Reader’s Choice: Ageing teeth

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THE AGING MOUTH: From toothaches to tooth loss, the ageing mouth can sometimes be alarming — here’s what to expect and how to prevent the worst from happening.

NEXT LEVEL GYM RATS: We’ve all got something we don’t like about our bodies, and often turn to the gym to feel better about ourselves. But once those thoughts turn obsessive, it may be cause for concern in some people.

PICTURE OF THE DAY: We don’t often think about cloning outside of science-fiction, but the technology has been around for a while, made possible through a process called somatic nuclear cell transfer.

THE AGING MOUTH

The Big Idea:
From toothaches to tooth loss, the ageing mouth can sometimes be alarming — here’s what to expect and how to prevent the worst from happening.

An age-old tooth

The idea of growing old can be a little scary — we often relate it to our bodies hurting, our minds slipping, and our souls feeling weary. But beyond the memory of seeing your grandparents’ dentures in a glass on the sink, you might not have put much thought into dental care in older adults and the kind of tooth-related issues that tend to come along with growing older.

How to know if your mouth is getting old

Some common dental issues you might face as you grow older are:

  • Toothaches:
    There are lots of reasons why we get toothaches, but in older adults, some of this can be explained by plain ol’ wear and tear, or a life-long acidic diet that weakens tooth enamel, making them more sensitive and prone to decay.
  • Receding gums:
    While common in older adults, gingival recession has less to do with age, and more to do with the slow rate at which gum disease sets in — so remember to take care of your gums and not just your teeth!
  • Dry mouth: Saliva is really important when it comes to maintaining oral health, but many medications reduce saliva production — which can also be affected by diseases like diabetes or stroke.

It’s time to rethink the inevitable

If you’re wondering why there’s been no mention of tooth loss, that’s because it’s not actually a product of healthy ageing. Adult teeth are not supposed to fall out, period. But a lifetime of poor oral health, especially poor gum health, will inevitably lead to the loss of all your teeth. So get flossing, guys, and don’t forget to visit your dentist every 6 months!

Need some help taking care of your teeth? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Seeing a Dentist in Singapore!

This story was requested by one of our readers — we heard you! If you want to find out more about a particular health and lifestyle topic, drop us a message and let us know. We’ll be waiting!

SNIPPETS

5 Singaporean stories to catch up on

1️⃣  And another one: A new cluster of Covid-19 cases has cropped up in Singapore.

2️⃣  A new type of TBT: On Thursday, two clusters of tuberculosis were identified at Singapore Pools Bedok Betting Centre.

3️⃣  Nightlife hopes dashed: Plans to reopen certain nightlife entertainment venues have been put on hold following the recent spate of Covid-19 cases.

4️⃣  IRL waterbending: Engineers at NUS have discovered how to turn air into water without an external power source.

5️⃣ Shining bright like a diamond: Singapore Airlines has received the highest rating in a global audit of airline health and safety standards during the Covid-19 pandemic.

And 5 facts to spice up your life:

1️⃣ Harsh words: The Switzerland-based Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response has criticized China and WHO for acting too slowly to contain Covid-19 when it was first detected.

2️⃣ Sunny but not-quite-safe: Dubai has opened its borders to tourists even though thousands of Covid-19 cases are detected in the UAE daily.

3️⃣ Are you an Apple user? New research shows that the iPhone 12’s magnetic field can disrupt an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).

4️⃣ Laughing through the pain? Check out these cartoonists who share their personal experiences with mental illness.

5️⃣ Stepping up to the plate: WHO urges governments to play their part in promoting healthy food in public facilities.

NEXT LEVEL GYM RATS

The Big Idea
We’ve all got something we don’t like about our bodies, and often turn to the gym to feel better about ourselves. But once those thoughts turn obsessive, it may be cause for concern in some people.

When you spend too much time in the gym

If you’re into men and you use one or more dating apps, there’s no way you haven’t come across the dating profile of a self-proclaimed gym rat. You know the type — half-naked pics with abs on display, shots from their latest workout, doesn’t seem to do anything besides go to the gym, etcetera. Sometimes this just means they really really love working out (can’t relate, but good for them), but it could also be a sign of something much more sinister.

It’s all in your head

Bigorexia is a subset of a mental health condition known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) where people begin to obsess about not being muscular or lean enough even though that clearly isn’t the case to outsiders. 

Although more commonly found in men, women can be afflicted by it as well. In extreme cases, bigorexia can lead to damaging behaviours such as steroid abuse. Dr Rob Willson, chair of the BDD Foundation in the UK, estimates that 1 in 10 male gym-goers in the UK have BDD.

Being critical of your physical appearance is (unfortunately) part of being human, but BDD is dangerous because having these obsessive thoughts about perceived flaws can be really stressful and upsetting and often interferes with our daily lives.

Be kind to yourself

If you’re struggling with BDD, definitely try and seek help from a medical professional. You can find our Ultimate Guide to Seeing A Psychiatrist in Singapore here!

But if you’re not ready for that just yet, maybe take some small steps towards learning how to be kind to yourself (as cheesy as that sounds) and being more body positive first.

SHOWER THOUGHTS

Weird & Wonderful

  1. Going to get fast food alone feels a lot unhealthier than going to get fast food with your friends.
  2. Most people don’t appreciate the fact that our lips are watertight.
  3. Finding an eggshell in an Egg McMuffin would be both annoying and reassuring.
  4. Tonsil stones are the opposite of breath mints
  5. The only place you can tickle yourself is the top of your mouth with your tongue.
PICTURE OF THE DAY

Image of Staff members of the Russian Military History Society with their sniffer dogs cloned by Sooam Biotech

The Big Idea:
We don’t often think about cloning outside of science-fiction, but the technology has been around for a while, made possible through a process called somatic nuclear cell transfer.

Copycats and copydogs

About a month ago, a kitten was born. Sounds pretty normal, right? Cats are everywhere and kittens are born everyday. Except this was a cloned jungle cat, born from a surrogate mother, through a process known as somatic nuclear cell transfer

Now, this isn’t exactly new technology: Most of us will have heard of Dolly the Sheep, who was cloned in 1996. Since then, the cloning of livestock has become fairly commonplace and pet cloning is also a thing in countries like South Korea and China, and even some US states.

Not just science-fiction anymore

Cloning in the real world is a little different from how it’s usually imagined in science fiction. You don’t just magically get a copy of whatever you want to clone. Instead, somatic nuclear cell transfer involves taking the DNA-containing nucleus from an animal’s skin cells, and putting that into an egg cell that’s had its own nucleus removed. Electricity helps fuse the two together, and the embryo is then developed in a test tube before being implanted into a surrogate mother. Et voila, a clone is born!

Clones are people two

Here’s the deal: people can be cloned. Whether or not they should be, however, is a whole other question. The technology exists, but ethics come into play. And as simple as I made it sound earlier, the actual cloning process is much more complicated and involves many embryos that don’t actually get carried to full term.

In 2005, the United Nations released their Declaration on Human Cloning, a non-binding agreement by the members of the UN to ban “all forms of human cloning contrary to human dignity”. Not exactly the most precise of declarations, but we can be fairly certain that we aren’t going to be properly cloning ourselves anytime soon.

Vanessa

Vanessa is a go-getter and knowledge-seeker with way too many hobbies. On weekends, she can be found enjoying a lie-in and pretending she doesn't have anything else she should be doing.