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Flossing teeth may be good for your cognitive health

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New Delhi, Sep 27: Dentists from all across the world have been recommending flossing teeth at least once a day. Turns out, it not only helps in preventing bad breath, avoiding cavities and gum disease but also boosts cognitive health.

While poor oral health has previously been linked to higher risk of heart disease, a recent meta-analysis of studies, published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, showed that flossing may help against cognitive decline. The team analysed 14 studies, which included 34,074 participants and 4,689 cases with diminished cognitive function.

People with more tooth loss had 1.48 times higher risk of cognitive impairment and 1.28 times higher risk of dementia than the others. And with each additional missing tooth, the risk of cognitive impairment grows, the study showed. Moreover, adults with tooth loss were more likely to have cognitive decline if they did not have dentures.

“Given the staggering number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia each year, and the opportunity to improve oral health across the lifespan, it’s important to gain a deeper understanding of the connection between poor oral health and cognitive decline,” said Bei Wu, a professor in global health at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and the senior study author, in a statement.

How does poor dental health affect brain cells?

“The bacteria that cause gingivitis (irritation, redness and swelling) also may be connected to Alzheimer’s disease. This species of bacteria, called Porphyromonas gingivalis, can move from the mouth to the brain. Once in the brain, the bacteria release enzymes called gingipains that can destroy nerve cells, which in turn can lead to memory loss and compromised cognitive health,” Sageer Azaz, HOD, Dental, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram told IANS.

According to a survey by the American Dental Association (ADA), only 16 per cent of adults floss their teeth. This percentage is much worse in the Indian context. Most people are not aware of the importance of oral hygiene and flossing.

“Most people in India are not aware that our teeth have five sides. Moreover, with brushing, we can only cover three sides. If the teeth are not flossed properly, then the food particles and bacteria may remain trapped between our teeth. It’s a simple step that not only helps in preventing bad breath but also avoiding cavities and gum disease,” explains Mohendar Narula, Founder and Chairman, MyDentalPlan Healthcare.

While brushing teeth after each meal may not be convenient, flossing after a meal is easy and can be done anywhere.

“Besides being a good oral hygiene practice, flossing can also help one maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, as flossing after eating will make you less tempted to snack,” said Shuchin Bajaj, Founder Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals.

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Delhi hospital saves 2 patients who accidentally ingested sanitiser

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New Delhi, Oct 8: Two patients who accidentally ingested sanitiser mistaking it for water, rendering them unable to swallow food and water for months, were given a new lease of life after doctors at Fortis Hospital here performed an oesophageal reconstructive surgery.

A 24-year-old boy, hailing from Karnataka accidentally ingested sanitiser four months back. Treatment at local hospital inserted a pipe in his intestine and he was fed with liquids via the pipe.

On admission at Fortis Shalimar Bagh, he was found to have complete scarring and obstruction of the entire food pipe and portion of the small intestine and stomach. Doctors performed a reconstructive surgery, where a portion of his small and large intestine was used to create a new food pipe.

The surgery lasted for more than five hours post which the patient was kept under observation. The patient has recovered very well and is now able to eat normal food, said Dr Amit Javed, Director, Laparoscopic and Minimal Access Surgery, Fortis Hospital Vasant Kunj and Shalimar Bagh, in a statement.

In a separate case, a 20-year-old girl from Kashmir, also ingested sanitiser accidentally. She was even unable to swallow her saliva, and had become emaciated from malnutrition and lost a lot of weight.

Her survival was dependent on glucose which was being given to her intravenously.

The challenging surgery lasted for more than six hours as the patient suffered from severe burns and scarring in her throat and stricture (an abnormal tightening of the oesophagus) in her food pipe. Doctors reconstructed a new food passage by using a part of her stomach and intestine.

She has recovered well, the doctor said.

According to Javed, an oesophageal reconstructive surgery done by the laparoscopic technique can be a hope for patients with damaged food pipes.

“Corrosives are irritant substances which when ingested either intentionally or by accident results in severe burns of the oesophagus (food pipe) and the stomach. Early symptoms include difficulty in breathing, hoarseness of voice, mouth and throat pain, drooling of saliva, vomiting and abdominal pain. In severe cases, there can be perforation of the oesophagus and the stomach,” Javed explained.

However, as the acute injury heals, there are formation of strictures, which results in narrowing of the food passage and leads to obstruction. The unfortunate patient is unable to eat food and drink water. In severe cases, the patient is unable to swallow their own saliva.

The treatment involves initial sessions of endoscopic dilatations.

“In patients who have tight strictures, long length of strictures or in those where endoscopic dilatation is not successful, a surgery is done to create a new food pipe. This new food pipe can be reconstructed using either the stomach or portion of the large intestine. It is a complex surgery. We routinely perform this surgery by the laparoscopic technique which results in excellent functional results and very good cosmesis. The patient is able to eat and drink a normal diet,” Javed said.

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Gurugram: Notice to 11,311 households for larvae-breeding

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Gurugram, Oct 7: To prevent the outbreak of mosquito-borne diseases, the district Health Department in collaboration with the district administration examined over 22.70 lakh households and issued notices to 11,311 households where mosquito larvae were found.

Civil Surgeon Gurugram, Dr Virender Yadav said that so far 1,897 samples of dengue have been sent for testing in the district, out of which 83 dengue and two malaria patients have been confirmed.

Yadav informed that more than two lakh people have been tested so far. The team of the health department is also running a campaign for the prevention of mosquito-borne diseases.

“The team is carrying out anti-larva activities under which Temephos medicine is being sprayed at mosquito prone areas. Gambusia fish is very effective in preventing the breeding of mosquitoes, keeping this in mind the health department, in collaboration with the fisheries department, has put seeds of gambusia fish in 173 reservoirs located in the district,” Yadav said.

Health officials said for the prevention of mosquito-borne diseases in the district, area wise fogging is being done through 56 machines. They said for fogging, the helpline numbers of the Municipal Corporation Gurugram (MCG) can be contacted on 18001801817 and 0124-44055779.

Apart from this, free testing and treatment of dengue, malaria and chikungunya are available in Sector-31 Polyclinic and Sector-10 Civil Hospital.

Instructions have been given not to charge more than Rs 600 for NS-1 and LGI test for Chikungunya and Rs 1,000 for test for dengue. Action will be taken against the concerned hospitals for violating this,” said a health official.

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Gambusia fish to check mosquito-borne diseases in UP district

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Amroha (Uttar Pradesh), Oct 6: The Amroha district administration has decided to release 7,000 gambusia or mosquito fish in drains in the populated areas to check the spread of dengue and malaria.

According to Amroha chief medical officer Sanjay Agarwal, mosquito fish, generically known as Gambusia, eat larvae of dengue-breeding mosquitoes.

Health officials claim that these fishes will check the spread of viral fever in the district.

According to health department statistics, over 300 patients have been diagnosed with viral fever, 17 with malaria and 32 with dengue in the past one and half month.

The district administration is also carrying out a door-to-door survey to ask the people to drain out stagnant water from coolers, pots and other utensils.

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