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Allergic to flossing? It can happen, small study finds

A Winnipeg researcher says that some people actually have a flossing allergy that affects the gums, but it’s very rare.

Many Canadians like to joke that they are “allergic to flossing,” which is why they never do it.

A report earlier this month seemed to let them off the hook, revealing there wasn’t a lot of evidence to support the practice.

Many dentists immediately scrambled to insist that flossing is as important as ever for preventing gum disease. But a new study finds that in a small group of patients, an allergy to flossing could actually be real.

Winnipeg periodontist Dr. Anastasia Cholakis recently published a study about four of these patients, all of whom found that flossing made their gum problems worse.

Cholakis, who is also a professor at the University of Manitoba, says one of her patients had a stubborn case of periodontal disease that persisted for years. The patient had been a meticulous tooth brusher and flosser, but still had terrible gums that were always red, swollen and bleeding.

“We had been trying to treat her for five to six years with no success. I could see the bone melting away from the teeth,” Cholakis tells CTV News.

A second patient came in who also had gum disease that could not be controlled, no matter how much she brushed and flossed. Then a third patient, and a fourth. Cholakis was at her wit’s end, trying to think what to recommend.

So she took a tiny sample of one of the patient’s gums to examine it under a microscope. She discovered a high number of plasma cells, which often emerge in certain allergic reactions.

flossing

Cholakis suspected that the patients had developed a hypersensitivity to something in their oral hygiene routine, wondering if they had grown allergic to flossing.

“Very flippantly, we said, ‘Stop flossing,” she says.

The patients did, and within a few months, the redness and bleeding were gone.

Cholakis suspects there is something in the wax coating or flavouring that triggers an allergic reaction to dental floss in some patients. She has recently published a paper in the Journal of the American Dental Association detailing what she noticed in her four patients.

Study co-author and oral pathologist Dr. John Perry says he and Cholakis were stunned that floss was the problem.

“We have never thought about dental floss…and dental floss changes over time in terms of components manufacturers use,” he said

It’s not clear what ingredient might be behind the reactions. Dental floss manufacturers are not obligated to list their ingredients, so they can change. Cholakis says she and her team were not able to get floss manufacturers to reveal the chemicals they use in their floss coatings.

CTV News contacted a number of floss manufacturers but didn’t hear back

Dr. Larry Levin, the president-elect of the Canadian Dental Association, says an allergy to dental floss is likely rare, but he still thinks manufacturers should start listing the ingredients in dental floss.

“I would want my patients to know specifically what it is they are using and as a practitioner, I would like to know what it is I am recommending,” he said.

In a statement to CTV News, a Health Canada spokesperson said that dental floss is listed as a Class I medical device, “representing the lowest risk out of 4 classes.”

Floss manufacturers must follow labelling rules, but those requirements “do not state that the composition of a medical device must appear on the device labelling,” the statement said.

“Consumers who have questions or concerns about the ingredients in dental floss can contact the manufacturer for more information.”

With a report from CTV medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip
Angela Mulholland, Staff writer     @AngeMulholland     Monday, August 15, 2016
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8 Everyday Activities That Increase Your Mental Health

Which of these uncomplicated activities to you do most days?

Do these most days and it will help protect your mental health.

1. Dwell on the positive

Positive memories could be used as a way to help boost mental well-being, new research finds.

People in the study were asked to focus on positive social memories.

Participants focused on their own positive feelings from that memory as well as on the positive feelings of the other person.

The results showed that people felt socially safer and more positive and relaxed after the exercise.

At the same time feelings of guilt and fear were reduced.

2. Drink some tea

Tea is both calming and can make you feel more alert.

It improves cognitive performance in the short-term and may help fight Alzheimer’s in the long-term.

Finally, it is linked to better mental health.

I’ll raise a cup to that!

From: Tea: 6 Brilliant Effects on the Brain

3. Be calm about minor irritations

Dealing with the minor stresses and strains of everyday life in a positive way is key to long-term health, a new study finds.

The research found that people who remained calm or cheerful in the face of irritations had a lower risk of inflammation.

brain

4. Don’t watch the news

Viewing violent news events on social media can cause symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A recent study has found that almost one-quarter of individuals had PTSD-like symptoms from following events like 9/11 and suicide bombings on social media.

The more people viewed the events, researchers found, the greater the subsequent trauma they experienced.

5. Get your micronutrients

Despite consuming more calories than ever, many people do not get their recommended intake of brain-essential nutrients, a new study reports.

The study explains the best way of getting the required nutrients:

“A traditional whole-food diet, consisting of higher intakes of foods such as vegetables, fruits, seafood, whole grains, lean meat, nuts, and legumes, with avoidance of processed foods, is more likely to provide the nutrients that afford resiliency against the pathogenesis of mental disorders.”

6. Look out the window

People who live with a water view have better mental health, new research finds.

Don’t live near water? Any sort of green space or even a grassy rooftop will do just as well.

7. A little activity

Compared with inactivity, even ‘mild’ levels of physical activity are linked to 50% better mental health, a new study finds.

The more exercise people performed, the more protected they were against mental disorders, the research also found.

But both low and high levels of exercise were also linked to more than 50% reductions in the risk of suffering mental illness compared with being inactive.

8. Brush your teeth

Brushing your teeth regularly could reduce the risk of dementia by more than one-quarter, new research finds.

People with fewer than 20 teeth are 26% more likely to develop cognitive problems that could lead to Alzheimer’s.

It is thought that chewing increases the blood-flow to the brain, thereby improving memory.

source: PsyBlog