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Happy New Year! Like many, you may have made a New Year’s resolution. However, did you know that only 8 percent of us actually succeed in keeping our resolutions? This year, don’t just resolve—make a promise to yourself or someone else. Think that the difference between a promise and a resolution is just semantics? Think again.
A resolution is simply the mindset that you are determined to do something, but a promise is a commitment and an oath to achieving your goals.
At our office, we are providing promise cards from Because I Said I Would, a social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity, so that you can promise to make this your healthiest and happiest year ever!
Stumped on what to promise yourself?
Here are some ideas:
1) Cut the Sugar, Increase Fiber
Most health experts now agree that chronic sugar consumption is the primary cause of obesity and leads to obesity-related illness. Chronic sugar intake leads to fat accumulation, fatty liver disease, unhealthy cholesterol ratios, heart disease, type 2 diabetes—and that’s just the start of the list. Sugar is also the primary cause of the world’s most rampant and preventable disease: tooth decay.
The World Health Organization recommends we cut our sugar consumption down to 5 percent of our daily calories. That’s 26 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar a day. Note: if you drink soda, you will need to limit your consumption to two-thirds of a 12-ounce can for the entire day. And that would mean none of your other food for the day can include sugar.
To tame your insulin response and reduce the impact sugar has on your body, increase your fiber intake. The Institute of Medicine recommends about 38 grams of fiber each day for men and 25 grams per day for women. That means more fruits, more veggies, nuts, legumes and whole grains. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel, even within your first week of upping your fiber.
2) Avoid the Artificial Additives
Eating restaurant-prepared meals, fast food and processed or prepackaged food means that you are eating a lot of hidden ingredients—ingredients that put you at risk for obesity and obesity-related diseases, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, and gut and skin problems. Many of these result in chronic systemic inflammation from a sensitivity to chemically processed, genetically modified or full of sugar, salt and fat.
Stick with whole foods as much as possible. And if you eat dairy or meat, you want to know that the animal was not munching on a bunch of chemicals during its lifetime that are going to end up stored in your body fat.
If you take a look at the ingredients of anything and don’t recognize them as food, there is a reason: they aren’t food. If you overload your body too much with these foreign substances, your body will let you know with a negative reaction.
3. Break Away From Addiction
If you are dependent on anything—sugar, tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, junk food, prescription drugs used for other purposes, marijuana or other street drugs—your health is in jeopardy. Addiction is also psychologically damaging, as you carry it around like a monkey on your back.
Take the first step during the new year. Find help—a program, sponsor, or accountability partner. Fixing addiction is never easy on your own. And it is a one-day-at-a-time job. Remember, though, that days add up to weeks, months and years, until you are living a longer, healthier, and happier life.
4. Get Moving!
A sedentary lifestyle is associated with weight gain, loss of mental clarity, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, depression and even colon cancer. This year, get at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week.
That is a good investment of your time. The benefits of exercise include helping you manage your weight, enhance your mood, boost your energy, improve your sleep quality and enrich your sex life. Not bad for a little over two hours each week!
5. Become Your Own Health Advocate
If you are an adult, chances are no one cares about your health as much as you do. Keep track of your medical and dental signs and symptoms, screenings, test and treatments on a computer or in a notebook this year if you haven't in the past.
If you suspect a disease or have a diagnosis, do some quality research on the Web. If you are taking prescription medications, read up on the long term health risks.
Most importantly, never stop asking questions. Even if the questions stay the same, the answers may change as knowledge evolves.
6. Floss Daily
Only four out of 10 Americans report that they floss daily and nearly 20 percent don’t floss at all, according to the American Dental Association.
Why is flossing daily a change worth making? Good oral hygiene can make a major difference in your systemic health, but so does the diagnosis of silent diseases, such as decay, periodontal disease, occlusal disease, and oral cancer. Yes, good oral health really does help you live longer and better.
If you are one of the 60 percent of Americans who put daily flossing on the backburner, resolve to change your oral hygiene habits in 2017 so you can have a lifetime of good health.
What are you promising to do this year? Let us know in the comments below or stop by our office to pick up your own promise card!
With the cold weather comes a familiar problem: dry, sore, cracked lips. Get prepared for that kiss under the mistletoe with these tips from Dr. Susan’s new book BlabberMouth! 77 Secrets Only Your Mouth Can Tell You to Live a Healthier, Happier, Sexier Life.
If you have lip ailment that persists for more than a few weeks, visit your physician or dentist to have it examined as this can be a sign of a more serious illness or condition. They can help determine how serious the problem is and the best way to treat it.
Is your mouth trying to tell you something important?
Diabetes: A chronic preventable disease, but still one of the top five killers in America today.
Type 2 Diabetes is now increasing health and financial burdens in the United States and worldwide. Diabetes and its precursor, prediabetes, together affect 103 million people, one-third of the U.S. population. But about 28 percent of patients with diabetes and 93 percent of those with prediabetes don’t know it.
By the year 2050, one in three of us are projected to be diabetic.
Maybe you’ve heard that diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness and of kidney failure, or that more than 60 percent of lower limbs amputated in non-trauma cases are due to diabetes. But did you know that diabetics have death rates due to heart disease and stroke that are two to four times that of people without the disease?
There’s one more statistic that you may not be aware of: After analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 2009 to 2010, researchers found that a startling 60 percent of those with diabetes had moderate to severe periodontal disease.
How Did It Get This Bad?
Most people know that type 2 diabetes stems from problems controlling blood sugar, which is primarily a cascading effect from over-exposure to sugar itself. For thousands of years, the only sugar humans ate was packed into fruits and vegetables, and came with an antidote to slow down uptake – fiber! The only form of straight-up sugar was honey, which was well-protected by bees. But, as you know, today we take sugar from sugar cane, beets, and corn and tuck it into hundreds of foods.
Our bodies do one of two things with sugar:
- Use it as an immediate energy source; or
- Store it for another time, often as fat.
When we eat or drink foods with refined sugar, we get an immediate blood-sugar rush, which triggers an insulin spike. Insulin tells the cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue to take up glucose (sugar) from the blood and store it.
If you constantly bombard your body with sugar, your cells become resistant to the constant outpouring of insulin. This condition is known as insulin resistance, and it’s an inflammatory pre-diabetic condition. Eventually, your pancreas’ insulin pump eventually burns out.
The Role of Oral Health
Gum disease complicates blood sugar control and diabetes complicates gum disease treatment. The effects of periodontitis and diabetes on each other are likely due to the fact that both contribute to a hyper-inflammatory state in the body.
Dr. Susan asserts that managing gum disease for the unidentified diabetic is like trying to wrestle a gorilla with one hand tied behind her back. It’s hard enough with two hands.
Dr. Susan wanted to routinely screen her patients for diabetes and prediabetes. But all the validated screening surveys, like the one on the American Diabetes Association website, seemed to include BMI, which requires weighing a patient.
You’ve probably never been weighed at the dental office and that probably isn’t going to change soon. So Dr. Susan partnered with Dr. Saleh Aldasouqi, chairman of Michigan State University’s Division of Endocrinology, to conduct research on diabetes and prediabetes screening.
Dr. Susan randomly tested 500 of her adult patients’ blood sugar levels with an A1c finger-stick blood test. The same patients answered a 14-question proposed risk assessment for diabetes and the blood results were statistically compared to their answers.
Although periodontal disease may prove to be an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes, further research must be done to determine if treating periodontal disease will reduce the onset or progression of diabetes and the burden of disease complications.
Your Risk of Diabetes
Keep in mind that by the time diabetes is diagnosed, significant complications have already occurred. In fact, one researcher estimated that at least 10 years of potential preventive measures are wasted before diabetes is diagnosed.
Remember: Even if you have a family history of diabetes, you can take action that will prevent you from ever experiencing them and their debilitating impacts. Changing your habits can keep you healthy and alive.