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Get a Gorgeous Smile

April 24th 2015 04:18
beauty smile teeth wellbeing

Get a Gorgeous Smile

Smiling more can improve your mood and the mood of those around you. That's why it's important to practice good oral health so you'll do it often. Try these easy tips for a healthier smile.

7 Steps to a Beautiful Smile

Get a gorgeous grin with these simple tips from leading dentists.
1 of 9
Something to Smile About

Flashing a big, beautiful smile can work wonders. For one thing, it's contagious. Studies show that just seeing a friend break out in a smile triggers muscles in your face that cause you to smile back. Amazingly, the very act of smiling -- even if you're feeling down -- can improve your mood. But it can be hard to put on a happy face when you feel embarrassed or even ashamed of your smile. Whether you have broken or stained teeth, bad breath or just a bad mood, here are tips to fix the problem -- and get back that dazzling smile.

Brush and Floss Daily

Brushing (morning and night) and flossing (nightly) are vital to preserve your smile. Many people don't understand correct brushing technique, says Nancy Newhouse, a periodontist in Independence, Missouri, and president of the American Academy of Periodontists. Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth, so the bristles can reach under the gumline and remove plaque (a colorless film of bacteria that coats teeth). Brush for two minutes, and don't forget the backs of teeth. Flossing daily is as important as brushing. Grip the floss in a "C" shape, pulling it firmly to scrape off plaque and reach gently under the gumline.

Surface stains are usually caused by coffee, tea, wine or tobacco, while deeper stains are often due to medications, injury or infection. Depending on the type and degree of staining, some people get good results from store-bought whitening products. "Be sure products are ADA-approved, and always follow the manufacturer's instructions -- overuse of whiteners can damage tooth enamel and underlying dentin," says William DeVizio, DMD, a licensed dentist and vice president of dental clinical research at Colgate-Palmolive. Professional whitening treatments at your dentist's office can be pricey, but the results are often more impressive and can last up to 3 years.

Foster Happy Feelings

A smile is an outward sign of inner happiness. First, make a point to spend time with happy people -- smiles are catching! Then, to cultivate your own smile-inducing inner joy and help you appreciate the small pleasures in life, try mindfulness meditation. This practice usually includes self-affirmations -- positive statements you make about yourself that lead to feelings of calm and contentment. Keeping a gratitude journal, which helps you recognize all the things you're thankful for, is another path to happiness. And be sure to make time for activities that make you smile, such as playing music, painting, gardening or volunteering.

Eat Right and Work Out

You need strong teeth to eat well, and you need to eat well to have strong teeth. Raw, fresh veggies can naturally clean your teeth, and milk, cheese, chicken, and nuts provide nutrients that repair tooth enamel. For the full effect, add regular exercise to help get those nutrients circulating to your mouth and entire body. Plus, exercising vigorously for 20 minutes or more stimulates brain chemicals called endorphins that leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. The key is to find a type of workout that you look forward to -- such as Zumba, tennis or brisk walk with friends.

Upgrade Old Fillings

When you laugh or yawn, silver fillings can stand out like sore thumbs. These types of amalgam fillings can also wear out in 5 to 15 years, allowing decay to creep in around the edges. Fortunately, most dentists now fill cavities with materials that bond to teeth better and match your natural tooth color. For fillings that show when you smile, your dentist might use stain-resistant porcelain, and for a cavity in a molar, you'll probably receive a durable composite resin filling. Your dentist will let you know when it's time to replace any old fillings.

Consider Cosmetic Fixes

Whether you want minor tweaks or a drastic smile makeover, the latest cosmetic techniques can improve your smile and your self-esteem. Cosmetic dentists are specially trained to address dental imperfections in a way that's natural-looking and attractive. They can repair chips, close a gap, replace a missing tooth, even out your gumline, and even permanently whiten and straighten the look of your teeth. Because some of these changes are irreversible, you should do your homework when selecting a cosmetic dentist. Review a portfolio or photo gallery and request the contact information of a few former patients, suggests Gerry Curatola, DDS, of Rejuvenation Dentistry in New York City.

Straighten Your Smile

Before you commit to any cosmetic dental work, you might want to consider having a consultation with an orthodontist. Orthodontic treatment is far less invasive than veneers, and the results often look more natural. Whether you choose traditional braces, mini braces or clear aligner trays, straightening your teeth can give you a healthier-looking smile in less time than you might think -- with results that can last a lifetime.

Freshen Bad Breath

It's hard to wear a big, beaming smile if you're self-conscious about your breath. Chronic bad breath is usually a sign of bacteria. To keep germs -- and halitosis -- at bay, floss once and brush your teeth and tongue twice daily. "The vast majority of people don't brush their tongues," says Dr. DeVizio. "The tongue has lots of grooves and valleys, which is a great place for bacteria to hide." In addition to routine cleanings at least twice a year, antimicrobial mouthwashes can also help.


Is Your Semen Healthy?

April 23rd 2015 07:32
men semen parenting health males

Is Your Semen Healthy?

It's Infertility Awareness Week! Learn about semen abnormalities and its link to sterility and other health problems.

What Your Semen Can Tell You About Your Overall Health
By Michael Roizen, MD, and Mehmet Oz, MD

When it comes to health, one condition is often connected to another -- and may serve as a clue to other, possibly larger, issues. Take male infertility. About 15% of all couples have fertility issues and in half of those cases itís because the manís semen (the ejaculate that contains fluid and sperm) is abnormal in some way.

Stanford University researchers looked at 9,000 guys 30-50 who had fertility problems and found that even in this relatively young sampling, around 44% of the guys also had some other significant health issue, such as hypertension, vascular disease and heart disease. In addition, they found that as the number of defects (lower semen volume, concentration, motility, total sperm count and morphology scores) in a guyís semen increased the more likely he was to also have an endocrine disorder or skin disease. Researchers are analyzing the data to determine which specific endocrine and skin conditions were most often associated with fertility problems.

Because the average age of study participants was 38, the researchers suggest that any younger guy with fertility challenges should get checked out for cardiovascular, endocrine and skin problems. The good news is that resolving those issues may help resolve fertility problems and dodge other serious health challenges down the road.


Put Back Pain In Check

April 22nd 2015 03:04

back pain health science posture

Put Back Pain In Check

Nearly 90 percent of people suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Don't let it cramp your style -- use these five tips to keep your back healthy, strong and flexible.

Ahh! My Aching Back! 5 Ways to Prevent Back Pain
By Rachael Anderson

A whopping 80% to 90% of the population experience back pain at some point in life, according to the American Chiropractic Association. And itís not just adults Ė kids suffer, too. (Think about those heavy backpacks.) Instead of letting back pain cramp your style or force you to take unwanted vacation days, try these tips to send your back pain packing.

1. Do the Right Moves
Everyone can benefit from exercise, but if you want to relieve Ė or prevent Ė back pain, a little sweat might be the best medicine. Back pain is more likely to return if your spine-supporting muscles in the back and stomach have become weak from injury or inactivity, or if you have tight hamstrings. Certain stretching and strengthening exercises can help reduce pain by providing more balance around the spine and building strength and flexibility. Yoga, band workouts and low-impact activities such as water aerobics and water walking are also great options. But make sure you check with your doctor before trying any new form of exercise. Watch the video with physical therapist Peggy Brill to find out why stretching is so vital for back pain relief.

2. Improve Your Posture
Whether youíre at work, driving in your car or on the couch watching TV, chances are youíre not sitting up straight. And that means bad news for your back. Slouching for long periods of time increases pressure on the disks and weakens your back muscles. The next time you sit, try making a conscious effort to maintain good posture, and look for opportunities to get up and move when you can. Donít forget that poor standing posture can cause back pain, too.

3. Lift It Right
If youíve ever tried picking up a heavy box only to end up stuck on the couch for the rest of the weekend, then you understand just how dangerous lifting with bad technique can be for your back. Itís actually one of the top causes of back pain because it puts excess force on the discs and other structures of the spine. Instead of channeling Hulk Hogan, take a reality check on how much weight you can comfortably carry.

4. Shed Extra Pounds
The back-saving benefits of a flat belly and trim hips go beyond easing muscle pain. Body fat is a demolition derby for your backboneís discs. Staying slim keeps the gel-filled cushions that act as your spineís shock absorbers out of harmís way. Extra pounds also increase the load on your spine, taxing your muscles and dumping pressure on the soft tissue around your vertebrae.

5. Get a Grip on Stress
Stress doesnít cause back pain on its own, but it can create muscle tension in your neck and back, which can lead to stiffness and soreness. The good news: You donít have to let stress get the best of you or your back. Getting adequate sleep, exercising and eating a nutrient-rich diet all boost the bodyís stress coping abilities. You can also try practicing stress-reduction techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation or guided imagery.


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