SPLENDA (sugar alcohol) would be a better choice.  Although I would not rely on that too much either.  SPLENDA is not a naturally occurring substance.  Instead of hydroxyl groups on its backbone structure, SPLENDA defers from normal sugar (Sucrose) by having its three hydroxyl groups replaced with Chlorine (-Cl) groups.

A few of the documented symptoms listed as being caused by aspartame include: headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.

Is that about enough?

Read more if you want the details.

Aspartate and glutamate act as neurotransmitters in the brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartate or glutamate in the brain kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals which kill the cells. The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartate and glutamate is why they are referred to as “excitotoxins.” They “excite” or stimulate the neural cells to death. [1]

dna_mouse2_203Don’t believe me, I do not have a PhD in anything, but believe the multiple studies that have been conducted on rats (most of the genes found in the rat can be seen in the human code).[6]

  • “The results of this carcinogenicity bioassay confirm and reinforce the first experimental demonstration of APM’s multipotential carcinogenicity at a dose level close to the acceptable daily intake for humans. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that when life-span exposure to APM begins during fetal life, its [6]carcinogenic effects are increased.” [3]

Approximately 10% of aspartame (by mass) is broken down into methanol in the small intestine. Most of the methanol is absorbed and quickly converted into formaldehyde.

One of the functional groups in aspartame is phenylalanine, which is unsafe for those born with Phenylketonuria, a rare genetic condition. Phenylalanine is an amino acid commonly found in foods. Approximately 50% of aspartame (by mass) is broken down into phenylalanine, which is considered safe for everyone except for people with phenylketonuria. [1]

Approximately 40% of aspartame (by mass) is broken down into aspartic acid.

Aspartic acid belongs to a class of chemicals that in high concentrations act as an excitotoxin, inflicting damage on brain and nerve cells. High levels of excitotoxins have been shown in hundreds of animal studies to cause damage to areas of the brain unprotected by the blood-brain barrier and a variety of chronic diseases arising out of this neurotoxicity. The blood brain barrier (BBB) normally protects the brain from excess glutamate and aspartate as well as toxins, however, in children it is not fully developed and does not fully protect all areas of the brain. BBB can also be damaged by numerous chronic and acute conditions. It also allows leakage of excess glutamate and aspartate into the brain even when intact. While scientists agree that typical use of aspartame does not spike aspartic acid to extremely high levels in adults, they are particularly concerned with potential effects in infants and young children. Some parents now days replace milk with soda…something to think about. [1][2]

Aspartylphenylalanine diketopiperazine, (DKP) created in products such as aspartame breaks down over time. Researchers found that 6 months after aspartame was put into carbonated beverages, 25% of the aspartame had been converted to DKP. Concern among some scientists has been expressed that this form of DKP would undergo a nitrosation process in the stomach producing a type of chemical that could cause brain tumors.

Sources :

[1] http://www.mercola.com/article/aspartame/nutrasweet_scandal.htm

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspartame_controversy

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed [PMID: 17805418]

[4] http://2.bp.blogspot.com

[5] http://www.bio.miami.edu

[6] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3586573.stm

The 7 wonders of Tea

1. Lowers cholesterol

2. Increases metabolism

3. Reduces Sepsis ( abnormal immune response to a bacterial infection)

4. Contains Anti-oxidants; polyphenols including ECGC.

5. Boosts Immune system

6. Fights Fatigue

7. Reduces Blood Pressure

These are just 7 health benefits that tea provides, with new research new discoveries are made about the health benefits of tea (especially white and green tea).

Tea contains antioxidant agents called polyphenols, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is one of the most potent antioxidants and is the one that most contributes to the health benefits of tea.  According to the numerous studies polyphenols in tea may help protect the body from cancer by destroying free radicals, protect the heart by lowering cholesterol and improving lipid metabolism, boost the immune system and have significant anti-bacterial effects.

Green and Black tea both come from a plant leaf of, Camellia sinensis. However black tea undergoes oxidation that darkens the leaves, changes their flavor, and lessens the amount of polyphenol. Since black tea contains less antioxidant activity than green tea it does not provide as much of the health benefits that green tea does.  The tea that contains the highest amount of antioxidants is white tea, it is the least processed tea, however, it is more delicate and harder to handle, making it more expensive.

Read more

Sun and Skin Damage

There are two types of ultraviolet rays, UVB and UVA. One easy way of remembering the Ultraviolet B is that it is the Burning type, this light is responsible for suntans as well as sunburns. Ultraviolet A rays are even more dangerous because they penetrate into the deeper layers of skin and contribute to premature aging of skin, with development of fine lines and wrinkles. Both of the rays can cause skin cancer such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. UVB rays are more active and cause more damage during the summer months especially during midday, between 1-4PM. UVA on the other hand are active all year round in any weather and all day long. Unlike the UVB, UVA lights are not filtered through window glass. So your skin is getting damaged even when you are sitting inside a car on a cloudy day . Which means that even if you don’t go to a beach every summer and stay inside closed windows your skin can still age prematurely without protection.

How You Can Protect Yourself From The Damaging Effects Of UVB and UVA.

Most of us have heard the term SPF (sun protection factor) many times. However, the SPF only measures the protection against UVB and not UVA (because UVA rays were once thought to be safe). When you are buying a sun screen it is a good idea to look for these chemicals in a product; Parsol 1789 (avobenzone) which is a chemical blocker, or Microfine Zinc Oxide or Microfine Titanium Dioxide, which are physical blockers.

Sources: Eastside Dermatology, Alan J. Parks, MD, Stephanie L. Cotell, MD. (BCD)