By Bob Condor

A new German study published this month shows that people who essentially smile as part of their jobs, such as flight attendants and shop clerks, can actually be suffering from undue stress if they are in fact faking their happy mood. The German scientists propose that “professional smilers” face a significant health hazard in their jobs, including, presumably, stressing out enough to cause gum disease.

I kid you not.

On a more oh-that-I-get note, another 2008 study published in the January issue of the Journal of Periodontology shows you can actually do your gums so serious good by regular eating yogurt. The active cultures or probiotics in yogurt do the trick.

Japanese researcher and dentist Dr. Yoshihiro Shimazaki and colleagues discovered yogurt is protection of receding gums and potential tooth loss, but “milk and cheese were not.”

Previous studies have associated high dairy consumption with healthier gums, but the Kyushu University study is the first to isolate yogurt (and active-culture drinks) as the reason.

It is an intriguing finding given a recent debate that using antibacterial mouthwashes might be inadvertently wiping out all bacteria in the mouth—both the bad bacteria destructive to the gum line and “friendly” bacteria that could well fight off periodontal disease. In a recent post on the Daily Health Blog or DHB, a researcher proposed that using an anti-bacterial mouthwash too often might also kill off friendly bacteria need to keep the stomach and gut healthy.

More research is needed, but it appears a cup or two of yogurt most days is feasible—and tasty—starting point for fighting off gum disease.

So make mine, organic low-fat plain yogurt with a drizzle of maple syrup, some fresh fruit and flax meal (more about flax in an upcoming DHB post).

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“Bob Condor is the Daily Health Blogger for Barton Publishing. He is also the Living Well columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He covers natural health and quality of life issues and writes regularly for national magazines, including Life, Esquire, Parade, Self, and Outside. He is a former syndicated health columnist for the Chicago Tribune and author of six books, including “The Good Mood Diet” and “Your Prostate Cancer Survivors’ Guide.” He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two 11-year-old kids.”