Doc on call

First For Women - - Contents -

Q: This is em­bar­rass­ing to ad­mit, but I have ter­ri­ble breath. I re­cently started pack­ing mouth­wash in my purse to use through­out the day, but my breath ac­tu­ally seems to be get­ting worse. What’s go­ing on?

A: Eight out of 10 peo­ple say they stress over hav­ing bad breath, so thank you for be­ing brave enough to write in about this com­mon prob­lem. And you raise a good point: Though it may seem sur­pris­ing, most mouth­wash brands con­tain su­gar and al­co­hol, which ac­tu­ally ex­ac­er­bate bad breath. Al­co­hol dries out the mouth, mak­ing it a more hos­pitable en­vi­ron­ment to bad breath–caus­ing bac­te­ria, and those same bac­te­ria feed on the sug­ars in mouth­wash, caus­ing their num­bers to mul­ti­ply. If your mouth­wash con­tains ei­ther of these in­gre­di­ents, con­sider switch­ing to Tom’s of Maine Mouth­wash (Wal­mart stores). I es­pe­cially like this one be­cause it con­tains zinc, which re­duces bac­te­ria’s out­put of the sul­fur com­pounds that cause bad breath.

If your mouth­wash isn’t the cul­prit, new re­search points to the plaque that builds up on the tongue as a ma­jor con­tribut­ing fac­tor in bad breath. Adding a tongue scraper, like Dr. Tung’s Tongue Cleaner (Ama­zon.com), to your morn­ing and evening rou­tine will help keep breath fresh all day. In fact, re­search shows that us­ing a scraper daily can re­duce lev­els of bad breath by 65% be­cause it re­moves lay­ers of sticky sul­fur com­pounds that build up on the tongue.

If you’re con­cerned about your breath af­ter meals or be­tween brush­ings, con­sider chew­ing on car­damom seeds. The cit­rusy kitchen sta­ple fresh­ens breath in­stantly, and its plant com­pounds have been proven to in­hibit the bac­te­rial strains that cause odor, so it can help dial back bad breath long-term.

QI walk daily to keep my bones strong, but a friend told me this doesn’t pro­tect my up­per body. Is this true?

ACon­grat­u­la­tions on your com­mit­ment to ex­er­cise! Re­search in The New Eng­land Jour­nal of Medicine shows daily walks pre­vent bone loss and de­crease the risk of hip frac­tures by 30%. But your friend is right: To keep the bones in your back and shoul­ders strong, you need to add more re­sis­tance to your ac­tiv­ity. I sug­gest wear­ing an 8-pound weighted vest (like Em­power Weighted Vest for Women, Ama­zon.com) dur­ing three walks a week. This stim­u­lates bone and mus­cle mass while sup­port­ing the spine to re­duce risk of in­jury.

Bal­ance is also a key com­po­nent in re­duc­ing bone loss, so I rec­om­mend in­te­grat­ing Tai Chi into your rou­tine. Re­search shows that this low-im­pact ex­er­cise im­proves over­all bone mass den­sity by 6% in women. Search for “Tai Chi for be­gin­ners” on YouTube to try it out.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.