Saturday, 30 July 2011

09:28 – The big news this morning is that I’m almost certain not to bear a premature baby, and it’s all because I use Crest Pro Health mouthwash. Granted, the study was a small trial, but still the results are stunning. Among a group of expectant mothers with gum disease who swished their mouths twice a day with water, about 20% delivered prematurely. Among a similar group who swished their mouths twice a day with Crest Pro Health mouthwash, only about 5% delivered prematurely.

The article cautions that using mouthwash is not beneficial for pregnant women who have not been diagnosed with gum disease, at least in terms of reducing premature births, but that’s merely unsupported opinion in the absence of a trial. Using the mouthwash could of course benefit women with undiagnosed gum disease. For that matter, it seems likely but is not certain from this study that the benefit is from the effect of the mouthwash on gum disease, but other factors could be in play. Perhaps fetuses like the taste of the stuff and decide to stick around longer for their twice-daily hit. Or perhaps cetylpyridinium chloride is absorbed by the mother and reduces premature births. The most obvious explanation is usually correct, but many important scientific discoveries have been made by people who looked past the obvious.

Laundry this morning, and the number of old dish towels I have to wash has been declining. We keep a stack of about 50 of them in the hall bathroom, where Colin usually pees when he has an accident. Fortunately, the floor is ceramic tile, so I just sop it up with one of the old towels and then mop the floor with Lysol solution. The towel goes in a field-expedient diaper pail, a flip-top wastebasket that used to be in my lab. Until a few weeks ago, Colin sometimes went through the entire stack of towels in less than a week. Lately he’s down to a dozen or so a week. He usually pees outside now, except when he gets excited, notably when Barbara gets home from work. But he is getting house-trained, albeit gradually. Colin is about five and half months old now. When Malcolm was that age, he had at least as many accidents as Colin is having, so I’m not too concerned.

7 thoughts on “Saturday, 30 July 2011”

  1. Posting here since it seems the “open thread” concept has fallen by the wayside…

    If you have an Android phone be sure to check out SwiftKey X ( – has markedly increased my typing speed.

    From their website: “SwiftKey X offers smart next-word prediction by looking at the context of your sentence. Using TouchType’s Fluency™ 2.0 language inference engine, the app applies natural language processing technology and machine learning to offer unrivalled word prediction and correction.”

  2. The mouthwash news is not so silly at all. One take on the awful rate of prematurity among US Black women is that it is related to an inappropriately high (for North American environments) inflammatory response. Periodontal disease is a well known risk factor for prematurity among Black women: if this stuff can cut that rate down then we should all applaud.

    BTW the standard song is that prenatal care is inadequate in US Black, women but to my knowledge there is no evidence at all that prenatal care does anything for the rates of premature birth, low birth weight, and mortality in this population.

  3. There’s a lot of potential for a Streptococcus mutans vaccine. That would pretty much put most dentists in the country out of work and the few left would have to focus on cosmetic dentistry. Unfortunately, I think they’ve been at it for about 30 years and have nothing yet. Probably because there’s more money in dental treatment than in prevention.

  4. The dentists I know (and I know a surprisingly large number of them, for some reason) primarily do cosmetic dentistry now. Teeth whitening, and botox are the two big earners these days. Preventative dentistry is called brushing your teeth regularly. Do that twice a day with a decent toothpaste with a cleaning visit at least once per year, and you should never need to see your dentist otherwise.

  5. I’ve just been for my twice annual scrape. The technician said my teeth and gums aren’t in terribly good shape and is threatening to put me on four scrape and polish visits per year. She wants me to brush my teeth three times a day, brush my tongue (I kid you not) and use floss and Pixters a lot. Sigh.

  6. You don’t brush your tongue? Echh!

    I’ve been brushing my tongue for decades, long before the dentists said to do so. It only makes sense to. The toothbrush I have even has ridges on the back of the brush to use. I brush at least three times a day, and sometimes more.

Comments are closed.