Hands up if you've ever been on a diet, or been worried about your weight? That will be most of us, then. Body image is such a contentious issue in the modern day, and women, in particular, can often be on the receiving end of any societal pressures. Of course, being concerned about your weight doesn't just mean that you are hung up on the way you LOOK. Plenty of people change their diet and lifestyle to simply be healthier - any aesthetic changes merely come as a plus. However, with so much focus being on our weight and our bodies, other aspects of our health and beauty can often get pushed out. Take our faces, for example. The face is the first thing you see when you meet a new person and is integral to forming new relationships. Expressions are so delicate that many of us are not even aware we are making them, but we can give away a lot of how we are feeling just from our faces!
The mouth, in particular, is a critical aspect. It is our primary communication tool and also goes through plenty of other things on an average day - whether that is eating, drinking, or kissing! Therefore, it's often crazy to think how much many of us overlook both our oral and our dental health. If you start to ignore this area, you could be opening yourself up to some pretty nasty future health issues. No one wants to be the person who looks back and thinks 'I could have done more to look after myself back then.' So, with that in mind, here are some top tips for keeping your lips, gums, teeth, and tongue in tip top condition.
We all know we should brush our teeth twice a day - but are you doing it right? There is quite a lot of contention about how you should brush; whether you should dampen your toothbrush prior or not, how much toothpaste you should use, and whether you should use a manual brush or an electric one. With all this conflicting information, it can get a bit confusing knowing what or what not to do. However, the best course of action is to speak to your dentist personally and ask for their advice. Only they know your teeth better than you will, so they will be able to point you in the right direction. Typically, though, try and get into the habit of using a fluoride toothpaste, along with a non-alcoholic mouthwash and floss a couple of times a week, if you can.
Our tongue is a muscle - although you'd have to try something pretty out there to pull it like you would your bicep or your quads! However, that doesn't mean to say that it still isn't safe from damage, sitting safely inside your mouth. Certain lifestyle habits can have a derogatory effect on the health of your tongue, leading to some pretty nasty symptoms. Take, for example, 'black hairy tongue.' This gross-sounding condition is what can sometimes occur when a person has been smoking tobacco for many years. The gradual build-up of smoke in the mouth causes discoloration to appear on the surface of the tongue, which in turn, gives the appearance of the tongue being hairy. Attractive, no? If you are addicted to smoking and quitting cold turkey to avoid this issue is not an option, you could always try switching to e-cigarettes instead. Electronic cigarettes use 120 ml e juice rather than tobacco, as well as containing far fewer chemicals. Therefore, you still get your nicotine rush, but without all the added nasties (and no black tongue!).
Gum disease is one of the most common oral disorders people are treated for all over the world. Ironically, it is also one of the easiest conditions to protect yourself against. So many people forget about their gums when brushing their teeth, but remember, that part of your mouth needs attention too! If you find that your regular toothbrush is too rough or harsh on your sensitive gums (remember, you never want to draw blood), find a softer one to use. Flossing or using a plaque pick is again, integral to dental hygiene overall, but particularly for your gums. A plaque build-up is one of the leading causes of gum disease, so if you notice that the gaps between your teeth are yellowing, take action right away. If you notice that when you spit your toothpaste back into the sink, there is blood there, this could be an early sign of gum disease (even if other symptoms haven't arisen yet). Make an appointment with your dentist straight away, and he or she will be able to diagnose you and put a treatment plan in place.
Our lips are one of our most aesthetic features - and keeping them healthy is what help to keep them beautiful, too! Try and think of your pout a bit like a sponge (not the nicest metaphor, we know). When they are hydrated, they are soft and supple. When they are starved of moisture, they are dry and rough. Lots of people struggle with chapped lips during the winter and burnt lips during the summer. To avoid both of these scenarios, make sure you are taking the necessary protective precautions. During hot weather, always use a lip balm with an SPF in it - if you're a lipstick lover, just apply a small layer of balm over your color of choice. Similarly, in winter, make sure your lips are hydrated with a moisturizing balm that will prevent them from the icy temperatures. You can also take another measure towards getting your lips pucker-perfect, such as using an exfoliating lip scrub to soften them - just don't rub them too hard! Finish with a slick of lipstick or gloss, and you're ready to go, knowing that your lips are both beautiful AND healthy.
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