ALL The Ramen!

Sendai ramen

As a result of my Japanese heritage, my palate has always been primed for ramen.  I’m not talking about the economical dried version which has become a rescue meal for most monetarily challenged college students (admittedly, I availed myself of this habit when I was a struggling college student and also holding down two jobs).  I’m talking about authentic, Japanese ramen which can be found in ramen houses in Japantown areas around the United States, as well as ramen shops and yatai (stalls) throughout Japan.  A steaming bowl of authentic Japanese ramen is a masterpiece, full of slurpy golden noodles, briny broth, meat, and vegetables, irresistible and unforgettable.

There are over 32,000 ramen houses throughout Japan, and there are enough ramen varieties and regional variations to steep your fascination for this delectable soup.  It is quite common to see long lines of people spilling onto the street in anticipation of a bowl of heaven from the more popular noodle joints.

In the months leading up to my trip to Japan, which took place in March of 2020, ramen was the dish I was the most excited about eating while in my maternal grandparents’ native land.  Even though I am supposed to avoid wheat and eggs, I was NOT about to deprive myself of ramen while in Japan.  I ended up paying the price every single time I consumed a bowl of ramen, developing abdominal cramping within 20 minutes after ingesting each bowl of those incredible noodles.  Then the next day, I was ready to eat more ramen, even though I knew full well that my belly would writhe in digestive protest.

There wasn’t a single bowl of ramen I had while in Japan that was less than spectacular, and I truly got a kick out of the bizarre yet efficient way in which most ramen houses had their patrons order (basically, you order from a station and pay through it as well, without any human interaction).  I was also intrigued by the distinct regional variations which popped up depending on what prefecture I was visiting.  Curious about the main types?  Click here to learn more.

Sapporo Ramen…miso base with ground chicken, crabmeat

I quickly noticed that in Sapporo, miso ramen was featured in many of the ramen-ya.  And before you think it’s just a basic miso, noodle masters add in fresh garlic and ginger and simmer with pork broth for an unbelievably tasty concoction.

Kyoto Ramen

Kyoto Ramen

I had both shoyu ramen (first image above) and miso ramen while in Kyoto, and loved both.  Then as I headed further south, I encountered creamy, extremely flavorful broth.  In Okayama, I encountered a specific type of  tonkotsu style broth, made from slow simmered pork, but with Okayama-specific seasonings.  Delicious.

Okayama ramen

Then I arrived in Kumamoto, my grandmother’s birthplace, and noticed that the ramen houses featured a very milky, rich, flavorful broth which was also made from pork bones for many hours.  Though I am not a big consumer of pork, I was happy to ingest it daily as part of my almost daily ramen indulgence.

Obviously with all the ramen around, I didn’t follow a low carb diet.  In fact, I had rice balls to snack on whenever I rode the shinkansen (bullet train), and I had a devil of a time finding high protein meals or snacks of any kind.  So I just allowed myself to enjoy the constant carb bump for 2 weeks straight. If you ever travel to Japan, don’t deprive yourself of ramen, rice, mochi, manju, and other carb-heavy foods.  You will be moving around so much during the day that you will burn off the carbs pretty steadily.

A True Survivor

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Now that we are all settling into a new normal with the global COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, I’m almost thankful that I grew up in a poor household.  Because I saw my mom struggle to make ends meet as a single mother, I learned some valuable lessons about how to brave any storm.

As soon as the wave of panic and dread began to sweep across the globe amid COVID-19 concerns, my survival instinct kicked up big time. I began hunkering down, planning a strategy, a game plan.  I turned to my childhood comfort food, white rice (I limit my current consumption to a small amount of jasmine rice) to stretch out my meals, a trick I knew all too well from my childhood.

What really surprised me was how a number of extremely wealthy people I know completely buckled under the pressure, lost all their coping mechanisms, and allowed their businesses to evaporate because they didn’t want to think outside the box and re-strategize.  It was astonishing how the same people who used to intimidate me and make me feel inadequate were so quick to give up.  All the shiny things don’t matter when one suddenly has to think about how to keep a roof over one’s head and put food on the table.  Food, shelter, and essential items will always be more important than driving a fancy car or buying designer clothing.

Everything has shifted profoundly, permanently on this planet, and we are all being forced to pay attention and shift our priorities.  We miss the people we cannot see in person, which hopefully means that we will hold higher value for those friendships and bonds.  If mankind is being forced to reinvent itself, then let’s get this done!

A Great Solution For Hot Flashes

Several months ago, I began using a product called Personal Summer Comfort®, an all natural supplement designed to treat hot flashes in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women.  I went through menopause several years ago, but my thermostat is constantly set on high, and there are times, especially when the mercury climbs outside, when I burn up like the Mojave Desert.  I know you ladies who suffer from hot flashes are well acquainted with that sudden burst of intense heat which is guaranteed to make its sufferer completely miserable.

Personal Summer Comfort® is a high potency formula featuring a combination of herbs which work in tandem to support the nervous system and alleviate those dreaded hot flashes.  Rosemary has proven effects on estrogen balance by its ability to flush the liver of estrogen while also promoting the formation of 2-hydroxy estrogens, supports thyroid function, and  lowers cortisol levels. Sage, oat straw, sarsparilla, spirulina, and kelp, substances which are known for their effectiveness in treating hot flashes and night sweats, are used in this formula as well.

I opted to try Personal Summer Comfort® in the gel-caps, but for women who have trouble swallowing capsules, there is also a liquid formulation.  About a week after I began taking this supplement, I noticed that I was able to sleep at night without fighting a strong urge to throw the covers off my body.  I also noticed that I could comfortably cruise through my day without so much as a warning mini-hot flash.  I have even been able to run a flat iron through my hair on a hot day, a task which was absolute torture before I began taking Personal Summer Comfort®.

I always use myself as a guinea pig for supplements and other products which I endorse, because I have to believe in the product in order to promote it.  Well, I can honestly say that I am a big fan of Personal Summer Comfort®, and I’m thrilled that I can now recommend a product to my menopausal patients and friends which is completely natural, safe and highly effective. 

This is also a great time to start taking Personal Summer Comfort® if you have been suffering from hot flashes, night sweats and irritability.  With summer just around the corner, we ladies need all the help we can get to stay cool and calm!

Check out Personal Summer Comfort® at:

Personal Summer Comfort Homepage

Enter code big20off for 20% off your order.

 

Home Sweat Home

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Copyright : Katarzyna Białasiewicz

 

When I first decided to write a blog post on this topic, it was a couple of years ago, and I sat on it, procrastinating. What finally prompted me to complete this post was the inevitable, terrifying lockdown which washed across the globe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Times have certainly changed in a heartbeat, and many of us find ourselves in unfamiliar territory, being forced to remain within the confines of our homes, socially isolated, concerned about a very uncertain financial and economic future.   Gym rats like me everywhere have been banned from alighting daily upon gyms and fitness facilities which have provided much needed iron therapy, daily “me” time, and a chance to clear up all the mental clutter which our frenetic society has thrust upon us.

Whether you are stuck indoors without much more than a list of streaming shows to check off, or you have had the good fortune to remain gainfully employed during this difficult time, you might be interested in some exercises which can keep you lean and mean.

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Copyright : Marcin Balcerzak

 

Throw in a few quad stretches during your day to keep soft tissues limber!

 

It may seem to be a daunting task to devise a workout routine outside of a gym or health club, but it is absolutely possible to get decent workouts in on a daily basis whether you are at home, or away from home with limited equipment. Whether you take a few minutes to exercise at your desk while at work (just remember the safe distance rule), throw together a calisthenics routine in an open outdoor area, use your living room floor to eke out a workout, or use furnishings in a home office area to crank out a sweat-inducing regimen, you honestly have ZERO excuses to avoid a workout. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need fancy gym equipment to move and challenge your body.

If you truly are new to exercising on the fly, here are some suggested workouts which can get you going.

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Copyright : Andriy Popov

 

Got a stability ball chair?  It’s great for balancing on while you get a good rib stretch!

 

SUGGESTED EXERCISES:

CALISTHENICS/PLYOS for full-body:

Star Jacks:  These are similar to a jumping jack, but you flair your arms and legs out, while jump explosively from the ground. To make it more challenging, touch the ground at the beginning of the move.

Try 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

 

Jump Squats:  Start in a crouched squat position with feet shoulder width apart.  Then jump up quickly Upon landing, return to squat position again.

3 to 5 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

 

UPPER BODY BLAST:

Tricep Dining Room Chair Dips:

You can perform these triceps burners on the edge of a chair or a firm bed, or a bathtub.

  1. Place your hands at the edge of the bed with palms facing down so you are supporting your upper body.
  2. Bend your knees at 90 degrees so that your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  3. Dip down slowly, keeping elbows in line with your shoulders.
  4. Push down against the support to raise yourself back up to the starting position.

 

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

 

Incline Push Ups (use the floor or chair):

  1. Place your hands on the bed or a chair with your feet on the floor behind you in a push-up position.
  2. Slowly lower yourself down to the bed while keeping your abdominal region tight and squeezing your glutes.  Don’t round out your back!
  3. Push back up to the starting position and repeat.

 

3 sets of 10 to 12 reps

 

Decline Push Ups:

When you are ready to get more of a challenge from your push ups, move to this exercise.

 

  1. Start with your feet on the bed and your hands on the ground. Keep your body in a straight line and your abdominals tucked in.
  2. Slowly lower your chest down to the ground while keeping your elbows in close to your body.
  3. Push back up to the starting position and repeat.

 

One Arm Milk Jug Rows:

Use a milk jug or similar weighted item for this exercise.

  1. Start bent forward at the waist, placing opposite hand on low table, chair, or sofa.
  2. With other arm, bend at elbow and bring weight up near ribcage, squeezing muscles in mid back to bring weight up.  Return to start.

3 sets of 10 to 12 reps

 

LEG BLAST:

Wall Squats:

  1. With your back to the wall, lower down so that your legs create a 90-degree angle.
  2. Hold this position for as long as you can.

3 sets of 30 to 60 seconds

 

Bodyweight Squats:

  1. Start in squat position.
  2. Squeeze glutes and backs of legs to raise up halfaway.
  3. Return to start.

4 sets of 12 to 15 reps

 

Front Lunges:

  1. Start standing with feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Step forward with right foot into lunge position, knee bent at 90 degrees, with right thigh parallel to ground.  Make sure knee does NOT extend past your toes!
  3. Return to start position by pushing off right foot and squeezing left glute.
  4. Repeat on other leg.

4 sets of 10 reps each leg

 

Walking Lunges:

  1. Start standing with feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Step forward with right foot into lunge position, knee bent at 90 degrees, with right thigh parallel to ground.  Make sure knee does NOT extend past your toes!
  3. Now advance by stepping forward with left foot into lunge position, knee bent at 90 degrees, with left thigh parallel to ground.  Make sure knee does NOT extend past your toes!
  4. Keep moving forward, alternating legs.

3 sets of 10 reps each leg

 

Diagonal Lunges:

  1. Start standing with feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Step forward with right foot out at a 45 degree angle from the center line into lunge position, knee bent at 90 degrees, with right thigh parallel to ground.  Make sure knee does NOT extend past your toes!
  3. Now advance by stepping forward with left foot out at a 45 degree angle from the center line into lunge position, knee bent at 90 degrees, with left thigh parallel to ground.  Make sure knee does NOT extend past your toes!
  4. Keep moving forward, alternating legs.

3 sets of 10 reps each leg

 

Single Leg Deadlifts:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Lean forward at the hips and shift your weight onto right leg while extending left leg straight behind you.
  3. Lift your extended left leg while leaning your upper body forward until your body is almost parallel with ground, arms hanging down or with hands at hips.  Slowly return your extended leg to starting position.
  4. Repeat with other leg.

3 sets of 10 reps each leg

 

Assisted Pistol Squats:

  1. Start by balancing on right leg, toes pointed forward.
  2. Straighten out left leg in front of you while you crouch down.  Lightly lean on chair back with your right hand as you crouch down to assist with movement, until your extended leg is parallel with ground.
  3. Press back up by engaging muscles in your right leg, pressing away from the floor to return to start.
  4. Repeat for designated number of repetitions, then switch legs.

3 sets of 6 to 8 reps per leg

 

Leg Kickbacks:

  1. Get down on all fours on the floor with an exercise mat or towel under you for cushion.  Align your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Without changing the angle of your knee, extend your right leg back and up until your thigh is parallel with the ground with the sole of your right foot facing the ceiling.
  3. Contract your glute at the top of the movement and hold for a count of 1-2.
  4. Return to your starting position without touching your knee to the ground and repeat.
  5. Do 12 to 20 repetitions, then switch sides.

4 to 5 sets of 12 to 20 reps per leg

 

Hip Bridge:

  1. Lie flat on your back, with knees bent and arms by your hips, palms down, and feet hip distance apart with heels a few inches from your glutes.
  2. Push through your HEELS and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up so that they are in line with your torso.
  3. Pause at top for a count of 2 to 3, then lower back down.

3 to 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps

 

ABDOMINAL STABILIZERS:

Basic Plank:

  1. Place forearms on the floor with elbows aligned below shoulders and arms parallel to your body at about shoulder width.
  2. Feet are about 6-8 inches apart, with toes ground into floor.
  3. Squeeze glutes and make sure your entire body makes one long line.
  4. Neutralize your neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond your hands. Make sure your head is in line with your back.
  5. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds.

One Hundreds:

  1. Lie on back with knees bent at 90 degrees and hips at 90 degrees from floor.
  2. Reach arms down along torso parallel to floor, then lift head and engage your abdominal muscles with shoulder blades off the mat.
  3. Move your hands in a repetitive percussive motion about an inch or so off the floor then down while you inhale for a count of 5.
  4. Exhale for a count of 5 while continuing the same percussive hand motion.
  5. Repeat for 9 more full breaths with same cadence.

V-Ups:

  1. Lie on your back and extend your arms above your head. Keep your feet together with toes pointed.
  2. With legs straight, lift them up as you simultaneously raise your upper body off the floor. Keep your core tight as you reach for your toes with your hands. Slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position.

How To Do V-Ups

6 Interesting Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

Photo credit: Rawpixel

 

By Karen Weeks

Karen Weeks – Elderwellness.net

karen@elderwellness.net

Yoga can be practiced by anyone at any point in their life. Participation in yoga has nearly doubled in just a couple of years as people have realized the powerful health benefits that it provides. If you’re a senior who is considering getting started in yoga, here are some benefits you may enjoy from your practice.

 

  1. Better dental health

 

There is a well-defined link between mental health problems, like stress and depression, and poor dental health. When you’re stressed out, your immune system is weakened and your gums are more prone to bacterial invasion. Antidepressants can also dry out your mouth, which can make it harder to wash food away from your teeth and gums. If you tend to grind your teeth when you’re stressed out, you can also have problems with your jaw. 

 

Yoga is an excellent activity to help relax you. You learn better breathing patterns as well as how to soothe your mind and body. These are good stress-reducing activities that have long-term effects. Despite yoga’s benefits for oral health, you should still find a dentist to visit if you have problems with tooth or jaw pain.

 

  1. Improved gut health

 

Changing diet and age can reduce the overall diversity of microbes in the gut, and this lack of diversity can make the body less healthy and responsive. Hyperbiotics explains that exercise can boost gut health by improving the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is the collection of microbes that naturally live in our bodies and help us digest. Yoga is one easy exercise you can start, even if you haven’t exercised in a while. This physical activity will help you achieve a happier gut, which will help you feel happier overall.

 

  1. Healthier joints

 

Yoga can improve flexibility and joint health. When it’s paired with meditation, it can reduce stiffness. Part of this comes from learning proper alignment of the body, as well as learning how to modify poses that can help minimize pain in your body. Meditation helps you develop a greater awareness of the stiffness in your body and work on relaxing whatever might get stiff.

 

  1. Reduced blood pressure

 

Research has suggested that yoga and meditation as a possible way to alleviate mild problems with blood pressure. Yoga can be a light-intensity activity, which is great if you’re a beginner. Physical activity is recommended for people who have high blood pressure, and yoga can be a big part of that. It can also help your stress response which can impact your blood pressure. Yoga is a good combination of getting your heart rate up while also relaxing your body and mind.

 

  1. Better balance

 

Research has demonstrated that yoga can be a powerful way to improve balance and mobility in older populations. This is especially important in arming you against potential falls and bone breaks. Yoga has all sorts of poses that can help you gain strength and balance within yourself, such as “tree pose.” It will also help you improve your core strength, which helps your balance as well.

 

  1. Strong bones

 

A critical part of bone health is getting physical activity. Some activities are better than others when it comes to building and maintaining strong bones. Yoga is one of these activities, as you build greater strength in your muscles and bones, and you can do it all in a low-impact way. However, if you have low bone density, make sure you do alternatives to specific poses or avoid them outright, such as forward folds and spinal twists. Listen to your body, and avoid any pose that feels painful.

 

Where to Do Yoga

 

Now that you’ve learned all about yoga’s benefits, you may be interested in how to get started on your own yoga practice. The beauty of yoga is that it can be practiced in the comfort of your own home. You can access fitness apps on a fitness tracker or other device to learn yoga poses, or refer to YouTube exercise videos that are geared toward seniors. You may also find that during your at-home practice, you’ll want to enhance your yoga routine with additional exercises like stretches, chair exercises, and resistance training. Mixing up your exercises can help you stay motivated and improve workout performance.

 

If you’d prefer to practice yoga outside of the home, you can learn from a professional yoga instructor who can teach you how to do each pose properly. You can check out some yoga studios in your neighborhood; some may even offer classes specially suited for seniors. 

 

An important part of starting your yoga practice is modifying it to fit your individual circumstances. Start slowly, and focus on poses that you’re comfortable with. As long as you’re careful and comfortable with your progress, yoga is worth giving a try in your senior years.

Why Some Millennials Aren’t Smiling: Bad Teeth Hinder 28% In Job Search

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Copyright: Dean Drobot

I am sharing this very interesting article written by Diana Hembree which explores the issue of tooth decay in the millennial population.  What in the world is happening with the millennial generation?  It seems the focus is changing, from quality care, to what is more convenient for the consumer.   What a shame.

The other issue I see here is a glaring lack of motivation on the part of millennials to correct issues which may interfere with their ability to secure gainful employment.  I can’t help but think of descriptors for this crop of young adults such as lazy, entitled, and doomed.

Here is the link to the original article:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dianahembree/2017/03/28/why-some-millennials-arent-smiling-bad-teeth-hinder-28-in-job-search/#4db0d74c59c6

by Diana Hembree

Decaying teeth and gum problems make one in three young adults aged 18 to 34 (33%) reluctant to smile, the ADA found. About one in five have cut back on socializing as a result of dental problems. And 28% say the appearance of their teeth and mouth undermines their ability to interview for a job.

The ADA study also found that:

— More than 30% of young adults have untreated tooth decay (the highest of any age group)

— 35% have trouble biting and chewing

— Some 38% of this age group find life in general “less satisfying” due to teeth and mouth problems.

— They are three times more likely than children to lack dental care due to financial reasons, with only 30% of millennials visiting the dentist each year.

The dental system is going to have to change to appeal to millennials “who are all about convenience,” periodontist and consultant to dental practitioners Marc Cooper writes on his website, masterycompany.com.

Millennials aren’t tied to the idea of a personal relationship with one dental practitioner; they are used to comparing service and costs and ordering on their smart phones — rather like calling up an Uber or Lyft — and they likely won’t tolerate inefficiency or long waits for appointments, Cooper added.

This may mean some major changes for dental providers. Today, approximately 92% of professionally active dentists work in a private practice, according to the ADA. In 2016, the ADA’s Health Policy Institute researchers surveyed millennials to gauge their interest in getting dental care in a retail setting, such as a CVS, Target or Walmart store. Overall, nearly 4 in 10 indicated that they were somewhat or very interested, including nearly half of Hispanics (47%) and African Americans (45%) surveyed.

“Millennials are not the same type of patient as a baby boomer,” says Vujicic. “We know millennials demand transparent cost and quality information when it comes to health care services. We know they place a premium on convenience.

“Health care is slow to adjust,” he added, “but the dental care system in particular is just starting to feel this wave of intensified consumerism.”

Change is already brewing: Beam Dental, a young tech company operating in about eight states with 100,000 dentists, focuses on prevention and online tools for “tech-savvy clients.” It offers coverage discounted by about 10 to 25% based partly on how well you practice good dental hygiene – which the company can monitor, with permission, through an internet-connected toothbrush that reports how often and how well you brush.

So far Beam Dental is available only through small and medium sized businesses who pay all or part of employee premiums, with a strong following among startups and millennial-oriented organizations, says Alex Frommeyer, co-founder and CEO.

“We knew that the dental industry was broken because there were over 100 million Americans without coverage,” Frommeyer says. He adds that he wants to offer affordable dental care while using online-based services “to incentivize people to invest in their own dental health.”

In the meantime, if you’re a cash-strapped millennial who needs dental care and lacks dental insurance, you may want to:

  • Check out dental schools in your area, where dental care costs much less than services from private dentists
  • Check out community college dental hygienist training programs for free or low-cost preventive care
  • Ask your dentist about a payment plan for more expensive treatments such as fillings and crowns
  • Charge your treatment to a low- or zero-interest credit card and pay it off before the interest rate goes up
  • Apply for a healthcare financing credit card from CareCredit
  • Look for a dental health fair in your area in which practitioners provide free dental screenings and care
  • See whether your community health care center offers free or low-cost dental care
  • Get treatment at the first sign of tooth pain, before it turns into something requiring a crown, root canal or emergency dental care.

MoneyGeek writer Judith Horstman contributed to this report. Horstman is a former Washington correspondent for Gannett and has written four books for Scientific American.

Take Care Of Your Teeth!

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Have you ever spoken with someone who had such bad breath that you were tempted to turn away or shield your nose from the olfactory onslaught? If a person has such bad breath that it is very noticeable to others, his or her oral health is very poor, with excessive levels of oral bacteria. When oral bacteria levels are left unchecked, the most obvious conditions which develop are gum disease and tooth decay.

Your mouth is a veritable breeding ground for bacteria, and though most of the microbes which take up residence in your mouth are harmless, some species can also enter your lungs and digestive tract and wreak havoc on them. In addition, bacteria which enter the bloodstream from inflamed gums can travel to arteries in the heart, causing them to harden, which then causes plaque to develop on the arterial walls and impede blood flow. In plain terms, bacteria from your mouth can increase your risk of stroke or heart attack. Another vital organ in which oral bacteria can accumulate is the brain, increasing the risk of development of Alzheimer’s dementia.

So how do you most effectively control the amount of bacteria in your mouth and protect yourself against development of major diseases? The most obvious advice is to brush and floss daily, but there are also a number of other guidelines which you should follow for the healthiest teeth and gums.

FOR OPTIMAL ORAL HEALTH, DO THE FOLLOWING:
* brush teeth at least twice daily
* floss daily
* brush your tongue daily
* don’t brush too vigorously
* go for professional dental cleaning every six months
* reduce sugar intake
* get cavities filled as soon as you discover them

I know that many people get very lazy about flossing in particular, complaining that it is tedious and not worth the time. Admittedly, I used to be one of those people until about 15 years ago, when I made a concerted effort to floss daily, and I can tell you that it has made a difference. How do I know? Because when I go for my regular dental exam and cleaning every six months (and I go like clockwork), the dentist or hygienist doesn’t have much to scrape off my teeth. The trick with flossing is to curve the floss and run it along the tooth to remove any stubborn plaque and food items which may be hugging the curves and the spaces between each tooth. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a snap to do.

I also prefer an electric toothbrush with soft bristles. For those of you who use a heavy hand when you brush your teeth, bear in mind that you are wearing down your enamel when you brush vigorously. Allow the oscillation of the brush bristles to do the work. It’s also better for your hand and wrist.