Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kick-Ass dentist trip

Just saw today that Kick-Ass, the comic, is available for purchase digitally now via the iPad app "Comics" (I dislike too generic product names, creates confusion.) So I bought the whole set just in time to have something to read on a dentist trip. And to show off the pad to my nice dentist and the hygienist, that was fun too.
And they all commented on how I'm loosing weight, and then it turns out my teeth are perfect, in fact for the first time ever I had a 0.0% index on the bleeding test where they poke your gums to see how many are infected and bleed. Anything under 10% is OK, but mine has been getting better and better over the past few years.
Kick-Ass seems good so far, though not a lot happens per issue. But I guess that's endemic of the times and Image Comics.


Ray said...

".....and then it turns out my teeth are perfect,...."

....but the gums have to come out!


TC [Girl] said...
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Pascal [P-04referent] said...

So, your gums kick ass, eh? Good for you.

I'd say your dental health BITES. Literally. Which is a good thing. :-)

BTW, congrats on your steady weight loss. Good for the health.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

I have my doubts about the usefulness of brushing the tongue. It's already in full contact with the toothpaste and moving around anyway, so... how much residue can stick THERE after you rinse? Just wiggle it around a bit when you brush the teeth.

Do you NEED to brush your hands when you wash them with soap?
Only if you're a surgeon and at your work.

Methinks oral hygiene had become a bit fancy in the recommendations. In my youth, we were told [by the professionals] to brush once a day, and by just doing so, I never had the slightest hint of problem since.

Unlike my bromhidrosis problem.
Just kidding. :-D
I always wear cotton socks, anyway.

pomfretcake said...

Good to know that liquorice soap is recommended for treatment of bromhidrosis.

TC [Girl] said...
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TC [Girl] said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DW said...

Ok...inquiring minds want to know.
Are you doing anything out of the ordinary to get those results? I have great teeth, but would like to help my gums.

Ganesha Games said...

After brushing my teeth, I scrape my tongue with a teaspoon, twice per day. You get better breath. Try it and you'll be surprosed at he amount of "yellow goo" this can pick up.

I was taught to do so in yoga class, it's part of morning purifications and it is recommemded in tantric circles because, hmm, a clean smelling mouth is one of your duties to your partner (it also includes not smoking and, in my own version, not eating some smelly food like soft cheese and garlic).

dave nielsen said...

I've read the first issue. I like the writing but it's too bad it's drawn by Romita Jr., whose style I do not like. My favorite currently is Bryan Hitch, who sadly does not seem to have much of a work ethic (certainly not to the old school guys like Jack Kirby). Still it's pretty good. I will probably wait to see the movie, as I don't enjoy going to the movies. (That's why they invented bigass TVs with surround sound and shit like that.) There was something in the paper the other day saying that some people are complaining about Chloe Moretz's language in the movie. That's how kids talk when their parents aren't around.

dave nielsen said...

Try it and you'll be surprosed at he amount of "yellow goo" this can pick up.

I don't know what weird shit you're into, but there is no yellow goo on my tongue.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

You know... I'm really going to try and make this reasonably summarized (meaning: no more than 5 maximum-sized parts), but... am I kidding anyone here? :-)
Those without the patience for a classic P-4-ing can leave right now. The others, the MASTER DEBATERS, start your warm-up stretches.

So... Cleanliness, hygiene, norms... Honestly, it's one part scientific, and one BIG part cultural.
In India, if a Brahman is brushed by the mere shadow of an Untouchable, (s)he has to rush home for a lengthy purification ritual. Involving among other things a potion of bull hair, cow milk and calf dung, if I recall the ingredients correctly. A high soul's maintained cleanliness is at that price, Sahib!

You think people, before having abundant running water in cities, took a leisurely shower every day? It's a luxury, folks. Not, by far, a vital necessity to stay healthy. If you enjoy it and are a little careful not to waste natural resources (water shortage keeps looming more and more, and POTABLE water is truly a luxury, my fellow deKadent Kapitalists), then do not feel criticized, and keep doing so. But don't start thinking that people who wash less often are "dirty". Only SUBJECTIVELY. Scientifically, they are not. It all, always, depends on your lifestyle, and on WHAT exactly you define as "dirty".
Babies DO need their daily bath simply because they crawl on the floor and smear their behinds when they go ca-ca.

Cats who don't rummage in garbage bins are practically odorless, or even "smell clean". Veterinarians (from the West) recommend to give them no more than two baths A YEAR... and that's a maximum. More often is, simply, bad for the health of their skin. No bull, Sahib! My cat spends half his time outside, in the wild forest, Allah knows where. And is nicely self-cleaning. :-) I only ever wash him in rare instances of necessity:
- If he's a little dirty under the tail. It happens to the most careful animal. What I do, is wash just his behind. Not a full bath.
- If he's been under cars, and has motor oil or the likes on his fur. Wouldn't want him to lick it off, that stuff isn't healthy to swallow.
- In exceptional instances, like if he falls into a mud puddle, something "too much is too much".
My cat is practically NEVER sick. And doesn't smell. This concurs with cold, rational scientifically established facts.
Dogs ARE smelly, but it's their nature. Give a dog a thorough bath with unscented soap, and it'll always have a "dog smell", especially when wet. It's the biological nature of canines to have a smell. We humans don't enjoy it (even dog lovers), but it's more than just "normal" to them and in their perspective: it's "essential". Literally. Essence: one's nature, and what creates the smell. Dogs are social animals, like wolves, they NEED to know each other's smell.
A clean unshaven human armpit also retains a slight smell, right out of the shower. Fact. The scent of our natural adult pheromones, never COMPLETELY unnoticeable. Again, literally our essence.

So, first unsettling fact for "civilized" humans: smelly is not the same as dirty.
But what IS dirty? Well, it's all highly relative.
Most rarely does the body's hygienic state, if kept at a reasonable level, cause sickness. And same for the mouth, if you're wondering about relevance to the topic at hand. One usually gets sick from either an infected wound, or contact with special aggressive germs and those already sick from them. Same in the mouth. Tooth decay is simply caused by GREAT EXCESS of certain bacterias. Which proliferate on food residues and dental plaque (which derives from the former and bacteria). Make sure you don't leave food residues on your teeth and gums, and that's all you need to stay HEALTHY. In fact "squeaky clean" was also medically proven to be unadvisable in most instances.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

I've been an assistant in dozens of surgical operations. By the nature of surgery, which cuts open the normal structure of the body, it is essential to not let germs enter unadapted places through what is technically none other than a wound. A scientifically-designed one. So, sterility is paramount. It starts with hand washing. All the way to over the elbow, past the forearms. Hands raised so as the rinsing water does not dribble back. All that area is scrubbed and brushed thoroughly with a sterilizing soap that removes 99.99% of all germs and spores. (100% only exists in life-incompatible conditions such as a flame.) Brushing is careful, under the nails -trimmed short-, etc... you get the picture. The tap is usually activated by a foot pedal. What is the immediate next step? Wear sterilized clothes and latex gloves. Promptly. Because, inside your skin's sweat glands, your normal epidermic bacteria remain, completely out of reach, inside these long tiny ducts. After 5 minutes [at normal O.R. temperature], because of normal skin perspiration, your hands are sterile no more. The appendix in the gut seems to serve a similar function. After a diarrhea that washes away aggressive germs which were harming the bowel, your normal flora, remaining in that discreet cul-de-sac, recolonizes the whole place. Fortunately. That natural flora, everywhere in the body where there is contact/communication with the "outside" milieu, is a vital component of the immunity. A normal body hosts an average of 10 bacterias for each cell... and all of it on surfaces, not diluted in the mass. That is the definition of NORMAL. *And* of healthy. These bacterias are symbiotic. As their hosts we provide them with advantages, they return the favor, everybody wins. Without them, in the last portion of the small intestine, we wouldn't receive vitamin K. Their mere presence, understandably chauvinistic, is a fearsome obstacle for the arrival of any new strand. And, therefore, of infectious new germs.
You see where this is leading? If you don't have a wound to clean, too much efficient washing helps you fall sick.
In daily normal life, I wash my hands ordinarily. When I sense the need, after giving it thought. If you work in the garden all day, hands cluttered with dirt, but without any wound drawing blood, you only need to wash them once you're finished and before you eat. Same if you fix your greasy car engine.

PROLIFERATION of bacterias, namely in the mouth streptococcus viridans (if my memory's right) generates acidity that corrodes the enamel, the hardest substance in the whole body (way harder than even bone), which is only vulnerable to shocks, rapid temperature changes (like glass), and chemical attacks. Bacterias processing sugar on your teeth generate lactic acid. Sterilizing your mouth is a bad idea. Just make sure your natural flora doesn't witness imbalances, brought about by food residues and excess of sweets. Rinse after candy, kids.
Chewing gum (sugar-free or not) is very healthy because not only does it exercise your mastication muscles and stimulate your teeth roots, it also gets the saliva flowing. Saliva is highly concentrated in IgA antobodies that stabilize and control the symbiotic flora. Natural, ideally-designed mouthwash right there!
At the base of the tongue, is an anatomical crease/fold, where saliva and -yes- minute food residues are always present. It's the oral equivalent of the skin's sweat glands and the appendix. It's just not possible to brush or even rinse there. Sometimes you get a slightly bigger food bit stuck there, perceptible, very annoying, very hard to dislodge.

"Perfect" cleaning is a myth.

It is also a danger. I've seen many patients with obsessive-compulsive germaphobic disorder, who wash their hands repeatedly, all day long. In a nutshell, they have the most damaged hands and skin you'll see outside a crocodile farm! Too much washing DAMAGES the skin. They can end up with bleeding holes!

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

Now, about scrubbing. The epiderm, the skin's outside layer, is made out of keratinized cells. At the bottom layer, live cells that grow and multiply "and populate the body all over, amen". These cells, further upwards, gradually turn into a sturdy layer of dead cells, keratin, which is our skin. That's what leather shoes are made of. In the highest layers, the excess of this keratin falls off. Becoming filth in people who never change clothes and whose rigid pants "could stand on their own". It's a substance flow. Needs sensible maintenance. You can never scrub your skin "perfectly", because if you did so, you'd expose then damage your living cells and cause the equivalent of a burn! Some Westerners have told me that "if we don't scrub our whole body thoroughly once a week, added to the daily bath, it thickens something awful". Well, OF COURSE it does! It ADAPTS. The more you scrub, the more your skin starts growing fast, and the more you'll NEED to scrub. Scrubbing is light irritation, and irritated skin grows scabs. Insistent hygiene *creates* its own need. This, and a likely flora imbalance harming the mucosas, is what I believe is happening with GG, by scraping his tongue too much. Induced thickening, people.
(BTW, garlic gives an unpleasant breath smell, but is a highly healthy and recommended food, has nothing but benefits. Anti-aging, anti-cacerous, antiseptic, et caetera, et caetera. Oh, and anti-vampiric, some day I'll scientifically explain to you why.) It's just like scrubbing the skin: you create a need that ends up self-maintaining. "Your evidence is unwittingly planted, officer."
OF COURSE if you scrape your skin, tongue, cheek... you'll collect some desquamation. Intentionally doing so constantly is, I assure you, a bona fide obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The tongue is a soft, supple, rounded, smooth mobile organ that's constantly wet by its own surface saliva secretion (plus that from the big glands). A simple rinsing will eliminate anything except for very sticky liquids. When I put methylene blue on it to treat a little wound, I need to stick it out until the stuff dries, otherwise 90% of it rinses off immediately with the saliva, causing an big drop in efficiency. Brushing the tongue is overkill. After a normal tooth brushing, my tongue is impeccable and as fresh-smelling as the rest of my mouth. Because I haven't gotten it used to thickening faster in response to constant scraping.

Now, and I think this will conclude this highly important information session about hygiene: a word about "dirt" itself. And here I mean the material that composes the planet's soil in non-urbanized, unpolluted areas, such as a forest in Oregon. (My Mom loves immense wild Oregon from Westerns such as Last of the Dogmen. :-)
It is a natural, balanced environment. Nature there regulates itself. The soil dust is filled with natural germs. Most of which will never harm you, unless you give yourself a nasty deep cut risking tetanus or gangrene from a Clostridium. However, they WILL a contrario be beneficial. Regular contact with them is like a constant training for the body's defenses, and stimulates our surface antibodies while reinforcing our indigenous flora. A newborn's gut gets colonized in the first days of life. Once that critical phase is successfully completed, the baby will be WAY better protected. All studies show, with the figures to back it up, that children who live in houses too clean and never play outside are a lot more fragile. Because their immune system is more "naive". Mice with a born immunity deficit were made to INHALE "dirt" fine dust. It actually made them stronger in the face of infections. Otherwise put: "a little dirtiness" naturally vaccinates us.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

Because of my very affectionate cat (fortunately living in the wild, not in a city), I regularly inhale by contact that fine dust unwittingly. And, when everybody at home is sick, I am ALWAYS the one least sick, if at all. I often only get a runty sickness before getting all better, while the others, young and old, often end up needing antibiotics. In the past twelve months, I've taken antibiotics ONCE.

As for breath smell, TC... how come one still gets "morning breath" anyway?
I've noticed this: if I brush my teeth several hours before going to sleep (I don't eat that much), I wake up with far less "morning breath" and foul taste than if I do just before bedtime. Why is that? Because my buccal flora had time to rebalance itself. Otherwise, and with the greatly decreased saliva production during sleep, the constant recolonization occurs in an imbalanced way, causing a fermentation in the upper layers of your oral mucosa: palate, tongue, cheeks... The first step to fix this annoyance IS NOT to brush again when you rise (have you eaten anything inbetween? nope! Nothing to clean), but simply to rinse with water, and eventually a mint-scented mouthwash. That smell, in a mouth devoid of food residues, is just that: A SMELL. A few volatile chemical components.

Food residues only actually stick to our teeth because they're hard, intrinsically dry, rigid structures with lots of nooks and crannies. Yes, they DO need to be brushed, and flossed inbetween (the most annoying of all nooks and crannies, there, BETWEEN teeth), but only to remove food residues. Not to *sterilize* a part of your body.

I know someone who, because of some traditional health advice, did that experience: chew and swallow some raw garlic. No amount of brushing and gargling and flossing could remove that garlic breath afterwards. Because it's an unpleasant smell ("unpleasant" is a highly cultural concept related to our human education), but IT. IS. NOT. DIRT.
Take your precautions on a romantic evening, yes, surely. Seduction too is a highly cultural matter. But dont mistake your likes, habits and reflexes with what is natural, healthy, or objectively clean. Avoid personal bias and cultural prejudice. I know it's hard. All I ask is that you objectively ask yourselves what is rational, and what is subjective, in the norms and habits and sometimes MYTHS you hold so dear.
Low temperatures do not cause colds or the flu. Contagious viruses, concentrated in the air in winter by our staying cooped up indoors, and maybe, MAYBE a weakening of the body's defenses because of the cold, are the real causes.

Most of the smell at our crotch and armpits comes from our sexual pheromones. We've gotten used to considering them unpleasant. Because of social norms and habits, the same ones that tell us that "sleeping is for lazy no-goodniks". (See my upcoming blog post for more on sleep.) The truth is, only THEIR EXCESS is unpleasant. Even to Westerners, at the unconscious level, in small doses, these stimulate a reaction of sexual attraction. Fact. So wash, but don't try to sterilize yourselves in these areas, it's useless.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

One final advice: avoid all anti-perspirants, unless you've really got an over-abundance problem. The skin NEEDS to perspire, or it will be damaged. Get itchy, or desquamate intensely, both indicating biological irritation. I once tried a deodorant with anti-perspirant agents. Never again. Standard deo is more than enough. And even then, I know my deodorant use is a cultural thing. Nobody's perfect. :-) I also put cologne after I shave, I must confess! See? We all indulge in some cosmetic futility. Hard to shake off, isn't it? ;-)
Wash away excess smells with soap, food residues with toothpaste and a brush, dead skin with a bathing glove... and then accept what your normal, natural, clean body is like. Accept YOURSELVES. Make your peace with what you are: animal bodies with spiritual minds. It will bring you counter-neurotic well-being and harmony.
Don't try to fight nature, you're sure to lose in one way or another. Do not wage a war against your body and biology. Learn to coexist to everyone's reasonable satisfaction.

Me, I've never had any yellow paint on my tongue! :-)
(So Dave is not a phenomenon of Nature in this instance, lol!)

"We're not savages, Mrs TC, Ma'am." ;-)

You know, I've been in internship with Lebanon's three top Infectious Diseases specialists (one at a time, in different hospitals). Internationally respected experts in their field. One of them told/taught me this: "A hospital is a very unique environment. Patients live there, during their stay. We, the Doctors and nurses, don't. We come and leave. In the hospital, we follow the strict rules, wash our hands all the time, mind everything we do or touch... When we leave, we put the white coat in the laundry, take a shower... and then return to the ordinary world. So we DO NOT get colonized by the hospital flora like the patients do."

Don't turn your daily life into a dentist's cabinet or a hospital.
Trust me : it's stressful.
A healthy mind and balanced psyche in a healthy body.
Obsessive-compulsive disorders, germaphobia, cleanliness hysteria... they're all noble-sounding neuroses. Even some Doctors are starting to get [pardon the pun] contaminated.
Everything in moderation. Like, ease up, dudes and dudettes.

Sorry, gotta go now. It's almost time for the final two episodes of Jekyll. With the cat on my lap. :-)
MAN! That Doctor character sure is one disturbed guy.

[Oh, and Josie... don't bother posting spoilers to annoy me. By the time you do, I'll have seen the end. I bet the bad guy wins. That is, Hyde. I *love* that "bad boy"!]

"Okay, people, that's a wrap."

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

[I had lost and forgotten this draft, but some things remain relevant no matter the time.]

I notice that this Wikipedia article cites no sources in the tongue cleaning section... and says little to contradict what I wrote above!
If, and I mean *IF*, you have halitosis problems, then maybe you do need to do something about your tongue. But this remains open for debate and goes a bit too off-topic for my taste (in THIS thread). First step would be, of course, to run a complete medical diagnosis in order to identify the origin. For instance, a diverticulum of the pharynx/oesophagus will give you a real "cadaver breath" from accumulated decaying food debris, but it won't be your tongue's fault.

Still, I DID see a couple of interesting things in this article. For instance, I might give oral irrigators a try as an alternative to flossing. Dental floss can so easily traumatize the gums if you're not careful enough.

Also, that bit about vomiting was very relevant. Gastric content is inded HIGHLY acidic, and therefore repeated vomiting can be fiercely damaging to your enamel. Yet another excellent reason to rinse your mouth immediately if you throw up. If possible, also gulp down a small amount of water, one or two gulps (no more right away if your stomach is presently upset!). That acidity is quite bad on your oesophagus too. It burns!