December might be the season for family, food, and festivities, but it’s also flu season. According to news reports, 2012 is bringing us one of the earliest starts to the flu season in years. Since your oral health is so closely tied to your overall health, we can help you stay healthy this winter. Your West Des Moines family dentist, Dr. Jessica Johnson, suggests these ways to boost your immune system so you can stay well and enjoy the holidays.
Helping your immune system stay strong is just one of several excellent reasons to regularly exercise. Just 20 minutes of vigorous exercise three times a week is all that’s needed for a more robust immune system. In addition, the endorphins your body naturally produces during exercise will help you sleep better.
Scientists are still not sure why adequate sleep is important for a healthy immune system, but they know that it is critical for healthy living. Lack of sleep corresponds with a rise in a certain stress hormone, and one study suggests that a flu vaccine produces only half the antibodies on subjects who did not get adequate sleep. For most adults, 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night is necessary to keep the immune system in good working order.
As with insufficient sleep, scientists aren’t quite sure why stress negatively affects immune system. The holiday season is a naturally stressful time for many people, so learn to practice some relaxation techniques in order to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Close your eyes, take ten deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling with purpose. Stretch your body, to to head, hold it — then relax completely. Listen to instrumental music or nature sounds. All of these techniques can help you relax your mind and body, thus reducing stress.
When it comes to your immune system, laughter maybe the best medicine. Studies have shown that laughing greatly reduces stress and promotes good sleep. Furthermore, merely anticipating a fun event seems to lower stress levels. So, instead of being consumed by stress and worry this holiday season, relax, exercise, get some sleep, and have fun. Your immune system will thank you.
Don’t Neglect Oral Hygiene
Of course, no matter what the season, you should keep up with your oral hygiene. Brushing twice and day and flossing once a day will help you maintain good oral health and might improve your overall health. Regular dental visits are important, as well. If you’re due for your six-month dental checkup and cleaning, our staff at Valley Ridge Family Dental is ready to serve you. Contact our 50266 family dental office by calling (515) 223-9764 to schedule an appointment today. We welcome patients from West Des Moines, Waukee, Clive, Urbandale, and the surrounding Des Moines metro communities.