How Oral Health and Heart Disease May Be Related

You likely know that regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups are good for maintaining oral health—but did you know they may also help keep your heart healthy?

It’s true;rearchers are beginning to find links between poor oral health and an increased risk of heart disease. And yet the vast majority of Americans see a dentist irregularly at best; for instance, some estimate that only 1 in 9 seniors have visited a dentist within the last year. In fact, more than 80 percent of Americans may currently live with periodontal (or gum) disease.

Yet some studies show this could come at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Gum disease and heart disease—linked?

A recent study actually showed that if someone has gum disease, be that disease advanced or even mild, they are at a tremendously increased risk of developing heart disease. But why?

Scientists say that it has to do with inflammation caused by bacteria. That same inflammation that can cause painful gums can also put you at an increased risk of developing atherosclerosis, or plaque build-up in your arteries.

In particular, inflammation can be present in your gums as part of gum disease in a few different ways. For instance, swollen gums are a pretty common dental issue, and can reflect two main conditions. The first, gingivitis, is simply an inflammation of the gum itself. The second, though, periodontis, can be far more serious, as it’s the result of an infection. As a result, periodontis often includes infected pus pockets—which are a problem, because they allow bacteria and toxins into the bloodstream.

But how does mouth bacteria end up in your blood?

It just so happens that your gums are full of blood vessels, so if the gums are disrupted—such as by pus pockets, for instance—that disruption allows bacteria into the bloodstream. That bacteria, then, has free rein to the rest of the body, where it can trigger inflammation elsewhere. And that inflammation can then cause major damage to blood vessels, including those found in your heart.

And scientists have noted that for those of us with healthy gums, we’re far less likely to have bacteria in our hearts. As it so happens, keeping our gums healthy may just be another way to help keep our heart healthy.

Additionally, researchers note that higher bacterial prevalence has also been correlated with more plaque in major arteries, like the carotid artery. Enough plaque build-up can cause a total blockage, and a blockage of a major artery like the carotid is a recipe for a disaster, such as a stroke. As a result, experts say that lowering our bacterial counts can be a major step toward stroke and heart attack prevention.

Antibiotics?

Of course, that doesn’t mean we should just load up on antibiotics. After all, taking antibiotics when we don’t need them makes it more likely that they won’t work in the future, when we might really need them. Instead, we should focus on taking care of our oral health by practicing good dental hygiene, and the rest will likely come in time.

Lifestyle

Lastly, some researchers note that part of the correlation between gum disease and heart disease may also be related to lifestyle factors. Quite simply, individuals with lifestyles who put them at greater risk for gum disease are also at higher risk for heart disease. For instance, smoking is a huge risk factor for both, as is poor diet or lack of exercise.

Additionally, many people who suffer from periodontal disease are diabetics, which is also a major cardiovascular health risk factor.

Still, in addition to making the lifestyle changes that make us less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, addressing our oral health and dental practices is also a good idea.

Even if the American Heart Association says there is no proven link that preventing gum disease can prevent heart disease, it’s still something you should want for yourself. Good health, quite simply, is good health, so you should want to take good care of your mouth just as you would take good care of your heart.

After all, plenty of research shows the two are related, even if we don’t completely understand how. After all, do you really want gum disease? Good dental hygiene is a great place to start—and it just might help your heart, too!

inner rainbows

kundaliniWe each have an inner sense of knowing and ways to attract the things we need in life. Each color of the rainbow has a particular attribute outlined in ancient traditions connected to the chakra system:

Red=Security — What makes you secure?

Orange=Creativity — What do you create to express your self?

Yellow=Power –Do you express power with rather than “power over”

Green=Love — In what ways do you give and receive love?

Blue=Clarity of Communication — Are you clearly asking for your needs to be met?

Indigo=Vision and Imagination — Are your dreams fulfilled?

Violet=Connection — Are you practicing forgiveness?

Listen to a 12 min. meditation designed to sooth your mind and body using these colors and manifest more of what you need in your life at this time.

Differing Brains For Introverts and Extroverts

Differing Brains For Introverts and Extroverts

New articles on introversion and extroversion range from glorified personality quizzes (31 Unmistakable Signs That You’re An Introvert”) to history lessons (16 Outrageously Successful Introverts). Most are packaged with the assumption the reader understands the basic concept of introversion, and already has a pretty clear idea of whether he or she is an introvert or an extrovert.

Scroll through the comments sections and you will find quite a few readers—even introverted ones—don’t appreciate being put in a labeled box. For every grateful response from a self-professed introvert, you’ll find several responses along the lines of, “No one is always extroverted and no one is always introverted,” and, “I consider myself an extrovert but a lot of these introvert traits apply to me.”

What does neuroscience have to say about all this? Do the brains of introverted people really look and behave differently from those of extroverts? And if so, what might those differences mean? Thanks to brain imaging techniques, we are able to prove there actually IS a difference.

Introvert v. Extrovert

When Carl Jung coined the terms “extrovert” and “introvert” in the early twentieth century, he emphasized that introverts aren’t necessarily shy or insecure—nor are extroverts necessarily empathic or loving. The distinction between the two, Jung wrote, “lies mainly in the fact that introverts get exhausted by social interaction, while extroverts get anxious when left alone. Introverts need solitude in order to recharge, while extroverts draw energy from socializing.” This to me explains why many couples get into trouble! How much do you know about the way you and your friends, partners (or potentials) gain energy? Find out more  in Exploring Intimacy: Cultivating Healthy Relationships through Insight and Intuition.

Relationships

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Relationships

Relationships are eternal. The ‘separation’ is another chapter in the relationship. Often, letting go of the old form of the relationship becomes a lesson in pure love much deeper than any would have learned had the couple stayed together.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/relationships.html#FBz4gWJvtthYFI6U.99

Public vs Private

healthy-relationship-hearts-11Public vs Private

The launch of Sheri Winston’s book was successful. My visit with the father of my grown children also went well at beautiful Pipe Lake near Seattle. A weekend like this pushes my public vs private conflict big time. I have always been open with my kids, there is very little they do not know about me and my life including my sexuality. It is one of the reasons my marriage ended.

I believe”sex” and intimacy issues are a normal part of life. Honesty and openness are my highest values in every relationship.

Because of this I am honest about my attraction to women as well as men. In many circles this is a no-no. You are supposed to choose. Make one commitment to last the rest of your life. It used to be like that for heterosexuals, however today they have more freedom than when I was growing up.  Homosexuality is also more acceptable. But the stigma around loving more than one remains, although this too is changing.

Polyamory is becoming a choice for many. What is your honest choice?

 

 

Every Day Tantra

denae photoEvery Day Tantra

The first association with Tantra is often an experience or practice of sacred sexuality between two people. That is an understanding that brings an air of delight to some, fear to others, and curiosity to the rest.

Tantra is also a way of life. Those who live in a tantric inspired way dance with what life brings energetically. Cycles of energy provide a give and take, a dance, a rest, a fire, a creation, a recharging. Within these cycles are more immediate cycles of presence, unconsciousness, numbing out, tuning in, running from and embracing all. These represent intimate, self-knowledge relationships with a tantric expression focused within oneself.

How vulnerable we are with ourselves, how intimate and interested we are in our own nature makes a difference. We will sculpt more of a conscious relationship with our self or create more distance from ourselves. It is interesting to note that our relationship with ourself is always mirrored in partnerships. Always; the more mirrored, the deeper we go. Can we dance tantrically with this?

Indeed, the sacred sexual practice of Tantra generates the energetic Temple where the God and Goddess come home to Love’s greatest fire and purest ocean. A lot of energy is processed in this kind of love making, and therefore less mental processing is needed between partners.

The Holy connection has been made and feeling safe is in the air. When partners feel safe, the Presence of Love breathes more deeply through the body. That deeper breath literally and metaphorically is exactly what we need to replenish our health, brighten our minds and raise the roof with our extraordinary, primal, cosmic and sacred sexual energy. Who said a Holy Connection couldn’t be an outrageously hot, steamy encounter?

The Tantric way of life teaches us to relax and ride more smoothly. We learn to co-create. We learn our rhythms and this benefits us. We are greatly blessed when we live with-in our own skin, turn toward our self first and then practice this internal relationship with Life itself. All of life becomes a deepening and a nourishment when we practice being in conscious relationship with it.

This includes relationships with others like lovers, partners, children and families. This ultimately includes the world because where we come from, where we generate our creations from, is what we’ll encounter in the dance of life.

All Blessings~ Danae Shanti


Guest post by Scot Hannon

Masterful, highly competent, loving coaches understand how precious relationships are  to people and that interpersonal issues can be socially or emotionally difficult, often painful. These coaches help their clients understand that interpersonal issues, *just like career and job issues*, can be made into *concrete goals*.A masterful and loving coach could ask the following self-reflective questions: How are you with the people in your life? How can you improve your relationships? Is there a particular relationship about which you feel anxious or sad? How can you improve your relationship with that person? Is there a particular behavior you could change to help improve that relationship? How might you go about initiating a dialogue with them about improving your relationship with them and eliciting more love?
The coach would hold the space for the coachee to contemplate.

A masterful and loving coach hears that a particular relationship is difficult and gently probes to make sure that the interpersonal frustrations and emotions get articulated as *specific issues* that can be converted into goals, not left as amorphous complaints. These goals, when acted upon, can then transform the relationship, which brings more relatedness, love and happiness, not only to both people in that relationship, but indirectly to their wider community of friends and family.

WELL SAID!

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5 tips for parents to help their teens overcome learning difficulties

healthy-relationship-hearts-11Teenagers who experience serious and ongoing difficulties with the different areas of learning are said to be suffering from a learning disability. In addition to struggling in school, they may also be undergoing social and emotional pressure. Most adolescents who have this problem are often unwilling or hesitant to approach their parents as dealing with this difficulty can be frustrating to both of them. But avoiding it does NOT solve the problem.

Parents who see signs of learning disabilities in their kids should not panic. They should understand that this is not uncommon and there are ways to overcome these difficulties. When teenagers start to show signs of learning difficulties, parents should keep the lines of communication open. Talking about the problem can be challenging, but it is the first and most effective way of arriving at a solution. It is up to the parent to address the problem.

Understanding the Cause

The first step in helping your child is to accept that s/he may be suffering from a learning disability. Denying the possibility that they may be going through a tough time will not help ease the burden. Ask questions about what is going on, in what ways are they struggling? Once you have acknowledged the problem, explore resources to find out how you can help.

Talk to Your Teen about the Disability

Talking to your child during this time may be both tricky and taxing. However, it is the only way you can both agree on how to come up with a solution to the problem. Keep the communication lines between you and your child open at all times. Make your child feel that you can be a confidant willing to listen and understand, and to find solutions.

Identify Your Teen’s Strengths and Weaknesses

As a parent, you should be aware of what your teen is good at and what areas they need to work on. This way, you can come up with activities to highlight strengths and improve  weaknesses. A great website to discover Multiple Intelligences is www.literacyworks.org. Do not forget to make your child feel accepted and not to focus what s/he can and cannot do.

 Seek Help from Experts

It is perfectly acceptable when parents do not immediately know what they can do to assist their child. Extra help is offered by health professionals and experts who understand the problem better than anyone. These people are trained to identify learning disabilities, and they studied ways to treat them. Consult with your child’s teacher or a psychologist. They can recommend professional assessment tests for your child.

 Choose the Right School for Your Teen

Addressing a learning disability is not limited to the home. Parents should choose a school that has an effective program for teens having difficult time learning. These children should be kept in an environment where they can work on their weaknesses while developing their strengths. Find more information at www.helpyourteennow.com.

Help your teens remember they are loved for who they are, not for their accomplishments or failures. We are all different in how we learn and process information. Keep looking for the best fit in a school setting.

Creating Change

Shifting From  Me to We

Andrea Costantine (http://andreacostantine.com/) gives a great presentation on being inspired to make a difference in the world by getting involved and creating community through compassion, contribution, and connection. Andrea believes that when people come together, change can be made.

She says,”When we gain a sense of community, separation dissipates, leading to happier, healthier, more compassionate human beings.” When this happens then we are more interested and willing to contribute to the well-being of others.

Some of us touch other people’s lives in our daily interactions by doing our best at what ever it is that we do. If we work in a profession where we do not have direct contact with people, we still make a difference in their lives with the products we create or services we offer. Some of us make time to volunteer in various ways where we connect with children or animals, or help others learn to read, or participate in a community garden. Multiple opportunities exist to be of service and make connections with each other.

This is exactly what Cuddle Party (http://CuddleParty.com) is all about. People come together, at first thinking about getting their own needs met for safe, affectionate touch. But they soon realize it is about giving as well as receiving. Whether they are being touched or doing the touching, it is reciprocal, and nurturing for everyone involved. After a few minutes, there is no difference between giving and receiving; it feels just as good to touch as to be touched. And this is the way all of life should feel when the barriers between YOU and ME dissipate, and we recognize that “We are One.”

What does this phrase “We are One” mean? We seem to be hearing and seeing it more and more often. It is what community is all about – coming together in UNITY. What happens to one of us, happens to all of us. Whether it is a fatal shooting, or a simply wounding with words, we are all victims to the violence that we are surrounded by. Sometimes it seems no matter which way we turn, we are being violated by GMO products or some other pesticide in our food source, or bombarded by political or religious actions that seem totally out of our control. We shield ourselves from this by shutting down to the good and the possibility of change in the world when we succumb to helplessness. We learn to be helpless when we make it all about ME and do not feel there is anything that I have to give to YOU.

A simple gesture of caring, a smile, or a kind word can make a huge difference in someone’s life. When we open to the idea that “everyone matters” and that everyone is important no matter what they are doing. When we accept each other without judgment about who’s way of thinking or acting is Good or Bad, we are able to open our hearts as well as our minds to this concept of “We are One.”

What ways have you found to make a difference in the world?

Desire is Natural

Sexual Desire is Natural and Beautiful

Guest Post by Fred Burks

The drive towards sexual connection between two people who are strongly attracted to each other is a natural and beautiful part of our biology and of being human. The urge to merge is what keeps the human race going, as that is where we all came from when our parents surrendered to it. Sexual desire is a divine gift which inspires us to seek out deep connection.

Yet the carnal power behind this intense drive all too often causes some to go unconscious and to do things they later regret. Particularly for some men, once sexual desire kicks in fully, trying to stop or control it can feel like not scratching an intense itch or trying to stop a sneeze about to happen. They feel powerless to control it.

For both sexes, this powerful drive can shut down the conscious, thinking mind and the sensitive, loving heart. It can and sadly has led to acts as intense as sexual abuse and rape around the world. Herein lies the root of much psychological and emotional wounding on both individual and collective levels. Yet it doesn’t have to be this way.

As I’m fortunate to have learned to keep my heart open and stay conscious and considerate even when these powerful sexual urges arise, I’m thrilled to have found ways to dance with and channel this powerful energy that are honoring and supportive not just to me and the person with whom I’m feeling attraction, but to all in my life. Primarily by holding a strong intention to be ever more conscious and by studying practices like tantra and sacred sexuality, which give ideas on this, my life and relationships have changed in awesome ways.

The ability to stay conscious even in the midst of intense sexual connection has left me feeling more free and alive than ever. I trust myself now that I won’t do something I will later regret. Yet I also know I can still experience the full richness of the powerful sexual connection. This has brought a deep peace, joy, and excitement about life that I doubt I could have experienced otherwise without spending years in an ashram or meditating in a cave.