Back to nature, but backed by scienceFeatured Products Promotional Features
Posted by: The Probe 14th October 2021
Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, and probably for a while to come, articles have been written about how the pandemic itself might have been a trigger for people to improve their lifestyle. An observational study that found obese patients were not only more likely to be hospitalised by the virus, but also need ventilation, received widespread media coverage.[i] Of course, not everyone who pledged to eat better, or take more regular exercise as a result of the pandemic would have been overweight. But the importance of taking ownership of our health and wellbeing has never been more relevant. The guidance that we’ve been given to slow the spread of the disease – good hygiene, being responsible about social distancing and self-isolating – rely on us taking “control” and being empowered by making sensible decisions to protect ourselves and others.
Many of the things people can do to improve their wellbeing are simple. Eating well is based on simple principles and this is why the worldwide obesity crisis and the burden it places on services is so frustrating for healthcare professionals.[ii] The same with exercise – it’s not about running marathons; it’s about doing something every day, or as often as you can, for just 30 minutes or so. For a while now, experts have agreed that if you can exercise outdoors, even better, as you are combining the benefits of movement with the benefits of fresh air and nature, where it is easier to avoid distractions, like social media.
Another thing many people learned as a result of lockdown is an appreciation of being outdoors. Gardens are a luxury; even the tiniest spot would have become a precious sanctuary. Public spaces became places to not just exercise, but to escape to. Maybe you started to properly “see” the park you walked through on the way to work, but barely noticed. The idea of green medicine is not new; in 2018, doctors in Shetland starting prescribing outdoor activities as a supplement to traditional medicine for people with debilitating and/or chronic illnesses.[iii] At the time, a spokesperson for NHS Shetland said, “there are millions of different ways of doing medicine, but we very much try to involve people in their own health, and people really like being empowered”.
The term “getting back to nature” has always been associated with something that’s positive, good for body and mind. Plant-based eating has been a topic of growing interest, based on the idea that eating more naturally must be better. Vegan diets have their critics, though, and as for any eating plan, a diet is only as good as it is balanced and varied. Any way of eating that’s too restrictive and unbalanced will not provide the range of nutrients needed for physical and cognitive health.
The same goes for “natural” ingredients in the products people use, like skincare products. There are restrictions on the claims that can be made, but the internet moves fast when it comes to the latest miracle to prevent aging, for example. The presence of natural ingredients is a good marketing hook, but if they want results, people need to look at the research behind claims being made.
Perhaps this isn’t such a big deal when it comes to a skincare product that doesn’t live up to its promises, but when it comes to oral health, if patients choose products with “natural” ingredients, they must be proven to be safe, effective, and backed by science. Practising good oral hygiene as another way to protect oneself from viral infection now needs to be a key part of your conversation with patients. Research is starting to reveal that mouth rinses could be used to lower the risk of your patients being infected by a viral/bacterial infection, or a non-communicable disease.[iv] Your patients should also know that optimal oral health can be achieved with products based on powerful, yet natural ingredients. CITROX® is a key ingredient of Perio Plus+ oral rinses, from Curaprox, along with chlorhexidine (CHX) in a unique formula, which provides protection from oral disease. CITROX® is a combination of organic acids and bioflavonoids derived from bitter oranges. It serves as an anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-fungal agent and, unlike other compounds used for infection control in dentistry, it is non-toxic, non-corrosive and non-allergenic.
Finding positives from the events of 2020 is a very fine line when there has been so much sadness and sacrifice. But, moving forward means supporting your patients who want to make lasting changes and move towards a natural, more healthful lifestyle. Good health is a precious commodity and so is good oral health. Now is the time to empower patients to enhance and improve their dental hygiene and, to do this, they should use products that are as natural as they are effective.
[i] Sattar N, McInnes IB, McMurray JJ. Obesity a risk factor for severe COVID-19 infection: multiple potential mechanisms. Circulation. 2020 Apr 22.
[ii] British Nutrition Foundation. Basic of Nutrition. Link: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/basics.html (accessed June 2020).
[iii] Scottish GPs to begin prescribing rambling and birdwatching. The Guardian, 5 October, 2018, Link: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/05/scottish-gps-nhs-begin-prescribing-rambling-birdwatching (accessed June 2020).
[iv] Malic, S., Emanuel, C., Lewis, M. A. O. and Williams, D. W. (2013) Antimicrobial activity of novel mouthrinses against planktonic cells and biofilms of pathogenic microorganisms. Microbiology Discovery. 1: 11.