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.

Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented beverage made from black tea and either sugar, honey or fruit, which has beneficial probiotic and antibiotic qualities. Once the solution is mixed, it is then fermented by a combination of bacteria and yeast better known as SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). There are numerous positive effects on the body, which are discussed here.

GUT HEALTH:

Kombucha is loaded with good bacteria (known as probiotics), as well as enzymes and yeast which assist in breaking down foods for enhanced absorption and digestion. Since the mixture is doing some of the work in digestion, your gut is better able to do its job without being overloaded. Kombucha also restores a healthy pH balance in the gut, and its consumption is highly recommended for individuals dealing with irritable bowel syndrome, Candida overgrowth, and many other digestive disorders.

The fermentation process involved in the production of kombucha also produces butyric acid, which has strong antimicrobial and anti-cancer features, protects the gut against yeast overgrowth, and destroys parasites which might be lurking in your gastrointestinal tract.

ALL THAT GOOD STUFF:

The fermentation process involved in making kombucha produces by-products such as acetic acid, which inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, thus conferring a protective effect upon the body against infection. Kombucha also contains naturally occurring glucosamine, so chugging this fermented beverage can also aid in joint function and health. It is also chock-full of vitamin C and vitamin B, and truly helps to cleanse the liver and rid the body of free radicals.

I remember a roommate from 2008 who had begun drinking raw kombucha regularly, and he insisted that it was the most fantastic new health beverage. What I hadn’t realized then was that kombucha has actually been around for over 2,000 years, originating in China, then spreading to countries such as Korea, Japan, Russia, and India.

My roommate kept insisting that I try kombucha, even when I told him that the slimy sludge floating in the bottles made me want to gag. I finally did try a sip of kombucha in 2009, and found that I didn’t like the incredibly tart, vinegary flavor at all.

Despite my first unfavorable experience kombucha, I decided to try some of the newer brands, like Health-Ade, Synergy and Revive, last year. It turns out that kombucha has come a long way, with better flavor, and the SCOBY colonies are somehow less disgusting than what I remember from years ago. The fruitier versions are fizzy, refreshing, and quite tasty. Because of its acidity, kombucha should not be consumed in excess. My recommendation is to drink 4 ounces per day to obtain the probiotic benefits of this strange and popular beverage.

Those Filthy Beards

According to a recent New Mexico study in which beards were swabbed for cultures, it was determined that beards contain just as much fecal matter as a toilet. To be fair, some beards had normal amounts and strains of bacteria which were consistent with what a microbiologist would expect from swabbing facial hair, but a few had
enough enteric bacteria (bacteria found in excrement) to cause illness in humans.

Ewwwwwwwwww.

Do yourself and others a favor and make sure to wash your hands frequently, scrub your beard clean at least once a day, and avoid touching your beard.

Don’t Sleep In Your Makeup!

sleeping in makeup

There are enough women out there who are in the habit of sleeping with their makeup on that I thought this would be a great topic to tackle in my blog. The three most common reasons why women sleep in their makeup are 1) they don’t want their bedmates to know what they really look like (listen, if you’re that concerned, the object of your love/lust is probably too shallow to be a good catch anyway), 2) they are too lazy to take a few minutes to remove their makeup, or 3) they are too drunk to perform a makeup removal ritual. I am not going to say that I have never fallen asleep with my makeup on, but it is exceedingly rare. I am so fastidious about removing makeup that I do a thorough face cleansing immediately after photo shoots and events, because I can’t stand the feeling of full makeup on my face. I honestly don’t know how many women wear full makeup every single day, and I especially cannot understand how some of them will sleep in those layers of gunk!

I cringe every time I hear a woman say that she frequently sleeps in her makeup, because I immediately think about how her skin is unable to breathe and heal because of all the pollutants, germs and oils which bake into it while she sleeps. Makeup is like a mask, and when it sits on top of the skin at night when you are sleeping, it prevents the cells in the skin from performing their restorative processes. Harmful chemicals from the environment cause free radical formation which goes unchecked when the skin is not cleansed, so the result is dull, prematurely aged skin.

Another reason why sleeping in makeup is unhealthy is that it clogs pores. As if that wasn’t enough, all that caked-on makeup serves as a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. I can always tell when women sleep in their makeup, because their skin has a congested, dull appearance, and acne breakouts are common. Even on the nights when a woman who habitually sleeps in her makeup decides to cleanse her skin, she is re-exposing herself to the bacteria, pollution, and oils which were left on the pillowcase along with the makeup from the evenings when she was too lazy to remove her makeup. In addition, sleeping with full makeup is a sure way to stain pillowcases.

I have actually heard women say that as long as they remove their face makeup, there shouldn’t be any hygienic issues with leaving eye makeup wrong. They couldn’t be more wrong. Eye shadows commonly have highly irritating substances like bismuth in them, and leaving them in contact with the delicate skin of the eyelids can invite eyelid inflammation, aka blepharitis, which is NOT fun at all. In addition, mascara, eye shadow and eyeliner can transfer onto the pillow, then get into your eyes, causing corneal irritation or infection.

Another reason why sleeping in eye makeup is a bad idea is that most mascara formulas dry out the eyelashes, and when left on for prolonged periods of time, can cause them to become extremely brittle. Lashes are more prone to breakage when they are dry. Also, for those of you who dare to sleep in false eyelashes at night, be aware that lash adhesives also tend to be very drying and irritating to the lash line, and can even inhibit lash growth if kept on the lash margin for too long.

Though the best way to cleanse your skin at night is to use a gentle yet thorough cleanser and a motorized brush (Clarisonic makes great brushes, but there are decent drugstore brands too), you should at the very least use a makeup remover towelette. If you are truly lazy, keep the towelettes by your bed so that you can easily grab them and wipe your face and eyes before hitting dreamland.

Antibiotic Resistance

antibiotic resistance

I cringe every single time I hear people say that they stopped taking an antibiotic after a day or two because they felt better. Those of you who are not trained in medicine, who flippantly decide that you won’t continue to take an antibiotic because you “feel much better”, should be aware that by engaging in this habit, you are making the issue of antibiotic resistance even worse.

Bacteria are quite crafty, because they constantly find ways to neutralize or block the effects of antibiotics. Most of the time, they acquire genetic mutations from the bacteria which have become resistant. So even if some of the more susceptible bacteria die, even one resistant bacterium can multiply rapidly and thus replace all the bacteria which were killed. Those new bacteria also have the same resistance which the original stubborn bacterium has. This is how things can get pretty ugly pretty quickly in the face of bacterial resistance.
it is a virus
Antibiotic resistance can occur even when patients follow instructions and take the full course of antibiotic therapy, but the chances are far greater when patients miss doses or stop taking the medication because a smaller proportion of the bacteria are killed or inhibited. Another situation in which antibiotic resistance can run rampant is when antibiotics are taken for viral infections such as the common cold. Specific antibiotics are used for specific types and strains of bacteria, and are not one-size-fits-all medications. Yet people continue to foolishly turn to an antibiotic (usually one which was prescribed for a bacterial infection, and which was abandoned before the full course was taken) when they have symptoms which they believe to be from a bacterial source. I have even heard friends freely admit that they took their child’s or spouse’s leftover antibiotic in hopes that it would make them feel better.

Please don’t be one of those people who contributes to antibiotic resistance by being irresponsible about antibiotic use!

Body Bacteria and Brain Health

body bacteria

You can find my original post at:

http://xactmind.com/xc/articles/body-bacteria-and-brain-health/

By: Dr. Stacey Naito – Physician and IFBB Pro

We Need Microbes

The cells in our bodies are far outnumbered by the microbes which also take up residence there, but these organisms are beneficial to us in many ways. For example, we rely on beneficial bacteria to fortify our immune systems and aid in the breakdown and absorption of food particles in the gut. Scientists have recently discovered that the microbes which are found throughout our bodies also play a vital role in keeping the blood-brain barrier intact.

The Blood-Brain Barrier

The blood-brain barrier is a vital physical blockade which prevents harmful chemicals and pathogens from passing into the brain. Scientists in Stockholm discovered that the blood-brain barrier relies on the presence of gap junction proteins, which are similar to the gap junction proteins which are important for building the intestinal wall. They tested the integrity of the blood-brain barrier in developing and adult mice by raising mice in a sterile environment to ensure that they were germ-free.

The scientists then injected antibodies (which are too large to pass through the blood-brain barrier) into embryos developing within germ-free mothers, as well as embryos developing within mothers who harbored normal germs. While the embryos from the normal germ-containing mothers had intact blood-brain barriers which formed a tight seal by day 17 of development, the embryos which developed in germ-free mothers displayed antibodies in their brains, proving that the blood-brain barrier had not formed properly. The embryos from germ-free mothers also had far fewer intact gap junction proteins in the blood-brain barrier.

Microbes and Multiple Sclerosis

These findings suggest that microbes are essential for normal development of the blood-brain barrier. If antibiotics, or food items which have antibiotics, are taken while a woman is pregnant, they could result in defective blood-brain barrier formation in the child. Further research into the link between microbes and normal blood-brain barrier development could lead to possible cures for diseases such as multiple sclerosis, which involves unexplained mechanisms that make the brain more vulnerable to damage.

Get The Best Skin Ever- Part 1: Lifestyle Adjustments

Beauty face of woman with clean skin

http://www.rxmuscle.com/rx-girl-articles/11853-get-the-best-skin-ever-part-1-lifestyle-adjustments.html

Please read my RxGirl article on making lifestyle adjustments that will transform your skin. You can access the original article by clicking on the link above, or keep reading here for the full article.

“What skin cream do you use? Your skin looks amazing!”

This is a common exclamation from women who admire the flawless skin of those who are either naturally dermatologically blessed or have been proactive about practicing good skin care. Perhaps you are one of the blessed individuals, but most women deal with acne, wrinkles, oiliness, hyperpigmentation, dry skin and dark circles under the eyes, all of which can be addressed with targeted products. If you practice consistent skin care with the right products, you will see improvements in the tone and quality of your skin.

Before delving into topical products in Part 2 of this article, I will utilize Part 1 here to review the many variables which can dramatically influence the quality of the skin.

Sleeping Beauty –
There’s a lot of truth to the adage about getting one’s beauty sleep. When you get adequate sleep, you optimize your body’s ability to repair itself because it has a chance to release human growth hormone in the deep stages of sleep. Conversely, cheating yourself out of a good night’s sleep results in an increase in cortisol release, which increases the amount of inflammation in the body. Basically, the inflammation prevents your cells from repairing damaged collagen, and if this occurs chronically, your skin will adopt an aged appearance. So get some quality shut-eye every night!

Don’t smoke –
I know most of you ladies don’t engage in this habit, but if you do, bear in mind that the habit breaks down the collagen and elastin in your skin, aging you prematurely. Smoking also constricts the blood vessels in the upper layer (epidermis), which interferes with delivery of oxygen and other vital nutrients which are involved in cell renewal. Lastly, the constant pursing of the lips which occurs while puffing on a cigarette causes fine vertical lines (“smoker’s lines”) to develop around the mouth.

Internal antioxidants –
We have all heard of the benefits of daily antioxidant intake and how these nutrients boost the body’s immunity, decrease inflammation, and even improve cognition, so it shouldn’t surprise you that antioxidants also promote cellular repair in the skin as well. Make sure to incorporate foods and supplements which have antioxidants such as vitamins A,C, E, cofactors like CoQ10, and polyphenols like resveratrol in them.

Hydrate from within –
Drink plenty of water, and you will be rewarded with glowing, healthy skin. Every time I have told a patient who suffered either from dry skin or from stubborn acne to drink plenty of water, I have seen dramatic improvement in the quality of their skin after they began drinking at least three liters of water per day. Adequate hydration will ensure that toxins are flushed out of cells and the cells are filled with water.

Healthy fats –
One of the hazards of competing is the tendency for coaches to completely strip dietary fat from contest prep diets. What results is a gaunt, unhealthy, aged appearance in the face which looks terrible and just screams for dermal fillers. Rather than wreak havoc on your youthful appearance, why not keep healthy fats like avocado, MCT oil, coconut oil, olive oil, flax seed, almonds, cashews, and fish oil in your daily regimen?

Limit alcohol –
Alcohol is notorious for dehydrating the skin and for that reason alone should be ingested in moderation. Also, since alcohol is toxic to the liver, it impairs the body’s ability to remove other environmental toxins which will be reflected in the quality of the skin. And for those of you who suffer from rosacea, that relaxing glass of red wine with dinner is a big no-no because it will aggravate the condition.

Clean makeup brushes –
When was the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes? Makeup brushes should be thoroughly washed on a regular basis to remove product build-up, bacteria and oils. If you suffer from acne, you need to be especially diligent about cleaning your makeup brushes regularly. As a general rule, clean foundation and concealer brushes at least once a week (twice a week if acne is a major issue). Eye makeup brushes should be cleaned every two weeks, and other brushes should be cleaned monthly. There are some excellent brush cleaning solvents, but you can mix one part baby shampoo with four parts water for an excellent and cheap brush cleaner.

Sanitize cell phone –
Cleaning your cell phone on a regular basis is a good sanitary practice to adopt, and can also save your skin from acne breakouts and rashes. Think for a minute how much you touch your phone and how much dust, ear wax and fingertip residue can accumulate on its surface. It’s no surprise that putting this bacteria- riddled device next to your cheek can cause skin flare-ups to occur. The best way to clean your phone is to use a soft cloth which is lightly sprayed with a dilute isopropyl alcohol solution (equal parts iso alcohol and water).

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article which will cover topical products and treatments for luminous, youthful skin!