3 Quick Ways to Improve Your Oral and Vision Health Habits

by MikeMeehan 9/13/2017 11:35 AM

Let’s make this one easy. You already have good oral and vision health habits like visiting your eye doctor and dentist, brushing and flossing your teeth, and eating healthy foods to keep your teeth, gums and eyes strong. For self-improvement month, let’s take those habits and improve them a bit. With these small improvements, you’ll make a big difference in your oral and vision health. Brush for a full two minutes, time yourself!You’ve mastered your brushing technique, hitting all the tough-to-reach spots. You brush every morning, every night, and sometimes in between. Now, are you sure you’re brushing for two to three minutes? Try using our mobile app with the toothbrush timer, or try playing a song (average length is three minutes). Two minutes can seem like a short amount of time, but watch the clock, you might not be brushing long enough.Brushing for two to three minutes allows enough time for the fluoride in your toothpaste to do its job. Also, two to three minutes is approximately how long it takes to brush every tooth. But don’t think brushing harder, or faster, can make up for shortened time. If you brush too hard, or apply too much pressure, you could hurt your enamel and gum tissue.Can I sneak in one more small improvement with this one? Brush your tongue! It only adds another few seconds! Due to its rough surface, your tongue can be a hiding place for bacteria that causes bad breath. Rest your eyesThis is a fast-growing vision problem affecting everyone – digital eye strain caused by blue light from our computer screens, phones, and other devices. To improve your vision health and prevent this condition, the easiest step you can take is to limit your time in front of a screen, or, at the very least, take frequent breaks. Breaks should be every 20 minutes and at least 20 seconds. Another prevention step to consider is using glasses with blue-light filtering lenses. Because this condition is becoming commonplace, vision providers are offering this option for your lenses. Improve your techniqueYou’ve advanced your oral health care by including flossing in your routine. That’s fantastic, but we’re going to push you a little bit further to improve your flossing technique. While you’re gliding the floss between your teeth with a gentle sawing motion, improve this technique by curving the floss along the gum line and sliding up and down. This improvement will help to clean not just in between your teeth, but along the gum line.Flossing protects your gums and helps to prevent disease. If you’ve already mastered your flossing technique, consider making improvements to your brushing technique too.  These three suggestions are a quick way to improve your dental and vision health­ – brush for two minutes, give your eyes a break from blue light and improve your flossing technique. And if you’re looking for more ways to improve, see last week’s blog about adding more fruits and vegetables to your menu.

How My Power Walk Turned into a Power Smile

by MikeMeehan 4/5/2017 4:00 PM

I was fortunate enough to get out for a hike, recently. And the whole time, I couldn’t stop smiling. Despite the burning muscles in my legs, the rustling trees, the blooming yellow flowers and the invigorating air, lifted my spirits and encouraged me to keep going. Power walking turned into a power smile. The connection between a walk and a smile Here at Delta Dental, we emphasize the link between oral health and overall health. So, we are happy to celebrate National Walking Day, this week, and bring attention to this connection. An unhealthy mouth can increase the risk of health problems. But a healthy mouth can keep you healthy and keep you walking. The Message of National Walking Day The American Heart Association sponsors National Walking Day on Wednesday, April 5, to remind us of the health benefits of walking. Research shows that walking at least 30 minutes a day has many benefits like reducing your risk of heart disease and improving your mental well-being. Whether you are walking, hiking, biking, or partaking in any exercise, your oral health can be a part of your overall healthy lifestyle choices. What to bring on your walk or hike Remember to pack a water bottle (hydration is good for the mouth), a smile-friendly apple for a snack, and sunglasses to protect your eyes. One good decision leads to another I can’t take credit for having the willpower to get out there for a power walk; it was an invitation from a friend that encouraged me. But the decision to go, led to another decision to eat salad this week for lunch, and another decision to plan to hike again in a few weeks. It led me to find more hiking and walking trails near me. It gave me energy to make other healthy choices. And those healthy lifestyle choices include good oral health habits. We say “Good health starts here.” So good health starts with a healthy smile and one foot in front of the other.  

Live Mouth Smart: How to Advocate World Oral Health Day 2017

by MikeMeehan 3/20/2017 1:20 PM

Today, the FDI World Dental Federation wants to educate people on how to Live Mouth Smart. And no, “mouth smart” is not the same as a “smart mouth.” Live Mouth Smart is the theme for World Oral Health Day 2017. World Oral Health Day launched in 2013. Organized by the FDI World Dental Federation, the day raises awareness of the importance of good oral health, as well as the connection between oral health and overall health.   The FDI World Dental Federation distributed a guide for policymakers with five calls to action for the day. And while the day is geared toward advocacy, it does contain useful tips for you to advocate for your own oral health. Why You Want to Advocate for Your Own Oral Health It’s a saying we’ve shared before: You can’t spell overall without oral. As in, oral health directly affects overall wellness. Based on some of the worldwide statistics released by the FDI World Dental Foundation, many of us are struggling with our health. Oral health affects 3.9 billion people globally, with untreated tooth decay impacting almost half of the world’s population (44 percent). Throughout the world, between 60 and 90 percent of schoolchildren and nearly 100 percent of adults have tooth decay, which often leads to pain and discomfort. Severe gum disease is found in 15 to 20 percent of middle-aged (35- to 44-year-old) adults. In the United States, $110 billion is spent annually on oral healthcare. And this isn’t to mention the serious gaps in epidemiological data, especially in low- and middle-income countries, due to oral health not being integrated in national disease surveillance. While it may require policymakers to change the way we report oral health globally, oral health is anything but out of our court. Four Simple Ideas to Boost Your Health this World Oral Health Day 2017 Here are four ways you can advocate for your own oral health: Eat healthy. The FDI World Dental Foundation defines a healthy diet primarily as one low in sugar, as sugar is the leading risk factor for tooth decay. But you don’t have to make healthy eating about avoiding certain foods. Lots of healthy options are delicious. Foods rich in calcium and phosphorous — like hard aged cheese, seafood, almonds and pumpkin seeds — can help restore enamel. Hard, crunchy foods that contain lots of water — like celery — can gently scrub and clean teeth surfaces, removing plaque and food particles. Foods rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants — berries, broccoli and beans — can help clean gums. If you need any help, follow us on Facebook for a new healthy recipe every Wednesday. Say NO to tobacco. Tobacco use in all forms is harmful to health, including oral health. Globally, it’s the leading preventable cause of death and disease. Moderate. While an occasional glass of wine may actually be good for you, excessive alcohol use can lead to periodontal disease. Apply fluoride. Fluoride can prevent tooth decay, reverse the process of early decay and remineralize enamel. You also have several options about how you might apply it: Add it to water, salt or milk. To check to see if fluoride’s been added to your tap water, go to this website, which is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If the tap water is fluoridated, you can learn about the fluoride concentration as well. Have it prescribed as a gel, varnish or tablet. Contact your doctor about this method. Use toothpaste or mouth rinse. Check the ingredients in your toothpaste or mouth rinse to ensure it contains fluoride. By following these four simple ideas, you can advocate for your own oral health. You might also want to check out these resources from World Oral Health Day, including a brochure, posters and social media material you can download.  


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