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Dental Care That Can Help You Avoid a Heart Attack

Everyone’s mouth is full of bacteria. And how you take care of your teeth and gums will reflect on your oral (and physical) health. Untreated gum disease has proven to increase risk of heart disease, leaving you susceptible to high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. Fortunately, there are ways to help you avoid developing periodontal disease and its potentially deadly consequences.


Poor Dental Care is No Smiling Matter

Many people do not care for their oral hygiene in the best manner possible. There are several reasons why:

– lack of awareness of types of care and the serious need for care

– inability to afford care

– fear of going to the dentist

– difficulty accessing public dental service

Swollen, sore, and inflamed gums are main signs of gum disease. There are two types of periodontal issues:

Gingivitis is marked by red, tender, painful gums often accompanied by bad breath.

Periodontitis is more intense and often includes pockets of bacterial infection, pus, and extreme pain.


Who is at Risk for Gum Disease?

Basically any person who does not brush or floss often enough, or get their teeth cleaned by a professional once or twice a year is at risk for gum disease. In a 2010 report, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that one in every two adults over 30 years old had periodontal disease.

Here are the top reasons why gum disease develops:

  • Plaque build-up. A thick film of bacteria forms on teeth and gums.
  • Smoking
  • Hormonal shifts
  • Chronic stress
  • Crooked teeth
  • Prescription medication


How is Dental Care Related to Heart Disease?

Research has shown that bacteria from oral plaque in those with periodontitis has been found in arteries of the heart. That plaque can eventually cause a heart attack. Additionally, according to the Harvard Heart Letter it’s possible that the inflammation in the mouth leads to inflammation in other parts of the body, including arteries in the heart.

Chewing and brushing your teeth releases bacteria into the bloodstream. The risk of emergent heart disease is doubled for those with gum disease. It makes sense then, to try and avoid developing gingivitis or periodontitis by practicing good oral hygienic habits.


Hope for the Heart

Besides dental care maintenance, a recent study out of China has revealed that aggressive treatment of gum disease can help lower blood pressure. Over 100 Chinese men and women with high blood pressure were part of the research. Half were treated with regular cleanings, while the other half received thorough treatment for periodontitis.

The intensive treatments included antibiotics, tooth removal (if necessary), and cleaning down to the roots of the remaining teeth. Those participants showed a drop of three systolic points after a month, and a drop of over 12 systolic blood pressure points six months after the treatment. Diastolic pressure dropped approximately four points. (Those who had a regular cleaning showed no change in blood pressure numbers.)

So, can improvement of oral health treatment prevent cardiovascular problems? It seems likely to be so.


Word of Mouth

The American Dental Association recommends:

  • Brushing at least twice per day and spending at least four seconds on each tooth each time. (That’s about 2-3 minutes each brushing.)
  • Flossing at least once a day or using another method that cleans thoroughly between each tooth.
  • Decrease sugar consumption in foods and beverages.
  • Visit a dentist regularly for a hygienic cleaning, prevention, and treatment of oral disease (which includes gum disease.)

Another recommendation from holistic dentists is the ancient practice of oil pulling. Many people today swear by it for thorough cleaning of teeth, tongue, and gums. Some stores sell essential oil flavored mixtures, but coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil will do just fine as well.

You do not gargle with it—rather you swish the oil inside your mouth, pulling it through the crevasses of your teeth. You also never swallow it. Swirl it around with your tongue and jaw for several minutes. When done, spit it out. Rinse your mouth with fresh water.

Basically, brush, floss, keep sugar consumption low, manage your stress, don’t smoke, and you should be able to avoid developing gum disease. In turn, you will find yourself at less risk for cardiovascular disease. Being that heart disease is the #1 killer, perhaps starting with your dental care is a simple way to stay on a healthy living track. Check out GetThrive! for more up-to-date health tips for you and your loved ones.







Exotic Dining: Would You Eat Under the Ocean? In a Volcano? Naked?

One of life’s greatest pleasures is food. Meals prepared with care and skill can literally be memorable for a lifetime. What also adds to the experience is the ambience of the space in which those foods are eaten. Mere furnishings and soft music don’t hold a candle to some of the most exotic restaurants around the globe.

The past few years, restaurant explorers have been privy to eateries such as Ithaa, which is enclosed in a tunnel under water in the Maldives; Kakslauttanen, which has dining tables set inside a veritable igloo in Finland; and El Diablo, where specialties are grilled to perfection on top of a volcano in Spain. Opening for three months this year in London, however, is a new, “raw” conceptual restaurant experience—dining in the nude.

The new venue is called The Bunyadi. The environment boasts “bareness”; there will be no electricity, gas, chemicals, or artificial colors. And, no phones allowed. Additionally, the restaurant’s press release states there will be, “wood-flame grilled meals served on handmade clay crockery and edible cutlery, in a space void of the industrialized-world’s modern trappings.”

The company, Lollipop, (who opened ABQ, a popular cocktail bar that serves drinks inspired by the show Breaking Bad,) has created this bare-bones concept that holds 42 diners. One section will be reserved for those patrons who chose to remain clothed. The other half of the space, partitioned by bamboo and candlelight, is for those wishing to dine naked. Changing rooms and lockers will be available for the “naturalists.” Meals will run about $85 per person, which will include food and drinks.

Is this really a new concept? Seemingly so, since a pro-naked choice eatery hasn’t been publicized (or legal), at least in the past two centuries. Or is it just bringing us back to a time where feasting, minus-the-toga, was a grand part of life, reminding us that all we truly need to survive is shelter and food? Whatever the meaning for its appeal, The Bunyadi already has diners—thousands—clamoring for a seat. Yahoo news reported that 6,500 people are already on the waiting list, whereas NPR reported that the restaurant’s operators claim there are 8,000 on the wait list to date. If you don’t make the cut, pretending at home may your second best choice.



5 Tips to Beat Holiday Stress

The holidays are a great time of the year. But for some people, it can also be a very stressful time. This is often because the holidays are super busy—and there’s always something to do or think about, from traveling, preparing for family visits, buying gifts, cooking, shopping, and attending parties. The list seems to go on…

Holiday duties should be handled in advance whenever possible. So give yourself time by making a list of the things that need to be done, and start early. Here are some other tips to help you beat the holiday stress blues…

1. Set Priorities

When you have many tasks to handle, you may feel really overwhelmed. It helps to set priorities in advance. Take care of the most essential tasks first and work down the list. What is most important to you? It should be connecting with your family first, and then everything else comes after. This includes making the appropriate food choices and the shopping experience.

2. Set Practical Expectations

You are not going to have everything done perfectly. And guess what? It is quite okay! You are not going to be able to control each and every detail and outcome. However, you can mentally prepare for the worst by setting practical expectations and remaining calm and positive if something goes wrong, especially at the last minute.

3. Set a Realistic Budget

Money, and the lack of it, can cause holiday stress. Avoid this by setting a realistic budget. This means that for every gift you intend to buy, you should have a specific monetary amount to spend. Don’t deviate from your budget. And this includes money spent on decorations, food, entertainment, and travel, too.

Don’t try to impress family and friends with highly priced gifts. The gifts you give should be thoughtful. Try small gifts with handmade cards this year or plan a “Secret Santa” gift-giving session as another option.

4. Plan ahead

It is important to plan ahead before your guests arrive. Set aside certain days to go shopping, to cook, and to bake. Plan the menu before going food shopping. Get as much help before and after the holiday celebration – for the preparation and clean up phase.

5. Take it Down a Notch

Don’t take it so seriously! The holiday season is going to come and go, just like every other year. While it may be important to you to make an impression with your yearly holiday rituals, you have to do what is in your best interest. Nothing should be set in stone.

If you have to make some minor changes to lessen your stress, then by all means do so. Let’s say you used to make an ice sculpture every year. Why not relinquish that idea this year and do something different (and a little less extravagant)?

In spite of your best efforts, there may be times when you feel overwhelmed, anxious, frustrated, tired, or even depressed during the holidays. Remember, the holidays are a joyous time and are meant to be enjoyed with family and friends. When that happens, it is time to sit down and take a breather. Never be afraid to seek the help of a medical professional if you feel you need it.



Not sleeping? Feel tired when you wake up? Know The Powerful Effects of Magnesium

Did you know that our bodies have an internal master clock? It runs on a 24-hour cycle and it’s called our circadian clock, which is the timekeeper for our circadian rhythms. Our rhythms are the up-and-down flow of our hormones depending on whether its day or night. These hormones guide us to have energy during the day and relax us to sleep at night. If our circadian rhythms are out-of-whack, our sleep-wake cycles are disrupted, which puts our health at risk.

A recent study out of the University of Edinburgh published in the journal Nature, shows that magnesium levels in humans’ (and other organisms’) cells rise and fall with a 24-hour sleep-wake cycle. The amount of magnesium in the cells directly related to how closely a person followed their sleep cycle and how and when they burned energy. This is a fascinating discovery for those of us interested in metabolism and a more effective conversion process from turning food onto fuel—and also for those of us who need a good night’s sleep!

Magnesium levels affected the circadian clock in positive ways. For one, cells were able to process energy with increased efficiency. And alternately, cells abided by a natural sleep cycle. Both day and night, cellular function of sleep-wake cycles improved from higher magnesium levels. This doesn’t mean everyone ingesting more magnesium will awake at 6am daily and fall asleep at 10pm. It does, however, imply that whenever you wake up, you’ll feel energetic, and by the time your day is done, you will feel comfortably tired. Each person has his/her own internal circadian clock, which is what differentiates those identified as early birds, or conversely, night owls.

The National Sleep Foundation reported that about 15% of American adults say they always have trouble sleeping and that up to 40% claim they have occasional insomnia. Melatonin is a commonly used natural supplement to aid in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Some studies, however, cite that melatonin causes drowsiness and prepares the body for sleep mode, but it doesn’t necessarily induce a full night’s sleep.

It appears magnesium may soon be recommended as our natural go-to mineral for metabolic and/or sleep irregularities. Currently, the Natural Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends 320 mg of magnesium daily for women over 30. Over-the-counter supplements are available, but the most beneficial form of magnesium comes from fresh foods. Some of these include: almonds, cashews, legumes, broccoli, kale, spinach, black beans, soybeans, whole-wheat cereals, and fish.

Before pumping up on the magnesium, check with your doctor. Certain medications can create an adverse physical reaction when combined with magnesium supplements. The findings of this new study remind us that we require good sleep for optimum health. Nighttime hormones generate healing in our body, just as daytime ones give us the energy to be productive. Eating well can help us count more years to our lives instead of counting more sheep.

Vitamins to Combat Effects of Air Pollution

Fortunately, the United States has made progress cleaning up our air quality over the past four decades. We still have a ways to go, as do other countries globally—especially considering almost 4 million deaths annually are linked to air pollution. It’s possible, however, that certain vitamins can help reverse pollution’s negative effects on our health.

Something’s in the Air

Smog is detrimental to our health. Why? Fine particle pollution has proven to negatively affect cardiovascular health (and also bone health.) Fine particles are bits of pollution that are 2.5 micrometers in diameter. They are microscopic and inhalable. And when we breathe in these particles, they are able to penetrate the lungs, enter our bloodstream, and travel throughout our body.

These tiny particles are known as PM2.5, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. These particulates are linked to increase inflammation in our systems. In populations that have high-particulate air pollution, the consequences over time can include heart attacks, cancer (especially lung), and premature births and deaths. A recent study also showed that pollution from PM2.5 and vehicle emission (black carbon) decreases calcium and can increase the risk for broken bones and osteoporosis in older adults.

Vitamins to the Rescue!

A study out of Columbia University recently reported that Vitamin B supplementation may help reverse some negative physiological effects from exposure to air pollution. The researchers exposed healthy, non-smokers to fine particulate air for two hours; their cardiovascular and immune systems were negatively affected. The participants who were given B vitamins before and after the exposure showed reversal of the damage created approximately four weeks later.

Another study recently reported in The Lancet Planetary Health, revealed how air pollution affects bone health. As mentioned above, exposure to fine particle pollution can lower bone density because of decreased calcium. The researchers analyzed over 9 million patients who had been hospitalized for bone fractures over a seven-year period. The results showed a link to air pollution.

Supplementation and Nutrition

Neither study discussed the amount of Vitamin B or calcium supplementation that was given or how frequently. You may want to check with your health care provider before taking any kind of supplement just to be on the safest side. In the meanwhile, there is nothing stopping you from eating foods rich in specific nutrients!

Some foods rich in Vitamin B are: dark leafy greens, beans, fish, poultry, eggs, and fruits like oranges, papayas, and cantaloupe.

Some foods rich in calcium are: almonds, sunflower seeds, green beans, broccoli, sweet potatoes, kelp, sesame seeds, edamame, tofu, some fish (like sardines, clams, and rockfish), and of course, many dairy products and cheeses.


Obviously, the first line of defense is to support clean air measures and practices. Riding a bicycle (instead of driving) reduces pollution and gets you some exercise! You can check the EPA, the Clean Air Act, or your state’s website for tips on how to reduce pollution in our skies (and in our lungs.) And, eating a balanced, nutritious diet can help keep your immune system strong! You can also take this quiz and test your nutritional know-how.

Check out other articles, too, on GetThrive for more helpful, healthful tips for you and your family.





Bad Moms, Average Moms, Best Moms?

In the best of all worlds, mothers should be honored on a daily basis, not just one day a year. And within that honor, should include an understanding of a basic human reality—no one is perfect. With that, lives the contradiction that no mom is perfect, yet each mom is perfect. The mom we get and the moms we become are perfect for our individual lives. How we were raised and how we are raising children, shapes who we are and all that we can become.

In today’s media-driven society, everyone clamors to post their best photo or most impressive description of their mom. One husband may post that he is grateful for his wife who cleans, gourmet-feeds, brand-name dresses, gently disciplines, and mini-van chauffeurs the kids. How wonderful for him and their children. But is mom getting enough rest or any of her other needs met? Hopefully so. And for that family, that may work out wonderfully.

Yet, what about the mom who gets up and has to hop in the shower so she herself can be clean for work? She doesn’t have time to make pancakes, eggs, and bacon for the kids. But she yells to them from the bathroom, as she dries her hair, to grab a banana, a granola bar, and put a frozen waffle in the toaster. She reminds them to be polite to others on the bus and not to talk to strangers. Is she a less superior mom?

There’s a comedy film soon to be released titled, Bad Moms. Whether the movie turns out to be funny is irrelevant right now—the point is that every woman who’s seen the trailer or heard of the title laughs aloud and is intrigued by the concept.

We’re compelled by this notion because being a “bad mom” swirls in our heads daily. It’s either something we identify with, something we experienced, or something we are deathly afraid of becoming. Whichever of these fit our description, we still deserve to be celebrated on Mother’s Day—without judgment.

Moms need to be celebrated for bringing us into the world. By their divine grace and through our own years of experience, we learn tolerance and forgiveness.

Your mom was perfect for you. She may have brilliantly nurtured you or, in other ways, caused emotional damage; either scenario, it has supplied an experience into your life that has helped inform who you have become.

As we age, we realize we must take responsibility for our choices and behavior, just as that is the same information we must impart to our children, regardless of the wonderful things we’ve done for them—or the mistakes we’ve made.

Hope your Mother’s day was perfect for the perfectly imperfect mother you are and for the mother that you have (or had.) All we can do is our best, and that is worth celebrating.



How to Relieve your Mind of Emotional Junk

The waiter was so rude! Exclaimed my best friend. She made a move to rush over to the waiter to give him a hot lashing with her mouth.

I grabbed her hand and gestured for her to sit down. ‘Relax, he’s probably had a long day’.

Guess what, all through the dinner, she fussed and fumed about how the waiter reacted, recalling several similar scenarios. Unsurprisingly, she didn’t enjoy her favorite meal, although she ate everything off her plate.


The reason?

She was so consumed with her anger for the waiter, she didn’t enjoy the present. That is the situation most of us find ourselves in. Certain situations cause us to nurse deep-rooted anger, jealousy, greed, hatred and all those unpleasant emotions. Which you, in turn, may transfer the negative emotion to an innocent bystander.


Scenario 1

We have all been there before. Remember the annoying moment, a bad memory resurfaces when you are having a good time? How did you feel about that? How did you react to it?

  • Live the moment people will shrug it aside and continue having fun.
  • The blue people will let it ruin their day.
  • The hoarders will have fun, and cry or mop about it later.

You must understand, we are different and beautifully unique.


Understanding Emotional Junk

Did you know you can occupy your mind with junk?  We fill our attics and basements with junk. Our backpacks and rooms with more junk. Let us not forget the ever delicious JUNK foods. Just like junk rids us of space and in some cases detrimental to our health, we can pack loads of junk into our brains.

So what is Junk?

Junk is anything you discard because you consider it useless or of little value.


When you discard an unwanted ‘thing’, you need a place to store it right? Which is what our attics, basement, dustbins and even some backpacks are used for.

What happens when it an emotional baggage or junk, where do you store it?  What happens to it? The obvious answer is your mind and it just sits there.

It is much harder to get rid of them like organizing a garage sale to get rid of the junk in your basement or attic. This is because these negative emotions are inventoried in our minds. We inherit some and cultivate some over time. As unique as we are, we perceive love, hope, peace, etc. differently.

There is, therefore, the need to clear emotional junk by running an inventory of these emotions as often as we can, so they don’t sway our normal happy selves.


Releasing the Junk Emotions

When something is dirty, we wash it. After a long day, we take a shower to wash away dirt. This is the same attitude we must adopt in order to cleanse our mind. Start by taking these steps to ensure a junk free mind.


Cleansing the Mind Junk

The mind is not like the junk in your attic that can easily be cleaned out. You need time to work and cultivate this mindset. Cleansing your mind is about acknowledging your offenses and making a conscious effort to change. It also entails, forgiving yourself for your offenses and striving to cultivate a life of compassion.

Remember that ridding your mind of emotional junk is not limited to strong expressions such as jealousy and greed.  Softer expressions such as simply not caring are important nonetheless. This is because whereas most strong expressions are exhibited in the present and done over with; the softer expressions are bound to build up over time and manifest in very explosive ways.


Scenario 2

Have you ever witnessed a seemingly calm person, showcase an extreme form of anger? Which might include but not limited to; slamming doors, being physically aggressive, throwing stuff, etc.

For instance: a soft expression like indifference and boredom speaks a lot on your attitude towards how you view life and that of others. If you are not bothered to help your loved one, how do you release the boredom that is creeping bit by bit into your relationship?


Examine your Emotion

Take a few minutes in a day to examine how often you felt angry, anxious, depressed or exhibited all other unhealthy feelings. Be honest with yourself when assessing and you will realize that you turned that time into junk minutes.

Think of this, did the anger you feel towards someone benefit the person? Did it affect the person in any way? You will realize this anger, in turn, hurt us.

What of an obsession with something or someone, does the object of your obsession care or think of you in the same way? These life examples show that these feelings are wasted and more importantly takes up space in our minds.

Why do we love junk emotions? Most of the time we love them because they allow us to act out as victims. Just like junk food, they provide us with present satisfaction without thinking of future consequences. Unlike junk foods that affect the body, these emotions affect everyone around us.


Beware of Junk Emotions Fuelled by Communities

Ever wondered why there is so much violence and hate in the world? One of the reasons is that some emotional junk is developed and fuelled by the community we find ourselves in. Emotional junk is not limited to individuals but to communities, families and even nations.


Scenario 3

A country holds a negative emotion such as hatred towards another country. This emotion can spread to citizens who in turn react in negative ways towards other members of the other country. Resulting in wars.


In other similar instances, emotional junk stems from embedded prepositions we project onto the outside world. Feelings of jealousy or hate can be generated not because the offending person has committed an offense but they probably do not fit into our preconceived notions.

They do not act how we ‘expect’ them to act. They do not fit these preconceived notions in our minds of how they should appear, dress or even speak. That is where most bullies fit in.

Do you find yourself hating others based on what your community believes in? Is the reason justified? Do you act irrationally when you around such people? Have they offended you in any way?

If your answer is no to most of these questions, then you are living your life in unjustified and unwanted fear or hatred. It is an unwanted burden on your mind.

My advice, try getting to know a decent amount of people ‘hated’ in your community. Meditate and try to ease your mind of any preconceived notions you may have developed over time. Create a blank page in your mind for learning about these people.

You can also read about their way of life and try to understand why certain actions and activities are carried out in an unbiased mindset. Try this and you will be surprised how relieved and clear your mind will be.


Healthy Emotions can be Poisonous

Negative emotions have been mentioned throughout this article. However, good emotions such as love and dedication when taken to the extreme become negative. For instance;

  • Healthy Love is when love is based on respect, care and genuine concern for each other’s wellbeing.


  • Unhealthy Love becomes dark when the love turns into an attachment. This is the situation where one person is overly dependent on the other person whom they are in love with.

When love becomes an attachment, the person can turn into a stalker. Unfortunately, this emotion of attachment and dependence can lead to suicidal thoughts of the stalker or death of the person of their affection (if I can’t have you no one will). These are extreme instances but do not necessarily happen.

If you feel yourself getting attached to someone or something in an unhealthy manner, indulge in activities and surround yourself with your loved ones. Taking a painting class, cooking or even travelling will relax your mind and occupy it with other pleasant emotions.


Creating the Balance

We, most of the time feel that these negative feelings and emotions are brought upon by someone. We may argue that someone else draws these feelings out of us. The truth is, both negative and positive emotions come from our mind and our minds alone.

These emotions and feelings will occur at every point in time. Anger will surface, anxiety will occur and fear refuses to be put aside. Amidst all that, we should aim to discipline our minds and recognize both positive and negative emotions and act appropriately.

Our bodies tend to play tricks on us by disguising anger into hurt; jealousy into self-loathing; or fear into abandonment. Either way, we should recognize these emotions before they have a chance to affect us and people around us.


By Get Thrive Contributor Lydya Baba

5 Must-Do Holiday Body Tips

As if the onslaught of jingle bells and colorful lights in television commercials wasn’t enough of an indication, here we are.  The holidays are upon us.

Without fail, millions of Americans approach the annual holiday season hoping they won’t gain weight.  And each year, millions of Americans inevitably gain the very weight they hope to avoid.  Trimming the fat never seemed so appropriate.

Parties, gatherings, and family get together feature irresistible food and drink.  And yet, many folks find themselves in the all-too-predictable cycle of dieting when the calendar flips to January.  Well, weight gain doesn’t have to define your holiday season.


As proof, we have five reasonable tips to help govern the coming weeks.  Yes, following the tips will require some discipline.  But, hey, you’re up for the challenge, right?

1. Counter the calories

Let’s face it.  The likelihood that you’ll consume fewer calories during the holidays, is just, well, insane.  So, devise a regimen of exercise to counter the anticipated increase in calories.  Hint, hint: we’ve got some pretty good ideas.

2. Take the stairs

Do you typically take the elevator to your office?  Take the stairs instead.  Now, if you have 80 floors to hike, that may be a bit much, but determine an acceptable number of flights to ascend and then stick to it.

You may have to arrive 5-10 minutes earlier, but your waistline will be glad you did.  No stairs?  Park further away than usual and walk.  Your lunch break can be a great time to stretch your legs and remain active as well.

3. Up your jog game

Put some extra time into those sneakers!  They aren’t just for looks, after all.  Hey, maybe you’ll get a new pair as a gift!  If you already run, be sure to keep doing so.

Maybe add an extra mile or two.  If you aren’t the running type, a light jog or brisk walk will do.  Too cold outside?  Find a treadmill to use at a gym or, better yet, get one of your own.

4. Play like a kid!

Holiday breaks allow children more free time than usual.  With no homework, and friends, cousins, or other relatives around, they wanna play!  So, join the fun.

If there’s snow on the ground – go sledding, build a snowman, or have a snowball fight.  No snow? No problem.  Grab a soccer ball, basketball, or football.  And have a great time.  You’ll be their favorite aunt, uncle, or grandparent in no time.

5. Watch the meaty middle

Sit ups, crunches, and other general ab exercises aren’t all that easy.  But they can make a huge difference!  From the quick and strenuous – search “eight minute abs” on Youtube – to the more moderate – a predetermined number of crunches or half sit-ups each day, keeping your core in check will make your January much more manageable.

Remember, you don’t have to completely avoid holiday party spreads to be guilt-free.  With a plan in place and some determination, future articles with advice on preparing your spring/summer beach body may not even apply to you!