Walk down the toothpaste aisle at your typical drugstore and you’ll see a range of products that promise to whiten your teeth. Whitening toothpaste, whitening strips, a whitening gel that you can paint on your teeth with a cotton swab or use in a mouth tray, a two-step “daily cleaning and whitening system,” and more. “I see a lot more attention on pretty smiles,” says Clifton Carey, a chemist at the University of Colorado’s School of Dental Medicine. Tooth whitening, in particular, is “a big thing these days. A lot of sellers and a lot of customers.”
The products at the drugstore all have essentially the same whitening ingredient – the bleaching agent peroxide. If you go to your dentist for a professional tooth whitening, they’ll use a more concentrated peroxide product.
With the in-office procedure, “you get a lot of whitening very quickly, but it requires expertise,” says Matthew Messina, a practicing dentist at the Ohio State University College of Dentistry and a spokesman for the American Dental Association. With such a high-powered bleaching agent, he says, “the dentist has to protect the gums.”
The over-the-counter products are weaker. That means less active whitening but also less risk to the gums, should the whitening agent come in contact. “All of the products are safe if used as directed,” Messina says. Still, they can increase sensitivity of teeth and they can irritate gum tissue. “Anything that doesn’t feel right, you should see your dentist.”
Tooth whitening is best done in a “healthy mouth condition,” Messina says. “Have a thorough exam, make sure your teeth are clean and that plaque and tartar have been removed.” Also, be aware that tooth whitening doesn’t work on crowns or most fillings.
Professional whitening, which will be immediate and last for years, might cost $500 or more and is not generally covered by dental insurance. Products to use at home usually require multiple applications over a week or two, will have a gradual and lesser whitening effect, and will not last as long. Whitening strips can cost as little as $25.
“The do-it-yourself products can be used as a booster, after a professional treatment, to keep the teeth white,” Carey says. “Dentists often recommend this.”
How do these products work? “It’s a surface-type bleach,” Carey says, working on stains that are bonded to tooth enamel. “Bleach is a chemical that breaks those bonds,” Carey says. The staining compounds might remain, but the bleach turns them clear.
The concentrated product that dentists use also dehydrate the tooth somewhat. “That’s the immediate color change – bleaching plus dehydration,” Carey says. As the surface of the tooth rehydrates over the next few weeks, people may notice their teeth’s whiteness slip back a couple of shades.
A quick bit of tooth anatomy: Enamel is the thin hard outer layer of the tooth; dentin is the next layer in and is less dense than enamel. In the middle is the pulp, which is the soft tissue that holds the nerve center.
“Enamel is what you’re bleaching,” Carey says. “It’s really thin near the gum line. If you have receding gums, it exposes your root tissues.” Dentists try to avoid applying the concentrated product on or near the dentin.
Dentin comes into play for aesthetics as well, because it’s got a naturally yellowish hue. As people age, their enamel can become thinner, a result of decades of wear and tear. The thinner the enamel, the more likely the yellowish dentin shows through. That’s why older people often have yellowed teeth. Bleaching products won’t help in this situation because they don’t affect the dentin.
There are a few other discolorations that whitening procedures cannot change. If you took tetracycline as a kid, say for an ear infection, you might have antibiotic staining of the teeth. Or if your teeth suffered trauma when you were young and your enamel was still forming, whitening won’t work. Dentists refer to these discolorations as intrinsic stains.
If you spend a little time searching the Web, you’ll find plenty of ideas about natural methods of tooth whitening.
Use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar as a mouthwash? Scrub your teeth with an activated charcoal product?
Messina says those techniques come with risks. The acid of lemon juice can erode the enamel on your teeth, and charcoal is an abrasive that can wear it away. “Your teeth will be whiter initially, but as the enamel wears away, you’ll see more dentin,” Messina says. “That yellowish color will show through.”
Can you prevent your teeth from becoming stained in the first place? Good practices mean avoiding staining substances. The most egregious are red wine, coffee and tobacco residue. Other foods on the staining list are tea, tomato sauce and balsamic vinegar. If the thought of avoiding any of those makes you want to cry, Messina advises rinsing with water after eating. Brushing your teeth is even better.
And, of course, the dentists advise good oral hygiene: regular brushing, flossing and checkups.
4 Simple Tips To Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals And A Healthy Living
Health is wealth! But in the today’s world where everyone is so occupied with work do we actually pay attention to our lifestyle. Well! Not really. After all, what does it actually take to lead a healthy lifestyle? A healthy lifestyle is extremely important as it helps to improve your health and well-being. There are a lot many different things that you can do to live a healthy lifestyle. These include eating healthy and nutritious foods, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, adequate sleep and managing your stress. A healthy lifestyle is not just about eating wholesome meals and regular physical exercise. There is much more to that. It is also about your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Health expert Luke Coutinho in his recent Instagram post talks about keeping life simple and healthy.
Top 4 simple and effective tips for better overall health:
1. Clean balanced meals
Eating balanced and healthy meals is extremely essential for a healthy lifestyle. Your meals should include healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, dairy products, whole grains, healthy fats, and omega-3 fatty acids. Also, you should avoid unhealthy foods like red and processed meats, high-calorie foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fat, and excessive sodium. A healthy diet will be beneficial for your overall health and keep you away from chronic diseases.
2. Some movement
Movement is a key to a healthy life. Some sort of physical activity is very necessary. Not just few times a week but everyday. Exercising daily can boost your overall health in many ways. It can help increase your life span, lower the risk of diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, help you develop strong bones, and manage your weight. For this, you can simply especially for close distances, choose walking or cycling over driving or taking transportation. You can climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator. You can pick up simple exercises that are easy to do at home or outside that you enjoy. For instance, Zumba, aerobics, running, swimming or may be playing your favourite sport.
3. Adequate sleep
You might ignore this one but sleep is very important. It helps your body to heal and rest, so you must not ignore on your sleep. Lack of sleep may lead to poor health outcomes like obesity, diabetes, and even certain heart diseases. Continued lack of sleep can lead to a weak immune system and make you more prone to cold and the flu.
You can do some simple things to ensure that you sleep better at night. You can avoid caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime. Also, avoid eating heavy meals before bedtime. Physical exercise can also help you sleep better at night. But avoid strenuous workouts close to bedtime.
Though it is difficult to avoid stress in today’s world. But simple measures can always be taken to reduce stress. As stress again could lead to high blood sugar levels, hypertension and can even affect your heart. So practice some deep breathing exercises, meditation and yoga to manage stress. Also, try reaching out to friends, family and relatives quite often. This will help you remain positive and happy all the time.
Facing Digestion Issues? This Quick After-Meal Mix Can Help You!
Has it been long since digestive issues have been interfering with your health? Poor digestion is undoubtedly a sign of poor health and there is something that you must do about it . We have previously spoken about different kinds of foods that can help improve digestion. In this article, we will talk about an after-meal digestive mix suggested by lifestyle coach Luke Coutinho. This digestive mix consists of simple ingredients which can be easily found in Indian households. This after-meal digestive needs 5 ingredients, namely fennel seeds, sesame seeds, chopped almonds, flax, and ajwain. All these foods are popular for their benefits on digestive health.
Here are some benefits of Luke Coutinho’s after-meal digestive mix:
1. Fennel seeds: Fennel seeds are commonly consumed after meals. Many restaurants provide fennel seeds after food. Fennel seeds are highly popular for their digestive benefits. They can also help in getting relief from flatulence, painful periods, boosting metabolism, regulating blood sugar and improving hydration.
2. Sesame seeds: Dietary fibre in sesame seeds help in improving digestion. They provide your body with the required fibre which is needed for improving digestion. Fibre helps in improving gut bacteria. 100 gm of sesame seeds contain around 12 g of fibre. This amount, when combined with other fibre-rich foods, can restore digestive system in the body.
3. Almonds: Almonds too are rich in fibre. When consumed in the appropriate quantities, almonds can help in improving digestive health. Almonds can provide beneficial gut bacteria. Vitamin -E rich almonds are great for heart health and eye health.
4. Flax: Flax seeds are loaded with nutrients like protein, carbs, fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, B-vitamins and much more. Content of dietary fibre in flax seeds can be beneficial for your digestive health. Including flax seeds in your diet can assure regular bowel movements.
5. Ajwain: Chewing ajwain or carom seeds can help in easing gas and flatulence. Carom seeds are full of thymol which helps in secreting gastric juices that aid digestion. For years, ajwain has been used a home remedy for curing indigestion. You can consume it in small quantities as it tastes slightly spicy.
For preparing Luke Coutinho’s after-meal digestive mix, you simply need to mix all of the above ingredients in a glass jar. A teaspoon of this mix after your meals every day can bring significant improvement to your digestion.
(Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach – Integrative Medicine)
Know how to counter ill effects of long-time sitting
These are the findings of a recent study which appear in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The results highlight the importance of movement — regardless of its intensity or amount of time spent moving — for better health.
“Our findings underscore an important public health message that physical activity of any intensity provides health benefits,” said lead author Keith Diaz of Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
About one in four adults spends more than eight hours a day sitting, according to a recent study.
In a previous paper, Diaz and his team discovered that adults who sat for long stretches at a time — an hour or more without interruption — had a greater risk of early death than those who were sedentary for the same total amount of time but got up and moved around more often.
They also found that people who sat for less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of early death, suggesting that taking movement breaks every half-hour could lower your risk of death.
But just how intense, and for how long, does the physical activity need to be to counter the ill effects of sitting?
The study found that replacing just 30 minutes of sitting with low-intensity physical activity would lower the risk of early death by 17 per cent, a statistically significant decrease. Swapping the same amount of sitting for moderate to vigorous activity would be twice as effective, cutting the risk of early death by 35 per cent. The researchers also found that short bursts of activity — of just a minute or two — provided a health benefit.
“If you have a job or lifestyle that involves a lot of sitting, you can lower your risk of early death by moving more often, for as long as you want and as your ability allows — whether that means taking an hour-long high-intensity spin class or choosing lower-intensity activities, like walking,” Diaz said.