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Are you taking care of your teeth?

EwellAfrica talked to Moyo Ajaja DDS, a dentist practicing in America about caring for our teeth.

Please tell us about yourself?
I am Christian and believe the human body is sacred and that neglecting our health is akin to desecrating a holy place. I fill many roles, I am a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, and a dentist. I am passionate about living a full life, using all my talents and encouraging all those around me to dream bigger!

A lot of people don’t consider dental health important until they have pain, can you give us a brief overview about dental health? Why are dental check-ups important?
The condition of the mouth is an indicator of a person’s overall wellbeing. Periodic (at least every 6 months) dental check-ups are important to protect, preserve, and restore oral health with early intervention in a disease process. Usually a dental check-up entails radiographic imaging, professional cleaning and examination of the teeth, gums, cheeks, palate, head, and neck. This exam includes the lymph nodes, muscles, joints and bones. From the state of a patient’s mouth a dentist can tell if that patient smokes, chews tobacco, uses recreational drugs, has uncontrolled diabetes, leukemia, or a compromised immune system.

How early should we start having check ups?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentist recommends dental visits start as soon as a baby’s first tooth shows up and no later than the first birthday. Usually these appointments are to introduce the child and family to the dental environment (children this young are usually seen by a pediatric dentist) and provide the parents with milestones to expect with the child’s teeth and the way the child’s jaws fit together. Another purpose of these early visit is to educate parents on how to care for the teeth, diet, and what to do if the child has an injury to the mouth/jaw areas.
Does every dental check up include oral cancer screening or should we be asking our dentist about it? – Yes, every dental exam includes a visual oral cancer screening. You may ask your dentist about the findings. If there are any signs of abnormal tissue additional testing is usually the first step and the dentist will discuss those options with you when necessary.

What is the best way to clean our teeth?
Brush and floss! This is the best way to remove the bacteria layer (plaque) that accumulates on the gums and teeth. Brushing cleans about 80% of the tooth and gums and flossing cleans the remaining 20% surfaces that the brush bristles cannot reach. I recommend that patients use a soft bristled brush morning and before bedtime for at least 2 minutes and floss before bedtime. Most people underestimate the 2 minutes therefore I recommend using a timer or if you listen to the radio then brush for the length of a song.

How often should we change our toothbrushes?
Every 3-4months or as soon as the brush bristle start to fray. Remember that soft bristles are the gentlest on the gums. A medium or firm bristled brush can cause the gums to recessed and also damage the surface of teeth.

Toothbrushes/chewing stick? Can you compare and contrast the two?
The toothbrush is a relatively modern invention while chewing sticks have been used in many cultures for centuries. Some religions even promote the use of chewing sticks. Both of these instruments are useful for the mechanical removal of plaque from teeth and gums. Some studies have shown that when used properly, chewing twigs, stems, or root can be as effective as using a toothbrush because it cleans the surfaces of the oral cavity and increases saliva flow. Additional studies also indicate an antimicrobial agent in the plants chewed may reduce the bacteria known to cause dental decay and gum disease. The World Health Organization also recognizes chewing sticks as a valid instrument to maintain good oral hygiene. I want to emphasize that whatever method used to keep the mouth clean the key is to do this frequently, at least twice a day, clean in-between teeth with floss or similar interdental cleaner, and limit frequency of dietary exposures.

What is Gum disease?
Also called periodontal disease is an infection of the tooth supporting structures (gums and bones).
What are warning signs of gum disease? – The initial signs of periodontal disease is bleeding, swollen and red gums. This initial stage, called Gingivitis, is completely reversible with dental treatment and good home care practices. Without treatment gingivitis can progress to infect the jaw bones (Periodontitis) and cause bone loss. Tooth loss occurs once there is inadequate support from the gums and adjacent bones.

What can we do if we can’t afford dental treatment, are there options?
Yes there are many options. Start by dialing “2-1-1” a toll-free telephone service that connects people with local community organizations and government agencies. They will guide you through the resources available in your area.

What causes bad breath? How can it be treated?
Halitosis (bad breath) can originate from several areas. The lungs – a diet of onions and garlic can cause bad breath once digested and absorbed into the bloodstream some of its byproducts are expelled via the lungs. The mouth – inadequate hygiene or salivary flow allows bacteria to flourish and aids the decomposition of food particles. The rest of the body – a disorder elsewhere in the body such as respiratory infections, diabetes, gastrointestinal, kidney, or liver disease. Treatment is targeted at the cause of the bad breath dietary changes where necessary, dental treatment and good oral hygiene, and medical intervention if a systemic disorder is suspected. Alcohol and tobacco use also exacerbates halitosis.

What if anything is a key take home point you would like to leave us with?
Brush for two minutes at least twice a day, floss daily and schedule your next dental appointment today!

The challenge is over!

The challenge has come to an end but your lifestyle changes should not.
Over the last 21 days we gave you tips that allowed you to

1. Eat more healthfully
2. Exercise more
3. Reduce stress
4. Get rejuvenating rest periods
5. Laugh more and bod with family
6. Release toxicity from your life
7. Embrace joy
8. Practice forgiveness

And so much more.
Your very last challenge is to incorporate all these into your lifestyle and the good news is that the challenge information is still online, here on the site so you can do it all over again if you like!

Live well, be happy and prosper!

Almost the last day!

Today’s challenge is simple but powerful!

Stop worrying!

We spend a lot of time worrying about everything under the sun. For Christians the bible actually commands us not to worry. Worry can be damaging to the body, by draining our energy, reducing our immunity and limiting our ability to be creative. 

Today your challenge is to stop worrying and we will give you some tips you can use to get it under control.

1. Write it down. When you find yourself up at 3am consumed with fear about some issue, write it down on a journal or note book.
2. Classify the worry into actionable or not. For example, If you are worried about the state of your finances. That can be actionable, because there are things you can do to fix it. However if you are concerned about global warming as a whole, that may beyond your control.
3. Those things that are actionable – create an action plan. If you are concerned about your weight, create an action plan about eating healthier and working out. If your money is funny, then create an action plan about how to reduce your spending and increase your income.
4. For those things that are not actionable, sometimes it is helpful to create a ritual around them. For those who are religious, pray about the concern and hand it over to God. For those who are not, perhaps you can tear out the sheet where you have the worries written and throw them in the trash or burn them, while determining that you refuse to harm your body by focusing on the negative aspects of life, because you choose to believe that life will be good.

Challenge countdown.

We are almost at the end of our 21 day challenge, but we still want you to finish strong!

Today your challenge is simply this.
Review the past challenges and figure out how to incorporate them into your new healthier lifestyle.
Create an action plan that includes tangible changes to your dietary and workout routines.
Get your family and friends on board!

See…simple and easy and worth it all!

Be well!

Challenge Cancer

Today’s challenge is short and sweet.
It’s World Cancer day.

Your challenge is and you should choose to do it…is simply “Get checked, get tested, get well!”
If you have never been screened for cervical cancer by having a pap smear, do it, If you have never checked your breasts or had a mammogram…do it, if you need to get a colonoscopy, do it. If you have unexplained pain and or growths…Please get it checked out. No news is not necessarily good news. Get informed. Get checked!
Early detection can make the difference between living and dying.

Oya! Get challenged!

It’s yet another day of challenging yourself. Isn’t this fun? Ok, maybe it hasn’t all been fun, but it’s been life affirming right?

Your challenge today if you choose to accept it is…

Spirit Challenge: Deal with disappointment.
Sometimes in life, we have expectations that are not met. Issues that are not addressed in a way that we would want. Sometimes people don’t act the way we would want them to. It is a challenge sometimes to deal with it. There are some things that we allow to derail us. One problem has us losing focus on the rest of our lives. Today’s challenge is to deal disappointment by acknowledging it, mourning the possibility and moving on to a new and exciting phase of life. Learn how to shrug your shoulders and let it roll off your back. Decide today not to get derailed by things that don’t go right! Let it go, don’t let what could have been,dampen your spirits. Don’t let today’s no, take your focus off tomorrow’s yes!

Challenge yourself!

It’s Day16, just five days more to go…Have you been challenging yourself to live in a healthier way? It’s not too late, just read all the challenges and start adding them into your lifestyle. Keep a journal and take note of how each change impacts your life…We’d love to hear about it!

Today’s challenge if you choose to accept it is…

Mind challenge: Take control of your thoughts.
You may not be able to stop random negative thoughts from popping into your head, but you can control them by choosing to keep them by dwelling on them or getting rid of them by refusing to give it audience. Sometimes we have thoughts of the worst things that could happen, or we start to dwell on painful memories and even create terrible scenarios in our head. When we dwell on these things, we give them energy and start to feed them. Sometimes we can focus on them so hard that it actually starts to change our behavior and causes us to manifest our worst fears. Today, choose to focus on things that are positive and push out every negative thought. It’s your mind, you have complete control over it.

Body challenge: Eat!
Many of us in a bid to stay slim or skinny don’t eat and in the long run, this can be damaging to our bodies and it can even slow our metabolism. It is smart to watch what and how much we eat, but embarking on a starvation diet will starve your body of the nutrients it needs to function properly, making one more prone to illness and disease. First, set your daily caloric intake at around 12 calories per pound or 25 calories per kilo of your current weight. So for a woman who is about 50 kilos her daily caloric intake should be around 1250 calories. You don’t have to live to eat, but please eat to live!

New day, new challenge

Your challenge today is…

Spirit challenge: Disconnect and connect.
Between BBpins, facebook, twitter and more, we are spending more time communicating online and less offline. There are even spouses who do more discussing through status updates. Today we would like you to stop tapping the key board so much and connect to the people and life that are really in front of you. Surprise your spouse with lunch plans, put the Wii down and tell your kids a story, stop stalking random photos on facebook and get out there and make your own memories. Life cannot be lived solely through a computer, it has to be lived by being part of it, mind, body and soul.

Body challenge: Drink water.
How much water are you drinking? Not liquid, but water? Pure simple water. This is the best thing you can do for yourself today, drink clean water. Current recommendations suggest that we should get around 2 litres of a day, more if you are losing a lot, through sweating and exertion. So please put down the soft drinks, put down the juices and drink simple water.

Healthful eating with Dr Lara Adejumo

Dr Lara Adejumo drops by ewell radio to discuss eating healthy versions of our traditional food. Dr Lara is a medical doctor practicing family medicine in Clinton, MD. Her book is called Healthful eating for the African and it is filled with tips and advice for transforming our diet so as to avoid diabetes, cardiac disease, cancer and more. Click on the play button to hear more from Dr Lara. Her book can be ordered from her website

Listen to internet radio with Ekene Onu on Blog Talk Radio

It’s almost over!

It’s day 14 of the challenge and you have just one more week to go. How have you been doing? If you have been incorporating these challenges into your lifestyle, you should be feeling stronger, happier and healthier. The challenge is for you. It’s your life, and we want you to really live it!

Your challenge today if you choose to accept it is…

Mind challenge: Get your mind right!
Is your money funny? Some of us have a toxic relationship with money, it defines us and so when we have money we spend it on things that we think announce to the world that we have arrived. However, that same attitude and behavior can place undue stress on us, because spenders tend not to be savers and as a result can get into a financial bind easily. Finances can wreak havoc on your body because it can be a major stressor. Money issues have been known to cause depression, damage relationships, raise blood pressure even cause sexual dysfunction. So your challenge today is to revamp your relationship with money. Money is a resource that is meant to serve you. Whether you have a lot or a little should and can not define you. You are you whether you dress yourself in designer gear or rock outfits from the bend down boutique, you have to be sure in yourself stripped down to the bare essentials. Take some time to put your money in its place. If that means paring down and creating a budget, then do that, if it means giving stuff away and creating an investment plan, call a financial advisor, and if it means doing some more hustling to create more resources, get busy dears!

Body challenge: Listen to your body.
We tell potty training children to learn to listen to the cues their bodies are telling them, so they can master the toilet issues. Well we adults need to learn to listen to our bodies. We need to identify when we have constant pains in our bodies and slow down or treat accordingly. If something doesn’t feel right and has persisted, then see a doctor and get it checked out. We tend to ignore the signals our bodies send and then end up with significant health issues because we waited too long. So today, resolve to put out the fire on the mountain before it burns all the way down to the valley.