Health

What To Do About Dental Problems

Vector drawing of teeth and brushing with pink toothbrush

If you have toothache, seeing your dentist face to face is impossible now, due to the risk of transmission of corona virus. However, you may be able to consult a dentist online as practises are urged by NHS England to ‘establish (independently or by collaboration with others) a remote, urgent care service, providing telephone triage for their patients with urgent needs during usual working hours, and whenever possible treating with advice, analgesia and antimicrobial means, where appropriate’.

In these circumstances, ‘it’s vital to understand the nature of urgent and non-urgent needs’, says Dr Richard Marques, a leading London dentist (doctorrichardlondon.com). Here’s his summary:

‘Issues such as a lost filling, dull toothache, mild sensitivity or a small chip in a tooth can all be treated at a later date. Examples of more serious issues that would constitute an emergency include:

  • Gums that will not stop bleeding
  • Extreme tooth sensitivity or toothache causing constant pain
  • A tooth that has been knocked out/is jagged
  • Swollen cheeks/gums and general extreme pain from swelling or possible infection.

If you experience any of these serious problems, try calling your dentist in the first instance. If you can’t access your dentist and symptoms continue, call the NHS help line on 111.

If the situation is serious, you may have to go to your nearest A&E but you should only do this on the advice of a medical professional (or NHS111).

In these circumstances, ‘it’s important to try and stay calm because stress will cause the body to react in a way that worsens the symptoms,’ says Dr Marques.

He recommends these simple measures that may ease the problem:

  • If your tooth is knocked out, put it in a glass of whole milk until it can be treated. The milk helps keep an acid-alkali ration so the tooth won’t swell, he explains. Change the milk to keep it fresh but try to keep it in a cool place rather than the fridge, unless you have to wait a long time.
  • To ease pain, take paracetamol as directed, or ibuprofen (unless you have a problem with this). Alternatively, take homeopathic arnica 30x, one to three times daily for two days or longer; arnica is a natural anti inflammatory. Or mix 1 tsp powdered turmeric, the golden Indian spice, in a little water, and sip for its antibacterial You could also try turmeric tea – Pukka Herbs offers Organic Turmeric Gold Herbal Tea, around £2.99 for 20 plastic free tea bags, or take a 400g supplement of turmeric once daily, eg BetterYou Turmeric Oral Spray, £17.95.
  • If you have areas of swelling, hold an ice pack, or a packet of frozen peas, on the external skin for 20 minutes twice a day.
  • To help remove bacteria and clear infection, dissolve 1tsp fine salt and dissolve in warm boiled water; swish around the mouth for 60 seconds. Do this three times a day after meals so after breakfast, lunch and evening meal, then before you go to bed.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash with hydrogen peroxide for pain and inflammation, eg Colgate Peroxyl Mouthwash, £4.49 from superdrug.com (this is available at time of going to press). Pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends natural Peri Gum Mouthwash Concentrate, £19.
  • To help reduce pain, try cloves, which have natural painkilling and antibacterial properties. Simply dab a small amount of clove oil on the affected area inside your mouth. Or rinse two or three dried cloves and place between the offending tooth and your cheek to help kill the pain.

Keeping Calm In The Storm

keep calm note with blue background and crumpled papers

For the vast majority of us, the corona virus pandemic is our first experience of being on what’s now referred to as ‘a war footing’. And rather like bombs dropping in the Blitz, we don’t know where, when and who the virus will hit next. So it makes sense that we’re anxious.

Like a ripple of stress, a bit of anxiety can be helpful in getting us to take sensible precautions. But this war zone is catapulting some of us into a degree of totally understandable anxiety that’s not helpful in getting through daily life – particularly because anxiety can suppress our immune system, which is our very best defence weapon in one-on-one combat against the virus.

This is not to minimise the potential effects of the pandemic but hopefully to give our minds some degree of calm so we can face the issues and manage them in the best way we’re able.

If you are used to working in an office environment, working from home can present its own challenges so there are tips on this too.

I asked trusted experts including health educator and GP Dr Andrew Tresidder and neuroscientist and psychiatrist Dr Tara Swart to help me compile first aid tips we can all use when anxiety threatens to take over our brains. They’re a pick ‘n mix blend – but I do recommend you start practising the first one now so that it comes easily when you really need it.

Deep belly breathing:

Fact: breathing rapidly, shallowly and irregularly from the upper chest will keep you in a state of anxiety. Whereas breathing slowly and rhythmically down and up from your belly will make you feel calm immediately It’s also helpful if you wake in the night with a racing brain:

So – sit straight, feet on the floor, hands at rest, shoulders down, head above your shoulders (ie not poking forward like a tortoise), eyes shut if you wish.

Take slow, regular, rhythmic breaths in and out through your nose. Feel the breath going right down to your belly. Hold it there for a few moments, then exhale slowly, gently through your nose. There is no precise timing for this but some experts recommend inhaling for a count of 4, holding for 7, then exhaling for 8.

If you like to visualise this breathing exercise, you can imagine sitting cross legged on the sea shore, sun warming your skin, breeze rippling through your hair, listening to the waves. As you breathe in, imagine the water slowly coming up the shore; note how the white fringe of spume hovers at the top as you gently hold that breath; then see it gently flowing out again.

Create a positive mantra/affirmation:

When you have anxious thoughts, replace them with a phrase or sentence that soothes you. Write it out – if you’re creative make it beautiful – and pin on your desk/fridge door/near your bed. Sarah’s longtime favourite is ‘all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well,’ from medieval mystic Julian of Norwich. Women’s health expert Emma Cannon sent us a lovely poem about healing by Kitty O’Meara – find it on YouTube. Please do take a moment to look at it – it’s very special.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL-CBJKVpFk

Practise yoga, tai chi, dancing or whatever form of mindful exercise you enjoy:

Moving our physical body keeps us in the present and can burn off stress hormones. There are plenty of options online to choose from including movementformodernlife.com, which has been recommended to us and claims it’s ‘Yoga made easy’.

Lean back:

The buzz phrase is ‘lean in’ but if you’re feeling anxious, try leaning back into your spine. You don’t have to do this vigorously, just think it and your body will follow. Feel your shoulder blades going down, your chest expanding and mind chatter stilling.

Look at birds, animals, flowers and trees:

Walk out in a garden or park if you can – or simply gaze out of the window at the sky. Even looking at pictures of nature can help. “Information from nature interacts with our human software and helps restore harmony,’ says Dr Tresidder.

Try flower remedies and other plant helpers:

Keep combination essences to hand, such as Bach Rescue Remedy or Jan de Vries Emergency Essence. Put a few drops on your wrist, or directly on your tongue (avoiding touching dropper to tongue) or ‘lace’ your glass of water. Using one of these regularly day in, day out, as well as on a ‘panic’ basis, may help during this time. We find homeopathic arnica helps bruised minds as well as bodies. Nelsons Arnica 30C is suggested for fearfulness as well as coughing and injury; two pillules every two hours for the first six doses, then four times daily.

Play your favourite calming music:

For some this will be Mozart, Bach, Hildegard of Bingen or Gregorian chant, while for others it’s birdsong, whale music, Bruce Springsteen or rap that reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Try a range of different music and see what gets through to your brain. Spotify has a section dedicated to freeing listeners from stress and anxiety.
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2pCgNhBE3BPVihwWH1KaVs

Keep in touch:

Working at home on your own or self-isolating can be a lonely business. So make a list of people you can contact by email, phone or writing (revolutionary idea but we love getting cards/letters through the post). This works both ways: also make a list of vulnerable friends/colleagues/neighbours you can offer help to. Older people can find information and support from Age UK – the free Advice Line is 080 678 1602. The Good Neighbours Network may be able to help those over 70 who are alone; this may take the form of telephone support and delivery of food and/or medicines. Details on their website, goodneighbours.org.uk.

Also…create a routine:

Set an alarm, get showered/dressed and put on your usual skincare/make up. Organise a timetable for your day. If you are working at home, make a list of priorities. Have regular meals – grazing is the demon of home workers. Look for interesting store cupboard recipes online, eg Melissa Hemsley’s How to cook money-saving meals from your store cupboard.
https://melissahemsley.com/how-to-cook-your-store-cupboard/

Set limits on news binging:

If you feel you need to know what the latest pandemic updates are, check in once or twice a day – and not last thing at night. Sleep is vital so you do need to switch off properly so your brain doesn’t race in a frenzy of worry all night.

Comfort declutter rather than comfort eat…:

Turning out cupboards and organising the contents is calming and satisfying –putting you in control of at least one section of your life. Some of us like laundry and ironing – dashing away with a smoothing iron and folding things soothes our minds.

Take pleasure in small things:

A warm bath with scented bath oil/salts, dark chocolate dissolving on your tongue, reading a favourite novel or watching your favourite soap/old films/box sets, arranging a vase of flowers – whatever floats your boat.

Eat well and consider supplements:

Take a good quality probiotic; research shows that improving the quality and diversity of your gut bacteria helps reduce stress, anxiety and even symptoms of depression, according to Dr Swart. Many good ones available online such as Mega Probiotic ND  and Symprove. Vitamin D3 is vital for the immune system and may also enhance brain levels of serotonin (the neurotransmitter which is believed to help regulate mood, among other activities). Try BetterYou DLux 3000 Spray. Pharmacist Shabir Daya says that at times of stress, you may need more B and C vitamins to meet the demands of your adrenal glands. He suggests food-based Terranova Vitamin B Complex with Vitamin C.

Magnesium is often called ‘Nature’s tranquilliser’ and most of us have below optimal levels. Dr Swart recommends applying it to the skin as it’s better absorbed that route. Put magnesium salts in your bath – there’s a range of delicious scented bath salts but a less costly option is Epsom salts. Alternatively, try BetterYou Magnesium Oil Sensitive Spray, which is specially helpful for people with touchy skin that may react to topical magnesium.

 

 

The Happiness Prescription

a few white tablets with happiness written on it on a dull grey foreground and a dull pink background.

GPs are recognising that at least half their patients need far more than a pill for every ill. For one woman, singing in a choir proved life-changing. Sarah Stacey reports.

Listening to the lightness and warmth in her voice, it’s hard to believe Arabella Tresilian, 44, has experienced such serious mental health problems that she once feared she was not well enough to look after her two young children. Treatment with medication and talking therapies was at best a BandAid. What finally transformed Arabella’s life was singing in a choir, a panacea enabled by the social prescribing initiative at her GP practice in Bath. GP Dr Michael Dixon describes social prescribing as ‘a radical rethink of medicine, planting health and healing in the heart of the community’..

Social prescribing aims to improve patients’ health holistically by referrals to link workers who spend time with them exploring different non-medical interventions, often provided by voluntary or charity organisations based in the local community. Activities might include music, art, sports, dancing, knitting, walking, group learning, yoga, fishing and cookery among many others. Link workers may also help patients address housing, legal and financial problems.

Read More…

Top Tips For Healthy Winter Feet

Feet with red nail polish bursting through blue paper

With the sparkling joy of festive markets, New Year celebrations and Glühwein now over, it’s time to dress up in your winter coat, your fabulous scarf, pull on those wellies and embrace winter! 

Kick through fallen leaves in the park, splash through puddles and walk through the icy snow. But what does this really mean for your feet and footwear? What is lurking?

Winter months see an increase in hygiene related foot conditions, which is primarily due to us keeping our feet enclosed in socks, tights, shoes and boots giving rise to warm sweaty feet!  Feet can become soaked through from rain, slush and snow.  The skin becomes soggy and these moist conditions can give rise to fungal and bacterial infections of both the skin and nails.

Footwear can also take forever to dry out and re-wearing of damp footwear can have a knock on effect on the skin as well as ruining the shoes…

Read More…

Tummy Troubles

yellow sponge impacting water side on shot

IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is pretty common, affecting about one third of us in the UK, and that’s the only pretty thing about it. Lets be frank, this chronic condition is a beast to live with.

I know this having suffered for decades; it began with an episode of bacterial dysentery from working in India in the mid-1990s; from then on my gut reacted to a wide range of triggers from stress to sugary foods of any kind and, particularly, fizzy sugary drinks with food. It’s been pretty well under control for several years now, thank goodness, due to a combination of gut-calming supplements and practices. Read More…

Is Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate The Best Vitamin C Serum?

tetrahexyldecyl-ascorbate-orange-rind-jpg

Pure Vitamin C serums for the face containing L-Ascorbic Acid are beneficial for the skin helping to protect against damaging free radicals that encourage wrinkles by destroying the collagen matrix. They also help to brighten and freshen the appearance of dull looking skin, together with inhibiting the formation of pigment in skin prone to hyperpigmentation. However, Vitamin C serums containing pure L-ascorbic acid do have some limiting factors which can influence their effectiveness.  We explore:

Limiting Factors of Vitamin C Serums

Most vitamin C serums are water-soluble because L-Ascorbic Acid, known as vitamin C or L-AA for short, disperses evenly in a water-based serum, but therein lies a problem. The dermis of the skin has a rich lipid (oil) barrier and it is here that many of the nutrients, including vitamin C, are required to manufacture collagen, a protein that gives skin its youthful firmness and the ability to resist wrinkles. Using water soluble vitamin C serums containing L-AA can be an issue since this nutrient cannot make it through the oil barrier and therefore cannot provide maximum benefits as far as collagen manufacture is concerned.

To overcome this, some formulators use very high strengths of L-ascorbic acid (including us) so that at least some of this vitamin will be delivered to the dermis, however this can still be a problem and we are aware of this. If you have sensitive or reactive skin, such high strength vitamin C serums can cause tingling, irritation, redness and may be uncomfortable to use.

Vitamin C is highly pH dependant. It only works at a low pH since it is an acid and anything added in the serum that is alkaline will neutralise it, rendering it ineffective. Formulating this form of vitamin C into a serum is not easy because you have to use preservatives and other ingredients that have a low pH and this can be problematic especially to those with sensitive skin.

Another problem can arise using high strength vitamin C serums containing L-ascorbic acid. L-Ascorbic Acid is highly unstable when exposed to light and/or air. It oxidises to Dehydro Ascorbic Acid (DHAA)which then further degrades to different irritating acids. In effect, the best case is that you may have a product that is not so effective and the worse case is that the oxidation creates free radicals that are actually damaging to the skin. To mitigate this during the day, a sunscreen is absolutely imperative, but it is unlikely that this will provide protection all day unless applied reasonably frequently.

These are just some of the limiting factors of using the pure acidic form of vitamin C, L-Ascorbic Acid. This has led to a host of synthetic vitamin C derivatives such as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate and numerous other vitamin C esters.

Vitamin C derivatives

When a compound is added to vitamin C, such as a palmitate or phosphate, this then changes the compound making vitamin C less likely to degrade. So aside from being less likely to degrade, the other advantages of vitamin C derivatives is that they are less irritating and to a large extent not dependant upon pH.

The disadvantage of these derivatives is that they tend to be less effective than L-ascorbic acid. Many of these derivatives tend to be water soluble meaning that tend to work only on the surface layers and some of the oil soluble derivatives such as ascorbyl palmitate tend not to be converted into ascorbic acid when they reach the dermis meaning they are not that beneficial.  Knowing these limitations, we have been in research and development and the result is C-Deep Vitamin C Serum.

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate is a form of vitamin C which has been modified to be soluble in oil or lipids. Studies indicate that it not only penetrates the epidermis, the uppermost layer of skin, but also the dermis, which is the deepest layer of skin. In fact, it penetrates the skin faster and deeper than any other form of vitamin C.

So if it penetrates both layers of the skin, does this make it more effective? Vitamin C derivatives need to be converted into L-ascorbic acid; it is the L-ascorbic acid element that fades away your age spots, enhances collagen production and fights free radicals. Studies indicate that Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate does convert into L-ascorbic acid and behaves in exactly the same way as L-ascorbic acid, but without the limitations.  This is important.

Its benefits are:

Provides potent antioxidant protection by destroying free radicals that cause premature ageing of skin.

It provides skin brightening benefits by reducing the amount of skin pigment by almost 80%.

Helps boost collagen production and, in fact, more so than L-ascorbic acid. This is because one of the limiting factors with L-ascorbic acid is its inability to penetrate deeper into the dermis.

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate also stimulates the production of glycosaminoglycans such as hyaluronic acid that are naturally present in skin and so help to hydrate skin as well as plump skin cells. Levels of these glycosaminoglycans decline with age and this may account for some of the changes that occur with our skin as we age.

Tetrahexydecyl ascorbate is stable, safe, effective and suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin.

Garden of Wisdom’s C-Deep Vitamin C Serum is, in my opinion, one the best vitamin C serums currently available on the market. This vitamin C serum contains a therapeutic strength of Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate which is suspended in Squalane, a light oil that is easily absorbed into skin.

Included in this vitamin C serum is Thiotane®, a powerful antioxidant amino acid that occurs naturally in the body. It is found in high concentrations around cells prone to free radical damage helping to protect the genetic material and the mitochondria, which are the energy factories within our cells. These energy factories are absolutely vital for cell regeneration and repair.

Garden of Wisdom C-Deep Vitamin C Serum provides a potent blast of vitamin C to your skin without any irritation. Like all Garden of Wisdom serums, this vitamin C serum is clean, non-toxic, free from alcohol and silicones.