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Personal Care

The most common bad habits in dental hygiene – Myth busting!

Millions of bacteria enter our mouth every day; therefore, being constant and responsible with oral hygiene is essential to be able to have good health in general. Many of the most common bad habits in dental hygiene come from false myths, can prevent it. Let’s have a look at some of those myths.

The more toothpaste, the cleaner the teeth will be:

False. Much of the blame for the habit of covering the entire surface of the toothbrush with paste lies with advertising. The amount that shows us in it is excessive. How much is enough?

Adults only need the amount of pasta equivalent to one chickpea.

Children between three and six years old, to a pea.

Children under three years, a grain of rice.

Mouthwashes replace brushing:

False. The use of mouthwashes is always complementary and never replaces brushing. Within the profession, there are dentists who believe that they are unnecessary, since they hardly have an effect on the bacteria that cause bad breath and, furthermore, their effectiveness with respect to pathologies that arise due to dental plaque is also highly questioned.

Those containing chlorhexidine are usually prescribed for gingivitis because they are the ones that have shown the greatest antibacterial effect. These rinses must be used under the prescription of the dentist and for a limited period of time (weeks), since they can cause some side effect, such as staining of the teeth.

​Bad breath is always due to a bad brushing:

False. In 80% of cases, halitosis is produced by intraoral causes, that is, by poor oral hygiene that causes bacteria to proliferate in the mouth and on the tongue. It can also be caused by cavities, gingivitis and periodontitis (inflammation of the gums), dry mouth or tobacco, since nicotine adheres to the mucosa of the mouth, tongue and teeth. In these cases, reinforcing cleaning (brushing your teeth and tongue correctly), having good hydration and going to check-ups are key to solving it. But it can also have extraoral causes, such respiratory problems (sinusitis, laryngitis, bronchitis), stomach (poor digestion), hepatitis, diabetes or the intake of certain drugs.

Always brush your teeth immediately after eating:

False. Depending on what we have eaten, sometimes it is better to wait. The mouth has a neutral acidity (pH 7) and when taking certain foods (such as lemon, orange, sugary drinks, soft drinks, wine, coffee, tomato sauce or ketchup) the acidity rises and, consequently, the enamel softens. Although saliva neutralises this acidity and the enamel hardens again in 20-30 minutes, brushing our teeth when it is still soft can be harmful, since it can accelerate enamel wear that would result in dental sensitivity or demineralization. That is why some specialists recommend waiting. If you follow a diet without so many sugars and your enamel is healthy, you don’t have to wait before brushing your teeth.

It is normal for gums to bleed:

False. It is thought that minimal bleeding after washing is normal, due to the friction we exert with the brush. But a healthy gum never bleeds when we brush it, so it will be necessary to go to the dentist to have it checked out. Gum bleeding is usually due to periodontal disease (gingivitis or periodontitis). It is generated when bacteria accumulate at the margin of the gum, which inflames it and makes it more sensitive. If it is detected in time, it is not usually a problem.

Electric toothbrushes are more effective:

False. As long as the proper brushing technique is used to remove plaque debris well, an electric toothbrush and a manual toothbrush are just as effective. However, for most people it is easier to achieve that good technique with electric ones thanks to its shape, with a long handle and narrow head, which makes it more manageable and makes it possible to reach all the nooks and crannies; a head that can surround the entire dental piece, and the movement made by the bristles.

But they are more expensive and for people who have just undergone an intervention in the area and who have stitches they are not recommended. In addition, sometimes people with orthodontics are also recommended to only use a manual toothbrush.

Minors, for their part, can use both the manual and the electric, but in very young boys or girls the manual can help them get into the habit of oral cleaning, since there are more manual models (shapes and sizes) adapted to them.

So they are some of the false myths, now let’s look at some habits which are true.

Dental floss is essential:

True. Faced with rinsing, which is dispensable, dentists consider dental floss as mandatory. Whether it’s dental floss or interproximal brushes (or oral irrigators), their use is necessary to reach the food debris that remains between the teeth and that is impossible to remove with the brush. The usual technique and one that dentists most recommend is to floss after brushing, since it drags what the brush has not been able to remove.

The most expensive toothpastes do not have to be the best:

True. The key is not in the brand and how expensive the toothpaste is, but in the right amount of fluoride, in addition to the technique and duration of brushing. From the age of six we all have to use a toothpaste with 1,450 ppm (parts per million) of fluoride (1,000 ppm is recommended for children). Below that concentration it is as if we did not use toothpaste.

In cases of diseases, such as gingivitis (with bleeding and inflammation of the gums), the specialist can prescribe a paste that, in addition to fluoride, contains an antiseptic, although normally they cannot be used for more than two weeks at a time. There are pastes of 2,500 and 5,000 ppm only reserved for people who have a special risk of caries.

Brushing technique influences cleaning:

True. Brushing should be done for two minutes, with a brush that is not damaged (it must be changed every 3-4 months) and at least twice a day.

The technique should be simple and efficient, with straight movements. To eliminate bacterial plaque, it is important to always start from the same place and follow the same order, clean all the faces of the teeth (external, internal and masticatory), also brushing the gum vertically towards the tooth and go over the tongue and mouth.

By the way, the brush does not need a cap. The cap prevents the air from drying out the brush after each use, therefore, with humidity, bacteria proliferate. That is why it is important not to cover it and always leave it with the head up.

Chewing sugarless gum helps clean teeth:

​True. When we finish eating, the bacteria take advantage of the remains of food that remain in the mouth to feed themselves. If this bacterial plaque is not cleaned correctly, cavities or other oral diseases may appear. Therefore, the less time this plaque spends in contact with the teeth, the greater the possibility of keeping the mouth healthy. Plaque is removed with thorough brushing, but sometimes we don’t have a toothbrush, toothpaste or floss on hand. In these cases, and never as a substitute for brushing, we can use sugar-free gum, since it favours the formation of saliva, which has a protective effect by neutralizing acids after eating carbohydrates.

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Personal Care

Getting the perfect six-pack – Five exercises celebrities swear by

Getting the perfect six-pack body.

Sport and exercise is part of daily life for many, as it should be for all of us, but in order to achieve such an ‘ideal’ body with hardly any time between events, content creators on social media are showing how they are using their limited ‘free’ time to practice many of the exercise routines celebrities swear by.

Celebrities such as Jennifer López, Kendall Jenner, and Megan Fox have joined the fashion of showing off their iron abs, achieved through a routine of physical exercise and healthy eating, but getting the perfect six-pack takes effort and dedication.

Many physical fitness experts point out that the abdominals are one of the most difficult areas of the body to work with. Nutrition and balance are the keys to losing fat accumulated in the gut.

But there are some exercise routines you can practice helping you towards that perfect six-pack.

Abdominal wheel. With the abdominal wheel you can perform different exercises, more or less complex depending on the intensity that we want to establish. With this movement we will improve the stability of the core and, in addition, muscles such as the triceps, deltoids and lats are worked indirectly.

Pallof press. An exercise with which the anti-rotation of the core is actively worked on, strengthening it and preventing injuries. Fantastic for improving stability and ideal for people who have suffered injuries or pathologies in the lower back.

Abdominal plank. A classic with which I am sure that many have found the seconds too long. A basic but very effective exercise that will also improve body posture, metabolism and coordination. You should keep your back straight, your core and buttocks firm, and hold your body like a board. With series of 30 seconds it is more than enough for a good abdominal activation.

Mountain climbers. Knees at chest level, with rhythm for good fat burning, and taking care not to arch your back to avoid injuries to the lower back. The goal is to keep a regular and constant rhythm, to promote fat burning.

Superman. As in the isometric plank, both the core and the glutes must be very firm. The arm should always be well stretched to make the movement more complicated.

Of course, you should always take precautions before starting a new exercise routine, and get personal advice from an expert.

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What is Clean Eating?

Clean Eating

You may have seen the trend on social media, in fact if you type in the hashtag #cleaneating on Instagram for example, we get close to 50 million results. On TikTok, it already exceeds half a million, but the big question is, what is clean eating?

Well, it’s not quite the easy answer you might hope, as it is an umbrella term for a whole hodgepodge of concepts opens up where the ideas of concepts such as “detox”, “gluten-free”, “transgenic-free”, “organic”, “vegan”, “additive-free” or “realfood”, and others. And it is that the concept of clean eating is like a tailor-made suit: there are as many ways to eat clean as people consider raising their diet to what they individually interpret as a healthier diet.

So, in the simplest of terms, what is clean eating?

The idea of ​​”clean eating” often includes the goal of minimising, or even eliminating, ultra-processed foods, increasing the presence of fruits and vegetables, or cooking more at home in order to control all the ingredients in each dish, including the amount of salt, the type of fat or added sugars, and depending on how flexible the person is with these principles, they can have a healthy relationship with food or enter territories close to an eating disorder, such as orthorexia.

To find out what people generally understand as “clean eating”, the International Food Information Council (IFIC) carried out a study among more than 1,000 adults in May 2021. The results revealed that two out of three people look at the ingredients of each product before putting them in the shopping basket. Half acknowledged fleeing whenever possible from foods whose list of ingredients includes ingredients that sound like chemicals to them. Specifically, they assimilated the concept of “clean” to not being artificial or synthetic.

Another very revealing fact from this study is that half of those who consider themselves clean eaters do not eat highly processed foods and prefer foods with few ingredients, if possible, organic and fresh.

No similar study has yet been carried out in Spain, although the idea of ​​eating clean has also permeated society in the country too. In fact, it is easy to find the same tags or hashtags in many profiles of influencers or nutrition fans.

Eating clean: an imprecise concept

Clean food falls into a limbo in which, as food technologist Beatriz Robles explains, “there is no explicit restriction. Of course, in Spain, there are laws which must be abided by, such as Regulation 1169/2011 in its article 7 on fair information practices, which indicates that food information will not mislead the consumer by attributing properties to food that it does not have or by insinuating that the food has special characteristics, when, in fact, all similar foods have those same characteristics.”

The situation becomes more abstract when what is considered clean is not a specific food, but the entire menu, and it is not limited to commercial purposes of the sale of this or that product (where the regulations are relatively strict), but rather to extol “homemade” food cooked by an influencer.

There are no objective limits when it comes to considering that one food is cleaner than another. But it can generate in a certain part of the population an animosity that is not always justified towards some foods or additives.

Homemade or not, the important thing is the ingredients

Some experts say that using the ultra-processed concept as a synonym for unhealthy can be confusing in some cases.

The rule that if an industrially produced food has more than five ingredients is ultra-processed and, as such, unhealthy, it is not infallible. A pre-cooked lentil dish can be as healthy as some stews at home. And a homemade sponge cake with cane sugar from organic farming, as unhealthy as the one from the supermarket. The question is not so much “where” to cook, but “what” to bring.

Industrial food is not always bad for your health

In particular, you have to watch the amount of certain critical ingredients, such as added sugar, salt or fats. And in the latter, prioritise those foods with olive oil over other fats with a less outstanding nutritional profile, such as palm oil or, more recently, coconut oil.

Tracing each of the ingredients on the label ends up being a daunting and tedious task. Hence, nutritionists insist on promoting cooking at home and with fresh or minimally processed foods: fruits, vegetables, bread, meat, fish… And preferably season with spices to reduce the use of salt or sugar. A stew with chilli or garlic requires less salt, while vanilla or cinnamon are perfect allies to reduce the amount of sugar we add to sweet foods.

Fear of artificial and synthetic additives

The most slippery ground in clean food is additives. In 2019, the EFSA published a ‘Eurobarometer of food safety in the EU’ where it was clear that European citizens are concerned, above all, with antibiotic and pesticide residues in food, environmental contaminants and additives (colourings, preservatives or flavourings).

It is true that the names do not help to avoid a certain panic towards the E codes. The paradox is that behind that E there can be either natural or laboratory-created additives. Both will have identical safety guarantees from those responsible for food safety in the European Union (that is precisely what that E indicates).

In other words, the chemophobia that points to synthetic additives as dangerous to health does not make sense. “All the additives used in the EU, both natural and artificial, have passed scientific evaluations carried out by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) to determine their safety. These evaluations are the basis for their later authorisation, and that authorisation includes both the maximum dose that can be used, as well as the foods in which it is allowed”, underlines the food technologist, Beatriz Robles. “In addition, the additives are re-evaluated to ensure that the authorisations are based on the most recent scientific evidence,” she points out.

We also use additives at home

There is a belief that in home cooking additives are not used. However, every time we add a few drops of lemon to the guacamole so that it does not oxidize, we are adding citric acid (E 330) and the egg that we put in the meatballs “so that it binds well” takes advantage of the emulsifying qualities of its lecithin (E 322). That is, in home cooking, additives are also added, in this case, natural ones.

And many of those used by the industry are also natural: carminic acid, a red dye that is extracted from cochineal (E 120), carotenes from carrots (160a)… Other times, they are produced by synthesis in a laboratory, but with the same chemical structure and composition as those of natural origin. “The natural or synthetic origin of an ingredient has nothing to do with its safety. Natural or synthetic they can be dangerous or innocuous. For example, consuming large amounts of turmeric or nutmeg can cause adverse effects,” warns Robles.

Different types of food additives

Going back to the study at the beginning, it is especially striking that only 12% admit to knowing that certain additives extend the life of food by preventing the growth of microorganisms. In other words, they contribute to avoiding food waste and, of course, to preserving our health as consumers.

“Some additives are necessary because otherwise the food would not be edible: it would deteriorate, it would pose food safety problems or it would be rejected by consumers because it does not maintain its expected organoleptic characteristics. This is the case of preservatives, of course, but also emulsifiers, acidulants, acidity regulators, anti-caking agents … Others, typical in ultra-processed foods, are used not to maintain the qualities of the food, but to modify it and make it more appetising. They are sweeteners, flavour enhancers or colourings, Robles explains.

Both one and the other are safe, but the latter “are indicating that the food as a whole is certainly not suitable for our health.” The claim of “no preservatives” or “no additives” common among followers of clean eating is nourished by this chemophobia “as if that magically transformed the product into a better food than those of the competition.”

However, far from guaranteeing a safer diet, what it achieves is —says Robles— complicating our lives. Cooking everything 100% at home takes time. “And if we only close ourselves to those ‘without additives’, we are unjustifiably reducing our purchasing options. Without going any further, cooked chickpeas, whether they have preservatives or not, are a good food,” she admits.

Even so, the industry takes note of this new sensitivity of consumers and is already developing conservation techniques, such as high pressure, which reduce the activity of microorganisms, without having to resort to preservatives, or minimising their presence.

Best fresh and seasonal food

Eating clean for many people means eating fresh foods and increasing your intake of plant-based foods. This is linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of reducing meat consumption, increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables and betting whenever possible on local foods (which usually have a closer harvest date).

The paradox is that many of those who defend clean eating include out-of-season fruits and vegetables in their diet, the transport of which has a very negative impact on the carbon footprint. Sometimes, because crops that do not exist or have little presence in our field are chosen (açai, pineapple, many tropical fruits…). Other times, they are grown, but out of season or imported.

Luis A. Zamora, dietitian-nutritionist and founding member of the Spanish Scientific Society of Dietetics and Nutrition (SEDYN), recalls that consuming seasonal produce “is cheaper because at that specific time there is more supply. Furthermore, on an ecological level, we do not exhaust the soil with intensive agriculture to produce fruits and vegetables all year round, regardless of the season.”

For the consumer who is not very familiar with the seasons, it is difficult to know if their tomatoes are from an open-air garden or a greenhouse. “But at least we can look at the required provenance labelling to make sure it didn’t travel 15,000 kilometres to get to our table,” he says.

When looking for cleaner food, many are obsessed with ensuring that their agricultural products are organically produced, without industrial fertilisers or pesticides. They forget that although the compost is manure, it must also meet certain legal requirements and stay below maximum residue limits. Or that a New Zealand kiwi sold in a plastic basket “blows up everything we consider ecological.”

If there is “clean eating”, is there dirty food?

Eating healthier is a good goal. The problem is when it is established in terms of good-bad. Eating fruit is good, eating a cupcake is bad. The fruit is to eat clean, the cupcake is to eat dirty. The message is simplistic, but in people predisposed to polarised behaviours (or all or nothing) it becomes a mental health hazard that demonises food and greatly limits everything that surrounds eating.

“In Spain there is no proper study on what is understood as ‘eating clean’, but in consultation we usually find people who associate it with eating only grilled steaks and salads. It is also linked to accepting only bio, organic or little processed food. Realfood has had a lot to do with this. As a concept it is fine, but taken to the extreme it is a very dangerous movement because it turns food into an obsession”, declares dietitian Pablo Ojeda, member of the Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity (SEEDO).

He insists on the importance of prioritising fresh food, cooking rich and varied at home, but without losing sight of the enjoyment component of food. Adding the adjective clean next to the fact of eating implies believing that there are foods or ways of eating that dirty the body. “It is a very dangerous association. Just as no food by itself makes you fat, neither is a person dirty by eating in one way or another”, he explains. Alert of the danger of ending up assimilating obesity with dirty people. Or feeling dirty from being overweight.

“Let’s not read what we eat based on cleanliness or dirt criteria, but rather in terms of frequency. There will be frequent foods that contribute a lot in nutritional terms and that must be present 80-85% of the time. 15% remains for those more superfluous foods, but when well placed in the general context of our diet they allow us emotional balance and a normal social life. Let’s not forget that in our culture eating is also a family lunch or a pizza with friends”, he points out.


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Prostate Cancer: Everything You Need to Know

Prostate Cancer

Dr. Sven Petry, head of the urology service at Quirónsalud Torrevieja, explains what factors we should take into account regarding prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer

What is the prostate and what is its function?

The prostate is one of the internal sexual organs of men, it is located between the urinary bladder and the pelvic floor and surrounds the beginning of the urethra. Its function is the production of seminal fluid and ejaculation.

What are the main problems affecting the prostate?

The prostate tends to grow with age, can squeeze the urethra and cause problems passing urine.

The three most common problems are:

  1. Inflammation (prostatitis)
  2. Enlarged prostate (BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia)
  3. Prostate cancer

Keep in mind that BPH is not related to cancer, so it does not increase your risk of prostate cancer. However, the symptoms of BPH and prostate cancer may be similar.


What are the symptoms of prostate disorders?

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): The prostate can press on the bladder and urethra. This can block the flow of urine, and even make it difficult to start the flow of urine. They may also feel like they need to urinate all the time or wake up several times at night with a sudden urge to urinate. Rezum is an innovative, effective, safe and minimally invasive technique that is performed with water vapor to treat BPH.

Prostatitis is an acute  inflammation of the prostate gland that can result from a bacterial infection. Its symptoms are high fever, pain when urinating or ejaculating. Because of the swelling of the prostate, it may also show the same symptoms as with BPH.

Prostate cancer tends to grow more slowly compared to most cancers. Cell changes can begin many years before a tumour is large enough to cause symptoms, which are similar to BPH. The more advanced the cancer, cancer cells can spread (metastasize) and cause bone pain.


Diagnostic tests for prostate cancer detection

  • Digital rectal exam
  • PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test
  • Semen and urine analysis
  • Urological ultrasound, flowmetry
  • Multiparameter magnetic resonance imaging


How is the approach to prostate pathologies carried out using laser technology?

The most common surgery for BPH is transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). An instrument is passed through the urethra and the excess prostate tissue is trimmed internally to expand the urethra. However, TURP can have side effects such as bleeding, hence the advantage of using laser surgery (laser energy destroys prostate tissue by vaporization), which causes little blood loss In addition, the recovery period from laser surgery may be shorter as well and you need a hospitalization of fewer days.

What is laparoscopic surgery?

Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgical technique and an alternative to conventional open surgery in which a small camera called a laparoscope is used to see inside the abdomen.

Instead of making large incisions, short, thin tubes (trocars) are inserted into the abdomen, using only small incisions (less than one centimetre).

Through these trocars, instruments are inserted that the surgeon uses to manipulate, cut and sew tissues.

Tips for taking care of the prostate

It is not possible to influence the main risk factors (age, hereditary predisposition …), however, a healthy lifestyle: balanced diet, regular exercise, not smoking and moderate alcohol consumption, helps reduce the overall risk of cancer.

 How is prostate cancer detected?

Prostate cancer in its early stages does not produce symptoms, so  men should have regular screenings for early detection of prostate cancer from the age of 45.

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by prostate cells. However, prostate cancer cells can release about 10 times the amount of PSA compared to normal prostate cells. This knowledge is used for the early detection of prostate cancer. The PSA value is determined by taking a blood sample.

Causes of prostate cancer:


  • Age. Men who are age 50 or older have an increased risk of prostate cancer.
  • Race. African-American men have the highest risk of prostate cancer.
  • Family history. Men whose fathers or brothers have had prostate cancer have a 2- or 3-fold increased risk of prostate cancer.
  • Diet. The risk of prostate cancer may be higher for men who eat high-fat diets.


What treatment can be used with this type of cancer?

Active surveillance allows treatment to be postponed until the tumour is actively progressing.

As for curative treatment, it can be performed with surgery (radical prostatectomy) and radiotherapy or internal or external radiation.

What is the prostate cancer survival rate?

As long as prostate cancer is diagnosed in its early stages and has not yet metastasized, there is a very high chance that it will be curable.

Request more information in the urology service of Quirónsalud Torrevieja


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