Drilling and filling a cavity is an uncomfortable affair, even when a dentist is gentle. Instead of getting that standard treatment, patients can now have antimicrobial liquid called silver diamine fluoride brushed on cavities. No drilling or injections are necessary during the procedure. After the inexpensive liquid is applied with a tiny brush, the soft, decayed spot of the tooth hardens. Studies have shown a second brushing of SDF six to 18 months after the first arrests cavities. What makes SDF revolutionary is that it will kill cavity-causing bacteria. That said, there are downsides: Insurance may not cover it yet, and it makes areas of decay on teeth turn black.

Marital status may affect stroke survival

Many studies have shown that married people are generally better off financially than those who are single. They also tend to have more social support, and engage in fewer unhealthy behaviors than the unmarried. But even after controlling for these and other factors, researchers found that being married by itself increases the probability of survival after a stroke. The analysis, in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that compared to the continuously married, the never married had a 34 percent higher risk of death. People who had multiple divorces were at a 50 percent higher risk, and those widowed multiple times had a 25 percent higher risk. Being divorced or widowed only once, though, did not increase the risk.

Petroleum jelly may reduce risk of eczema

Applying inexpensive petroleum jelly to a new baby daily for the first six months of life may reduce the risk that the infant will develop eczema, which can be a lifelong torment, according to a new analysis. Two studies done in newborns with relatives suffering from atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, showed that rubbing moisturizer into their skin daily lowered their risk of developing the itchy, dry, scaly patches.

Fish oil found to lower child’s asthma risk

Women who took fish oil during the last three months of pregnancy significantly lowered the risk that their children would develop asthma, a study found. Among children whose mothers took fish-oil capsules, 16.9 percent had asthma by age 3, compared with 23.7 percent whose mothers were given placebos. But researchers are not ready to recommend that pregnant women routinely take fish oil. Although the study found no adverse effects in the mothers or babies, the doses were high, 2.4 grams per day — 15 to 20 times what most Americans consume from foods.

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