Something that we all know is aging is a natural part of life. It's nothing to get mad about. It's nothing to be afraid of. Matter of fact, it's a blessing to be able to say that you're getting older. That said, the key to aging gracefully is preparation, and if there's one part of us that gets overlooked a lot when it comes to this, it's our teeth. Here's the thing, though. When we're babies we get a set, then lose them. Then we gain another set and that's supposed to last us for the rest of our entire lives. Between the constant eating, sometimes grinding, the kinds of foods that we eat and not always taking care of our teeth as well (or consistently) as we should, the enamel (the main layer that protects your teeth from decay) on them can start to get thinner which can make our teeth more fragile and, quite frankly, dingy looking. That's why a lot of people can look pretty good in their 50s and 60s, then smile and instantly appear 10 years older. It's because they didn't take good care of their teeth.
There's no time like the present to learn a few ways to dodge this particular bullet. Since your teeth are going to get older over time, here are 12 proven ways to help them to stay young-looking, so that you can appear more youthful, with time, as well.
1. Stay Hydrated
Have you ever really stopped to think about what's in your saliva? It's actually a combination of water, minerals, proteins, mucus and amylase (an enzyme that helps you to properly digest your food). Saliva is great at helping to prevent oral decay because it helps to remove food particles from your mouth, wash away bacteria that can lead to cavities and neutralize acids that can eventually lead to cavities and a breakdown of tooth enamel. Something that saliva needs in order to produce itself on a regular basis is water. That's why, when it comes to taking care of your teeth long-term, it's important that you drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day. Every single day.
2. Brush with Baking Soda. Rinse with Hydrogen Peroxide.
If you don't want to go the professional whitening route, a great natural whitening alternative is to brush your teeth with a combo of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Baking soda (also known as sodium bicarbonate) is effective because it contains tiny crystals that create a texture that's able to basically "exfoliate" your teeth, so that you can safely and effectively remove plaque from them. Hydrogen peroxide is cool because it serves as a natural bleaching agent that can help to whiten your teeth while killing bad bacteria that may be lurking around in your mouth too. I've been going with this combo since I was a child and I can definitely tell a difference, every time I use it. Just make sure to rinse your mouth really well when you're done. Both things are safe. Still, they can be pretty potent too. (If you want to learn about some other natural whitening remedies, check out "10 All-Natural Ways To Strengthen Your Teeth & Whiten Your Smile").
3. Go Easy on the Brushing
There can be too much of a good thing, even when it comes to brushing your teeth. In other words, if you ever wondered if you could brush them too hard or too often, the answer is yes. What's a trip about this particular point is even that can result in tender gums and worn out enamel. Yes, you need to brush (and floss) after every meal. Just make sure that you go with a soft-bristled brush, that you stroke at a 45-degree angle to your gums and that you do it for no more than 2-2 ½ minutes. Oh, make sure that you replace your toothbrush every three months as well. Going above and beyond this could result in tooth sensitivity. You don't want that.
4. Reduce Your Acidic Intake
This one kinda sucks because I'm willing to bet that some of your favorite foods and drinks are acidic. The reason why you should reduce the amount of them that you consume is because they've got the ability to erode your tooth enamel over time which makes it easier for the pigment of foods that stain your teeth and provide that less-than-appealing yellowish look. Acidic stuff can also cause your teeth to become pretty sensitive too. If you're not exactly sure which foods and drinks fit this bill, the list includes orange juice, soda, fish, processed foods, lemonade, pineapple juice, starchy foods, grape juice, apple juice and corned beef.
So, what foods are able to make your mouth more alkaline? Good question. Some of those include zucchini, spinach, kale, pumpkin, white cabbage, arugula and artichokes. Eat more of those and less of the acidic stuff and your mouth will be much healthier.
5. Consume Calcium and Vitamin D-Rich Foods Instead
Although your teeth aren't technically bones (teeth are made up of dentin, enamel, cementum and pulp), they do need some of the same nutrients that bones do in order to remain nice and strong. One that tops the list is calcium because it's able to harden your teeth's enamel. This is why it's so important to eat foods that are rich in calcium like cheese, dark leafy greens, yogurt, canned salmon, whey protein, milk (or milk alternatives) and chia seeds.
Another nutrient that's important is Vitamin D. That's because it helps your body to process and absorb calcium. Without calcium, your teeth can start to become pretty brittle which is problematic on all kinds of levels. Foods that are loaded with Vitamin D include fortified cereals, eggs, canned tuna, shiitake mushrooms and orange juice.
6. Eat Cheese at the End of Each Meal
If cheese is something that you love to eat, you're gonna be thrilled with this tip. Remember how I mentioned a list of foods that are acidic? Well, something that you might not know about cheese is that it's naturally alkali. This means that, when you eat it, cheese can help to neutralize the acids that you may have just consumed from other foods. As a bonus, cheese also contains a good amount of calcium.
As far as the kinds of cheeses that are best, some dental experts are all about ones like Monterey jack, cheddar, Brie and Camembert due to all of the nutrients that are in them.
7. Do Some Oil Pulling
The brief history on oil pulling is it's an Ayurvedic practice that actually originated in India. The purpose of it is to use oils to literally purify your teeth and gums. While a lot of Indians prefer to go with sunflower or sesame oil for pulling, the people I personally know who oil pull typically use coconut oil since it has so many properties (such as lauric acid which reduces inflammation and Vitamin E which helps to heal tissues) in it. Anyway, all you've gotta do is put around a teaspoon of the oil of your choosing into your mouth and swish it around for about 10-15 minutes. Then spit the oil out and brush your teeth like usual. If you do this 2-3 times a week, you should notice that your teeth will feel cleaner, your teeth will appear whitener and your breath will even smell fresher.
As a special note, it can be hard to keep all of that oil and spit in your mouth when you're just sitting around and doing nothing. That's why it's usually best to oil pull while you're in the shower or super preoccupied with something that keeps you busy yet doesn't require you to talk.
8. Take a Multivitamin
One of the reasons why your teeth can start to weaken as you age is you may not be receiving all of the nutrients that they need on a regular basis. In fact, it's estimated that a whopping 92 percent of Americans have some sort of vitamin deficiency (what in the world?!). Since your teeth need calcium (again, it helps to harden your teeth's enamel); Vitamin D (it aids in boosting bone mineral density); potassium (it helps to keep your blood from becoming too acidic); phosphorus (it helps to build healthy teeth); Vitamin K (it improves bone strength); Vitamin C (it fights gingivitis), and Vitamin A (it helps to promote oral healing), you can never go wrong with 1) eating foods that have these nutrients in them and 2) taking a multivitamin on a daily basis. As far as multivitamins go, it's an easy way to make sure that you compensate for any vitamins or minerals that you might've missed due to your diet.
9. Drink Some Tea
Yeah, before you get all giddy in your soul, when I say "tea", I don't mean some good ole' southern sweet tea. What I'm referring to is green tea. Aside from the fact that green tea contains bioactive compounds that are able to improve your brain function while helping to keep you from getting type 2 diabetes and also antioxidants that can help to boost your immunity and reduce the risk of you getting certain cancers, the catechins (a specific type of antioxidant) in this kind of tea are also able to fight gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath. One of the best ways to take care of green tea's oral benefits by making your own mouthwash. A cool recipe is located here.
10. Get a Night Guard
If you've heard of the word "bruxism" before yet you're not exactly sure what it means, it's a medical term for people who grind their teeth or clench their jaws (which is around 10-15 percent of the population).
Several things can cause this including stress, internalized anger, insomnia, heavy caffeine and/or alcohol consumption and ADHD. The reason why this is an issue when it comes to the topic of aging teeth is because teeth grinding can damage the enamel of your teeth—and the weaker your enamel gets, the much more vulnerable to damage your teeth can become. How? Well, chewing your teeth can put between 20-40 pounds of pressure on them. Grinding? A whopping 250 pounds!Geeze.
A solution is to invest in a night guard (or bite splint). It's very similar to the trays that your dentist may use to whiten your teeth. You put them on at night and it helps to both shield and cushion your teeth so that you're not putting so much pressure on them while you sleep. Since night guards can also help to prevent headaches and neck pain, it definitely can't hurt to talk to your dentist about getting one either to fix any grinding issues that you have now or to use as a preventative measure.
11. Keep Metal Out of Your Mouth
I've had a root canal before. My dentist was cool. Still, it was no walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination. Anyway, if you end up needing some sort of treatment for a cavity that you might have, make sure that you avoid getting metal amalgam fillings or crowns. Those can definitely cause your mouth to look 20-plus years older than it should. Instead, ask your dentist about fillings that are the same color as your natural teeth and crowns that are ceramic. These options tend to look so much better. Younger too.
12. See Your Dentist Annually
Unfortunately, only half of Americans go to see their dentist every six months (which is actually how much we're supposed to do it). Around 15 percent go annually and over 20 percent said they haven't gone in the past few years. That's not good because your dentist is able to see signs of wear and tear, damage and even aging that you cannot. Plus, they can provide tips on how to keep your teeth in great shape for many years to come. I can't think of too many things that I dislike more than going to the dentist. Still, it's something that's crucial if you want your teeth to look great and, well, age gracefully. Make your next appointment, ASAP, OK? Excellent.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
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In pursuing the goal of experiencing the best sex ever, there are three main mistakes that I think a lot of people make. One is overthinking everything; the more mindful you are during sex, the more willing you are to just relax and be in the moment, and the more fulfilling your experience will be. The second thing? Becoming sexually lazy. One of the best things about sex is it can almost always be topped — so why not try?
The couples who are always trying to make the next experience better than the last rarely are bored, nor do they end up finding themselves in a sexual rut. And the third? Not being proactively intentional about bringing all five senses into the bedroom (or wherever they choose to do it). Indeed, something that makes sex top-notch is the fact that there are super sensual ways to incorporate sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch to it.
So, let’s do this. Let’s explore five ways for each of the five senses to be stimulated in such a way that sex with your partner won’t just be “good” — it’ll truly be unforgettable!
Write a sex note. It’s probably that I’m a words of affirmation person that I wrote articles for the site like “Every Woman Should Write A Love Letter To Themselves” and “Why Writing Love Letters Is A Surefire Way To Revive Your Marriage.” Either way, there are plenty of studies out here to support the fact that your handwriting reveals a lot about your personality. For instance, outgoing personalities tend to use bigger letters while shy folks use smaller ones, and the more legible your signature is, the more confident you tend to be (illegible speaks to being more private).
Anyway, it’s thoughtful, seductive, and it reveals a very personal side of you to handwrite a sex note to your partner. It can be a story, a memory, or a fantasy. Mail it to them (even if you live together), and put it in one of their office drawers or even under their pillow. Allow them to see you in this kind of creative light.
Text a super up close or blurry pic. Speaking of seduction, no matter how many times your partner has seen you naked, there are approaches you can take that will make it feel like it’s the first time. One is to take a super close shot of a body part and ask them to guess what it is. Another is to take a super blurry one and add a message that only they will understand. It’s gonna be hella intriguing either way.
Use candlelight. If you’re someone who would prefer to have sex in the dark while your partner wants the lights on, the compromise is to go with candlelight. It’s romantic. It’s body flattering. And, if you go with some scented soy (soy burns longer) candles like jasmine, vanilla, or patchouli, the candles will create an aphrodisiac atmosphere too.
Incorporate each other’s favorite colors. Something else that I’m a fan of is color psychology (check out “Understanding Color Psychology Will Sharpen Your Lens On Life”). Not only do different colors represent different things (and can affect your mood in different ways), but wearing your favorite color can make you feel better about yourself, while wearing your partner’s favorite color can entice them all the more. Definitely, something to keep in mind as you’re out here doing some lingerie shopping (when’s the last time you did that, by the way?).
Maintain eye contact. In almost any context, maintaining eye contact with people is important. Business Insider once published an article stating that eye contact cultivates attraction, maintains a level of honesty, helps you to be more memorable, and can even make it possible for two people to fall in love. Pretty sure you can see why I added this to the “sight” list. Eye contact during sex is EVERYTHING.
Verbalize, in explicit detail, what you want to do to your partner. Wanna do some sex pregaming? Give your partner a preview of what’s to come by calling them out of nowhere to talk about all of the things you want to do the next time the two of you are intimate. It will definitely pique their curiosity. Plus, this is a great workaround for people who struggle with dirty talk (a tip: don’t overthink it; your tone of voice matters more than your actual words anyway. No, seriously.).
Play nature-based ASMR sounds. If you’re someone who likes to listen to music or sounds of nature during sex (more on that in a sec), it might surprise you to know that you enjoy something that’s a low-key sexual fetish. It’s called auralism, and it’s all about being aroused via sound. As far as nature sounds (like rain, ocean waves, wind, etc.) go, science says that hearing them helps to reduce stress, decrease pain, and it can also put you in a way better mood.
So, the next time that you’re trying to create some ambiance go to YouTube and find some nature sounds (many of them run on a loop for hours on end). It’s an unsung hack that can make a world of difference as far as your sex life is concerned.
Whisper. Speaking of ASMR, did you know that sounds like whispering can create a literal “brain orgasm” without you even laying a hand on your partner? It’s relaxing. It’s seductive. It triggers euphoric sensations. Just thought I would put that out there.
Moan. Recently, while listening to the extended mix of the throwback R&B group Intro’s “Come Inside,” I was trying to figure out how people can “fake moan” and make it sound at least semi-convincing.
Anyway, if you want to heighten both your and your partner’s sense of hearing when it comes to sexual intimacy, moaning is gonna get the job done. In fact, according to science, moaning creates vibrations throughout the body that can intensify sex and orgasms. Plus, it’s a way to let your partner know that they are meeting your sexual needs.
So, if you’re a loud moaner, awesome (check out “Ever Wonder What The Sounds You Make During Sex Mean?” when you get a chance). If you’re self-conscious about doing it, remember that you’ve got science to back up giving it a shot ASAP.
Praise your partner.I once read that whenever someone receives a compliment, it activates the same part of their brain as receiving money (no joke). That said, I can’t think of any person who would ever get tired of receiving genuine praise for their sexual performance. So, before, during, and after the deed is done, be intentional about verbally affirming your partner for the things that you thoroughly enjoyed. Watch them “return the favor” once you do.
Put his favorite scent on your pressure points. The article “Feelin' On These Pressure Points Will Give You The Best Sex Of Your Life” is all about certain parts on your and your partner’s bodies that can intensify sexual pleasure whenever they are touched. That said, imagine how much more exhilarating the touches will feel if your partner gets to smell his favorite scent in those very spots.
Out of the five senses, smell doesn’t get nearly as much attention — oh, but it should, considering the fact that various smells connect us to certain emotions and memories. Not only that but studies say that those who have a stronger sense of smell ultimately have better sex lives too.
Apply essential oils to your bedding. Keeping what I just said in mind, when was the last time that you sprinkled some essential oils on your bedding? Personally, I prefer essential oils to perfume or cologne because they are good for your health, and the quality brands, tend to last much longer. And when it comes to sex specifically, there’s something about rolling around in aphrodisiac-based smelling sheets that really is a perfect touch (check out “8 Natural Aphrodisiac Scents, Where They Go & How To Make Them Last”).
Add fresh flower petals to your bed too. Roses have had a long-standing and pretty solid reputation for being an aphrodisiac scent too. Not only that, but some people even eat rose petals because they are loaded with antioxidants. Personally, I like the soft and feminine scent that fresh rose petals provide along with how great they feel on my skin. Get all of these benefits by sprinkling some fresh rose petals on your bed. You can never go wrong by doing so.
Add an aphrodisiac scent to your hair. A few years back, I penned an article for the site entitled, “Contrary To Popular Assumption, Black Women LOVE Getting Their Hair Pulled During Sex” — and you know what? It really is the icing on the cake for your hair to smell absolutely amazing as he does it. So, whether it’s perfume, cologne, or an essential oil, don’t forget to spray or rub some onto your tresses. Whew, chile.
Put some lavender and pumpkin oil in between your thighs. I will forever shout through the proverbial bullhorn that studies say that the combination of lavender and pumpkin oil can increase the speed of a man’s erection by a whopping 40 percent! Definitely, something to keep in mind if you’ve got a partner who battles a bit with erectile dysfunction or you’re someone who enjoys immediate penetration following being on the receiving end of oral sex.
Dab a bit of the combo in between your thighs and just watch — well, feel — what happens! (By the way, you can purchase a roll-on combo of two fragrances at an affordable price by going here.)
Get some honey dust. Back in my more active days (LOL), I took a hack from Valerie Malone via Beverly Hills, 90210, when she told one of her partners that she applies honey dust to her skin so that he could lick it off. Let’s just say that if you try it, you’ll be in for a wild ride. You can cop some for yourself here.
Experiment with some “sex condiments.” Along these same lines, one time I was working with a couple who both wanted a bit of assistance without making giving oral sex less awkward. I shot them the article, "12 ‘Sex Condiments’ That Can Make Coitus Even More...Delicious” that I once penned. Why?
Basically, sometimes it can seem a bit intimidating to take in natural body fluids. One way to make it less overwhelming is to “mask” the tastes with ones that are more familiar such as frosting, chocolate syrup, or even condensed milk.
Suck on some mint candy. Even though I’ve actually read that consuming mint can lower a man’s testosterone levels and ultimately his sex drive, if you gargle some mint mouthwash or suck on a mint prior to performing fellatio, the menthol can feel hella exhilarating for him and make his orgasms even more memorable. Hey, but you ain’t gotta take my word for it. A couple of years ago, some mints called Flintts were taking oral sex activity by storm, chile: “What the Heck Are These Oral Sex Mints All Over TikTok?”.
Play around with nutmeg and cloves. Whether you decide to make a dessert with nutmeg and cloves, drink some tea with these spices sprinkled in, or you come up with some other creative way to incorporate them into your plans for the evening, nutmeg is a solid libido-booster and cloves increase energy levels and blood flow (including to your genital region) as well as increases your body temperature. Where’s your spice rack at?
DIY some dried figs. There is nothing wrong with bringing food into the bedroom. That said, next time, how about some figs? Visually, they are a fruit that’s actually used to symbolize the vagina; plus, the amino acids in them help to relax the blood vessels in your body, so that blood is able to flow freely through you and your partner’s genitalia. You can get a ton of dried fig recipes here.
Wear silk lingerie. Even though lace has quite the reputation when it comes to lingerie, a fabric that deserves a lot more attention is silk. It’s soft. It’s luxurious. And, by many, it’s considered to be the most sensual fabric there is. Also, on the practical side, silk can help to reduce hot flashes, improve your quality of sleep, help to prevent yeast infections, and improve the appearance and feel of your skin. All worthwhile selling points to keep in mind for the next time you’re picking up a teddy or baby doll ensemble.
Twist your wrist during fellatio. I enjoy Black web series. One from back in the day that I will rewatch from time to time is called Diary of a Cheating Man. In episode two, (the character) Cory gives away a fellatio hack that I can personally vouch for.
If you’re someone who is a bit skittish about giving head, something that can take some of the mouth pressure off is to use your hands more. Apply an edible lubricant and then twist your wrist clockwise and counterclockwise as you’re gently moving up and down his shaft. That way, you don’t have to do quite as much sucking (if that’s not your thing; do lick, though), and he won’t feel (quite so) gypped because of it.
Use your tongue where you would put your hands. I recently read an article (entitled “The Human Tongue Can Help Blind People 'See' The World. Here's How”) that said, “The brain can allocate tactile attention on the surface of the tongue in the same way as the hands or other modes of attention.” If you add to this the fact that, although the tongue is not the strongest muscle in the body, it is, most definitely one of the most flexible, and you add to that how warm and wet it is — it will only benefit you and your partner to substitute your tongue for your hands during foreplay…don’t ya think?
Play with each other’s belly buttons. One of the best ways to keep your partner intrigued is to not always go for the “predictable” body parts. For instance, when’s the last time that the two of you played around with each other’s belly buttons? The belly button has multiple nerve endings, it’s a fun way to tease your partner during foreplay, and it’s not uncommon for women to feel clitoral stimulation whenever that area of their body is caressed in any way. So, why not kiss, massage, or use your fingers to play around with the belly button during sexual activity? You both may be pleasantly surprised by the sensation that it creates.
Kiss during afterplay. One more. A question that I get asked fairly often is what can increase a woman’s chances of having multiple orgasms. There are several. One of them is to kiss during afterplay (which is basically foreplay after having sex). There is a lot of intel in these streets (check out “Wanna Climax More? KISS MORE.”) that cosigns on the fact that kissing is extremely stimulating.
So, even though few things top spooning naked and taking a nap after getting in a round of romping, an immediate — as they used to say it back in the day — make-out session following your first orgasm can definitely put you on the path to experiencing a second one. Try it. How could you — and all of your senses — not like it? Enjoy!
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