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Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

Cancer takes such a tremendous toll on the victims as well as loved ones. Billions of dollars are spent each year on research and medications in the battle against head and neck cancer. There are more than 600,000 new head and neck cancer diagnoses every ear. What if there was a simple remedy to ward off the development of this terrible disease?

Aspirin + Cancer Connection

Recent research has shown that non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can lower the risk of cancer. The researchers believe this is mainly achieved by reducing chronic inflammation, a driving force behind the development of many types of cancer.

Common NSAID’s include Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and Naproxen (Aleve). The research detailed the mechanism of NSAID’s. NSAID’s have been shown to inhibit  production of the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme. By disrupting this pathway, the growth of abnormal cells is slowed and promotes apoptosis (normal programmed cell death). This disruption can help stop the development of cancer. Further studies also show that NSAID’s can also decrease the proliferation of cells and slow the growth of blood vessels that supply blood to tumors. This means, that while taking these drugs, we decrease growth of cancer cells, and cause cells to die when they should. Cells should only live and reproduce for a set amount of time so that they don’t become abnormal. Taking these drugs also decreases the blood supply that cancer cells need to grow and reproduce.

The specific study examined over 120,000 cancer patients, including 316 with head and neck cancer. About 49% reported regular use of aspirin and about 29% used ibuprofen.

Regular aspirin use showed a 22% decrease in head and neck cancer, and seems to be extremely effective in preventing laryngeal cancer. Oddly, there was greater reduction in head and neck cancer risk with weekly and monthly aspirin use than daily use. There was no association found between the use of ibuprofen and head and neck cancer.

Earlier studies have also shown aspirin to give protection in the case of Barrett’s esophagus. This condition is precancerous and often leads to esophageal cancer. About 10,000 Americans are diagnosed with Barrett’s related esophageal cancer each year. This is the fastest rising type of cancer in the U.S. More than 80% of patients with invasive esophageal adenocarcinoma die within five years of diagnosis.

While more research is needed the positive link is there although people should not be fooled into thinking that taking aspirin counteracts the dangers of mouth cancer. The risk factors are still in play in terms of drinking, smoking, and exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV). The aspirin will not counteract the risk factors.

Conclusion

While the jury is still out on the aspirin-cancer protection link and more research is needed, early reports are quite promising. It is amazing that aspirin still presents so many positive effects on us nearly 120 years since its discovery. The significance of these findings is, that many lives can be saved due to aspirin. Bottom line is, aspirin use is associated with a reduced risk of head and neck cancer. This effect is more pronounced in individuals with low  exposure to known cancer risk factors. Moderation in all things in life is the key to staying healthy for a long time.

A toothbrush is our tool to keep our teeth clean and our breath fresh but, did you know, they can harbor bacteria that grow and diversify over time? The main recommendation has always been to change to a new toothbrush every six months mainly because the toothbrush bristles eventually lose their ability to clean your teeth gently and effectively. New research says that your handy toothbrush may be a haven for bacteria and other microorganisms. Not only do they harbor the bacteria but they can also transfer them to your loved ones with each use.

Tips To Keep ToothBrush As Clean As Possible

-Leave Brush Out In Open – This allows your toothbrush to air dry. Bacteria generally thrive and flourish in cool, humid, and dark places. This describes most bathrooms. Studies have shown that toothbrushes kept in a humid, dark environment retained almost 50% of the Herpes Simplex Virus (type 1) for almost a week. Further studies have shown that placing a toothbrush too close to the toilet bowl can introduce new types of bacteria every time you flush. Water particles are launched up to a 6 foot radius surrounding the toilet possibly contaminating your toothbrush and other bathroom items in the process.

Helpful Tip: Do not keep toothbrushes stored away inside your dark medicine cabinet. Consider leaving your toothbrush in a place with dry, well lit area like a nightstand.

-Change Brush Earlier If Possible – Replacing your brush more frequently to ward off progressive bacteria growths. The American Dental Association now recommends changing out your toothbrush every 2-3 months. A good tip might be to buy 12 new toothbrushes at the start of the year and replace the old one at the start of every new month. This makes it easy to remember and keeps your toothbrushes from becoming biology experiments.

Helpful Tip: Select toothbrushes with translucent bristles. Research has shown that these brush heads contain 50% less bacteria than the colored ones. It might be also helpful to use an anti bacterial mouth rinse to protect your mouth and also to rinse your toothbrush in after brushing to keep the numbers of bacteria down to a minimum.

-Nuke Your ToothBrush? – Some studies have advocated microwaving your manual toothbrushes (do not try this with an electric toothbrush!). This technique may eliminate several forms of bacteria and viruses that can form on tooth brush heads. This is an out of the box tip and has not been endorsed by anyone. People have been microwaving pacifiers for years to sterilize them. Just be careful not to ruin the integrity of the toothbrush in the process.

Helpful Tip: Never microwave a toothbrush with metal parts!

-UV (Ultraviolet Light) Sanitizers- There are many highly effective sanitizers which utilize UV light to kill  up to 99 % of toothbrush germs. This is especially helpful when a family member is sick and there is a stronger need to protect from cross contamination onto other toothbrushes.

Conclusion

Toothbrush maintenance and cleanliness is an often overlooked part of our oral hygiene regimen. We must remember how much bacteria we carry in our mouths on a daily basis. We certainly do not want to introduce any new germs to the mix that might be growing on our toothbrushes. Change a few habits and add some simple steps to help you and your family stay happy and healthy for many years to come.