Dentist says salami and butter are key for good teeth


No matter how thoroughly you clean your teeth, you are probably still exposing yourself to tooth decay, according to one dentist speaking out about oral care.

Dr Steven Lin from Australia claims that meticulously brushing and flossing the way your childhood dentist taught you to is not enough to prevent cavities and harmful levels of tooth enamel.

The answer? Your diet, according to Dr Lin. He claims that maintaining good eating habits is the only way to stave off weak, unhealthy teeth.

Dr Lin says that incorporating four crucial vitamins into your diet will do worlds of good for your oral health, and he cautions the hygiene habits you have learned to develop since birth are not sufficient when it comes to caring for your teeth.

Dr Lin is the author of The Dental Diet, which is expected in 2018, and he also blogs about common misconceptions concerning oral health.

‘I’m about to say something that might surprise you. Your toothpaste isn’t that important. In fact, compared to proper dental nutrition, even brushing and flossing aren’t as important,’ Dr Lin says.

He writes that this explains why some people still experience tooth decay even if they follow their dentist’s recommendations.

‘Then there’s people who brush and floss religiously who are confused as to how they keep getting cavities no matter how many toothpaste brands and techniques they try.’

The problem comes down to the nutrients these people are consuming, he says.

Dr Lin boils it down to four vitamins that he claims will save your teeth – A, K2, D and E – and he warns that most people are not getting enough of them by following modern diets.


Without enough vitamin A, your mouth will not produce enough saliva that gets rid of harmful bacteria, Dr Lin says.

He explains: ‘When you aren’t getting enough vitamin A, your saliva glands can’t do their job and it can contribute to pits on the surface of your enamel.’

Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, teeth chief among them. But that is not where vitamin D’s benefits stop, he says.

‘There’s actually a little immune system within your teeth, called your odontoblasts, which needs vitamin D to be activated. Your ordontoblasts are the cells of your teeth that produce dentin and are vital to tooth regeneration,’ he explains.

Dr Lin says that without vitamin K2, taking calcium supplements is useless. ‘Vitamin K2 is like the traffic cop for your calcium, telling it where and when to go,’ he says.

When people with K2 deficiencies take calcium, it goes to their kidneys and arteries instead of their teeth.

Lastly, vitamin E, an antioxidant, makes sure the levels of bacteria in your mouth are under control.

The supplement regulates the microbiome in your mouth, which houses viruses, fungi and bacteria.

Dr Lin says that without these four supplements, your teeth are not being cared for properly.

He writes: ‘I can’t emphasize this enough, you must get the right nutrients, vitamins and minerals so your teeth can continue to regenerate throughout your life.

‘Many mistakenly believe that they can prevent cavities and periodontal disease simply with good brushing habits and the right toothpaste – but this isn’t the most important factor.’ read more





How to care for your pets during the fall season


Each season has its own pet care concerns and autumn is no exception. If you and your dog have been relatively inactive during the summer get out and enjoy the beautiful autumn days. Your dog may have gotten rusty during the summer, so you might want to ease into it. Take a walk, go for a run, toss a ball or visit the dog park. Stop before your dog gets too tired. You can do more the next day.

There are some good seasonal foods available now. Canned pumpkin, which is popular this time of year, is good for your dog. The soluble fiber in the pumpkin helps with digestive issues. The anti-oxidents and fatty acids in the seeds help to give him healthy skin and fur and good urinary health. The beta-carotene could reduce the possibility of your pet developing cancer. Try mixing one to two teaspoons of canned pumpkin in your dog’s food or make him some pumpkin biscuits. Most dogs love pumpkin. Apples, however, are not so good for pets. The flesh of ripe apples isn’t a problem for cats or dogs, but apple stems, leaves and seeds and cause problems. Slices of peeled apples can be an acceptable treat for dogs, but cats aren’t likely to enjoy them.

Your cat or dog can be susceptible to allergens this time of year. If he is scratching more than usual, check with your vet who can run tests to determine what your pet is allergic to. There are things that can be done to make him more comfortable. It helps to keep your leaves raked and the grass mowed.

Shedding picks up in the fall when pets shed their hair to make room for their winter coat. You don’t have to live with hair everywhere. Brush your dog or cat daily, if you can, or at least weekly. You can get much of the hair before it falls on your furniture, carpets or good black sweater. When you brush your pet you not only remove the loose hair, you also stimulate his skin and enhance the natural shine of his coat. Many dogs and cats love to be brushed. For long-haired animals, try using a shedding tool to remove excess fur from the surface of the coat. For a short-haired pet, a rubber curry comb is good.

Ticks and fleas are still with us. Check your pet when he comes in from the outside. Don’t stop using your flea and tick preventive.

If you want to dress your dog up for Halloween and take him trick-or-treating with you, consider these safety tips. If he truly hates to be dressed up and going out, don’t do it. None of you will have a good time. If he does like it, keep him close to you and be sure that he has something reflective on his costume. Chocolate can be harmful to him so keep it out of his reach. If you put up Halloween decorations, keep the electrical cords and lighted candles out of the reach of your cat or dog.

Now, that school has started, school supplies may be lying around. Pencils, permanent markers, school glue, paper clips, rubber bands and crayons can be a hazard to a pet if they are swallowed. Keep school supplies covered up and out of your pet’s reach. This also applies to the supplies needed for fall home improvements. These accidents are easily preventable, but repairing the damage isn’t.

Enjoy the autumn, but keep everyone safe. read more

Do You Care If Your Fish Dinner Was Raised Humanely?


At some point or another, we’ve all cringed at the videos: lame cows struggling to stand; egg-laying hens squeezed into small, stacked cages; hogs confined to gestation crates, unable to walk or turn.

Over the past decade, animal advocates have made great strides informing us of some of the problems with how many of our favorite proteins are raised. They’ve also made progress bringing change to the industry by pressuring large-scale retailers — from Target to McDonald’s — to commit to sourcing livestock raised with higher welfare standards. But one important protein source has been missing almost entirely from the conversation: seafood.

Mercy for Animals, a U.S.-based animal welfare group, says that’s about to change. The group says it is beginning to lay the groundwork for a campaign that will target the aquaculture industry and shine a light on the conditions in which finfish like salmon, tilapia, catfish, trout, pangasius and other species are raised.

“More and more fish are being farmed in intense factory farms,” says Nick Cooney, executive vice president at Mercy for Animals. “At the same time, there’s an increasing amount of research discovering just how intelligent and social fish are as individuals.”

Do consumers care? Mercy for Animals’ own in-house studies suggest yes — and offer a roadmap of the objections the group is likely to raise with the aquaculture industry. Concerns like too many fish routinely crammed into pens and tanks, fish being raised in dirty water, high disease and mortality rates.

The group, a vegan organization, also cites slaughter methods it finds most inhumane — like letting fish suffocate in open air, chilling them while still alive, or cutting their gills without stunning. And then there’s the parasites known as sea lice, which feed on farmed salmon, costing the industry nearly $1 billion a year in losses.

“For individual consumers, our goal is simply to educate them on the way these animals are being treated,” says Cooney. “Our research studies have found that when people learn about these things — that half the fish being used in the food industry are coming from factory farms, or are confined in tanks with dirty water; that sea lice eats away the flesh and faces of fish — that educating them leads to more compassionate choices. And for large companies, our hope in the coming years is that if we show them their customers care, they’ll eliminate the worst practices in their supply chains.”

Mercy for Animals may have one important thing going for it — timing.

Humane treatment of fish is a topic that’s starting to bubble up elsewhere. Seafood industry gatherings like the Seafood Summit and the American Fisheries Society meetings are now including sessions focused on welfare issues for farm-raised fish. Supermarkets like Whole Foods are addressing the issue by including language in their seafood standards requiring producers to minimize stress, and have gone so far as to stop carrying live lobster in their stores. And in Seattle, a pair of commercial fishermen recently launched a new fishing vessel that they claim is designed to humanely harvest the wild Pacific cod they catch.

But will eaters care what fish feel?

Industry representatives say they paid close attention when animal advocacy groups went after the egg-laying hen and hog industries, but say they aren’t convinced eaters will prioritize humane treatment for fish in the same way.

“I’m not sure fish will capture the conscience of the public in the same way warm-blooded, furry animals have. People in this country don’t see fish as sentient animals, with a conscience requiring the same welfare standards they’d give to a brown-eyed calf,” says Craig Watson, who chairs the aquatic animal welfare committee for the National Aquaculture Association (NAA), a U.S.-based group of seafood growers.

But it’s a topic many in aquaculture are thinking more about, including veterinarian Stephen Frattini, president of the Center for Aquatic Animal Research and Management, who has spoken about fish welfare at industry conferences.

“As humans, we’ve utilized terrestrial animals as food, but also to pull carts and plow fields. And along the way, a moral contract evolved that acknowledged we should provide for them in a way beyond not being cruel to them,” Frattini says. “But with fish, we’re not there yet. We [as eaters] have yet to really struggle with that.”

Indeed, defining what constitutes humane treatment of fish may be a tricky proposition of its own.

For one thing, the debate over whether fish are sentient and feel pain is far from settled. read more

I’m all ears when you talk to me!


When talking to your dog, it’s not just what you say but how you say it. Using praising words in an upbeat, positive tone of voice, activates your furry friend’s pleasure center. What a great thing to do for your best friend!


Do you talk to your dog? I have always heard that the average dog recognizes about 150 words, although “experts” say that a dog really does not respond to the words but rather to its owner’s voice, the way it is said (with excitement, or caution) and perhaps also to the human’s body language.

A friend recently said he talks to his dog every day. When he gets home, he knows she is looking forward to some attention; but he tells her to wait because he has to set down the items he is carrying. And she does – wait, I mean. When he has put his things away he looks at her and says okay, and she knows that’s the time to come over to greet him and get loved and petted. He is convinced that his dog understands what he says.

Turns out my friend may be right. In Hungary a dozen dogs were trained to lie calmly in an MRI scanner while researchers spoke to them and monitored the effects on their brain. They discovered that a dog’s brain operates very much like a human brain, in that the left hemisphere processes the meaning of a word and the right hemisphere analyzes the intonation, or how the word is spoken.

When the dogs heard words that were familiar to them, the brain’s left side was active. When praising words were spoken in an approving tone, the animals’ reward center in the right side lit up. But when they tried saying neutral words in an approving tone or positive words in a monotone, they didn’t get the same reaction. The dogs recognized when they heard familiar positive words in the right tone of voice.

The results of this non-invasive experiment seem to support what dog owners know from personal experience. Your canine friend understands much of what you say. Maybe that’s why they make such good listeners and great companions. read more

Older Americans & Use of Dietary Supplements


Study finds twenty-nine percent of older Americans use four or more supplements each day.

A new study reveals high use of dietary supplements by Americans 60 and older. In addition to their prescription medications, many older people are taking multiple preparations that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The study, published in the October issue of the Journal of Nutrition, is based on data gathered by the government’s National Center for Health Statistics. It found that on a daily basis, 70 percent of older Americans use at least one supplement — preparations that include vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, enzymes and other substances. Twenty-nine percent of older Americans use four or more supplements.

Multivitamins and mineral supplements (39 percent) are the most commonly taken preparations, followed by vitamin D (26 percent), omega-3 (22 percent), B and B-complex vitamins (16 percent), calcium-vitamin D combinations (13 percent), vitamin C (11 percent) and calcium-only supplements (9 percent). Nine percent also use various herbal or plant-based supplements.

The researchers found that supplement use tended to increase with age, and that people who took prescription medications were more likely to use supplements as well. Eight percent of older adults take three medications daily and at least one botanical supplement.

That’s potentially worrisome, because some supplements can alter the effects of medications. For example, use of the herbal supplement ginkgo biloba with blood pressure medications could cause a person’s blood pressure to drop too much, and can raise the risk of bleeding for users of prescription blood thinners such as warfarin, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

The researchers wrote that health care professionals need to carefully monitor their patients’ supplement use. In a study published in 2010, only a third of patients said their doctors had asked whether they used supplements. read more

Equine Infectious Anemia – is your horse safe ?


Horses are beautiful and strong creatures, but they still depend on their owners to keep them healthy. One disease horse owners should be aware of is Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA), a virus that can destroy red blood cells, causing weakness, anemia, and death.

Michelle Coleman, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained how the disease is spread.

“EIA is an infectious viral disease,” Coleman said. “The most common mode of transmission of EIA is by the transfer of virus-infected blood-feeding insects, such as horse flies. It can also be transmitted through the use of blood-contaminated syringes, surgical equipment, or the transfusion of infected blood or blood products. Although uncommon, transmission can also occur through the placenta in infected mares.”

There is no treatment, or safe and effective vaccine, available for this disease, so horses that are positive for EIA should be isolated from other horses. Most horses infected with EIA also do not show any signs of illness or disease, so it is important to constantly maintain good hygiene and disinfection principles, such as controlling insects in the horse’s environment.

If you plan on traveling with your horse, all horses shipped across state lines must be tested for EIA and have a negative result within 12 months of transport. Furthermore, all horses sold, traded, donated, or entering a sale or auction must test negative for the disease. Fortunately, regulatory control of EIA has made this disease relatively uncommon in the United States. read more

Livestock farmers & agric shows


WE are getting to the crop farming season and warning shots of an early season have already been sounded.

Districts and provincial agricultural shows have been held throughout the country.

My question is how can we make these agricultural shows stimulate competitive spirit and in turn promote good agricultural practices among farmers?

It is my contention that a lot still needs to be done so that agricultural shows are not merely calendar activities.

What you see is that year after year you almost have the same faces participating in these shows with very little new entries and this could be a sign that there are very few farmers who are going into their fields with a conscious mind of wanting to enter into an agricultural competition.

The situation is even more pronounced in the livestock sector where you could find one or two farmers participating and proudly walking away with position one and two and the prizes that go with it.

My feeling is that if these agricultural shows, say at district level, are well patronised and competition parameters communicated in advance, it could stimulate the number of participants for provincial shows or such shows as the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.

I am aware that it takes resources to organise and hold such events and hence the need for organisers to approach the local business community and value chain players to sponsor some of the activities.

A local butcheries association can sponsor a prize for the best steer on the show for example and the extension workers can then define parameters that they will use for judging the best steer and send word out to farmers to compete based on the set criterion.

Local veterinary drug suppliers could sponsor a prize on animal health section, working with the department of veterinary services; the Zimbabwe Republic Police could sponsor a section on branding and anti-stock theft and so forth.

The point I am trying to make is that there are many sections within the livestock value chain which can be developed and sponsorship sought from relevant players.

There are many players within the livestock value chain who want to promote their brands for example, individual abattoir operators, abattoir associations, farmers associations, insurance companies in the livestock sector, stock feed manufacturers, beef wholesalers, auctioneers among others.

There is so much scope that can be explored for the benefit of the livestock sector but there has to be active mobilisation to ensure the critical mass is attained in terms of numbers of livestock farmers exhibiting in these shows.

In some communities we have livestock development committees and associations but an agricultural show comes and passes without anyone of them competing in such exhibitions.

If these structures could be activated to mobilise participants and ensure the critical masses of farmers is enrolled for the competition it could see the agricultural shows at district level become vibrant and inevitably this translates to bigger shows even at the ZITF.

I long to see livestock smallholder farmers participating in these shows such as the ZITF so that it is not only the familiar big boys and research stations taking part.

How does an agricultural show such as the one that is held concurrently with ZITF come and go with no livestock farmers from Bulilima, Nkayi, Lupane and all other districts, yet there are very successful farmers in all those districts?

Smallholder farmers hold the largest chunk of our national herd in terms of the livestock population and it’s a misnomer that an agricultural show comes and goes without their participation. read more