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Ask Dr. Gott 1/20
Dog's tongue a hotbed of germs
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DEAR DR. GOTT: This is an unusual question but one that I have to have an answer to as soon as possible. It has come to my attention recently that my daughter-in-law allows her dogs to lick my grandson on the mouth. When I saw this, I made a comment that this practice couldn't be very healthy, and she reacted very strongly, saying "A dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's." I went home and did some research on the computer, but when I suggested she go to the Web site with information on this subject, she reacted very angrily, shaking her finger at me and saying, "I don't want to discuss this anymore. Just let it go."
    Is it true that a dog's mouth is clean enough to allow it to lick a 10-month-old baby on the mouth? My son seems to believe his wife, and I don't want to cause a problem between them, but I think he would listen to you.
    DEAR READER: I hope so, because you are correct and your daughter-in-law is way off base.
    Doctors have always preached that the mouth is the second most contaminated orifice in the body. Hey, we're not even calling veterinary medicine in on this! I don't know many adult humans who lick their anal opening and then "kiss" other humans on the mouth. But dogs do it. Their mouths are grossly contaminated, as are the mouths of most animals and pets. Allowing a dog to lick a baby's mouth is inappropriate and potentially dangerous.
    I suggest that you ask your son to run this by the child's pediatrician. I'd be surprised if the physician disagreed with me, but this situation is serious enough to warrant a "full-court press."
    In any case, you are not — as your daughter-in-law implies — being a fussy in-law. It is, rather, she who needs to get with it. Show her my answer to your question and tell her to write me if she has a problem with the medical aspects of this situation.

   DEAR DR. GOTT: Having an aversion to taking the Mevacor my doctor prescribed for high cholesterol, I decided to try cinnamon capsules. In two months, my total cholesterol went from 207 to 187, my triglycerides from 278 to 228, and my HDL remains a puny 32. No gastrointestinal problems, by the way.
    My question, suggested by a personal friend who is an OB/GYN, is this. Which would be riskier for me -- continuing the regimen based on my latest test results or dropping the cinnamon for two months and retesting to see if that is what is making the difference?
    DEAR READER: Cinnamon can lower blood cholesterol levels in some people. Because the spice is cheap and free of side effects, I suggest that you continue it, under your doctor's supervision, of course.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Understanding Cholesterol." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092-0167. Be sure to mention the title.

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