And give you something to smile about all day.
Mindset, meditation or some type of Zen?
Maybe a great health boost, but two-minutes in either cardio or meditation probably not enough time to cut it.
So before I reveal the two-minute exercise that could save your life, I have to preface, you’re probably going to get a little uncomfortable when I bring this up.
It’s a bit cringe-worthy, matter of fact, I’ve tossed around a few ways to say it, because for most, it’s probably one of the most resisted or unpleasant tasks we’re asked to do.
You’ve probably never even thought of it as an exercise or fitness routine.
Hopefully after you read this, you’ll have a different outlook because I think once you consider it a fitness ritual instead of a hygiene ritual it will be a no-brainer (because it’s only 2-minutes and it has overall health benefits).
And did I mention it can be a multi-tasking ritual, too?
-do it while checking your email.
-do it while walking around the house.
-do it while watching Netflix.
-do it in your car on the way to work.
-do it on the treadmill
So now that you know it’s quick, it’s easy, (maybe enjoyable) and packs a health punch maybe you won’t cringe so much when I say:
I know it’s stinging a little bit. I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, “I hate flossing!”
Notice I didn’t say take 2 minutes to floss, I said take 2 minutes to clean between your teeth.
Actually, I should take it a step further and clarify to not just clean between your teeth (the space) but to mindfully clean the sides (or surfaces) of the tooth and gum area in between.
It’s funny how spending two-minutes on hygiene is a lot of time, but on fitness seems almost like cheating — right?
Since I’m sure a few questions might be coming to mind, let’s break this down.
While it may seem a bit of a stretch to say it can save your life, it certainly has the ability to affect your overall health. Without getting into a massive breakdown of how it connects to our health (best for a separate article), we can simplify this by thinking about how the bajillion bacteria residing in our mouths have direct access through our mouth to the rest of our body.
One thing to keep in mind is that the area between our teeth is the most common place for disease to begin. The gums especially is where the bacterial toxins enter into our bloodstream.
Gum tissue is easily infected by bacteria, and is an entry for these bugs to travel to arteries, our brain, lungs and other important areas of our body.
If you take a shower, is your body healthier or stronger? No.
You smell better, you look better, but it’s not until you exercise and diet that you begin to see a transformation.
It should be the same for our dental habits. It’s not just about clean, but also health.
Think of it more like a fitness activity instead of a hygiene chore. Our cleaning techniques can be performed in a way that promotes strengthening the tissues.
Obviously our mouth is constantly exposed to bacteria and food throughout the day. It’s impossible to think it can stay perfectly clean.
The most important factor is to get our mouth to a level where the bacteria doesn’t stand a chance at provoking any harm. To use the fitness analogy again, think of how a fall will impact a person in shape vs. someone out of shape.
Primarily, we need to focus on the gums. If our gums are strong and healthy, then it’s less likely the bacteria will cause problems. Most of us only think of the teeth in terms of being strong, but it’s actually the strength and health of our gums that has the most impact on our overall health.
Not only does the state of our gums impact our health but it also determines how long we will keep our teeth.
When cleaning is focused on the gums it’s a win-win. Another great bonus is the turnaround time. Gums respond very quickly. If you haven’t been visiting the “in between” scene for a while, it may take a week or so before your gums get used to all the TLC, but once it becomes a regular habit the gums bounce back into shape quickly. Lot easier than getting and keeping that flat belly.
In 2 minutes time, you can really get a big bang for your buck.
Think about all the rewards.
Healthier, cleaner teeth.
Stronger, healthier gums.
Less dental problems.
Less chance of bacteria contributing to other health related issues.
Reduce future pain and expense of dental work.
Easier dental cleanings.
Keeping your teeth for a lifetime.
To name a few.
I would go as far as saying if I was left to survive on an island and had the choice to only bring along one thing to clean with, it would have to be something to clean between my teeth. I may be a bit biased, but I think you get the overall point. In between your teeth is where the most dangerous (and destructive) bacteria resides. And it likes to hide down under the gums.
What can you use to clean between your teeth?
Now here’s where it gets a bit controversial. Or confusing for some.
Like exercise-there many variations. Many options. You can mix it up a bit.
The key is to find out what works for you and your lifestyle. If flossing is just not something you’re going to stick to, then find something more likely to last.
Offering everyone cookie-cutter advice like just floss, is like saying the only way to get in shape is to run 5 miles a day. Not only is it unachievable for many, it’s impractical.
The most important thing here is use something that can “physically” disrupt the sticky bacterial plaque layer on your teeth.
It goes without saying that this can be one of the most challenging parts of our anatomy that we have to access. It’s definitely a bit of work, but when you put it in perspective of how big the impact for just a bit of time and effort, it really is a doable habit.
Finding something that will work for you is really not that difficult.
There a few good options to consider.
Now just because I said you don’t have to floss, it doesn’t mean it’s not a good option. It works. And as a side note (in case you caught wind of it), don’t be confused by all the media attention floating around. Basically, the reports just conclude that it’s the “studies” on flossing that are lacking.
If we use it correctly it cleans. It has the ability to remove plaque. It’s a perfectly good option.
However, this is not the only option.
Floss picks, interdental brushes, interdental picks are a few good options, and the bonus is you can grab and go. I love easier options, here are a few of my favorite go to picks.
Which brings me to the last questions.
How the hell do I multi-task this.
It might take some creativity, but so many people think they need to look at what they’re doing.
A mirror is not required. Matter of fact I think you can get into the zone better when you’re away from the mirror. Feel more of what you’re doing. Not be rushed or bored with the process.
We just need to rethink and reframe.
It only takes a couple minutes.
It not only helps your teeth and your future with teeth, it also helps with other aspects of your general health.
A workout you can do with one-hand, while checking your email, and listening to what the weather forecast will be. In only two-minutes.
If only all my workouts were this quick and easy.
It’s my passion project to take the mystery out of oral health and help guide you to be victorious with your dental health. If you think you’d like to learn sensible, easier, and probably more effective (with a hint of fun) tips on how to improve your oral health, visit me at getsmilefitness.com
Originally published at medium.com