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drinking sodaTough on teeth

Soda and fruit juices are the biggest culprits when it comes to wear and tear on the teeth, a new study suggests.

Researchers who looked at teeth of more than 3,700 adults found that nearly 80 percent of them had some tooth wear, 10 percent had moderate tooth wear and 5 percent exhibited severe tooth wear. Those with moderate to severe tooth wear consumed the most sugar-based soft drinks and fruit juices, which can contain six teaspoons of sugar or more. Those with the least amount of tooth wear were much more likely to drink milk than soda or fruit juice.

“While fruit juices can be a good way to get people to consume more fruit, the high concentration of sugar and acids means that they do real damage to the teeth if regularly consumed throughout the day,” British Dental Health Foundation CEO Dr. Nigel Carter said. “Water and milk are the best choices by far not only for the good of our oral health but our overall health, too. Remember, it is how often we have sugary foods and drinks that causes the problem, so it is important that we try and reduce the frequency of consumption.”

Carter cautioned also that products labeled as having no added sugar are not necessarily sugar-free.

“These drinks may contain sugars such as those listed as sucrose, maltose, glucose and fructose, or the sugars may be listed as ‘carbohydrates,’” he said.


All in the family

A recent study has shown that kids are significantly more likely to sleepwalk if their parents have a history of walking in their sleep.

In Montreal, Jacques Montplaisir, M.D., and his colleagues studied sleep data on a group about 2,000 children and their parents and found:

• Children of one parent with a history of sleepwalking had three times the odds of becoming sleepwalkers than kids without a parent who had sleepwalked.

• Children whose parents both had a history of sleepwalking had seven times the odds of becoming sleepwalkers.

• Among kids without a parental history of sleepwalking, sleepwalking prevalence was 22.5 percent, compared to 47.4 percent of kids with one sleepwalking parent and 61.5 percent of children with two parents with a sleepwalking history.

“Parents who have been sleepwalkers in the past, particularly in cases where both parents have been sleepwalkers, can expect their children to sleepwalk and thus should prepare adequately,” the study authors concluded.

According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), sleepwalking usually involves more than just walking. Its symptoms range from sitting up in bed to walking around to leaving home and even driving long distances.


Grocery store psychology

It’s no secret that grocery shopping on an empty stomach can lead to more calories in the cart, but new research suggests that what we eat before we shop also can affect supermarket purchases.

Cornell University researchers conducted three studies designed to test their hypothesis that eating a healthy snack prior to grocery shopping would put people in a frame of mind that would lead to healthier food choices.

In one study, 120 shoppers were handed an apple, a cookie or no snack at all before grocery shopping. Shoppers who ate apples bought 28 percent more fruits and vegetables than those who ate cookies and 25 percent more produce items than those who ate nothing.

In another study, participants were given either a cookie or an apple and shown pictures of 20 product pairs containing one healthy and one non-healthy item. Next, they were asked to imagine themselves grocery shopping and to select an item from each product pair. Again, the apple-eaters chose healthier foods than the cookie-eaters.

“What this teaches us is that having a small, healthy snack before shopping can put us in a healthier mindset and steer us towards making better food choices,” researcher Aner Tal said.

For the third study, 59 participants were divided into three groups. One group received chocolate milk labeled as healthy and wholesome; another group was given chocolate milk labeled as rich and indulgent; and the third group received no milk. All participants then were asked to choose items from a virtual grocery store. Those who drank the milk labeled as healthy chose more healthy foods than those in the other groups, indicating that shoppers are influenced not by the actual healthfulness of what they consume but rather by the perceived healthfulness of what they eat or drink.


On the calendar

High school sports physicals are performed from 4-6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26 at the Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital Outpatient Surgery and Endoscopy Center, 100 Entrance Way in St. Peters. Physicals are available for students aged 13-18. The fee is $10, and a parent or guardian must accompany minor children. Registration is required. Call 344-2273.

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