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Thursday, Apr 17, 2014
Dr. OZ

Tips for getting, keeping a young ‘MouthAge’

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When Ralph Malph on “Happy Days” bragged that his teeth were so straight folks thought he was a movie star, he ID’d one of the perks of a great smile. But there are even more benefits! A healthy mouth gives you a younger MouthAge (just like you can have a younger RealAge!). And it means you’re helping make sure you avoid cognitive problems, diabetes and heart disease, as well as tooth decay.

Those who live in Tampa will want to pay special attention to dental health, because the city — along with Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Las Vegas and Oklahoma City — came in with the country’s oldest MouthAge in RealAge’s 2013 Top Youngest and Oldest Cities. For more details on the Smile Report, check out sharecare.com/smiles. To take the MouthAge test go to sharecare.com/mouthage.

You know you should brush twice a day, floss once a day and see your dental health professional every six months. But here are more ways to stay healthy and keep that beautiful smile!

1. Eat a tooth-friendly diet: Canned salmon, almonds and dark leafy greens are loaded with tooth-building calcium.

2. Take 1,000 international units of vitamin D-3 a day (D helps build strong teeth), until you get your blood level measured; then take the amount that’s right for you.

3. Drink tea. It has natural fluoride to help prevent cavities.

4. Avoid foods and drinks with added sugars or sugar syrups — not only does sugar decay teeth, it contributes to obesity, which is associated with dental problems.

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The full moon has long been associated with lunacy and love — not to mention summoning up werewolves and other creatures of the night. And now, according to Swiss researchers, we can blame it for a poor night’s sleep, too.

Seems that when the moon glows, it lowers your levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and causes a 33 percent drop in brain signals that allow for deep sleep; people take five minutes longer to fall asleep and sleep for 20 minutes less than usual. At least that’s what researchers observed in 33 study participants sleeping in dark, windowless rooms where they couldn’t see the moon.

How can that be? One theory is that through human evolution we’ve developed an imbedded sleep pattern that’s in sync with the lunar cycle. So even in our modern, light-filled nights, our bodies respond in tune with the Man in the Moon.

That’s possible. But what we know for sure is that a good night’s sleep is essential for weight control and to fight off everything from memory problems and a lousy sex life to cancer and cardio disease. So try our four steps to a good snooze:

1. Stick to regular “to bed” and “rise and shine” times — even on weekends.

2. Make your room as dark and quiet as possible; muffle sound using white-noise machines.

3. Keep TVs and digital devices out of the bedroom; it’s for sleeping and having sex!

4. Get physical activity outdoors daily (at least 10,000 steps). Sunlight helps set your wake-sleep clock so you sleep at night.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.

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