Saturday, February 2, 2008

A bizarre kissing risk exposed

Before you pucker up, know this: There may be a 1 in 3 chance of transmitting gingivitis-causing bacteria through saliva, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association. A different study published in the journal Periodontology 2000 placed the transmission rate between 30 percent and 75 percent.

Gingivitis is the earliest and most easily treatable form of gum disease. Symptoms include gums that are red and inflamed and sometimes bleed. A whopping 75 percent of us have it--even though most of us don't have a clue that we do. Odds are this means you. Or your partner.

When Canadians were told the facts and then asked to answer a survey, 57 percent admitted they are concerned about getting gingivitis from another person, but 65 percent said they were even more concerned about giving it to someone else. Fully 40 percent said they would limit how much they kissed if they found out their partner had gingivitis.

What can you do? Dental experts say the best defense is a good offense: Kill the germs that cause gingivitis and plaque by brushing regularly, flossing, and using an antiseptic mouthwash.

The best toothbrush you can use is an electric toothbrush with circular bristle heads that rotate in alternating directions. That's the word from a study by researchers at Sheffield University in Sheffield, England who determined that these toothbrushes, unlike manual brushes, are best at removing plaque and reducing the risk of gum disease.

By reviewing 42 studies involving 3,855 participants, the researchers determined that in just one to three months' time, the rotating electric toothbrushes reduced plaque by more than 11 percent when compared to manual brushes, as well as reduced the signs of gingivitis, or gum inflammation, by 6 percent. The powered brushes reduced gingivitis by 17 percent over the manual brushes after more than three months' use. The researchers found no evidence that powered brushes of any kind caused more gum damage than manual brushes.

The researchers were quick to point out that if all you have is a manual toothbrush, it's better than not brushing at all. "We did not want to say that electric brushes are necessary, just that they can help. It is possible to clean one's teeth perfectly well without an electric brush," lead study author Peter Robinson said in a news release announcing the findings.

The American Dental Association said it has no official recommendation regarding manual versus powered toothbrushes. The study findings were published in the journal titled The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research.


Just arrived at

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