Monthly Archives: February 2016
Sure, your breath may remind you about the garlic you ate at lunch. But that’s not-all-your mouth can tell you a problems with your gums, teeth, and tongue can hint at health concerns deeper in the body, a dentist at the Cleveland Clinic.
If you suddenly have a bunch of cavities
It might mean: Diabetes
Say you’ve gone most of your life without many cavities; then at your biannual check-up, your dentist announces you’ve got five. Assuming you’re not hooked on soda or taking any new medications, the tooth decay could be a sign that you’re body is having trouble processing glucose. When that happens, the sugar can build up in saliva and spur the growth of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth, says Haberkamp. You might also feel some tooth pain, especially after eating something sweet, hot, or cold. “For the record, cavities aren’t the only oral side effect of diabetes,” she adds. “Gum disease, oral thrush, and dry mouth are others, too.”
Health.com: 20 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Teeth
If your teeth are “wearing away”
It might mean: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Heartburn can happen to anyone. But if you’re experiencing it more than twice a week for a few weeks in a row, you may have GERD, a condition in which stomach acids leaks into the esophagus. While some people experience a “burning” sensation in their chest or throat, others don’t experience any symptoms at all.
When stomach acid reaches the mouth, it can wear away the enamel on your teeth. “Erosion from GERD is typically on the tongue side of the teeth,” says Haberkamp. “A person may not notice this, since it may occur slowly, but a dentist would notice on a periodic exam.” If you are diagnosed with GERD, it may be treated with antacids, prescription meds, and lifestyle changes like avoiding certain foods and eating smaller, more frequent meals.
If your gums bleed when you brush
It might mean: Gingivitis
Unless you just started flossing your teeth or you’re brushing too hard (in which case, ease up!), blood in the sink may indicate inflammation of your gum tissue caused by plaque buildup along the gum line. Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more serious periodontitis, in which the gums recede from the teeth and form pockets that get infected. And that may signal trouble beyond your mouth: A study published in the American Heart Journal found that people with periodontitis are also more likely to have heart disease, though it’s unclear whether caring for your teeth can also protect your ticker.
Make an appointment with your dentist if you think you might have gingivitis. Also make sure you’re using the right toothbrush (one that’s not too stiff), and remember to floss gently: The American Dental Association recommends that people lightly “guide” the floss between your teeth—not saw it back and forth until it scrapes your gums.
Health.com: The Weird Thing That Can Happen to Your Teeth Before Your Period
If you have white spots on your tongue
It might mean: Oral thrush
White patches or plaques can be a symptom of oral thrush, an infection caused by an overgrowth of the Candida yeast. It’s not super common, but people who have diabetes, dry mouth, or a depressed immune system are more at risk. Additional signs of the infection include redness, difficulty swallowing, or cracking at the corners of your mouth. If you develop thrush, your MD may prescribe an antifungal medication.
This food from the sea is a no brainer for all five of our-experts.
A small 3-oz serving of wild salmon has about 156 calories and 23 grams of protein, plus 6 grams of fat. Omega 3 fatty acids are salmon’s claim to fame, “providing anywhere between 2-3 grams per 3-oz. serving,” saysJulia Renee Zumpano, a registered dietitian at the Center for Preventive Cardiology Cleveland Clinic. (To put that into perspective, that’s the nutrient equivalent of taking three days’ worth of soft gels of fish oil in supplement form.) “Omega 3 fatty acids can help reduce blood triglycerides, blood pressure, and reduce swelling.”
“Wild is better than farmed,” says Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, an assertion with which most of our experts agree. Zumpano points out that farmed salmon may contain more saturated fat, calories, pollutants and antibiotics than wild salmon. (Salmon does have low mercury levels, however, according to the FDA.)
Farmed salmon may not deliver as many omega-3s, says Peter D. Nichols, senior principal research scientist at CSIRO Food, Nutrition & Bioproducts in Australia who’s researched long-chain omega-3 (LC Omega-3) oils. “The content of the LC Omega-3 has generally decreased in farmed salmon both in Australia and globally,” he says. “The LC omega-3 content is about half of what it used to be, although we should also note that this is still generally 10-100 fold higher than most other food groups.”
Not all farmed salmon is bad, though, says Tim Fitzgerald, director of impact in the oceans program at the Environmental Defense Fund. “Although most generic farmed salmon—often labeled ‘Atlantic’ in stores—still comes with a variety of environmental concerns, a number of new companies are upping their game and showing that salmon farming doesn’t have to be on everyone’s ‘avoid’ list,” he says. A few of his favorite sustainably farmed salmon standouts are Atlantic Sapphire, Kuterra andVerlasso. Fitzgerald also likes arctic char as an alternative to farmed salmon. “It’s closely related to salmon—so looks and tastes very similar, it’s farmed responsibly, and has a price point somewhere between Atlantic and wild Alaskan salmon.”
For the overall most sustainable salmon, choose wild Alaskan salmon, saysKimberly Warner, a senior scientist at Oceana, a nonprofit focused on ocean conservation. “Wild Alaskan salmon are managed well in the U.S.,” she says. It’s expensive, but you’ll be getting an especially good deal during the summer salmon season (and buying fish in season means the fish is most likely to be honestly labeled, she says).
But don’t forget: not every fish worth eating comes on ice. “Virtually all canned salmon is wild-caught in Alaska,” Fitzgerald says, “so you can get all of the environmental and health benefits for just a few dollars.”