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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 resolvemake 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 diabetesand 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 drugsyour 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 ‚ÄčLive a Healthier, Happier, Sexier Life. ‚Äč
 

Most people worry more about treating chapped lips than preventing the damage in the first place. Summer or winter, the more time you spend outdoors, the more likely your lips are to suffer from the combination of sun and wind. Not only does it burn and chap your lips, but long term sun exposure, especially on your lower lip, increases your risk of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
 
The best treatment is maintain sun protection is by repeatedly applying a lip balm with a minimum of SPF 15 to prevent pre-cancerous changes to the skin.
But when you choose your protective balm, take a look at the ingredients first. Dr. Susan sees many patients who have a bad reaction to the lip balm itself, resulting in lined, corrugated, cracked or inflammed lips. Most of those are from cooling agents, which makes it smart to stay away from balms containing menthol, phenol, or camphor altogether.
 
Realize also that by the time you finish a lip balm, you have eaten it entirely. That may make it far more palatable to choose only those filled with natural oils and waxes, such as beeswax, organic olive oil, organic palm oil, and evening primrose oil. Avoiding preservatives may mean that the balm will have a shorter shelf life, but it’s much healthier for you overall.
 
In addition, avoid licking or chewing your lips due to stress. All the benefits that saliva brings to your mouth don’t extend to your lips. If you are licking or chewing due to stress, it is better to work it out with exercise or meditation. Checking your medication for side effects is also a way to prevent those sore and cracked lips. Many medications do cause lips to dry and chap, so if you suspect your prescriptions are the culprit, consult your physician and ask for a new prescription.
 
Dr. Susan Maples, DDS | Holt, MI Cosmetic Dentist | How to Treat Chapped Lips

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.