Advice I Wish I’d Been Given 50 Years Ago

  1. Use a water flosser.
    I hate using dental floss. My hands are too big to fit into my mouth, the floss keeps getting stuck between my teeth, and in the end I just don’t do it. The water flosser, on the other hand, is quick and easy and it’s right there by the sink where you brush your teeth. And if you have never tried one, you’ll be amazed at how many little bits of food it flushes out from between your teeth, right after you think you have brushed them thoroughly.
  2. No sugar! No processed foods!
    All the sugar you need is in fresh fruit. Any other form of sugar, including fruit juice, overloads your liver and leads you where you really do not want to go: obesity, diabetes, heart disease, even cancer. And tooth decay, of course—which we used to think was the biggest problem with sugar. Ah, those were the days.
  3. Antibiotics
    Don’t take them unless your life depends on it.
  4. Cat litter
    Put a layer of biodegradable cat litter in the bottom of your kitchen compost bucket and your kitchen waste bin. No more nasty smell!
  5. Clean your house without poisoning yourself.
    Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar. Use it to clean counters, sinks, bath, and toilet. For mirrors, use isopropyl alcohol on a paper towel. If something really needs a scrub, use Bon Ami. Chuck all those toxic chemical cleaning products.
  6. Shampoo
    Chuck the shampoo, too. Wash your hair with warm water and a good brush.
  7. Avoid cold drinks.
    I only learned this in China, when I was in my fifties. Cold liquid in a warm belly is a bad combination. Try drinking hot water. Same temperature as tea, but without the tea. Surprisingly good.
  8. Close the lid before you flush.
    If you don’t, the flush launches an atomized mushroom cloud of everything that’s in (or has been in) the toilet bowl. Result: every surface in your bathroom is coated with fecal matter. Including the toothbrushes in that glass next to the sink.
  9. Speaking of toothbrushes . . .
    Keep your toothbrush clean by putting it business-end down in a glass with two inches of rubbing alcohol in it.
  10. And speaking of toothbrushing . . .
    Put some baking soda in a small glass, add water, and use that to brush your teeth. No more toothpaste.

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