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For Those Feeling Old Before Their Time
For Those Feeling Old Before Their Time
There's more to this show than meets the eye, writes Liza Power.AT BEST it's a tedious party trick. You know the drill: part-way through your third glass of punch the stranger with whom you've been sharing relatively banal banter asks you how old you think he/she looks. You hazard a guess, subtract five years, mumble a verdict. Inevitably, the game is played in reverse, with both parties wondering between befuddled calculations whether the next conversation topic will be football or the weather.For the couples on Seven's new makeover show, 10 Years Younger in 10 Days, however, playing the age game is neither brief nor blessed with dim light and cheap rum. By contrast, it involves participants stepping inside a glass box in a very public place and subjecting themselves to the gaze of passers-by who are, in turn, invited to comment on their general appearance and guess their age.Their remarks, it's fair to say, are generally merciless. Where one female Queenslander is deemed a tired housewife who's "let herself go", her endearingly scruffy husband is nicknamed Hagrid after the bearded and beastly Harry Potter character. Both are pegged at 10 years over their real age. When ever-convivial host Sonia Kruger asks, "How did that make you feel?" the responses veer from halting to plain hurt.Kruger makes no apologies for this "gesture of tough love". She deems it a necessary catalyst for the show's premise, which is, as its title suggests, a lesson in how people might take 10 years off their appearance in less than a fortnight. Kruger, who had seen the US and UK incarnations of the series before Seven bought the concept, says it appealed to her for its "holistic" approach. "People are looking for more than a basic makeover show now. They've seen Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Trinny & Susannah, How to Look Good Naked and Extreme Makeover." 10 Days, she says, "takes the logical next step, which is to combine diet and exercise, beauty, styling, cosmetic treatments, dental work ... to try and achieve this goal of taking 10 years off their perceived age".For Kruger, the show's appeal largely stems from the genuine and down-to-earth nature of the couples selected to take part, many of whom were enlisted from Australia's regional centres. "A lot of people wrote in their applications that they wanted to (be on the show) because they felt old before their time. They'd sacrificed everything for their children. So this was 10 days when they got to focus wholly and solely on their own wellbeing."For those who find the makeover format relatively barbaric, feeding as it does off the notion that being beautiful - and forever young - is life's ultimate goal, that every aesthetically challenged soul is only a fistful of dollars and a few spells in a surgeon's chair away from looking like Kate Moss, Kruger makes no apologies. "We all want to see what's possible, there's an aspirational element."While she doesn't deny some steps are confronting, she insists even the smallest modifications to a person's appearance can have radical effects on their lives. "Some of the couples on the show hadn't been to the dentist for over 15 years because money was an issue and they simply couldn't afford it. But you fix someone's teeth and they actually start to smile again."Less likely to make some viewers smile are the show's forays into plastic surgery. While the aforementioned 30-something Queensland woman undergoes liposuction, Botox and eyelid lifts - procedures Kruger describes as "fairly minor, they're all done in day surgery under a local anaesthetic" - she's aware of the great divide between those who embrace cosmetic surgery and those who don't. "I think people's ideas about plastic surgery have really changed. The public are really interested in things like lunchtime lifts and quick-fix treatments, what's available and how much it costs. I would never say it's for everyone by any stretch, but I think it's great for people to have the choice."Cosmetic surgery is but one of many self-improvement methods on the 10 Days menu, which encompasses colonic irrigation, cleansing diets, exercise regimens, skin treatments and lessons in "style". One omission from the specialist line-up is a psychologist. This is a shame: the couples might benefit from a consultation with someone qualified to explain that a new face and wardrobe might not necessarily pave a gilded path to happiness.Even Kruger concedes the act of plucking couples from regional centres, dropping them into Sydney for a 10-day intensive of procedures and filming, then delivering them back home must be traumatic.Still, the fly-on-the-wall aspect of the show is for Kruger one of its greatest drawcards. "Viewers see these people being really brave and giving, and they really connect with it. It's a hard process ... you see someone after they've been sitting in a dental chair for four hours and they're feeling a bit sad and sorry for themselves. It can be quite tough for them, but I think that's what people who are watching the show really identify with. And then there's that great reveal moment and the looks on their faces - you can see they feel as if it's all been worth it."10 Years Younger in 10 days premieres Tuesday at 9.30pm on Seven.
Tulsa Dentist May Have Put 7,000 Patients at HIV Risk
Tulsa Dentist May Have Put 7,000 Patients at HIV Risk
Health officials in the US state of Oklahoma have warned 7,000 patients their dentist may have exposed them to HIV and hepatitis B and C.Patients of Dr W Scott Harrington's practice in Tulsa were advised to test themselves at a free clinic set up by the state, health officials said.Health inspectors found rusty dental instruments and poor hygiene standards at the clinic.Dr Harrington has voluntarily closed the practice, officials said. "Although we do not know whether you were personally exposed to blood-borne viruses," the state health department wrote to patients, "there is a possibility that you may have been exposed to infectious material."The letters are being sent to patients treated since 2007, but health officials have said they do not know who may have been seen by the dentist before that.'It looked clean'The Tulsa Health Department is setting up a clinic to carry out free blood tests for people who may have been exposed.Former patient Joyce Baylor, 69, who had a tooth removed by Dr Harrington about 18 months ago, said the office looked clean."I'm sure he's not suffering financially that he can't afford instruments," she told the Associated Press news agency.The investigation into the dental practice began after a patient tested positive for both hepatitis C and HIV despite having no associated risk factors.Officials determined the patient had received dental treatment about the time the exposure was believed to have occurred.The dentist has voluntarily given up his licence, closed his practice and is co-operating with investigators, the Tulsa Health Department said.Dr Harrington faces a hearing on 19 April and could have his licence revoked permanently.
Hospitals Turn to Spying on Doctors
Hospitals Turn to Spying on Doctors
Lori Erickson-Trump has faked headaches and back pain. She's had physicals and MRIs she didn't need and she gets paid for it - all to evaluate the performance of doctors and their staffs.Hospitals and health clinics are increasingly turning to these undercover patients to grade the health care experience being offered. Now the ethics council of the American Medical Association is pressing the doctors group to endorse such practices. AMA delegates are expected to vote on the proposal, along with dozens of others, during their five-day meeting beginning Saturday.Some doctors are outraged at the idea. Trending News More teens hospitalized for lung damage after vaping Oregon death from lung illness may be linked to vaping Why Flamin' Hot Cheetos are sending kids to ER The MIND diet: 10 foods that fight Alzheimer's What you need to know about vertigo Dr. Richard Frederick, of the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria, called it "official deceit" that could have disastrous consequences. He wrote a commentary in May's edition of Virtual Mentor, the AMA's online ethics journal."In some instances sham patients have presented to overcrowded emergency rooms with chest pain," he wrote. "How could the hospital administration defend this exercise to someone who suffers an adverse outcome while waiting his turn behind the person who is only pretending to be sick?"The proposal to the AMA does include restrictions that address that and other concerns. The recommendation is to have a system that: makes sure fake patients don't interfere with treating real ones; gives doctors a heads-up that undercover patients might be visiting; and ensures that bad reviews aren't used to punish doctors.And Dr. James Loden, writing an opposing view in the online journal, says undercover patients are neither "devious" nor "spying.""Employees, including doctors, are paid to do specific tasks; if they choose to perform at a level that is less than acceptable, they need to improve or find other jobs," he wrote.Loden, an ophthalmologist at Nashville, Tennessee-based Loden Vision Centers, started using undercover patients to evaluate his business two years ago.The sham patients showed "that I consistently left the examining room without asking clients whether they had any questions," Loden wrote. He also learned that some employees didn't always introduce themselves or explain why tests were being performed. The idea was to help the centers compete with others offering similar services including Lasik surgery. The centers have worked to eliminate the revealed shortcomings and Andy Patrick, Loden's chief operating officer, said client-to-client referrals have since increased."We don't always like what we hear, but it makes us get better and better," Patrick said.Erickson-Trump, 37, works for Perception Strategies, an Indianapolis-based company that provides undercover patients to health systems in about 25 states. Her preferred job title is "mystery shopper," a service more familiar in the retail and food industries.Brooke Billingsley, vice president of the company, said that when asked to evaluate a doctor's skills, the firm often tries to use undercover patients who really need a specific test, such as a mammogram.When a hospital wants its emergency room evaluated, Billingsley said sometimes she'll schedule a fake patient with a real medical problem, such as pneumonia symptoms.Occasionally, undercover patients have been asked to undergo invasive tests that reveal a surprise ailment, she said."Health care mystery shopping is so unique," Billingsley said. "It's just not like going and getting a Happy Meal." Erickson-Trump said one memorable "shop," as she calls each job, was to a dentist's office, where she had her teeth cleaned and X-rayed.The receptionist offered her gourmet coffee and the dental chair had a neck massage pillow, she recalled. "I was so surprised at the good treatment ... that I ended up making them my permanent dentist."The MRI was also memorable "because it wasn't my favorite," she said.Erickson-Trump said she exaggerated some minor back pain for that test, which requires patients to lie still inside a noisy cylindrical scanner while internal images are made.She had no complaints about the MRI technician, but the office staffers didn't explain enough about what to expect."That's a very scary procedure" that can be claustrophobic, Erickson-Trump said.On other jobs, she's been asked to evaluate how well the doctor listened, whether logical referrals were made, and how long she was kept waiting. "You can show up and sit for hours on end sometimes, and you're not sure why," she said. Henry Ford Health System spends $35,000 to $60,000 a year on undercover patients to identify just that kind of problem at its Detroit area clinics."Industry research shows that the patient perception of quality of care is based upon their whole experience," and not just on their doctor's medical skills, said Henry Ford spokeswoman Rose Glenn.Awards are given to staffers who get high scores, while education and customer-service training is given to those who fare poorly, she said.
There's a Big Reason Australians Are Skipping Out on Their Dental Check-ups
There's a Big Reason Australians Are Skipping Out on Their Dental Check-ups
Dentists are urging parents to rethink what they put inside their children's lunch boxesA huge number of Aussies are skipping dental appointments and not for the reason you think. Picture: iStockSource:SuppliedBEING scared of the dentist can be understandable, especially when you are young. There is frightening looking tool that a stranger uses to prod and poke the inside of your mouth, what kid wouldn't be afraid?For some people, that fear sticks around even into adulthood, but there is a much bigger reason millions of Aussies are skipping out on their regular dental check up.Finder.com.au surveyed over 2000 Australians and found that the equivalent of 12.6 million people have purposefully avoided the dentist, with and the biggest reason having to do with money.The research found that a massive 41 per cent of people listed high costs as their main reason for not visiting the dentist.READ: Man's horror $20k dentist visitFear was the second most cited reason, with 20 per cent scared of needles, pain or just the dentist office itself. Laziness headed up third place, with 13 per cent of people claiming they just "never get around to it".The reasons why Aussies are skipping out on the dentist. Picture: Finder.com.au/SuppliedSource:SuppliedThe study found that women are more likely to avoid a trip to the dentist, with 47 per cent of women saying it is too expensive compared to 36 per cent of men.Whatever your reason might be for skipping out on visit to the dental chair, it could be doing more harm than you realise, with dental complications being the third biggest cause of preventable hospitalisations in the country.Only one in three Australians said they keep up to date with their dental visits, which is why more than 63,000 Australians are hospitalised each year for preventable dental conditions, according to the National Oral Health Plan.Health insurance expert at Finder.com.au, Bessie Hassan, said it was astounding that dental issues were so common in Australia."It's hard to believe that oral health is a problem for a first-world country like Australia," she said."Oral disease is among the most common and costly health problems experienced by Australians yet many can just not afford to see a dentist."Over 63,000 Australians are hospitalised each year for preventable dental issues. Picture: iStockSource:SuppliedAnother reason respondents said they were putting off a dentist visit was that they knew they needed major dental work and instead of dealing with it they were avoiding it all together.A shocking 25 per cent of Australian adults are living with untreated tooth decay and in 2016 the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that there were 846 oral cancer deaths in the country.Government figures show Australians are three times more likely to delay seeing a dentist than a GP but Ms Hassan says we shouldn't be so complacent."As a nation we are well practised at justifying avoiding the dentist but the consequences could be major," Ms Hassan said.Insurance was another reason Aussies say they aren't paying attention to oral health, with Ms Hassan saying it was important to know exactly what you were covered for."Even the most basic extras cover usually has generous general dental inclusions," she said."If you are paying for it, you might as well use it."Ms Hassan added that if you couldn't afford a private dentist but had a concession card then you should visit a public dental service."These services are provided free to eligible people and in every state and territory in Australia," she said.
B.C. Rogue Dentist' Surrenders to Toronto Police
B.C. Rogue Dentist' Surrenders to Toronto Police
VANCOUVER - B.C.'s "rogue dentist," David Tung Sheng Wu, turned himself in to police in Toronto on Saturday, and now faces three months in jail for operating an illegal Burnaby dental practice that had a client list of 1,500 people.Toronto Police Staff Sgt. Gerry Heaney said Sunday that Wu, 62, man showed up at an east end police station on the advice of his lawyer.Heaney said Wu showed his B.C. driver's licence to confirm his identity. He is expected to appear in court in Toronto on Monday.Wu was wanted Canada-wide for contempt after the B.C. Supreme Court found he had practiced dentistry in a Burnaby residence despite an order from a decade ago that prohibited him from doing so.The investigation turned to Ontario when Wu's car was found at a Mitchell Island, B.C., transport company bound for Toronto and stuffed with dental equipment, according to the College of Dental Surgeons of B.C.The court also ordered him to pay back about $140,000 the college spent to investigate and prosecute him."Mr. Wu turned himself in to officers at the front desk. The warrant was executed and he was arrested," Heaney said."Technically, he could serve his time here. I believe they (the college) want him extradited to B.C."Both health authorities and the college are urging anyone who has used Wu's services in the past to get tested for blood-borne diseases, partly due to improperly cleaned equipment.A search of the Burnaby residence by the college and police uncovered records dating back 20 years. A third of the patients were children, including some as young as four years old.The college didn't response to calls Sunday.
A Very Lucky Argument to Lose
A Very Lucky Argument to Lose
Pick people at random, then tell their stories: That's what Steve Hartman does with Everbody Has A Story. Twelve hours after picking Guy Leith out of the phone book earlier this summer, Hartman was already searching for his story. Two days ago, Guy couldn't have made the back page of his local circular. Now, he was about to tell his story, in his own words, to all of America.Hartman spent a few hours talking with Guy, a 57-year-old retired park ranger who lives in Washington, Iowa. As often happens, Guy tells him that he doesn't have one. "I thought we're pretty average and I wouldn't have anything exciting to put on TV," says Guy, a soft-spoken man with a passion for fishing."I just love to fish. I fish in the spring, I fish in the fall, I fish in the winter. I like to fish all the time if I can," Guy says. Hartman asks whether he would rather give up fishing or his wife. Before Guy can answer, his wife Debbie chimes in: "That's not fair!"The two met at the dentist's office. "She was the one who cleaned my teeth," Guy says. He asked her out during an appointment, with his mouth full of dental instruments. Twelve years later, they now live happily with two children and two pets, his tenacious bird-hunting dog and her cocky cockatiel parrot.The first lead came over coffee, when Guy's stepdaughter Lindsey said she remembered seeing some old slides in the basement. Guy had been to war. "He doesn't talk about it much," saysDebbie.Sometimes the best stories are the ones no one talks about. Until, of course, some stranger comes to town and, starts asking, "What is this man's story?" Track Hartman's travels via the Everybody Has A Story archive. But the story of this 57-year-old retired park ranger is not about any one particular aspect of his life here today. It's about the simple fact that he is alive at all. Guy says he shouldn't really be here. "Sometimes I feel I have a little cat blood," he says, referring to the number of lives he's already used up. He says he knows he lost at least one off the coast of Alaska, when the crab boat he was working on almost sank. "I thought I was going to die," he says. He also crashed his motorcycle once at 80 miles an hour. He wasn't wearing a helmet, but didn't even break a bone.But his closest close call is the one that makes him wonder most. In 1966, Guy, then 22, had been in Vietnam barely half a year. His battalion was on a rescue mission right on te enemy border. Night was falling, and Guy and a friend were settling into a foxhole they had dug earlier that day. Two sergeants came along, and took the foxhole for themselves."So we argued a little bit, not much, walked over another 10 yards and started digging another foxhole," Guy remembers. It would prove to be the most important argument he ever lost."Then we started getting hit with 60-millimeter mortars and I think it was the foutth or fifth one that lit right in that foxhole that we had dug originally," Guy remembers. "And the two of them that were there didn't make it: the staff sergeant and the first sergeant."At the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C., 58,000 stories are etched in stone. And although you cannot see it, this one is there, too. Somewhere between two lines of type, the name of Guy Leith is not there."You wonder why you made it and they didn't," says Guy. "I never come up with a real reason." For the longest time, Guy thought maybe he was here to rescue someone from a burning building or perform some heroic deed. But now he says you can't torture yourself waiting for answers like that to strike. He says all you can do is enjoy the quiet moments until they do. The meaning of life, he says, lies not in the catching, but rather in the fishing. MMI, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved
Dangers of Swallowing Dental Instruments
Dangers of Swallowing Dental Instruments
Patients who swallow dental instruments are at risk and may need referral to hospital for further assessment, says UK-wide dental defence organisation MDDUS.All practitioners should realise that emergency medical assessment is required when any object is inhaled, but swallowing an instrument can be just as harmful to the patient.'Swallowing a crown or amalgam could pose a reduced risk to the patient but for endodontic instruments such as hand files or fractured tips of dental instruments such as scalers, patients should be referred to hospital immediately for assessment,' says MDDUS dental adviser Claire Renton (pictured).'MDDUS has dealt with cases where patients have swallowed an endodontic instrument or the fractured sharp end of an ultrasonic scaler during a scale and polish and even parts of faulty handpieces. While all professionals should be aware of the seriousness of inhaling objects, some believe that there is no need to refer a patient who ingests a dental instrument.'However, in these cases, the practitioner should explain to the patient that they need to be examined and assessed at the hospital as a precaution.'While swallowing an object may pose a reduced risk, a medical practitioner should be the one making the judgement and so the patient should be referred to A&E, complete with letter containing their dental history.'It may be beneficial to provide an identical object to help the doctor with their assessment. This gives the doctor sufficient information to judge whether a 'watch and wait' approach can be adopted or if surgery is required to retrieve the object before it does harm to the gut.'Practitioners should make a clear note of the incident in the patient's records, outlining the treatment given and whether a referral was made.'
Hundreds Protest Kidnapping' in Norway's Child Welfare System
Hundreds Protest Kidnapping' in Norway's Child Welfare System
Driving rain in Oslo didn't put the several hundred protesters off from making their viewpoint heard, as they assembled by the city's Central Station, before marching towards the parliament building. Banners were held aloft, with messages including: "Children are not business," and, "Bring back our children." They are angry at the Norwegian foster care system 'Barnevernet,' (Child Protection Service), which has seen families in the country lose their children for alleged abuses, such as accidently dislodging a child's loose tooth. Eva Michalkova, who is originally from the Czech Republic, has felt the wrath of the Barnevernet, after she lost her two children."It's a mixture of feelings. It's sadness, frustration, it's a feeling you you don't know what to expect and all you can say is used against you, all you can do is used against you. So it is very difficult," she told RT's Ruptly video agency.READ MORE: 'Similar to Nazi foster care': Czech president slams Norwegian child welfare Michalkova's case stems from an incident in 2011, when her two sons were taken into protective care, after one of her children told a nursery teacher that his father had "groped inside his pajamas," the Norwegian online newspaper Nettavisen reported. No charges were ever brought over the incident, but the Barnevernet placed the children into two separate foster families. The children's parents have since divorced, but Eva is fighting a legal battle to regain custody of her kids. The incident brought a furious response from the Czech President Milos Zeman, who in February compared the Barnevernet system to Nazi Germany's infamous 'Arian breeding program.'"The boys are in a foster facility similar to Lebensborn. Their mother can meet them for 15 minutes twice a year. She must not talk in Czech to them. In other words, the kids are being estranged from their national identity," Zeman said, as cited by the Czech News Agency. In October 2014, the Barnevernet snatched the young son of a Russian couple after the child told classmates that his mother had pulled out a loose tooth. According to Natalya and Sergey Shianok, their son Oskar, who was five at the time, had told fellow kids at his school that his mother had accidently yanked out one of his baby teeth. Natalya explained that she was helping him to pull a T-shirt over his head and knocked out a tooth that was already loose. The Barnevernet said this was child abuse and that the mother had deliberately knocked the tooth out."For the moment Oskar remains in the care of a Norwegian foster family, and his mother has no idea where," says Igor Lapitsky, head of the Russian consulate in Norway, reports RadioVesti.ru.READ MORE: Javelin dentistry: Former Olympic champ removes daughter's tooth with spear In comparison, former US athlete and Olympic gold medal winner, Bryan Clay won praise from across the internet, when he tied a piece of dental floss to a javelin, which he then threw, to dislodge his daughter's loose tooth. Marius Reikeras, a human rights activist is critical of the Norwegian government's spending on Barnevernet, saying that the money could be more effectively channeled elsewhere."We are putting a lot of money in the Child Welfare System. No country in the world puts more money per capita than the government when it comes to CPS. If we could help these families, if we could provide these families with the money we put into the CPS system instead, I am pretty much sure that we could help almost every family," he said. Norway's Child Welfare Services says on their website that they are committed to providing help and support to children, adolescents and parents who are experiencing challenges or difficulties within the family. The service adds that parents are responsible for providing care and protection for their children. "The Child Welfare Services must base its actions on the best interests of the child. Sometimes the child's best interests conflict with those of the parents. The Child Welfare Services' first duty is to provide help and support to the parents, so they can take good care of their children," the service's website said.
The Invention of the Toothbrush
The Invention of the Toothbrush
"The first thing I do in the morningis brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue."Dorothy ParkerAs I recall - the kid loses a tooth and it gets stuffed under a pillow before he or she drifts off to sleep. (Sometimes it's stashed in a glass of water beside the bed...I've been told it's easier to find the little bugger that way.) And when the sun cracks over the horizon a replacement is often found - be it a quarter, a buck, or a gift - and its all thanks to The Tooth Fairy.The Tooth Fairy is this mythical, make-believe, whatcha'-ma-call-it that nocturnally twitters through the night air and speeds from bedside to bedside collecting the fallen teeth of little children, sometimes leaving a trinket for the tooth as an honorarium for its loss. It gives the rug-rats a false sense of belief in the intangible, a whodunit to solve, and forces them to begin to distinguish the difference between the actual and the make-believe, thus beginning every child's mistrust of its parental units.At about six years, baby teeth naturally start to wiggle, loosen and usually fall out so that adult teeth may have their permanent home. And while this event might cause any kid to completely freak out, it's a normal part of life and it happens to us all-Tooth Fairy, or not.Although it might be natural for teeth to fall out as a child, it isn't for adults, and one of the best ways to make sure that your teeth stay firmly planted in your adult head is by daily committing to brushing them. That means getting in there a few times a day (at the least, once in the morning and once in the evening, but best after every meal) with a brush and your favorite toothpaste...it's the optimum way to remove plaque, which consists mostly of bacteria. (And of course, remember to shut that running tap off while you're brushing and sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" in your head-when the song is done, you're done!). A toothbrush can get most of the oo-and-goo, but the flotsam and jetsam left behind is easily tackled with dental floss. When you get into the swing of flossing you'll discover the thrill of what many consider the best way to remove plaque from all of the nooks and crannies along the gumline where periodontal disease most times begins. (A regularly scheduled professional cleaning and polishing by a dental hygienist is also a nice touch.)And to keep your toothbrush fresh as a daisy - after brushing - rinse it completely with water, allow it to air-dry (who invented that silly toothbrush-cozy...heh?), stash it at least six feet away from a toilet (ewww...yes guys, that's how far you splash!) in an upright position and without touching other toothbrushes. The manufacturers of synthetic toothbrushes recommend disposing of them every three or four months, too. And it's also a good idea to break-in a new toothbrush once you have finished with a cold.Because it's such a common item, one would think that the toothbrush would have been made in the seven days that the heavens and the earth and Adam and Eve where created. (I just assumed they both must have had Pepsodent Smiles-didn't you?) This week, however, marks the observance of the humble toothbrush's creation. (How do I know these things? Don't ask, just trust me!)The toothbrush as we know it was invented in the 15th century in China and was originally concocted of boar's hair or horsehair and bamboo or bone. Immediately loved for its functionality, toothbrushes were hauled back by the boatload to Europe by travelers to the East, thus introducing the Western world to a new and convenient form of oral hygiene -quite possibly Western man's first attempt at it ever! (Next, I think, came deodorant, but that's for another blog.)The modern, disposable toothbrush that we've all come to know and love, however, is most often made of more durable and long-lasting synthetics and plastic. And all of this made me start to thinking about how we need to be mindful of the small stuff that makes up our lives and how small actions can have big consequences. Take for instance the simple act of throwing away that synthetic and plastic toothbrush:If you consider that the average human life expectancy today is about 78 years and then multiply that by the times one might replace a toothbrush (every 4 months or so) you get a grand total of 312 toothbrushes used and then discarded by any given individual during his or her time on the planet.Then, figuring that each toothbrush weighs 16.5 gm, in total, every person on the planet (about 6,602,224,175) throws away approximately 11 pounds of toothbrushes in a lifetime. Soooo - if 6,602,224,175 people throw away 11 pounds of toothbrushes each, we're stuck with something like 72,624,465,925 pounds of non-biodegradable waste. That's 36,312,233 tons - a pile the size of 80,000 Statues of Liberty. (It sure redefines the line "...the wretched refuse of your teeming shore" from the famous Emma Lazarus poem found at Lady Liberty's feet.)So the next time you or someone in your household needs a new toothbrush, consider switching to a newfangled biodegradable one made of corn or potato starch, flax or wood fiber, and natural bristles. You can easily find them on line.Although The Tooth Fairy could once ease the pains of losing baby teeth - powerful as she (or he) may be - nobody can make 36,312,233 tons of discarded toothbrushes disappear. That heap of non-biodegradable trash can only vanish by not making it in the first place.Now go floss!
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