The Eyelash of the Beholder: How Lashes Play a Vital Role for Your Eyes

by MikeMeehan 2/16/2017 12:58 PM

Did you know your eyelashes have glands? Or that you might have mites on your eyelashes? Some interesting facts about eyelashes include: ·       Eyelashes fall out daily. Sometimes, as many as five drop in one day. ·       You have more eyelashes on the upper lid than on the lower. The upper lid usually contains about 200, and the lower about 100. ·       Eyelashes vary in length, with the longest lashes at the middle of the upper lid. ·       The eyelash has two sets of glands: oil glands and sweat glands. The oil glands are named Glands of Zeis (after ophthalmologist Eduard Zeis), and the sweat glands the Glands of Moll (after oculist Jacob Anton Moll). The glands keep the follicles unclogged and the lashes bacteria-free. ·       For many people, tiny mites named Demodex live at the base of your eyelashes. They come out during sleep to eat dirt, debris and cells shed by lashes. In many instances, this is beneficial, as it keeps follicles from getting clogged, although too many Demodex can become problematic, causing eyelashes to fall out. Who would have thought eyelashes could be so interesting? But eyelashes are more than just interesting. They play important roles in eye health. Love at First Sight: Some of the Beautiful Purposes of Eyelashes Eyelashes can enhance the eyes. Some people claim the eye is the first feature we fall in love with, so eyelashes can make you seem more beautiful to others. But they play more than just a beauty role. One of their purposes is to minimize airflow over the eyeball, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Prolonged airflow on the eyes can dry them out. Also, because the eyeball is exposed, eyelashes can keep out dirt, sweat and debris. This can prevent viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections. Five Simple Ways You Can Keep Your Eyelashes Healthy For your eyelashes to serve their greatest purpose, make sure you take good care of them. To do so, you can start in a few ways: 1)     Thoroughly remove eye makeup each night. If you don’t, you risk too many Demodex (those eyelash mites) in your eyelashes. 2)     Replace eye makeup more often than other kinds of makeup. Mascaras, along with other liquid or creamy products, are wet, dark and damp. That may seem obvious. What may not be as obvious is wet, dark and damp products are more prone to cause infection. Bacteria can thrive in them, especially if the products are exposed to air. As a result, most manufacturers recommend replacing mascara every two to four months, and keeping other eye makeups no longer than three months. 3)     Don’t share your cosmetics or cosmetic eye tools. You are more likely to develop an eye infection by sharing cosmetics or cosmetic eye tools. 4)     Avoid plucking. Eyelashes generally grow at a slower pace than most other hair on your body. If you pluck too many eyelashes out, you run a greater risk of dirt, sweat and debris getting into the eyes. 5)     Practice basic wellness. By practicing basic wellness techniques, like proper hand washing and regular showering, you can prevent infections like styes. Styes are red, painful lumps near the base of your eyelid.  Not only can lashes accentuate your eyes and help you look more beautiful, they play an important role protecting your eyes. As you practice proper eye care, don’t forget your lashes!

A Pain in the Tooth: What to Do if You Suffer from Tooth Sensitivity

by MikeMeehan 2/9/2017 9:17 AM

Do your front teeth hurt when you breathe in the cold winter air? What about when you warm up with a healthy Veggistrone soup? Does brushing and flossing make you wince? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might suffer from sensitive teeth. A Couple of Reasons You Might Experience This Common Problem According to the Mayo Clinic, tooth sensitivity is very common, affecting more than 3 million people in the U.S. a year. It can occur for a couple of reasons: ·       The enamel on your teeth thins out. Enamel is the outer part of your teeth and covers a part called dentin. Dentin contains tiny nerve endings. If enough enamel wears away, the dentin can become exposed. So that hot Veggistrone soup — it could be touching exposed nerve endings. ·       Your gums recede. Your gums also cover dentin. If they recede, they can expose the nerve endings. Seven Possible Causes Why Your Teeth Might Be Hurting Causes for thinning enamel or receding gums can include (but aren’t limited to): 1.     Using teeth improperly. Sometimes, with home projects, we need an extra hand, so we’re tempted to use our teeth to hold a non-food object. But teeth don’t make a good “third hand,” as we might unconsciously place too much pressure on our teeth. What’s worse is if we use our teeth to tear electrical tape, or strip insulation from copper wiring, or snap plastic label tags from clothes, or pop a pull tab on a can of soda. When we do, we consciously exert an undue pressure on our teeth. 2.     Brushing too aggressively. Brushing too hard might make you feel like you’ve gotten your teeth extra clean, but your teeth won’t be thanking you. Using too much force can wear down enamel. 3.     Eating or drinking acidic foods or drinks. Coffee may be essential to the morning routine, and spicy foods may taste delicious, but both can wear down enamel. If you can’t give up coffee, though, consider drinking it through a straw, so you can avoid contact with your teeth. 4.     Vomiting. Yes, gross, but with vomiting, stomach acid comes in contact with the teeth. This can be especially problematic if it happens regularly, as with the victims of some eating disorders. 5.     Grinding teeth. This condition, called bruxism, can rub off enamel from your teeth. It could be caused from higher levels of stress. 6.     Using tobacco. As if there aren’t already enough reasons to give up tobacco (both smoking and smokeless), tobacco can restrict oxygen and nutrients from reaching the gums, which can cause them to recede. 7.     Suffering from gum disease. Gum disease is the No. 1 cause of receding gums. Five Ways You Can Treat Your Hurting Teeth Luckily, you can treat sensitive teeth. Five tips include: 1.     Understand the cause. This is half the battle. Some of the causes come with specific solutions. For example, if you brush too hard, you would want to brush in softer strokes. Or if you grind your teeth, you could wear a mouth guard when you go to sleep. 2.    Monitor what you eat. This isn’t too different from understanding the cause of your sensitive teeth. Not only can acidic food and drink wear down enamel, alternating between hot and cold foods can cause issues, too. So, while it might sound awesome to sip a hot latte and eat ice cream simultaneously, you might not be doing your teeth any favors. 3.     Apply fluoride. Drinking tap water can be a source of fluoride. Some toothpastes contain fluoride. Your dentist might apply a fluoride varnish. Whatever way you get it, it can help your sensitive teeth, as fluoride strengthens enamel. 4.     Brush twice a day and floss daily. A regular brushing and flossing routine can keep your gums and teeth healthy and properly functioning. If your teeth are already sensitive, brushing and flossing can prevent further damage. 5.     Visit your dentist. Schedule at least two checkups a year with your dentist. Sensitive teeth can be painful. But by knowing what to look for and by maintaining a healthy routine, you can brighten the world with your smile!

How to Enjoy Football without Hurting Your Smile

by MikeMeehan 2/2/2017 1:01 PM

Are you ready for some football? The big game is this Sunday, with the New England Patriots facing off against the Atlanta Falcons. If you’re at all like us, you might wonder why football players smear eye black (a glob of grease) under their eyes (to reduce the glare of stadium lights, which helps them see an airborne ball better). Actually, we’ll probably be doing what you’re doing: gathering with friends to scarf down healthy snacks, like stuffed mushrooms and guacamole nachos. Heads up: If you’re looking to make something new and aren’t already following us on Facebook, you can find plenty of healthy recipes there, which we post every Wednesday. Oh, and during the big game, some of the commercials will be pretty great, too. Football can be fun to watch, and it can also be fun to play. While the sport comes with many rewards, it can, unfortunately, be dangerous to your eyes and teeth. Are the Risks of Football Worth the Rewards? Some of the rewards of football include: 1.     It improves fitness. Football improves aerobic capacity and cardiovascular health. It combines slow and fast movements with sprinting, which gets the heart pumping at different paces. This increases overall fitness. It can also increase bone and muscle strength. 2.     It can decrease stress. When you play football, dopamine is released in your brain. This can make you happier and more relaxed. 3.     It can help you sleep better. This is also due to dopamine in the brain. 4.     You can learn teamwork skills. You play football on a team. To get the ball down the field, you have to execute a play, which requires everyone to cooperate. 5.     You can make quick decisions. Because football is such a fast-paced sport, you have to sharpen your reflexes. 6.     It can build confidence. After seeing the gains from the game, football can encourage you to pursue and achieve other goals. However, football is one of the more dangerous sports when it comes to teeth and eye safety. It is a game of many collisions — from the offense trying to block the defense to a defender tackling a receiver. Any of these, especially if a collision ends up being head-on, can cause damage to teeth and eyes. Four Reasons Football Injuries Can Be Devastating Losing teeth or sustaining eye injuries can have serious consequences. Here’s why: 1.     Missing teeth can make it harder to chew foods. Teeth break down food for proper digestion. Better chewing can better nourish your body, as chewing produces more saliva. Saliva can prevent plaque from building up around teeth and can also aid in the digestion process. 2.     Missing teeth can make it harder to speak. Teeth aid in speech. If you’re missing teeth, your tongue might readjust, which can affect your speaking skills. 3.     Injuries to the eye can affect your vision. This may seem like an obvious thing to write, but consider it for a moment. Your eyes are a window to the world. With impaired sight, it could feel like your window has some annoying smudges. 4.     Damage to teeth and eyes can affect your appearance. When you smile, the first feature many people notice is your teeth. Teeth support the lips and face. Some people have reported their noses and upper lips sagging after losing their two front teeth. Likewise, some people claim eyes are the first feature we fall in love with. Damage to either could rob you of your hard-earned confidence. Three Pieces You Need to Protect Your Eyes and Teeth When you play the sport, yes, you want to play for the love of the game. But protecting your eyes and teeth should be No. 1. It’s ok, though. You have a few options: 1.     Always wear a football helmet. A football helmet has a face mask, which can protect both your eyes and teeth. 2.     Wear sports goggles. Sports goggles can offer added protection to the eyes where the cracks in the wire mesh of a face mask might not. 3.     Wear a mouth guard. A mouth guard can protect your teeth, tongue, lips, cheeks, and jaw. Football, like any other sport, does come with its enjoyable moments. But it can be dangerous. Get out, and enjoy the game. Just make sure to protect your eyes and teeth when you do!

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