Rinsing with water after brushing is part of the oral health habit of most people. However, previous studies suggested that post-brushing rinsing with excessive water may compromise the caries-reducing effect of fluoride toothpaste.

Fluoride toothpaste is the most widely used topical fluoride preparation in preventing and controlling dental caries.  Dental caries, known as tooth decay or cavities, continues to be a major health problem in both developed and developing countries. According to the Department of Health there is an 87.4% prevalence rate of dental caries among Filipinos.

Dental caries are caused by excessive sugar consumption and inadequate exposure to fluoride. It occurs when a sticky acidic film called plaque builds up on teeth and begins to break down the surface of the enamel. Inappropriate diet, smoking, alcohol, dry mouth, and poor oral hygiene increase the risk of tooth decay.

The World Health Organization recognizes the benefits of fluoride to oral health. Enamel is remineralized by fluoride which decreases the acid production of plaque and helps children develop their adult teeth. To further investigate this, a study published in Philippine Journal of Health Research and Development tested the Fluoride Toothpaste Utilization Formula1 and explored if rinsing after tooth brushing affects dental caries prevention.

According to the study by Michael Antonio F. Mendoza of the University of the Philippines Manila, increase in the effectiveness of fluoride toothpaste is observed the longer the teeth are exposed to fluoride. The study recommends promoting a no-rinse tooth brushing practice in oral health education programs. Dental experts also recommend that after brushing, one should only spit and one must avoid excessive rinsing with water to enhance the effectiveness of fluoride toothpaste.

“Further evaluation of the formula, particularly the rinsing variable, must be done to properly quantify the effects of fluoride and assess the other factors associated in tooth brushing with fluoridated toothpastes”, the researcher stated. However, he added that it is important to note that WHO and the Fédération Dentaire International (FDI) advocate a two-minute no-rinse tooth brushing twice a day using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.


1Fluoride Toothpaste Utilization Formula considers the amount of toothpaste used during brushing, frequency of use, and a rinsing variable to quantify the effect of rinsing after tooth brushing and to evaluate fluoride utilization.


Health care must transform in order to meet the challenges of the information age and  address the  greater demand for efficiency and for quality of health care services. With the growing popularity of mobile devices, people are starting to recognize the potential of these apparatus  as platforms for health innovation to cater to the growing needs of the society.


The use of mobile devices for health,  known as mHealth, presents an exceptional opportunity for improving public health. Researchers from De La Salle University (DLSU) seized this opportunity for better access to country’s improvedhealth services for Persons with Disabilities and health emergency response.


Dubbed as “Smart Nurse for People with Disabilities”, researchers1 presented the mobile application PWDe (Pwede) during the Likha Pilipinas Conference held at DLSU on 14 October.  The researchers explored the potential of using mobile technology to create solutions for people with special needs such as persons with disabilities.


PWDe features ePharmacy, eRx (ePrescription), and eRecords to track the  healthcare needs of persons with disabilities. Other features of the application are facial recognition, language option, and audible response.


Another group ofresearchers2 from DLSU introduced Hero Support, a mobile application for hassle-free emergency calls.HeroSupport  instantly connects the user to the appropriate emergency hotline within Metro Manila instantly, without having to memorize or save each and every hotline number in one’s phone.


Hero Support E-Directory application, as the name infers, is a mobile directory of emergency hotlines in Metro Manila. The application automatically detects the user’s geographic locationto determine which particular hotline to call, and loads the corresponding number automatically on the dial button within the application. The app was conceptualized after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) as a valuable response tool in disaster emergencies.  The app is designed to help people reach the appropriate responders and authorities instantly for  health emergencies (hospitals), police matters, and fire rescue. 


Moving forward,  the potential of these mobile applications could dramatically change healthcare and emergency response. In the near future, anyone with a smartphone would be able to reap the benefits of these innovations with thorough understanding  of their risks and benefits.


The mobile applications were presented during  Likha Pilipinas: The 1st Philippine Multi-Disciplinary Summit on Creativity and Innovation held on 13-14 October 2015 at Cultural Center  of the Philippines and De La Salle University.


Hero Support E-Directory Application is available for download for iPhones and Android phones.


1Cao, Rupert Jiel, Gabriel, Angela Ann, Salazar, Stephanie, Yabut, Jhan Michael.PWDe: Smart Nurse for People with Disabilities

2Navarro, Gerard, Paglinawan, Ronald,  Cheng, Vincent, Ejercito,Jerico, Tarroza,Rodel, VillarazaRon, and Lu, Ria. Hero Support Mobile Application

Doctors are often stereotyped for their bad handwriting. According to a study, this illegibility of doctors’ handwriting in medical prescriptions is often the cause of medication errors.

Proper writing of prescriptions involves a strict format which includes superscription, inscription, subscription, and transcription, the researchers of the study explained. Superscription refers to the date of prescriptions, Rx symbol, and details of patients, inscription to the name and amount of medicine, subscription to instructions to pharmacists, while transcription to other notes and directions for use.

However, a study published by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) found out that 28% of Filipino patients considered their doctors’ handwriting in prescriptions unreadable which led to adverse medical consequences such as administration of improper dosage of medicine, and even death.

To evaluate the readability of the penmanship of doctors and identify their most common misinterpreted words, researchers from the University of the Philippines Diliman randomly selected 45 licensed doctors with different specializations from Quezon City hospitals to write prescriptions. Groups of 80 assessors consisting of pharmacists, young adults (20-34 years old), middle-aged adults (35-49 years old), and senior citizens (50 years old and up) were given these prescriptions to assess.


The results showed that doctors have similar handwriting regardless of their specializations wherein abbreviations in the prescriptions contribute to most of the errors. Pharmacists are most likely to interpret prescriptions correctly among the assessing groups in the study.

The researchers explained that majority of the poor handwriting of doctors is attributed to the times when doctors are in a rush when writing prescriptions, during their rounds or peak hours, or when they experienced fatigue.

Common medication errors cover the writing of prescription, transcribing these prescriptions, and administering the medications…majority is attributed to the writing [which] …is rooted mainly to the illegible handwriting of the doctors,” the researchers explained. Medication error is any preventable event that may pose harm to the patients.

To prevent medication errors due to poor handwriting of doctors, the researchers suggested developing a program on writing prescriptions that can be easily understood by everyone. They also pointed out that abbreviations in prescriptions should be avoided as they lead to more confusion. Lastly, the researchers advised adapting a computerized prescription system if possible.  

The study “Assessment of the legibility of the handwriting in medical prescriptions of doctors from public and private hospitals in Quezon City, Philippines” is available at Science Direct and can be accessed at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351978915001134. ■

For many, drinking coffee is a morning routine to start off a long working day. However, when heavy coffee drinkers start experiencing ailments related to their coffee intake, they resort to having coffee substitutes.

Coffee substitutes are coffee-like brews made with the parts of roasted plants such as corn, ampalaya and soy.

In a study by the Institute of Human Nutrition and Food, College of Human Ecology, University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), researchers found out that sweet sorghum coffee [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] substitute could be a potential healthier alternative, and was found to be nutritious as it contains beneficial phytochemicals, such as phenols particularly flavonoids, which contribute to its high antioxidant activity.

According to the study whole sweet sorghum grain was processed in making the coffee substitute powder which acquired a dark brown color, and the aroma and flavor resembling “rice coffee,” and a coffee-like bitterness. The raw sorghum grain was analyzed for proximate content, total phenolic and flavonoid, and tannin contents, as well as total antioxidant activity and fatty acid profile.

Findings of this study suggest that the consumption of sweet sorghum coffee may help in preventing neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and chronic diseases such as cancer, cardio vascular diseases, cataract, and inflammation.

Researchers also added that the known coffee health benefits and growing popularity of sweet sorghum coffee, the potential industry of producing coffee substitute from sweet sorghum grain may increase the crop’s utilization in the country.

A full copy of the study entitled “Acceptability, nutritional, and potential health values of sweet sorghum coffee substitute” may be viewed at http://philscitech.org/.

Renowned Filipino architect and urban planner Felino Palafox urges policymakers to push for walkable and bike-friendly streets to solve traffic congestion in the major cities of the country. The vision of architect Palafox which he shared in his talk at the Global Forum on Research and Innovation for Health 2015, is a transport system that would motivate people to travel on foot, thereby curbing the use of private cars that is becoming the primary cause of traffic congestion.


According to architect Palafox, cities that promote active mobility like walking and cycling may advocate healthy lifestyle, generate economic growth, and build a pleasant community.


The American Heart Association lists physical inactivity as the fourth major risk factor associated with chronic diseases. If they had safe sidewalks and intersections in the cities, people would tend to engage in real physical activity which would help prevent diseases such as obesity and cardiovascular ailments.


Pedestrian friendly and appropriate infrastructure would attract people to access conveniently located shops, businesses, and restaurants. More than that, it would create jobs in the bicycle businesses and promote tourism.


Promoting walking and biking would have good environmental benefits to people in the community. This active mobility may decrease harmful carbon emissions and reduce the rate of injuries and fatalities from motor vehicles.


A city that incorporates biking and walking with other forms of public transportation would provide the right motivation for its citizens to leave their cars and their sedentary lifestyles behind.


The Philippines loses billions of pesos every day from lost productivity due to traffic congestion. In Metro Manila alone, a recent report noted three billion pesos of losses per day because of traffic inefficiency.


Providing safe and appropriate road design in the cities may improve human health, increase commercial profits, and develop a more enjoyable environment.


To fully push for a walkable and bike-friendly cities, Architect Palafox encouraged law makers to enact policies to bring this vision to fruition. To design and plan is a solution, but the key is to engage political solutions to make this a reality, he noted.