Today Tuesday June 21, 2011 T 10 Today Tuesday June 21, 2011 T 11 HealtH HealtH Words of Eveline Gan firstname.lastname@example.org any wiser since my wisdom teeth intruded into my oral cavity at 21. Rather, they’ve been a constant source of discomfort, Dr Leong added: “Occasionally, when you lose the lower molar, the upper one shifts down, creating an uneven biting An apple a day wisdom ... really does keep the WHILE various cultures mark the coming stress and swollen gums. surface and more food traps.” known as atrophy. The study, of age differently, there is one universal Like more than 80 per cent of people doctor away, say scientists “The old saying published in indicator of maturity — our wisdom teeth. around the world, I have one particularly WHEN TO GET RID OF IT goes that ‘an apple a the latest issue Wisdom teeth, the molars furthest bothersome lower impacted wisdom While he does not advocate that every RESEARCHERS have discovered that day keeps the doctor of the journal Cell Is it always wise to keep back in the mouth, usually come in any tooth which has failed to fully emerge. wisdom tooth be removed, especially for ursolic acid — a substance found in the away’,” he said. Metabolism, showed your wisdom teeth? time between the ages of 17 to 30 years. Instead of erupting vertically like all those which are deeply buried in the jaw fruit’s peel — has natural body building “Muscle atrophy that ursolic acid reduced Unfortunately for me, I haven’t felt good, obedient teeth ought to, it is tilted bone, Dr Leong said the wisest thing to qualities and could help people keep a causes big problems. It’s muscle wasting in mice. forward at an angle that impacts against do when a wisdom tooth starts causing toned, slender body. also very common — it They believe the my second molar. problems is to get rid of it. It could even help with diabetes. affects most people at substance works by According to Dr Leong Hon Chiew, a Extraction of an impacted wisdom In experiments, they discovered that it some point in their lives, during reprogramming genes that cause dental surgeon who runs his own practice, tooth typically involves a minor surgery. boosts muscle growth by up to 15 per cent illness or ageing. But, there’s no medicine muscle wasting and fat build up. Dr H C Leong Dental Surgeon LLP, it is a Dr Leong described the process — and reduces body fat by more than half. for it. “Interestingly, although ursolic acid common situation and unfortunately, also following an x-ray to determine the It also has health giving properties — “We studied muscle gene activity increased muscle weight in mice, it did not the most problematic. position of the tooth, a cut is made on reducing blood sugar levels, cholesterol in people with atrophy and used that increase total body weight, and further The hard-to-reach space between the the gums. The tooth is trimmed and cut and harmful fatty acids, according to the information to find chemicals that might investigation showed that mice fed ursolic impacted wisdom tooth and the molar into two to four pieces and taken out new study. block atrophy. acid had less body fat than mice that were next to it becomes a “food trap” and separately to prevent damage to the bone Dr Christopher Adams, the study “One of those chemicals was not fed the compound,” he said. a breeding ground for rotting crumbs and surrounding tissues. leader at the University of Iowa, said the especially interesting. It’s called ursolic Now they plan to try it on humans to leftover from lunch. This explains why Risks of the procedure include post- substance could be especially useful in the acid and it’s particularly concentrated in see if it has the same effect. swollen, inflamed gums are so common in surgical bleeding, bruising or damage to the elderly who naturally lose body muscle, apple peels.” THE DAILY TELEGRAPH such cases, said Dr Leong. inferior dental nerve, which is sometimes “When you start getting recurrent located near the roots of a wisdom tooth. gum infections, it is an early warning sign “The earlier you get rid of it, the HEALTH LISTINGS that something wrong is going on around better,” said Dr Leong, although he agreed your wisdom tooth area,” he said. it this advice is often dismissed by patients. The worst case scenario, he warned, He said his patients who remove their is that the wisdom tooth and the molar in impacted wisdom teeth in their teens to front of it (the second molar) early 20s almost never have problems get so decayed, you end up with their adjacent molar. losing two teeth. “More than 50 per cent of The trouble with those in their mid to late 30s will losing your second come in with a lot of pain and molar, he added, is often, it is from their second that you lose 15 per molar,” he said. cent of your biting Wendy Khoo, 39, who finally surface. That means decided to bid her impacted that crispy piece of wisdom tooth farewell last year, fried chicken wondered why she had put up with will be awfully recurrent gum infections for almost harder to a decade. chew on. “I feared the extraction so much that WATcH YOuR STEP PRAcTIcAL MANAGEMENT I put up with on-and-off pain for so long. Organised by Tan Tock Seng Hospital, this OF ATOPIc EczEMA But if you think about it, what’s half includes an exhibition and activity booths Atopic eczema is a common condition an hour of surgery compared to raise awareness of falls prevention in Singapore. Learn what causes and to 10 years of discomfort? among the elderly.There will also be a “Falls worsens this itchy skin condition, and the Without my wisdom tooth, and Vision” talk, exercise demostrations, treatment options available. I feel so much better now,” free eye screening and balance test. she said. Date: June 25 Indeed, those are wise Date: June 25 Time: 2pm to 4pm words I should heed. Time: 10am to 3pm Venue: Singapore General Hospital, Venue: Teck Ghee Community Club, Block 6 Level 1, Postgraduate Medical Multi-purpose Hall (Level 1) Institute, Rooms 3 and 4 Fee/Registration: Free. For more details, Fee/Registration: S$5. visit www.ttsh.com.sg or call 6357 3265. Call 6326 5248 to register.