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Southport & Mersey Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 15 October 2007

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Dental charity hot for new chilli pepper based anaesthetic

THE UK's leading dental charity has welcomed the work of researchers who have developed a new chilli based local anaesthetic that appears to prevent pain without causing numbness.  According to the British Dental Health Foundation the development could have a massive impact on dental treatment, making procedures quicker, simpler and more convenient.

Speaking about the research, which was carried out by Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Foundation, commented:- "Of course this research is still in its early stages but it could form the basis of a massive step forward in the battle against dental phobia. According to our own surveys around one in five people who do not visit the dentist make this decision because they have a fear of pain. Although dentistry today is already pain free, some people find the numbness caused by current anaesthetic quite uncomfortable and because their mouth feels unnatural they might perceive the treatment as potentially more painful experience than they otherwise would.

It is important that people visit the dentist regularly, as often as their dentist recommends and so anything that can make the experience more convenient and comfortable is welcomed by the Foundation."

The chilli anaesthetic was created by scientists from a combination of capsaicin (the natural compound that makes chilli peppers hot) and a derivative of the local anaesthetic lidocaine.  It works by selectively blocking pain-sensing neurons without interfering with other types of neurons, meaning that the subject doesn't feel any pain but still reacts in the same way to other sensations such as touch or movement.  So far it has only been tested on rats.

Dr Carter continued:- "Anaesthetics are most commonly used for treatments such as fillings and root canal work. Therefore if people find the numbing process uncomfortable then by far the best way to avoid it is for them to take care of their oral health so that they do not require treatment in the first place. A good oral healthcare routine also includes brushing twice-a-day with fluoride toothpaste and cutting down the frequency of sugary foods and drinks."

For more information on how to take care of your mouth call the Dental Helpline on 0845 063 1188 or visit the website.


GREY POWER is a force to be reckoned with, as techno-savvy silver surfers now increasingly sort out their money matters online.  Millions of 55-plus Brits are now surfing the net via their keyboards and taking control of their own financial destiny, according to investment data firm

Over half of the 5.25 million UK silver surfers are now logging on and researching their financial and investment options through sites like And the data research company predicts this figure will rise sharply over the next few years as more ‘grey hairs’ are gaining confidence in using the net.  Internet banking, financial product comparison tools and information on funds, shares and savings are at the top of the surfing list of the senior citizens who own over 2/3rds of the nation’s personal wealth.


* Definition:- An internet-savvy person aged 55 years plus who surfs the web and spends time online.

* 15 million people are aged 55 and over in the UK (Office of National Statistics, 2007)

* 35% of people over-55 are using the net on a weekly basis (Office of National Statistics, 2007)

* Over half of all silver surfers (53%) use online banking and financial sites ( EIAA Silver Surfer report, 2007)

* Silver Surfers Day is the biggest annual media literacy campaign for older people in the UK

* Half of over-50s reckon life without the net is unimaginable

“Turning to the internet instead of telephone or face-to-face financial advice gives people independent evaluation and comparison tools that enable to take charge of their finances and make more money. 

With the internet the financial world is your oyster and you don’t even have to leave your home to find the best deals and the most valuable sources of financial information,” he adds.  “Many of our members are pensioners who since becoming retired have the time to keep a much closer eye on their investments’ performance and ratings. In fact, many of our older members check their funds on a daily basis.” says’s Tony Ahearne.

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