Move Over Fluoride, A New Option is Here
Plus, babies immunity, constipation problems and RSV shot
🦷 Move Over Fluoride, A New Option is Here
Fluoride may have met its match in another toothpaste compound that is just as effective at preventing tooth decay.
That's what the latest research says about hydroxyapatite, a mineral found naturally in teeth and available on the market as an alternative to fluoride.
A group of 171 patients were part of an 18-month study to see if they could prevent cavities. Half used hydroxyapatite toothpaste, and the other half used fluoridated toothpaste while also brushing with an electric toothbrush every day and visiting the dentist every six months.
At the end of the study, both toothpastes worked just as well, with 89.3% of the hydroxyapatite group and 87.4% of the fluoride group having no new cavities.
In terms of how each compound works, fluoride reacts with the tooth enamel to make it more resistant to acid attacks from bacteria, which can lead to decay.
Hydroxyapatite, on the other hand, helps to rebuild the enamel by depositing minerals onto the surface of teeth.
While both types of toothpaste are effective, hydroxyapatite offers some unique benefits over fluoride. It supports a healthy oral microbiome, fortifies enamel, and has a tooth-whitening effect. It also lacks the potential toxicity associated with fluoride.
For those who prefer toothpaste without fluoride, hydroxyapatite is a good option for cavity prevention, according to these findings.
👶 New Findings About Babies’ Immunity
Researchers at Columbia University conducted two studies to understand why babies get so many common respiratory infections and how their immune system copes with new pathogens, harmful germs like viruses and bacteria.
In the first study, they looked at immune cells called memory T cells, which help the body remember past infections.
These memory T cells accumulate rapidly in the lungs and intestines of children up to the age of 3. As children age, these cells also develop in blood and lymph tissues. This memory of past infections allows older children and adults to respond quickly and effectively when they reencounter the same germ.
But there's a catch. These memory T cells in young children are not fully mature and only provide strong protection around ages 4 to 6. That's why babies and young children are more vulnerable to getting sick from respiratory infections and other diseases compared to adults.
Now, in the second study, published in Nature Immunology, the researchers found something fascinating. They discovered clusters of special immune cells, known as B cells, surrounded by T cells in the lungs of babies.
This structure is called "bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue" (BALT). BALT is formed between 6 and 12 months and disappears after age 3.
BALT allows babies to produce antibodies to fight germs in their lungs even before their memory T cells are fully developed. It's like a backup defense system that helps babies respond to many different respiratory germs early on. This is why babies can often handle new infections better than adults.
However, BALT might also be linked to some children developing allergies and asthma. Sometimes, this defense mechanism can overreact to harmless things and cause problems like allergies to certain foods or substances.
These findings provide valuable insights into how babies' immune systems work and how we can better protect them.
💩 Constipation, “Bad Bacteria,” Linked to Cognitive Decline in Three New Studies
New research presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Amsterdam has shed light on the intriguing connection between people's gut bacteria and their brain health.
Three separate studies, yet to be published, have provided valuable insights into this growing field of investigation.
The first study, led by Chaoran Ma from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, examined the link between chronic constipation and cognitive decline. Analyzing data from 110,000 people over six years, the researchers found that individuals suffering from chronic constipation, defined as having one bowel movement every three or more days, exhibited significantly worse cognition.
In fact, their cognitive abilities appeared equivalent to being three years older than those who experienced regular bowel movements once a day.
Additionally, individuals with chronic constipation had an abundance of bacteria that cause inflammation in their guts, along with a deficiency of bacteria that aid in breaking down dietary fibers.
Though the study establishes a correlation between constipation and cognitive decline, it doesn't prove causation. Nonetheless, researchers speculate that an accumulation of "bad" bacteria in the gut may overcrowd the beneficial protective bacteria, leading to the observed cognitive effects.
Two other studies conducted by researchers at UT Health San Antonio in Texas explored the association between specific gut bacteria and the risk of dementia in cognitively healthy adults. These investigations revealed that certain gut bacteria were linked to an increased risk of dementia, while others appeared to have protective effects.
These studies' findings contribute to the understanding of the gut-brain axis, a complex communication pathway between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain.
Researchers believe a deeper comprehension of the gut-brain axis could offer new avenues for preventing and treating Alzheimer's and other dementias, possibly even before symptoms manifest.
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