Week of:
Mar 17, 2017

Clean mouth = good health?

Dear Alice,

What's the connection between a clean or healthy mouth and good health? I keep seeing these ads and commercials saying that there is a link — what exactly is it?

Should I treat my toilet seat?

(1) Dear Alice,

Could putting a layer of toilet paper on the seat really protect the body from a public toilet seat's germs?

(2) Dear Alice,

So, what's the final word on how possible it is to catch a disease from a toilet seat? I'm in college and live in the dorms, so essentially every bathroom I use is a public one. My school has no sanitary seat covers and uses only commercial-grade one-ply toilet paper. I refuse to believe disgusting microorganisms can't penetrate that flimsy stuff. How likely is it to catch a disease (STD or otherwise) from a public toilet seat, and what's my most practical alternative to the sanitary seat covers?

Does soap kill germs?

Dear Alice,

I remember reading somewhere a couple years ago that hand or bath soap does not KILL germs or sterilize our hands. Rather, it helps loosen dirt and grime, and it makes the skin more slippery so that dirt and germs rinse off more easily with water. It makes sense to me, but my daughter who is studying for a medical career said I was off my rocker. I am getting older, but I'm sure I didn't fall out of my chair onto my head — but instead read that in a health newsletter somewhere. What's the skinny? Can my daughter trust me and what I read (in this case, at least), or should I throw in the towel (for 100 percent memory recall)?

— Slippery Soap