The Importance of Getting a Good Night’s Sleep


Everybody leads such busy lives that it can be tricky to relax, and often good quality sleep is sacrificed as we struggle to find more time in the day. But, good quality sleep is crucial and affects just about every part of your body, including appetite, your immune system, cardiovascular health, blood pressure and breathing. While you are asleep, your body produces hormones that help to repair cells, regulating energy use and these hormones can affect your weight. When you don’t receive enough sleep your risk of developing heart disease, infections or struggling with your weight increases. Most adults need approximately 7-8 hours of sleep each night, while young children need 10 hours each night. Teenagers need about 9 hours sleep.

If good quality sleep is elusive, try these tips:

  • To ensure you get enough sleep, go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.
  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, comfortable and dark.
  • Ideally, take the time to relax before bedtime by reading or having a soothing bath, and limit your use of electronics.
  • Daily exercise is useful, but avoid exercising just before bedtime.
  • Try to avoid stimulants late in the day such as caffeine and alcohol.

When Should I Have Dental Implants?


If you have already lost teeth or are facing tooth loss imminently, dental implants could be the long-term solution you have been seeking. The great thing about dental implants is that they look, feel and function just like real teeth, and they provide some significant benefits for dental health.

Why Dental Implants?

A dental implant is a small post which is placed in your jawbone to replicate a real tooth root. Over time, the post bonds firmly with the surrounding bone which prevents bone deterioration while providing a strong and secure anchorage point for a new implant tooth. Additionally, dental implant treatment protects your natural teeth because it is unnecessary to reshape teeth, which is the case for a dental bridge, and implant teeth prevent your natural teeth from shifting position.

Treatment is Versatile

Implant treatment is extremely versatile and can replace single or multiple teeth, or even complete arches of teeth using implant-supported crowns, bridges and dentures that clip onto the implants. Here at Apple Dental, we provide computer-guided dental implants, so each treatment is planned precisely, ensuring your dental implants are inserted into the optimum positions for restoring functionality and appearance. Also, computer-guided treatment is smoother and more comfortable!

Dental implants are an excellent solution for most people, and you can learn much more during your initial consultation.

Your Diet and Its Effect on Your Oral Health


Your body needs certain nutrients to fight infection and to repair the damage. If your diet is deficient in these nutrients, then you might find it harder to fight infections like periodontal disease (gum disease) and which is a major cause of tooth loss. Choosing foods that are high in sugars or starches can also harm your dental health. Bacteria naturally present in the mouth use starchy and sugary foods for energy, producing acid that gradually erodes tooth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities. If you like to eat lots of acidic foods, then the effect is worsened.

Eating a balanced diet helps your body fight signs of disease and infection, and it is helpful to avoid eating cavity-causing foods too frequently. If you want to eat something sugary, starchy or acidic, enjoy it as part of a main meal because this will help to reduce the damage to your teeth. If you like to snack, choose tooth-friendly foods like cheese, natural yoghurt or fresh fruit and vegetables.

Chicken Meatballs with Spring Minestrone


This tasty and healthy recipe can easily be adapted to include whatever fresh vegetables you have in your fridge.

Ingredients

¾ cup ground chicken

2 minced garlic cloves

2 finely sliced garlic cloves

½ cup fresh breadcrumbs

1 large egg whisked to mix

1 leek sliced into 1cm pieces

1 cup carrots cut into 1cm slices

6tbsp grated parmesan

5 cups chicken broth

¾ cup ditalini or another small pasta

2tbsps extra virgin olive oil

2tbsp freshly chopped chives

1 cup packed baby spinach

Chopped fresh basil

Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix the breadcrumbs, half the parmesan, minced garlic, egg, chives, chicken and 1/4tsp pepper and 3/4tsp of salt in a bowl. Form mixture into meatballs. It should make about 28.
  2. Heat oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and cook meatballs for approximately 3 minutes until golden. Set aside on a plate.
  3. Add the leek to the saucepan and stir until it begins to soften, for about 3 minutes. Add the sliced garlic cloves and cook for a further minute before adding 2 cups of water and the broth. Bring to a boil and add carrots and pasta. Cook until pasta is still al dente, for approximately 8 minutes. Add meatballs and cook for 3 minutes or until meatballs and carrots are cooked through. Add remaining parmesan and spinach and cook until cheese is melted, and spinach is wilted. Season to taste and serve with more parmesan and the fresh basil.

Serves 4

Choose Smarter Snacking for Healthier Teeth


Are you aware how snacking affects your dental health? Whenever you eat foods that are carbohydrate-rich or sugary, they then are broken down by bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria produce acid, which weakens and gradually erodes your tooth enamel, increasing the risk of tooth decay. It takes approximately half an hour for acidity levels in the mouth to normalise and when you frequently snack then the damage to your teeth is increased.

Selecting the Right Kind of Snacks for Better Dental Health

Everybody knows sugary foods are bad for teeth, but did you know the risk is nearly as high for savoury snacks, dried fruits, smoothies and juice? Many popular snack foods contain huge amounts of hidden sugars. Better choices include oatcakes with sugar-free peanut butter or hummus. Cheese, sugar-free yoghurt and plain nuts are great because they are rich in phosphorus and calcium, which helps to repair tooth enamel. Crunchy fruits and vegetables are excellent for dental health because the high fibre content has a slight scrubbing action on teeth.

We are celebrating National Dental Health week 6-12 August, in Australia, and it’s a time when we become even more passionate about good oral health and education. If you’d like more advice on choosing tooth-friendly foods, then please ask!

Hidden Health Benefits of Sharing a Good Laugh


Have you noticed how you immediately feel better after sharing a laugh with friends or family? It is because laughing promotes healthy emotional and physical changes in the body.

  • When you laugh, it relaxes your whole body, relieving physical stress and tension.
  • Your immune system is boosted because laughter decreases stress hormones and boosts immune cells and antibodies that fight infection.
  • Laughing prompts the production of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good hormone that can promote an overall feeling of well-being.
  • Laughter is great for your heart, improving blood flow and the function of blood vessels, which has a protective effect.
  • Sharing laughter with others can help to put problems in perspective, diffusing any feelings of anger or conflict more easily.
  • You may even live longer if you laugh more, as one study discovered that people with a good sense of humour outlived those who didn’t laugh quite so much. The effect was especially pronounced in people fighting cancer.

As children, we often laugh hundreds of times a day, but as we get older, we become far more serious and less able to laugh frequently. Rediscovering the ability to laugh often can be a powerful antidote to anger, pain, stress or conflict, and it’s completely free!

The Value of Making Social Connections


When you’re trying to stay healthy, then proper nutrition, plenty of exercise and lots of rest are essential, but so are your social connections. Connecting with others helps to improve your psychological and physical health. Good social relationships can increase your chances of living longer and strengthens your immune system. When you do fall ill, having others around you can help to hasten your recovery. People who have strong social connections are less likely to have anxiety and depression. Also, they are more likely to have higher levels of self-esteem, are more trusting and cooperative and more empathetic towards others.

Unfortunately, even though the benefits of being socially connected are clear, many people have fewer close confidantes than ever before. In 1985 a study showed that Americans felt they had three close friends they could share personal problems with, a figure that dropped to just one in 2004. A quarter of Americans feel they have no-one to confide in. Studies show that the numbers of people who feel increasingly lonely or socially isolated is rising. There’s nothing wrong with nurturing yourself and being independent but take the time to nurture your friendships too, because social connections are a fundamental human need.

One-Skillet Lasagne


Everybody loves lasagne, but it can be a hassle to make so why not try this one-skillet recipe?

Ingredients

2 x 400ml jars of spaghetti sauce

2/3 cup condensed cream of onion soup

340g ground beef

1 400g can diced tomatoes with oregano, basil & garlic

2 minced cloves garlic

2 large, lightly beaten eggs

3/4tsp Italian seasoning

½ cup Monterey Jack cheese

½ cup partly skimmed, shredded mozzarella cheese

1-1/4 cup cottage cheese

9 no-cook lasagna pasta sheets

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brown the beef and soften garlic. Drain and stir in tomatoes and spaghetti sauce and heat through. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
  2. Mix the cottage cheese, Italian seasoning, soup and eggs in a small bowl.
  3. Spread 1 cup of meat sauce in the skillet and layer with 1 cup of cottage cheese mixture, 1- 1½ cups of meat sauce and half the noodles. Continue layering with cottage cheese, meat sauce and noodles before topping with remaining meat sauce.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes or until pasta is tender.
  5. Remove skillet from heat and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Let stand for two minutes until cheese has melted.

Did You Realise Your Gut Health Could Affect Your Memory?


The exact mix of bacteria in your gut varies from person to person and is utterly unique. Your diet and environment influence it, as do any infections you may have had, even during childhood and whether you have been prescribed antibiotics.

Now it looks as if your gut health, called microbiome, is also linked to memory. A recent American study assessed the memory of mice injected with a bacterium called Lactobacillus compared to mice that hadn’t received this bacterium. The metabolic changes caused by Lactobacillus in these mice somehow helped to improve their memory. Lactobacillus is a bacterium that helps protect against pathogens and is a common probiotic found in foods such as yoghurt.

So, does this mean we should all be taking more probiotic supplements to help improve our gut health? Not necessarily because your gut health is so complicated. The recent study on mice does show memory and the bacteria in your gut are somehow linked. For example, it’s so individual that some people may thrive on ice cream while others would need to stick to somewhat healthier and considerably less indulgent ingredients like kale. Other factors influencing your microbiome include the amount of sleep you receive, the variety of vegetables consumed and even your weight. Until we discover more about the microbiome, perhaps the best advice is to eat a healthy and varied diet.

Pumpkin Pancakes


These pancakes help to satisfy a craving for something sweet and are packed with protein. Best of all, they are quick and easy to make.

Ingredients

90g pumpkin puree

40g oatmeal

6 egg whites

2tsp baking powder

1/2tsp pumpkin spice

2 packets of zero-calorie sweetener

Splash of vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Grind the oatmeal in a blender and add the rest of the ingredients before blending again.
  2. Heat a nonstick pan over a medium heat and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Ladle approximately one quarter of the mixture into the pan and cook each side for about a minute. Serve and enjoy!