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posted: 10/8/2012 7:15 AM

Your health: Chew over dental care

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  • Using the right toothbrush and toothpaste is part of holistic dental care, but flossing isn't.

    Using the right toothbrush and toothpaste is part of holistic dental care, but flossing isn't.

Daily Herald report

Beyond daily flossing

Brushing? Check. Flossing? Check. Twice-yearly cleanings? Check and check.

You may think you've got good oral health in the bag, but an article in September's Whole Living may make you think again, says The Washington Post.

The magazine takes a look at holistic dentists, practitioners who view the mouth as "a barometer of the body's overall health." Holistic dentists treat all the usual problems, but they also look at inflamed gums and infected teeth as part of broader health problems, and they prescribe healthful diet, sleep and exercise alongside mercury-free fillings.

Not sure you're ready to switch to the holistic approach? Whole Living offers "unorthodox" oral health tips to add to your dental hygiene: Brush twice a day with a soft bristle brush. Choose a toothpaste free of fluoride and sodium lauryl sulfate. Eat alkaline foods such as beans, fruits and greens. Rinse your mouth with warm sea-salt water and a few drops of clove or mint oil. Clean gums with an oral irrigator. Get plenty of sleep and exercise. Absent from the list: daily flossing.

Safe sex?

Sex is sometimes an unexpected casualty of medical treatment. Patients, especially older adults recovering from heart attack or surgery, may cool their passion even when they don't have to. AARP the Magazine's August/September issue offers guidelines for when to resume amorous activities.

For stable heart patients, sex can be reintroduced in as little as seven to 10 days, around the same time they're able to complete other physical challenges, such as climbing stairs, without becoming breathless.

Patients recovering from hysterectomy, hernia and other abdominal or pelvic surgeries should wait six weeks. Hip replacement, spinal surgery and similar procedures require a wait of about three months.

Pick, choose organic

Organic or not? That is the question. To help shed some light on this health food hot topic, website spoke with Practically Fit fitness and lifestyle expert Christine Lusita.

Organic foods are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers, which "can have a negative impact on our hormones. They carry free radicals that can damage our cells and often can result in inflammation," Lusita said.

But eating strictly organic can be expensive. Is it really necessary to exclusively eat organic? Lusita says no.

Foods including bananas, avocados, lemons, limes, oranges and domestic melons with thick skin that can be peeled are the exception.

Lusita recommends eating organic fruits with thin skins, meat, eggs and dairy.

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