How to Hang on to Your Healthy Holiday Glow

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September. It comes as a seasonal full stop to put an end to a summer spent enjoying carefree days in the sun and long evenings outdoors. Chances are, you were too busy having fun to snack between meals or eat much junk food – not to mention the natural cravings one gets in summer for salads and fresh fruit. All that healthy living shows – you feel and look better. So the return to the daily grind can feel soul-destroying in more ways than one. But it needn’t be – take some pages from your August diary and turn your daily dietary regimen into an endless summer of sorts. Your health – including your teeth – will be the better for it.

Savour seasonal salads
Salads don’t have to stop just because summer does. Each season offers a different bounty, and you can make a healthy salad out of just about any fresh fruits or vegetables. Give your salads pride of place at your meals rather than relegating them to the role of side dish. Not only are salads full of fibre and vitamins, but they’re generally low in fat and sugars.

Stop snacking
This can be a tough one, for example if you work at a desk, where boredom sets in and it’s all too easy to keep a naughty chocolate bar or pack of crisps to hand. But constant snacking is terrible for your waistline – especially if you have a sedentary job – and it wreaks havoc on your teeth, as they’re under non-stop attack from the acids in your food. Eating well-rounded, healthy, yet filling, meals helps, but if you need a snack, try a piece of hard cheese or a celery stick.

Linger longer at lunch
Bring back those relaxed summer meals and you’ll eat less – as you savour each bite more, you give your stomach time to register that it’s full. You’ll also be less likely to snack later on, especially as you’ll have another enjoyable meal to look forward to later. And, as mentioned above, less snacking means healthier teeth.

Hydrate!
One thing you do all summer long, without even thinking about it, is drink plenty of water. It’s possibly the number one reason you’re feeling and looking so fit come September. Water does wonders for your body, your brain and your skin – and choosing H2O instead of sparkling drinks or fruit juices is a win for your dental health too!

For more top tips on how to get and maintain a healthy body and smile, come and talk to your friendly hygienist at Rhiwbina Dental. We’re here to help and have loads of great ideas to share. Get in touch and book your next visit today!

The glorious glut: why August is the month for eating well

August is upon us, and whether you’re shopping at our local farmer’s market, tending to your veg patch or picking your way along the hedgerows, you’ll know this is the month of the food glut. Taking advantage of the bounty of produce on our doorstep means we can save ourselves a few trips to the supermarket, cook for a crowd, and simply enjoy eating well. And your smile will thank you, too! Fresh fruits and vegetables are good news for teeth and gums – so we’ve gathered a selection of suggestions for getting through the glut.

Fruit and berries
For the health of your teeth and gums, August’s ripe blackberries and tree fruits are best eaten fresh – you won’t find a recipe for plum jam here! But with barbecue season still in full swing (even if under a wet gazebo), you can use the glut of fruits to your advantage and still stay healthy. Try swapping those tempting fizzy drinks for a cool fruit infusion – simply steep your fruit in water with some fresh herbs or spices for 2-4 hours. Interesting combos could include pear mixed with a vanilla pod, a cinnamon stick and some fresh sliced ginger; or blackberries with mint or rosemary. Steer clear of citrus infusions, though – they’ll be much higher in enamel-damaging acid.

Courgettes
Easy-to-grow courgettes make for excellent side dishes and substantial salads. Invest in a mandolin so you can slice your courgettes thinly and evenly, and either eat them raw (“carpaccio”) in a minty salad, or chargrilled. Go Greek by incorporating feta or natural yoghurt; Asian-style, with sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds; or try a classic prawn linguine, swapping some (or all) of the pasta with courgette shavings or spirals. Prefer your courgettes cooked? Try this simple tortilla - a perfect paring of summer flavours.

Runner beans
Banish memories of soggy, stringy runners accompanying your meat-and-two-veg; prepared properly, runner beans can be modern and moreish. Avoid the stringy-ness with a runner-bean slicer – a cheap piece of kit that won’t take up space in your kitchen drawer. To get the best out of your runners, toss them with strong flavours and textures – chorizo (in a tomatoey stew), garlicky breadcrumbs, or a classic mustard or shallot butter dressing. Alternatively, try this fresh recipe, which includes calcium-rich cheese and crunchy nuts.

Peppers and aubergines
Farmer’s markets are groaning under the weight of sun-ripened veg in August, so bag yourself a bargain this month. Roasted peppers and aubergines are lovely year-round, but in August they are best chargrilled – so make them the focus of a fantastic barbecue dish, stick them under your oven grill, or use a griddle pan. We love Jamie Oliver’s take, which brings teeth-friendly cheese, fresh herbs and pulses into play.

Tomatoes
Google ‘tomato recipes’ and you get around 370 million results – but in August, pure and simple should be your mantra; the flavour alone is enough. Start with a classic tomato salad – don’t let them anywhere near a fridge; simply season, drizzle with good olive oil and sprinkle with fresh basil or oregano. Jazz it up with olives, capers and cheese. For a serious glut, reduce the volume of your tomatoes by slow-baking them in the oven until they reach the texture you want – ‘sun-blush’ or ‘sun-dried’; jar them in oil for future use, or gifts.

Don’t forget, if you need help choosing the right foods to keep your smile healthy, book in with the hygienist at Rhiwbina Dental, who is qualified to offer nutritional advice. Happy eating this August!

A record-breaking Village Festival – again!

We’re delighted to report that we had another winning year at the Rhiwbina Village Festival! While our ‘sponge the dentist’ attraction proved unusually popular, our amazing Rhiwbina Raffle kept the money coming in. Lucky winners were rewarded with a host of fantastic prizes, and we raised a fantastic £1,423.40 for FaceUp Cymru – beating last year’s total!

Why we support FaceUp Cymru
As dentists, we’re hyper-aware of the risks and dangers of mouth cancer. As one of the more aggressive cancers, it has a lower survival rate than other cancers, and because it affects the mouth, it can have a devastating long-term impact on speech, eating and facial features. FaceUp Cymru supports patients who are going through head and neck cancer, which can include mouth cancer, helping them to come to terms with their diagnosis and manage their treatment. It’s a charity close to Rhiwbina Dental’s heart, because our founder, John Hawkins, is a survivor of mouth cancer. With help from FaceUp Cymru, sufferers’ lives can be made more comfortable through a number of methods; this might include providing specialist equipment, or funding a dedicated physiotherapist, social worker or clinical nurse who specialises in wound care. The charity also provides counselling and patient self-help groups to help with confidence building, coping strategies, target setting and coping with disfigurement.

Why mouth cancer matters
Mouth cancer, or oral cancer, is actually on the rise in the UK, and it’s important that more is done to raise awareness about its risks. Mouth cancer is primarily a lifestyle-related disease, with risk factors that include smoking, vaping, drinking spirits, and the HPV virus. Unlike other cancers, it affects a high proportion of young people, its survival rate is low (only 45-50% of people diagnosed will live), and treatment can involve years of surgery and facial reconstruction. At Rhiwbina Dental, we routinely screen for signs of mouth cancer, and encourage you to do so at home every month. If you have any of the obvious symptoms – mouth ulcers that won’t heal, red or white lesions, swelling – come and see us straight away so we can put your mind at rest.

If you are interested in the work of FaceUp Cymru, visit the website - and don’t forget to schedule your next check-up here at Rhiwbina Dental too!

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