1. Slouching (Poor Posture)
If you want to instantly approve your appearance and attractiveness, straighten your posture and you’re done! Posture sends a signal to everyone about how you feel about yourself. That is the social aspect of posture, which is reason enough to maintain good form, but the health problems associated with poor posture provide an even more convincing reason to sit up.
When your posture is poor, it’s similar to letting your organs get between Justin Beiber and a teenage girl. *squish* Poor posture pushes your organs out of alignment. I’ll let Dr. Joel Goldthwait, a renowned orthopedic surgeon from Harvard Medical School, explain why that’s a problem.
“With the poise such that the viscera of both the abdomen and thorax must be out of place, as can easily be demonstrated with X-rays, the best health could hardly be expected. The malposition of an organ will disturb its function. If malposition continues long enough, permanent damage will result, but if the faulty mechanics are corrected, damage will be prevented.”
He said this from his years in surgery. He also found that improper posture caused tension in nerve and blood vessels, calcium deposits on spinal vertebre, and it even stretched and “kinked” cerebral arteries!
As a warning, the human body isn’t meant to be completely straight, so don’t force that position for the sake of “good posture.” We have natural curves in our lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spine areas. It’s a bit like a skinny S shape that gives our body natural shock absorption ability. You can see proper spine curvature in this Mayo Clinic slideshow.
Don’t mess with poor posture. Give your organs some breathing room starting today and you’ll avoid long term damage.
2. Not Brushing AND Flossing
You knew it would be here, but have you considered the non-dental reasons to keep good oral hygiene?
Think about what your mouth represents. It’s the primary gate to your castle (body)! As such, it is your first and primary defender. Full of beneficial bacteria, your saliva starts off the war on unwelcome guests (just like in real life, huh?). You even have two assassins in the back for trapping and killing unsuspecting germs – your tonsils. You are a formidable fortress. Congratulations, but there’s a problem…
The enemy has a lot of troops. In fact, they are relentless. When you fail to brush your pearly white gates and floss out the mud between them, you give the enemy a great hiding spot in which to “divide and conquer.” That is my first ever bacterial reproduction joke. With this given advantage, they can overwhelm your soldiers, damage the gates themselves, and even burrow in your gums.
If they are really bad guys, they’ll look exactly like the ugly deformed white orc from Lord of The Rings. If you see this guy on your toothbrush, call your
dentist psychiatrist. In the worst case scenario, the bad ones might say, “forget the gates, I’m going for the heart!” They seem to literally do that, actually. WebMD says that up to 91% of patients with heart disease also have periodontal disease (66% is the normal rate of periodontal disease)!
Sally Cram, DDS, PC, says, “The theory is that inflammation in the mouth causes inflammation in the blood vessels.”
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the USA. Are you making this connection too?
Even without scientific proof, common sense says your mouth is
loud your first and main vulnerability to invaders. When it is clean and healthy, your immune system can focus on other areas… like your spleen (I admit it, I just picked a random organ). It won’t have to send the big guns to the entrance to fend off the Witch-King of Angmar (i.e. trench mouth).
J.R.R. Tolkien’s books seem to be useful metaphors for dental hygiene.
In short, I believe there are a staggering number of health problems that originate from poor oral hygiene, but could never be traced to it. When your first line of defense is anything but solid, you’re in trouble. Your mouth is YOUR territory, but it’s near the border of the enemy’s state, and you’d do well to watch it like an elf (from The Lord Of The Rings. They have excellent vision.).
White teeth are just a bonus. Brush your teeth to save you life!
3. Lacking Variety In Your Diet
Why do you think vegetables are universally considered healthy?
It’s because they’re loaded with many different bioavailable vitamins and minerals! Processed foods use nutritionally void ingredients and if the ingredients had quality ingredients, they were stripped of their nutrition through processing. You’ll see in most bread and bread-containing foods that the bread is enriched. That means they’ve added back some vitamins after destroying them through processing.
99.4 out of 100 people know that vegetables are healthier than candy, but far fewer realize is how important variety is. A varied, healthy diet naturally balances your intake of vital nutrients. Vegans and vegetarians tend to eat healthier food than most, but since they don’t eat meat, it’s very easy for them to unknowingly develop a severe vitamin B-12 deficiency (a vitamin primarily found in meat), among others. I’m an omnivore for this reason, and because steak and salmon make my mouth water.
But even for omnivores, a lack of food variety can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Can’t you just take vitamins to make up for it? The debate on multivitamins continues, but I’d say no. Some vitamins and different forms of the same vitamin are absorbed better than others, but we know that vitamins in food are absorbed the best. You can’t completely make up for a poor diet with a multivitamin. For example, fruits and vegetables have a number of different beneficial compounds (antioxidants for example) that a multivitamin won’t contain.
The more diverse and healthy your diet, the less chance there is for you to miss out on a vital nutrient. If you live for years deficient in a critical vitamin or mineral, there may be harsh health consequences or disease down the road. Vitamins and minerals play an important role in immunity and a well-functioning body.
Today, I recommend that you eat spinach, brush your teeth afterwards, and stand up straight against a wall for four hours.
Image by Lourdes Nightingale