We take pride in providing our patients with the highest quality dental care available today. We specialize in cosmetic dentistry, dental implant restoration, veneers, tooth whitening, Invisalign (invisible braces), and conventional dentistry. Miami Beach dentist, Dr. Arnold Rothman, has been practicing dentistry for over 30 years and is highly trained in all aspects of dentistry. We hope our blog will serve as a resource to help you achieve maximum oral health and a beautiful smile.
Study of Swedish seniors found a reduced
death risk of up to 30 percent
Activities such as
gardening, do-it-yourself projects and housework may be as good as formal exercisewhen it
comes to reducing the risk for heart attack and stroke, Swedish researchers say.
For people 60 and
older, just keeping busy with daily activities can reduce the risk of
cardiovascular problems by nearly 30 percent and even prolong life, they added.
Being on your feet
and active cuts the time spent sitting around, pointed out lead researcher Elin
Ekblom-Bak, of the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences and the
Karolinska Institute, in Stockholm.
mainly replacing time you spend in daily activity and vice versa," Ekblom-Bak
said. A recent study found long periods of sitting actually increased the risk
for diabetes, cardiovascular
disease and death, she noted.
"The results of
this study showed that activities of daily life are as important as regular
intentional exercise for older adults for cardiovascular health and
longevity," she said.
But that doesn't mean
formal exercise isn't important. "We saw that those who exercised
regularly and that also had a daily physically active life had the lowest risk
of all," Ekblom-Bak explained.
The time people spend
exercising, however, is only a small part of the day, which leaves a lot of
time for daily activities or sitting, she added.
For the new study,
researchers collected data on more than 3,800 men and women in Sweden who were
born in 1937 and 1938. Participants were asked about their lifestyle, which
included information on their diet, whether they smoked or drank alcohol, and
how physically active they were.
The participants were
also asked how often they took part in activities, such as gardening,
do-it-yourself projects, car maintenance and blackberry picking over the past
year. They were also asked about any exercise they did.
To see how
heart-healthy they were, the researchers examined the participants and took
blood samples to assess levels of fat and sugar. They also checked for high
levels of blood-clotting factor, which is linked to a raised heart attack and
During more than 12
years of follow-up, 476 of the participants died from or experienced a first
heart attack or stroke, and 383 died from other various causes.
People whose daily
activities kept them moving reduced their risk of a heart attack or stroke by
27 percent and the risk of dying from any cause by 30 percent, compared to
people who spent the least amount of time on their feet.
life activities is as important as recommending regular exercise for older
adults for cardiovascular health and longevity," Ekblom-Bak said.
particularly important for older adults as they tend to spend a greater portion
of their active day performing non-exercise physical activity, as they often
find it difficult to achieve recommended exercise intensity levels," she
of retirement often don't support continued physical activity at this stage of
life, a U.S. expert said.
"It is almost
expected that as we age, we move less," said Samantha Heller, a senior
clinical nutritionist and exercise physiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center,
in New York City.
patient told me, is for sitting around, resting and watching TV," she
said. "Unfortunately, sedentary lifestyles now range across all ages with
the same unhealthy results: increased risk for diseases such as cardiovascular
syndrome and certain cancers."
The human body is
designed to be moving a good portion of the day, Heller said. "The less
one physically moves, the less they are able to move," she said.
activities such as house cleaning, gardening, lawn care and climbing stairs
help keep the body mobile and strong, Heller said.
"You can burn up to
six times as much energy per minute when house cleaning as you do when you are
sitting still. People of all ages need to be encouraged to get up off the couch
and turn off the computer and TV and move," she said.
Heller said there are
simple ways to add more physical activity into the day, such as the following:
·Standing up when talking on the phone.
·Marching in place when watching TV -- at
least during the commercials.
·Getting up from your desk every hour and
doing jumping jacks, knee lifts or knee bends for three to five minutes.
·Climbing a flight of stairs every few hours.
·Vacuuming the house.
·Mopping the floor.
Another expert described
the physical fallout of being sedentary.
Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a
professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said
sitting for too long may have adverse effects including burning fewer calories,
and increasing insulin resistance and fats in the blood.
"Greater time spent in
non-exercise physical activities can potentially counter these effects,"
Fonarow said. "These findings further emphasize the importance of
decreasing sedentary time and encouraging everyday regular non-exercise
physical activity to improve cardiovascular health."
When it comes to aging,
Bebe Shaw didn't hit the genetic lottery. Her mother died from congestive heart
failure , her father of a heart condition. The younger of her two brothers had
a heart attack at age 52, and her younger sister is on the verge of congestive
heart failure . Shaw, 69, has high cholesterol -- a serious risk factor for
heart disease .
With such a checkered
health history, she's not taking any chances. "I am an advocate of
exercise and diet ," says Shaw, who works as a paralegal in Ocala, Fla.
"I play tennis 3 days a week, go to spinning and Zumba classes at the Y
twice a week, and try to ride my bike on a nearby trail every day." She
also eats well, takes a statin drug to control her cholesterol, and visits her
doctor regularly for checkups and screenings.
Aging: Nature or
Looking at your
relatives' medical histories is like peering into a crystal ball. You get a
glimpse at your future but not the whole picture. You can't change the genes
you inherited, but you can avoid habits that contributed to your family's
"Some people can
have a family history of heart disease, but it's actually a history of smoking
, overeating, and [an inactive] lifestyle. And if you adopt that lifestyle,
you're going to run into the same problems your parents did," says James
Pacala, MD. He is the associate head of the Department of Family Medicine and
Community Health at the University of Minnesota.
Lifestyle was a big
factor in Shaw's family: Her father was overweight, and her younger brother, a
Take preventive action
now to help make sure you're healthy into your 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond.
"You must remain active and engaged. By that, I mean physically and
mentally active and socially engaged," says Pacala, who is also president
of the American Geriatrics Society. He ticks off the necessities: aerobic and
resistance exercises, a balanced diet that's low in saturated fat and high in
fruits and vegetables, and brain games and social outings to keep you sharp.
You also want to try to
avoid diseases. "Get your immunizations , your cancer screening tests,
your cardiac and osteoporosis risk factors assessed before you have those
problems," Pacala says.
Staying Forever Young
We've all seen 70- and
80-year-olds who look and act decades younger. How do they do it? Pacala shares
a few secrets.
Refuse to take it slow. "There's a sort of societal expectation
that you're supposed to slow down as you get old, and I think you should fight
against that," Pacala says. "Don't let your grandkids get up and mow
the lawn for you and get you a glass of water. Get up and do it yourself."
Take a daily walk. Even if your pace is gentle and the distance
is short, the time spent on your feet will help keep your bones strong.
Read the newspaper with
your morning bowl of oatmeal.
Keeping your mind engaged could ward off the brain changes that lead to
Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia , while the whole grains in your bowl
help prevent heart disease.
Downsize your portions. Overeating leads to obesity and diabetes ,
which can shorten your lifespan. An overstuffed plate has also been linked to
memory loss in people 70 and older.
Routine Oral Health Assessments at First Prenatal Visit
Teeth cleanings and dental X-rays are safe for pregnant women,
according to new recommendations issued by The American College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College). Ob-gyns are now being advised to
perform routine oral health assessments at the first prenatal visit and
encourage their patients to see a dentist during pregnancy.
“These new recommendations address the questions and concerns
that many ob-gyns, dentists, and our patients have about whether it is safe to
have dental work during pregnancy,” said Diana Cheng, MD, vice chair of The
College’s Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women, which issued the
guidelines. According to The College, oral health problems are associated with
other diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory infections.
“We want ob-gyns to routinely counsel all of their patients, including pregnant
women, about the importance of oral health to their overall health,” said Dr.
More than a third (35%) of all women report they haven’t been to
the dentist within the past year. Approximately 40% of pregnant women in the US
have some form of periodontal disease, including gingivitis (inflammation of
the gums), cavities (tooth decay), and periodontitis (inflammation of ligaments
and bones that support the teeth). The physical changes caused by pregnancy can
result in changes in the gums and teeth. Periodontal disease during pregnancy
is most prevalent among black women, smokers, and women on public assistance.
“We can all reassure our
patients that routine teeth cleanings, dental X-rays, and local anesthesia are
safe during pregnancy,” said Dr. Cheng. “Pregnancy is not a reason to delay
root canals or filling cavities if they are needed because putting off
treatment may lead to further complications.” One potential benefit of
improving a woman’s oral health: It may decrease the transmission of
cavity-causing bacteria from mother to baby. This can help lessen the future
risk of cavities in children.
Ob-gyns are encouraged to reinforce practical advice for their
patients: Limit sugary foods and drinks, brush teeth twice daily with a
fluoridated toothpaste, floss once daily, and visit the dentist twice a year.
Pregnant women with severe vomiting (hyperemesis) or gastric reflux can help
avoid damage to their teeth from stomach acid by using an antacid or by rinsing
with a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water after vomiting.
Ah stress...it is a common
complaint, but stress and its effects on your mouth and oral health can be
profound. Certainly, almost everyone you know will tell you that they are
living with some sort of stress, or even multiple sources of it. Just think of
the issues in our daily lives that can lead to stress. We have work pressures,
financial issues, family related concerns, health problems, and so many other
dilemmas that lead us to say we are "feeling stressed".
Interestingly enough, one of the
first places where the effects of uninterrupted bouts of stress really show up
is inside the mouth. From the unconscious grinding of the teeth to the chemical
imbalances that lead to painful sores and even to gum disease, stress and its
effects on your mouth and oral health can be enormous.
While the occurrence of
"bruxism", or grinding of the teeth, may seem like a pretty standard
reaction to stress or strain, its results can lead to very serious problems.
For instance, whether you are someone who clenches their teeth during the day
or who gnashes their teeth as they sleep, it results in a long list of
• Experience head, neck, and jaw
pain from the clenching and pressure
• Cause micro-fractures, uneven wearing, and serious decay in the teeth and
• Break teeth, wear teeth unevenly, and break fillings or crowns with the
• Experience ear pain related to the clenching
• End up with TMJ, problems with the "temporomandibular joint"
Keep in mind that many people also
see such conditions worsen as they grind their teeth because it interrupts
their sleep and causes noticeable pain too.
One of the more severe issues
connected with stress and teeth grinding is the appearance of gum disease. This
can certainly be the result of long periods of pressure and the compromising in
gum stability that this causes, but prolonged stress also floods the body with
hormones and compounds that have an immediate impact on the teeth.
Several studies and surveys
discovered that stress and its effects on your mouth and oral health included
higher incidences of periodontal (gum) disease, and canker sores. What is so
interesting is that many people were living with stress and feeling depressed
from it. This is a common result because of the hormonal imbalances high levels
of stress create. This depression brought on periods of poor oral hygiene and
increased plaque production. Even over a short duration the studies
demonstrated that higher rates of decay and the resulting gum disease were very
Perhaps one of the most upsetting of
the results of stress on the oral health is canker sores. Painful, unpleasant,
and seemingly uncontrollable, these can remain in the mouth for up to two
weeks. There are many effective over the counter treatments, and they usually
help to reduce the sores quickly.
Clearly, it is important to reduce
stress levels to protect oral health. Some of the best techniques include
exercise, meditation, massage for the head and neck, facial exercises that
cause deep relaxation, and a healthy diet that protects the condition of the
teeth as well as the body.
Unlike most bacteria, Listeria can grow
in a cold refrigerator, experts warn
With the arrival of
summer, many folks think they can keep their picnic food safe from bacteria by
storing it in the refrigerator. But they would be wrong about one bacteria.
Unlike most of its
brethren, Listeria bacteria can grow in cool temperatures. Refrigerating
food contaminated with this bacteria could allow the germs to multiply and
spread, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The bacteria can cause a
serious illness known as listeriosis, which is particularly dangerous for
children, older people, pregnant women and those with compromised immune
systems or chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes.
Foods in which Listeria
has been found include deli meats, hot dogs, smoked seafood and store-prepared
salads. The FDA advises those at greater risk for developing listeriosis to
reheat these ready-to-eat foods until they are steaming hot. They should also
avoid unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses.
Listeriosis has also
been linked to contaminated cantaloupes. The FDA recommended washing all fruits
and vegetables under running water immediately before eating, cutting or
cooking them. Firm produce, in particular, should be scrubbed with a produce
The FDA added that other
ways to prevent Listeria infection include:
·Set your refrigerator
temperature to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to inhibit or slow the growth of Listeria.
Use a refrigerator and freezer thermometer to ensure temperatures are
·Wrap or cover food
before placing it in the refrigerator. Be sure no containers or covers are
leaking juices on other foods.
·Do not allow cooked or
ready-to-eat foods to sit in the refrigerator. Eat these foods right away so Listeria
doesn't have the opportunity to grow. "If you have leftovers in your
refrigerator, it's best to throw them out after three days, just to be
sure," Donald Zink, senior science advisor at FDA's Center for Food Safety
and Applied Nutrition, said in a news release. "It's better to be safe
·Clean up refrigerator
spills immediately. The FDA notes leaks or spills from hot dog packages, raw
meat or poultry are particularly worrisome. The agency advised cleaning these
spills with paper towels to avoid spreading germs to a cloth towel.
·Routinely disinfect the
refrigerator. The FDA recommended cleaning the inside walls and shelves of the
refrigerator with warm water and soap. Surface cleaners can also be used
surfaces where food is prepared with soap and water and surface cleaner. The
FDA noted homemade sanitizer can be made by combining one teaspoon of unscented
bleach with one quart of water. Unused bleach solution should be discarded
since it becomes less effective over time.
·Wash cutting boards
after every use. Nonporous acrylic, plastic, or glass boards can be sanitized
in the dishwasher.
·Wash dish cloths, towels
and cloth grocery bags in the hot cycle of the washing machine.
·Before and after
handling food, wash your hands with warm water and soap.
How to prevent or treat
the (sometimes painful) troubles that can lurk in your mouth.
Problem: Tooth Decay
Also known as dental
caries or cavities, tooth decay occurs when plaque, a sticky film of bacteria
that forms when you eat sugars or starches, is allowed to linger on teeth for
Who’s at risk: Anyone can get a cavity, but children and older people
are the most prone. The incidence among children has been declining, thanks to
community water fluoridation and the increased use of fluoride toothpastes, but
“more than half of all children have caries by the second grade,” according to
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report Healthy People 2010.
Older adults are prone to cavities at the root because protective gum tissue
often pulls away.
What to do: Don't give plaque a chance: Brush with a fluoride toothpaste
and floss every day. Children can also benefit from sealants (plastic coatings
applied to the chewing surfaces of their back teeth) as soon as their adult
molars come in. Older people should be particularly vigilant: Those who have a
tendency toward dry mouth should receive regular fluoride treatments from a
dentist and use a fluoride-containing mouth rinse.
Problem: Gum Disease
A bacterial infection
caused by plaque that attacks the gums, bone, and ligaments that keep your
teeth in place. The early stage is known as gingivitis, the advanced stage as
Who’s at risk: Everyone. The National Institute of Dental and
Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) estimates that half of all adults have some signs
of gingivitis. Most at risk are people with poor oral hygiene; those with a
systemic disease, such as diabetes, that lowers resistance to infection; and
smokers. Women also have a tendency to develop gingivitis during pregnancy.
Other risk factors are stress, which weakens the immune system, and genes. Some
people can have gingivitis all their lives and never progress to periodontitis.
It depends on a person's susceptibility to the disease.
What to do: See a dentist regularly, and tell him if your gums feel
tender or bleed. Gingivitis can be reversed with regular brushing and flossing.
To combat periodontitis, a dentist or periodontist may perform a deep cleaning
around the teeth and below the gum lines and prescribe medication to combat the
infection. If the disease has progressed to affect your gums and bone, your
dentist might suggest surgery, such as a gum graft.
Problem: Tooth Infection
The pulp inside the
tooth (which contains nerves) is damaged or becomes infected because of decay
or injury. The root canal, which connects the top pulp chamber to the tip of
the root, may become infected, too.
Who’s at risk: Anyone with a deep cavity or a cracked tooth, which can
let in bacteria. An injured tooth can have a problem even if it's not visibly
cracked or chipped.
What to do: If you feel pain in or around a tooth, see your dentist. He
may refer you to an endodontist, who specializes in root-canal procedures. In
one to three visits, the dentist will perform a root canal. He will remove the
pulp, clean the pulp chamber and root canal, then fill the tooth.
Problem: Enamel Erosion
Exposure to acid,
primarily from soda or citrus drinks, can wear down the surface of the teeth,
making them rounded and discolored. Overbrushing can have a similar effect on
enamel near the gum lines.
Who’s at risk: Anyone who sips lemonade, soda (even diet soda), or
sports drinks all day. This is also an occupational hazard of wine
professionals. A lot of times the only risk factor we can come up with is diet
soda. Aggressive brushers may also be wearing away the enamel along with the
What to do: If necessary, teeth can be restored with bonding materials. But
to prevent further damage, you have to change your habits. If soft drinks are
the culprit, for example, switch to water. Second best is to drink sodas (or
sports drinks) with a full meal or sip them through a straw, then follow with a
tooth brushing, sugarless gum, or a good swish of water in the mouth. If the
problem is overbrushing, a soft-bristled brush or an electric toothbrush is a
start. A dentist or a hygienist can demonstrate proper, gentle brushing
Problem: Dry Mouth
Also known as xerostomia,
dry mouth results from a decrease in the flow of saliva in the mouth. It is
extremely uncomfortable and increases the chance of tooth decay, since saliva
helps wash away harmful bacteria.
Who’s at risk: Those who take any of 400-plus medications, including
diuretics and antidepressants. “Dry mouth becomes more prominent as women get
older, in their 50s and 60s,” says Sally Cram, an American Dental Association
consumer adviser and a periodontist in Washington, D.C. Hormonal and metabolic
changes that come with age can also change your salivary flow. Another cause is
Sjogren's syndrome, a rare disorder most common among women in their late 40s
that causes a person's immune system to attack her salivary and tear glands.
What to do: Keep sugarless gum on hand; avoid caffeine, tobacco, and
alcohol; and drink plenty of water. Artificial rinses or moisturizing mouth
gels can help the salivary glands function. If you suspect that you have dry
mouth, see your dentist or doctor. “Anyone needing additional fluids to speak
or to swallow dry foods for three months or longer should be evaluated for
Sjogren's,” says Jane Atkinson, D.D.S., deputy clinical director of the
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). While there's
no cure, she says, “as with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, you can manage it.”
Problem: Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
TMJ is a group of
conditions that affect the temporomandibular joint, just below the ears and
above the jaw. Sufferers may clench or grind their teeth subconsciously, often
Who’s at risk: About twice as many women as men are believed to have TMJ,
most commonly during their childbearing years. People who are under a great
deal of stress are also more prone to it, or a severe injury to the jaw may
cause the condition. It's usually not chronic, though it can become so. TMJ can
lead to worn-down and sensitive teeth, as well as other painful symptoms, such as
a sore jaw, headaches, neck aches, and earaches.
What to do: See your dentist if you feel pain when you chew, find that your
jaw has limited movement, or have radiating pain in your face, neck, or
shoulders. Treatment may be as simple as relaxation exercises, cold compresses,
ibuprofen, and avoiding foods that require serious chewing. To train
yourself to stop clenching and grinding your teeth, the Mayo Clinic recommends “resting your tongue upward with your teeth apart and
your lips closed.” To stop nighttime grinding, your dentist can fit you with a
Problem: Oral Cancers
An oral cancer may start
with a small, pale, red, painless lump on some area of the mouth. A dentist can
easily screen for the disease by examining and feeling around a patient's
mouth, head, and neck.
Who’s at risk: Of the estimated 30,000 cases of oral cancer diagnosed
each year in this country, about three-quarters are associated with tobacco use
or tobacco in combination with heavy alcohol use. Most cases occur after age
40. Many people aren't screened, and detection usually occurs when the cancer
is at an advanced stage. That's why the five-year survival rate is one of the
lowest for all cancers.
What to do: Stop smoking, and make sure your dentist screens you every
time you visit. Even people missing many or all of their teeth should see a
dentist regularly to make sure their dentures fit, as chronic irritation can be
a risk factor.
If losing weight doesn't
convince you, the sheer fun of the wind in your hair surely will
No matter your fitness level, clothing size,
age, or litany of aches and pains, you can enjoy the fun, adventure, and health benefits that
two wheels can bring. Whether you haven't ridden a bike in years or want to
start incorporating it more regularly into your cross-training routine, here's
what you need to know to get started. If you can walk, you can ride.
very little impact on your joints, so it's kind to your body," says bike
fit specialist Andrew Pruitt, EdD, director of Boulder Center for Sports
Medicine in Colorado. "Even if you have pain walking, you can still ride a
bike, because it isn't weight bearing." In fact, most people find that
they are able to cycle comfortably when they're well into their 70s and 80s.
Rick McMenamin, 66, began cycling when a knee injury sidelined him from
running. "I still wanted to exercise, and cycling was something I could do
without putting stress on my knees," he says. "I started riding with
my wife on mountain bikes." Six months later, Joe Wentzell, owner of
Breakaway Bikes and a cycling coach, convinced him to buy a road bike and start
training more seriously. "I was amazed at how much progress I made in 1
year. I've trained regularly with Breakaway team members and have even done a
few time trials in my age-group," McMenamin says.
Cycling is an
especially great way to up your activity when you're out of shape, because you
can go farther right off the bat than you would walking or running. "If
you can walk half a mile, you can ride a bike 5 miles," Dr. Pruitt says.
"This boosts your confidence and makes you more likely to stick with the
activity." Thanks to technology updates, bikes can take up the slack for
any strength or stamina you might lack. "Bikes today have lots of gears
for the steepest grades," says Lorri Lee Lown, head coach at Savvy Bike,
Redwood City, CA. "You can even ask a bike shop to add special, very small
climbing gears that will allow you to spin your way up any hill."
You can pedal off pounds.
Your legs and butt—the largest muscles in your body—are
the power drivers for any bicycle, which makes cycling a great lower-body
toner, as well as a major calorie burner. In fact, even moderate cycling—riding
12 to 14 mph—burns more than 500 calories in only 60 minutes, and many people
(even novices) can easily bike for an hour or two. This makes cycling a great
way to slim down, whether you have a little or a lot to lose.
Elizabeth Seifert, 47, a Web designer/IT specialist in
Woodstock, GA, took up cycling just before turning 42, because she wanted to shed
her last 10 pounds of baby weight and was bored with the gym. "Never once
has riding felt like exercise," she says. Not only did she lose the
weight, but she found a new love: "There's an indescribable sense of
freedom you get while riding a bike. You feel like a kid again—I'm
Dinah Hannah, 49, a clinical laboratory scientist from
Salt Lake City, started cycling when she was at her heaviest, carrying 240
pounds on her 5-foot-6 frame. "I knew I needed to lose weight. I tried
running, but I developed arthritis in my feet and knees," says Hannah.
"Then I heard about a commuter challenge where you had to get to work
without driving for 1 week." Even though she didn't own a bike and lived
15 miles from her job, Hannah decided to go for it. She bought a mountain bike
and—after scoping out a route with the lightest traffic—gave it a try. "I
made it to work in just under 2 hours, and since there's no weight bearing in
cycling, it didn't bother my joints," she says. "I thought, Wow, I
can really do this!" Soon Hannah was addicted: "I loved riding so
much that I started training for centuries—100-mile rides—and charity rides
like the MS 150, which covers 150 miles in 2 days." Within 2 years, she
lost 100 pounds, going from a size 20 to a size 6. "Last year, I did Race
Across America on a four-woman team. We won first place for our
age-group," she says.
You can do it safely.
Like skiing and other outdoor sports, cycling is as risky
as you make it. You wouldn't hop off the lift and barrel down a triple diamond
run out of the gate, and you shouldn't try riding down supersteep roads or in
heavy traffic if you're new and unsure of your skills. "Start small and
work up to more challenging routes as you become comfortable," says Lown.
Just as you did when your parents took off those training
wheels decades ago, begin by practicing the basics (starting, stopping,
shifting gears, and turning) where there's plenty of space and little traffic,
like a parking lot or a park. Make sure you're comfortable and able to control
your speed—especially on downhills—before taking your bike out for a true spin.
When you feel comfortable, you can vary your routes. Talk with your local bike
shop or club to find out the best spots to ride, or discover popular routes
with the free app MapMyRide. Download it to your mobile phone and it will automatically
find routes that other cyclists in your area have ridden. "Women my age
say, 'I don't know how you do it. I'd be a nervous wreck,' " says Dede
Muhler, 68, a tree pruning specialist from Oakland, CA, who rides an average of
5 to 7 hours a week. "But it's no more dangerous than 100 things you do
every day—and there's nothing else like it."
You'll make new friends.
"Cycling is a
great way to stay active as you get older, because it's not as isolated as
running or other activities," says McMenamin. Looking to make some cycling
friends? Consider joining a local club. "Cycling clubs are a wealth of
information on how to ride and improve your skills. Plus, you'll be surrounded
by other cyclists and make lots of friends to ride with," says Lown.
You see the world differently.
The real beauty of bicycling is all the amazing places it
can take you. There's simply nothing in the world like rolling through fields
of wildflowers, pedaling along the edge of the ocean, or soaking in the scenery
of a mountaintop vista. "Cycling opens up worlds of territory to explore,
providing a more intimate understanding of nature and the terrain," says
Ruth Andrews, 60, a retired nurse from Simi Valley, CA,
agrees: "I love that you're outside and can take in the sights and
sounds—it's beautiful." Bicycling also opens the door to a variety of fun
vacation possibilities. "I've biked along the Riviera in France and through
the mountains of Girona, Spain," says McMenamin. "Challenging
yourself on the climbs while taking in the beauty of these areas is quite an
Choose your bike wisely.
You wouldn't dream of waltzing into a car dealer and
plunking down your cash on the first car that caught your fancy. You research,
test-drive, and find a dealer who treats you well. Do the same with your bike
purchase. First rule: Go to a bike shop rather than a big-box store, says Lown.
"Bike-shop employees are more knowledgeable about bike selection and
proper fit," she says.
And while there's a dizzying array of bikes to choose
from, you can whittle down your choices by considering where you'll ride, says
Lown. If that's primarily pavement, go for a road bike or touring bike with
comfortable, more upright geometry—as opposed to aerodynamic (very hunched
forward) race geometry—which you can buy with flat handlebars (instead of curvy
racer handlebars) and wider tires for comfort and stability. If you think
you'll just ride to take care of errands, consider a cruiser or town bike,
which sits you more upright and may have carrying capacity. Heading for trails
and rough paths? A fat-tired off-road bike is in order.
Keep in mind, if the last bike you bought had a banana
seat, you will likely have a case of sticker shock. Today's high-end bikes are
crafted from feather-light, durable materials like carbon fiber and come
equipped with finely tuned components (brakes, gears, and shifters) that
provide a dreamy ride but boost prices upward of $1,000. Don't panic—you'll
still get a great bike at the lower price points.
A proper fit fights soreness.
The number one thing that keeps many people from cycling
is discomfort, especially in the nether regions, says Dr. Pruitt. This is where
the right fit comes in. Your bike shop will adjust your position to distribute
your weight properly on the saddle (the technical term for the seat) and
handlebars and make sure your back isn't too stretched out and your knees track
The shop's experts will also make sure that your saddle
fits your sitz bones (the two lowest points on your pelvis that take your weight
when you sit), which should support your weight on the rear of the seat.
Whether you need a wide saddle or a skinny one has nothing to do with the size
of your derriere but, rather, with the width of your sitz bones, says Dr.
Pruitt, who helped develop what Specialized Bikes has playfully named the
ass-o-meter, a gel-filled cushion that measures your sitz bones. (You sit on it
and stand back up, and the imprints of your sitz bones are there for all to
see.) If the saddle on your bike isn't immediately comfortable after a proper
bike fit, continue to try others till you find one that is.
Adding enzymes from seaweed microbes to
toothpaste and mouthwash could provide better protection against tooth decay, a
team of UK scientists have said.
Researchers at Newcastle University had been
studying Bacillus licheniformis to see if it could clean ships' hulls.
But the scientists now believe it could
protect the areas between teeth where plaque can gather despite brushing.
Their lab tests suggest the microbe's enzyme
cuts through plaque, stripping it of bacteria that cause tooth decay.
Dr Nick Jakubovics, of the university's school
of dental sciences, said: "Plaque on your teeth is made up of bacteria
which join together to colonize an area in a bid to push out any potential
"Traditional toothpastes work by
scrubbing off the plaque containing the bacteria - but that's not always
effective - which is why people who religiously clean their teeth can still
"We found this enzyme can remove some of
these undesirable bacteria from plaque."
Plaque is made up of lots of different
When bacterial cells die, the DNA inside them
leaks out and makes a biofilm that sticks to the teeth.
Instead of removing the plaque entirely, Dr
Jakubovics believes the treatment could strip away the harmful bacteria, like
Streptococcus mutans, that cause tooth decay.
"Ultimately we hope to harness this power
into a paste, mouthwash or denture-cleaning solution."
He said more studies are needed to show the
technique works and is safe before any products could be brought to market.
He is presenting the latest findings to a
meeting of the Society for Applied Microbiology, the organization that is
funding the research along with the Newcastle Healthcare Charity.
bad breath? You're not alone. Forty million Americans suffer from bad breath,
or halitosis, according to the American Dental Hygienists' Association. Bad
breath can get in the way of your social life. It can make you self-conscious
and embarrassed. Fortunately, there are simple and effective ways to freshen
1. Brush and
floss more frequently.
One of the
prime causes of bad breath is plaque, the sticky build-up on teeth that harbors
bacteria. Food left between teeth adds to the problem. All of us should brush
at least twice a day and floss daily. If you're worried about your breath,
brush and floss a little more often. But don't overdo it. Brushing too
aggressively can erode enamel, making your teeth more vulnerable to decay.
2. Scrape your
that normally forms on the tongue can harbor foul-smelling bacteria. To
eliminate them, gently brush your tongue with your toothbrush. Some people find
that toothbrushes are too big to comfortably reach the back of the tongue. In
that case, try a tongue scraper. Tongue scrapers are an essential tool in a
proper oral health care routine. They're designed specifically to apply even
pressure across the surface of the tongue area, removing bacteria, food debris,
and dead cells that brushing alone can’t remove.
3. Avoid foods
that sour your breath.
garlic are the prime offenders. Unfortunately, brushing after you eat onions or
garlic doesn't help. The volatile substances they contain make their way into
your blood stream and travel to your lungs, where you breathe them out. The
only way to avoid the problem is to avoid eating onions and garlic, especially
before social or work occasions when you're concerned about your breath.
4. Kick the
Bad breath is
just one of many reasons not to smoke. Smoking damages gum tissue and stains
teeth. It also increases your risk of oral cancer. Over-the-counter nicotine
patches can help tame the urge to smoke. If you need a little help, make an
appointment to talk to your doctor about prescription medications or smoking
cessation programs that can help you give up tobacco for good.
5. Rinse your
In addition to
freshening your breath, anti-bacterial mouthwashes add extra protection by
reducing plaque-causing bacteria. After eating, swishing your mouth with plain
water also helps freshen your breath by eliminating food particles.
after-dinner mints and chew gum instead.
Sugary candies promote the growth of
bacteria in your mouth and add to bad breath problems. Instead, chew sugarless
gum. Gum stimulates saliva, which is the mouth’s natural defense mechanism
against plaque acids which cause tooth decay and bad breath.
7. Keep your
also known as periodontal disease, is a common cause of bad breath. Bacteria
accumulate in pockets at the base of teeth, creating bad odors. If you have gum
disease, your dentist may recommend a periodontist, who specializes in treating
8. Be alert to
Lack of saliva
promotes tooth decay and can cause bad breath. If your mouth is dry, drink
plenty of water during the day. Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard
candy, which helps stimulate saliva. Use a humidifier at night if the air is
dry. If your mouth is still unusually dry, talk to your dentist or doctor. Dry
mouth is a side effect of certain medications.
9. See your
If your bad breath continues despite
your best efforts, see your doctor. Bad breath can be a symptom of medical
conditions such as a sinus infection, postnasal drip from allergies, lung
infections, diabetes, or liver or kidney diseases.
When the toddler came to her office,
4 of his 16 teeth were so decayed, they required dental crowns.
Although this case may sound
shocking, it's not rare, says Beverly Largent, DMD, the Paducah, Ky., dentist
who cared for the child. She tells parents it's crucial to care for baby teeth.
"You need to brush from the first tooth," says Largent, past president
of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
In fact, tooth decay -- although
largely preventable with good care -- is one of the most common chronic
diseases of children ages 6 to 11 and teens ages 12 to 19. Tooth decay is five
times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever in
children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. By kindergarten age,
more than 40% of kids have tooth decay.
Neglecting baby teeth is not the
only misstep parents can make when it comes to their
child's early oral health.
Here's your 7-step
Start Oral Care Early
Your child should see a dentist by
the time he or she is a year old, according to the American Academy of
Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Getting preventive care early saves
money in the long run, according to a report published by the CDC. The report
found that costs for dental care were nearly 40% lower over a five-year period
for children who got dental care by age one compared to those who didn't go to
the dentist until later.
Teach the Brush & Floss Habit
Dental visits are just part of the
plan, of course. Tooth brushing is also crucial from the start. "A lot of
people think they don't have to brush baby teeth," Largent says. If your
baby has even one tooth, it's time to start tooth brushing. "If there's
just one tooth, you can use gauze."
Even before your baby has teeth, you
can gently brush the gums, using water on a soft baby toothbrush, or clean them
with a soft washcloth.
Once there are additional teeth,
Largent tells parents to buy infant toothbrushes that are very soft. Brushing
should be done twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste.
Flossing should begin when two teeth
touch each other. Ask your dentist to show you the right flossing techniques
and schedules, Largent says.
Also ask for your dentist's advice
on when to start using mouthwash. "I advise parents to wait until the
child can definitely spit the mouthwash out," says Mary Hayes, DDS, a
pediatric dentist in Chicago and consumer advisor for the American Dental
Association. "Mouthwash is a rinse and not a beverage."
So how long until Junior can be
responsible for brushing his own teeth? "[Parents] have to clean the teeth
until children are able to tie their shoes or write in cursive," says
During dental visits, ask your
dentist if your child's teeth need fluoride protection or a dental sealant.
And remember, the most important time to brush and floss is
just before bedtime. No food or drink, except water, should be permitted until
the next morning. This allows clean teeth to re-mineralize during the night,
from the minerals in the saliva and toothpaste.
Avoid "Baby Bottle Decay"
For years, pediatricians and
dentists have been cautioning parents not to put an infant or older child down
for a nap with a bottle of juice, formula, or milk.
Even so, says Largent, many parents
don't realize this can wreak havoc with their child's oral health.
The sugary liquids in the bottle
cling to baby's teeth, providing food for bacteria that live in the mouth. The
bacteria produce acids that can trigger tooth decay. Left unchecked, dental
disease can adversely affect a child's growth and learning, and can even affect
If you must give your child a bottle
to take to bed, make sure it contains only water, according to American Academy
of Pediatrics guidelines.
Control the Sippy Cup Habit
Bottles taken to bed aren't the only
beverage problem, says Hayes. The other? "Juice given during the day as a
substitute for water and milk," Hayes says.
Often, that juice is in a sippy cup.
It's meant as a transition cup when a child is being weaned from a bottle and
learning to use a regular cup.
Parents mistakenly think juice is a
healthy day-long choice for a beverage, say Hayes and Largent. But that's not
Largent says she often sees children
walking around all day drinking juices and other sugary beverages from a sippy
cup, and that's hazardous to dental health. "Prolonged use of a sippy cup
can cause decay on the back of the front teeth," if the beverages are
sugary, she says.
Juice consumption has been linked to
childhood obesity and the development of tooth decay, according to the American
Academy of Pediatrics. In its current policy statement on preventive oral
health, the organization advises parents to limit the intake of 100% fruit
juice to no more than four ounces a day. Sugary drinks and foods should be
limited to mealtimes.
"Pediatricians I know are
telling parents to use juice as a treat," Hayes says.
Ditch the Binky by 2 or 3
Pacifiers used in
the first year of life may actually help prevent sudden infant death syndrome,
according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. They suggest using a pacifier
when placing the infant to sleep but not to reinsert once baby has drifted off.
Long-term use can be hazardous to dental
health. Sucking too strongly on a pacifier, for instance, can affect how the
top and bottom teeth line up (the "bite") or can affect the shape of
Largent tells parents of her young
patients: "Pacifiers are for infants, not for toddlers walking around with
them in their mouths." She discourages long-term use of even the
"orthodontically correct" pacifiers.
Largent says she prefers that pacifiers be dropped by age 2.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests getting a professional evaluation
if the pacifier habit continues beyond age 3.
Beware of Mouth-Unfriendly Medicines
Many medications that children take
are flavored and sugary, says Hayes. If they stick on the teeth, the risk for
tooth decay goes up.
Children on medications for chronic
conditions such as asthma and heart problems often have a higher decay rate,
Antibiotics and some asthma
medications can cause an overgrowth of candida (yeast), which can lead to a
fungal infection called oral thrush. Suspect thrush if you see creamy,
curd-like patches on the tongue or inside the mouth.
"If your child is on chronic
medications, ask your child's dentist how often you should brush," Hayes
says. You may be advised to help your child brush as often as four times a day.
Stand Firm on Oral Hygiene
Parents often tell Hayes that their
children put up a fuss when it comes time to brush, floss, and rinse, so
parents relent and don’t keep up with oral care at home as they should.
Hayes strongly advises these parents
to let their children know they don't have a choice about taking care of their
teeth and gums.
"It has to be done," Hayes
says. But she understands that children can get cranky and difficult. She
suggests these tips to coax reluctant brushers and flossers to get the job done
-- or if they are too young, to allow their parents to help them do it.
·Plan to help your children longer
than you may think necessary. "Children don't have the fine motor skills
to brush their own teeth until about age 6," says Hayes. Flossing skills
don't get good until later, probably age 10.
·Schedule the brushing and flossing
and rinsing, if advised, at times when your child is not overly tired. You may
get more cooperation from a child who isn't fatigued.
·Get your child involved in a way
that's age-appropriate. For instance, you might let a child who is age 5 or
older pick his own toothpaste at the store, from options you approve. You could
buy two or three different kinds of toothpaste and let the child choose which
one to use each time. You may offer him a choice of toothbrushes, including
kid-friendly ones that are brightly colored or decorated.
·Figure out what motivates your
child. A younger child may gladly brush for a sticker, for instance, or gold
stars on a chart.