Four Tips for Top to Toe Health This Summer

Summer is coming and now is the time to start shaping up for the holidays. Look hot this summer and enjoy top to toe health with these four tips:

Super-Charge With Super-Foods

One of the best aspects of summer is the wide availability of a whole host of super-foods that are at their best and in season.  Move away from processed foods and eat food that is fresh and in season where possible.  Give your body a berry boost and improve your diet with mixed fresh berries.  Blackberries, strawberries and blueberries are full of powerful antioxidants and these help prevent tissue damage and reduce the risks of many age-related illnesses.  Read up on superfoods and include as wide a range as possible in your summer recipes.  Some particularly powerful foods include avocados, broccoli, edamame, grapes, garlic, asparagus, tomatoes and nutrition-filled salad leaves.


Keep Your Smile in Shape

Our mouths are the gateway to our bodies, so paying attention to our gums and teeth can have a huge impact on our overall health.  Brush up on the key facts about gum health and be aware of the ‘gum health checker’ and symptoms of gum disease which are bleeding gums, inflamed gums or receding gums. Three out of four people are likely to suffer from gum disease at some stage in their lives.  Even if you are brushing your teeth many times a day, dental plaque will build up if you are not brushing correctly.  Effective plaque removal is the secret to gum health and your dentist and dental hygienist will help with this.  Using a toothpaste clinically proven to prevent and treat gum disease will help to fight the bacteria that causes plaque to develop and will give you a sparkling summer smile.


Refuel with Nature

Get Out! It sounds obvious but taking advantage of the brighter evenings and better weather to exercise outside has huge and immediate physical and psychological benefits.  Replace your workouts in the gym with fresh air and sunlight.  Exercising outdoors can help to lower stress levels and has many positive mental health effects.  Exercising outdoors is a key way to manage your weight, improve your overall health and increase productivity.  Refuel with nature and try some new activities.  Exercising in a green space is the ultimate mood booster.


Protect your Eyes

As spring turns to summer most of us think of applying sun screen to protect our skin, but don’t forget that overexposure to the sun can also seriously damage your eyesight.  Make sure your eyes are protected from all angles and choose sunglasses that wrap all the way around.  Make sure to check the UV protection levels on sunglasses and also check the lens tint.  Consider buying sunglasses for your children and ensure that the eyes of infants need to be shaded from direct exposure to the sun.


There is no better time to take these four steps towards top to toe health.  Ready, set, summer!




Oral Health Tips Should be Taken to Heart, Experts Say

Did you know your mouth is home to billions of bacteria with more than 600 different species? The mouth is like it’s own ecosystem and you may not realize it, but keeping that bacteria in check not only helps maintain a healthy mouth, but could also be key to maintaining overall health.

“People don’t realize the connection between health of the mouth and health in the overall body. In fact, inflammation in the mouth is a precursor to inflammation in the rest of our body,” says dentist and oral health expert Dr. Jonathan Levine.

Most people view brushing or flossing as just another part of the daily routine, but Levine says maintaining proper oral hygiene is more important than most people think. And sometimes it’s your dentist who could be the one to spot a larger problem.

“If we have inflammation in our gums we have unbelievable amount of evidence to show that there is inflammation in our blood vessels for cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and other chronic inflammatory diseases,” says Levine.

He says once gums are inflamed bacteria from the mouth can enter the blood stream. And he says studies have also shown that plaque from the mouth can show up in the carotid artery leading to cardiovascular disease and stroke. So what should we do? Well for one, we should take our oral hygiene routine seriously and not rush through it.

“Very important you have to brush for two minutes. That’s 30 seconds a quadrant. And you have to floss at least every day. Only about 15 percent of the population flosses properly and one out of two Americans have gum disease, we can do better,” suggests Levine.

Also, Levine says diet can also influence the balance between good and bad bacteria.

“Alkalinizing food, high pH, green leafy vegetables, colorful fruits, apples, kale, asparagus, any of these colorful fruits and vegetables will raise the pH in our mouths and create a better environment for the good bacteria,” explains Levine.

So, if you’ve been avoiding the dentist’s chair or if you rush with the brush, now may be a good time to rethink your routine and take your oral hygiene to heart.

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Take care of your teeth: Tips for a bright, white smile

Take care of your teeth: Tips for a bright, white smile

If you mention that you work at the dentist or that you give advice on how to look after teeth, most people will become very self-conscious about how their teeth look. Smiles stop and hands come up to cover up the mouth.

In a recent survey by the British Dental Health Foundation, 61 per cent of people admitted to being attracted to someone by their smile alone. So now might be the time to brush up that smile!

National Smile Month, which runs from May 19 to June 19, gives our team at the Special Care Dental Service an opportunity to remind everyone of how important it is to take good care of our mouths. This year, we’ll be hitting the streets once again for a series of informative events across the county. The annual campaign promotes key messages for maintaining good oral health; brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks and visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

While I am out and about, I regularly hear about people’s dislike of going to the dentist. This is often because of the cost of dental treatment or, more frequently, the ‘fear factor’ originating from past experiences. As a result, self-care of teeth becomes all the more important, meaning a visit to the dentist becomes a much easier experience. Simple things like swapping juices and fizzy drinks in between meals to plain still water or milk can really help to reduce those cavities that can lead to a filling at the dentist.

Prevention is better than a cure, but those simple key messages certainly do make a difference.

One of the hardest changes to manage is to cut down on how often we have sugary foods and drinks. Like everyone, I know myself that chocolate bars and sugary treats are everywhere and can be really hard to resist. How often do we go to the supermarket with good intentions only to have it undone at the checkout? Even getting fuel for your car can be tempting. ‘Pay at Pump’ is great as you don’t have to go into the kiosk where all those sweets are in abundance as you wait to pay.

For most people it is the calories in those foods that they are concerned about perhaps not realising that those sugary snacks can also cause a lot of damage to your teeth.

Generally, we are not great at regularly replacing our toothbrushes, which should be every three months or earlier if the bristles are beginning to splay. This is why Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust will be offering a toothbrush amnesty at each event we hold. The public can bring along their old and worn toothbrush, and can have it swapped for a new one.

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Dental therapists aim to fill in oral health shortfalls

A few states are trying to alleviate their oral health care shortages by allowing the licensing of dental therapists — a fairly new class of dental care providers, essentially dentistry’s version of physicians’ assistants. They face strong resistance from dentists.

In the handful of states where they are legally approved, dental therapists — who generally get two years of intensive training before going out into the field — can provide services ranging from cleanings to extractions to pediatric stainless steel crowns, says Mary Williard, director of the Alaska Native Tribal Consortium, a program that trains dental therapists.

Minnesota was the first to allow licensing of dental therapists in 2009. Alaska followed, and together these states have 59 active practitioners. Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, signed that state’s bill into law last month, and efforts are underway in other states, including Vermont, New Mexico and Kansas. A bill that would allow dental therapists to practice in Washington state stalled in committee in February.

“Maine is having an oral health crisis,” says Mark Eves, Maine’s speaker of the House. “The rural part of the state is at a critical point where we need to do something.”

Heather Luebben, an advanced dental therapist practicing in Coon Rapids, Minn., began her stint in oral health as a hygienist before training to become a dental therapist.

“You can’t deny that there are more people having trouble receiving dental care,” Luebben says. “We have rural areas that just don’t have enough dentists.”

This is true for many states. Three times as many people nationwide are without dental insurance as are without health insurance, according to Delta Dental insurance company data. Medicare does not pay for dental services except in rare cases, and Medicaid leaves dental insurance up to the states.

As a result, oral health care is a challenge, especially in rural areas where access to dentists is low and many people do not address dental health issues until it is too late. These people often end up in emergency rooms instead of at a dental office, says author and health care activist Wendell Potter. The Pew Center on the States estimated that in 2009, more than 830,000 visits to emergency rooms were for preventable dental conditions. This was a 16% increase from 2006.

“As we look at public funds spent on people who go to the ER for dental pain, it’s one of the highest expenditures we have as a state,” Eves says. “We’re managing pain without getting to the source of the problem.”

Despite its recognition of oral health disparities, the American Dental Association is firmly against states approving dental therapists. The association lobbied hard against the dental therapy bill in Maine, Eves says.

“The ADA does not consider the one-size-fits-all mid-level dental provider model to be a viable solution to the diverse set of barriers that impede millions from getting dental care,” the group said in a statement.

ADA spokesman Robert Raible declined USA TODAY’s request for further comment.

Those in favor of licensing dental therapists say the opposition is from both an economic and a quality-of-care standpoint.

“They’re doing this from the perspective of what is best for their members,” Potter says.

But when dental therapists work in dentists’ private practices, they have been shown to increase income, Williard says: “This would be an economic advantage, just like having a hygienist is.”

Luebben says dental therapists and dentists aren’t in competition with each other.

“I see us as another provider who is able to work along with dentists,” she says. “The more people we have trained, the more people who can care for others.”


Oral Health for Seniors

It is important for everybody to maintain a clean and healthy mouth. Indeed, not only are oral infections and diseases distressing and painful, but they also have a negative impact on your ability to speak and to eat.

Statistically-speaking, older people are at greater risk of developing oral health problems because of their higher levels of dependency on others, and therefore rely on staff to look after their teeth and general oral health for them. For this reason it is absolutely essential that care home staff not only become educated about the importance of oral hygiene, but also learn how to best to deliver this aspect of personal care to their residents.   

The oral health problems that the march of time can induce as people get older include:

Darkened teeth

Many foods stain teeth and not just teas, coffees and sodas, but otherwise healthy foods like berries can also cause staining. Darkening of teeth can also be caused by a reduction in the level of dentin, one of the four major components of teeth.

Gum disease

This is caused primarily by the presence of plaque and tartar and is exacerbated by pieces of food being left in teeth, smoking tobacco, poor diet, and certain diseases like cancer, anaemia and diabetes.  Poor-fitting dentures can also be a cause of gum disease, adhesive products are recommended for avoiding issues.

Tooth loss and dentures

Tooth loss can be caused by a number of factors. These include the more obvious periodontal disease due to poor dental hygiene, but could also be cause by trauma from an accident, or it could be due to congenital absence.  

Ill-fitting dentures can cause gum disease and gum disease can cause tooth loss, so if a person has any remaining teeth, it is important to maintain dentures in order to help keep their teeth in check.  

Dry mouth

This is caused by the reduction in the flow of saliva, which in turn can be caused by radiation-based cancer treatments, in addition to Sjögren’s syndrome and other diseases and also certain medications.

Root decay

Taking the form of cavities at the root of your teeth, root decay is generally caused by acids from foods and the affected area spreads quicker than on other parts of the tooth. .  


NYU dental school workers busted in identity-theft operation

Photo: Chad Rachman

Trying to get information on a credit card scam at NYU’s Dental School was like pulling teeth.

A marijuana bust led police to uncover a massive identity theft operation that officials at the prestigious university tried to hush up, law enforcement sources told The Post.

Joel Scott and James Giscombe Jr., who work with patients treated at the school, were busted last summer for allegedly lifting credit card information from more than 350 victims using a mini card skimmer.

They allegedly opened credit card accounts with it and went on shopping sprees totaling about $100,000.

Scott, 24 and Giscombe, 31, were allegedly seen on video surveillance using the stolen cards to purchase Long Island Railroad and Metro North tickets, which authorities said they sold to their buddies for half price, sources said.

They are also accused of selling some of the stolen information to other scammers across the country.

Despite receiving several complaints from victims, the school did not notify other patients to be on the alert until the NYPD made the arrests, the sources said.

The fraud was finally brought to light when a Queens gang unit officer collared Scott for buying pot in St. Albans on May 18, 2013. During the bust, the cop noticed a skimmer and 19 credit cards in his BMW, according to court documents.

The officer downloaded the skimmer and found the patients’ information, officials said.

NYU officials claim they weren’t aware of the scam until police contacted them the day after Scott’s arrest.

Scott and Giscombe were terminated on June 5 and July 1, respectively, after an internal investigation by the university.

“The college has instituted new procedures to prevent this type of misuse of information from recurring,” said NYU spokesman Philip Lentz.

During the investigation, cops executed a search warrant in the home of Patricia Graham, chief of staff for the schools executive vice president, who Scott lived with.

Giscombe’s apartment was also searched by investigators who reported finding a knife, a gun and ammo.

Scott and Giscombe face up to a year in jail for each forged instrument count. Giscombe also faces up to 15 years in prison on the weapons charges.



Would you gargle with oil for whiter teeth?

(Photo: WGRZ)

Would you trade swishing with regular mouthwash for gargling with oil for 20 minutes if it meant whiter teeth, a smaller waistline or relief from allergies or a hangover?

Oil pulling is nothing new, but these days it’s gaining a modern fan base, partly because of social media and promises of being a miracle cure-all.

The ancient Indian technique dates back more than 1,000 years, when it was thought that gum disease was a sign of inner demons. People would swish with oil then spit it out to cleanse their spirits.

Today, there are online tutorials and testimonials touting the healing effects of oil pulling and websites devoted to the practice.

Fans of oil pulling claim it freshens their breath, whitens their teeth, and provides relief from migraines, allergies, even hangovers. Some say swishing with coconut, sesame or olive oils helps to detoxify their bodies and lose weight.

Although believers say they don’t plan on giving up the grease, Sebastian Ciancio of UB Dental says there isn’t enough research to prove the practice’s effectiveness.

“The question of how this mechanism works is not clear. The other problem we have is that there are no good clinical studies,” said Ciancio, director of the University at Buffalo Center for Dental Studies.

Ciancio said there is only one known study out of India, which involved only 20 patients.

Natural health and wellness blogger Francheska Medina swears by oil pulling. She started doing it after years of suffering from kidney problems and taking medications to try and fix them.

Medina’s oil-pulling video on YouTube has gotten more than 50,000 views since she posted it in December.