Odd Dental Habits (Some Actually Work!)

Ancient Romans had some odd dental habits and practices when it came to dental care. For example, they would rub their teeth with a paste made of honey and ground pepper, believing that the combination could whiten their teeth. While modern dentistry has come a long way since then, there are still many unusual practices – some have even become very popular – that people use to this day that may or may not be effective.

Odd Dental Habits – Do They Work?

Does using baking soda as toothpaste work?

Baking soda has become a popular choice for people looking for a whiter smile without costly professional treatments. However, baking soda should only be used occasionally as a cleanser. Because of the abrasive texture, it can wear down enamel over time if used too often or incorrectly. Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste is still the best option for keeping teeth clean and white naturally.

Does activated charcoal whiten teeth?

Like baking soda, activated charcoal is an abrasive scrub and can wear away the protective outer layer of your teeth. In fact, activated charcoal can make your teeth look yellower, not whiter. You could unintentionally scrub away your tooth’s enamel, revealing the dentin beneath.

Is swishing with coconut oil a substitute for flossing?

Another recent dental hygiene fad is swishing coconut oil – known as “pulling”. The belief is that the slippery oil will help remove debris left between teeth without having to floss. While coconut oil pulling has been reported to remedy a host of oral health problems, including gingivitis, periodontitis, and halitosis, it’s not a substitute for regular flossing, which dentists still deem essential for good oral health maintenance.

The best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy and your smile at its best is by brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, eating right, and visiting your dentist for twice-annual checkups, no odd dental habits are required! NCRGEA and AMBA can help you keep your mouth healthy and smile attractive! That’s why our Dental Plan provides coverage for twice annual cleanings, access for any dentist you want with bigger savings by staying in-network, and – best of all – NO WAITING PERIOD. Visit www.ambadentalvision.com/ncrgea or call 877-556-4578 to enroll today.

Five Common Myths About Eye Health

As we age, the risks for vision loss from eye disease increase. Unfortunately, many people rely on outdated conventional wisdom or random online searches to get answers to important eye-related health issues. Here are five common eye health misconceptions and the answers you need to help protect your vision and prevent vision loss.

Eye Health Myths

#1: You only need an eye exam if you feel pain.

Fact: Most eye diseases, like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), have no early warning signs or symptoms. By the time a change in vision is noticed, the damage can be irreversible. Regardless of symptoms, regular eye exams are essential in protecting sight.

#2: Computer screens will ruin your eyesight.

Fact: While it is true long hours spent in front of computer and phone screens can cause eyes to feel tired and strained for a variety of reasons, including the tendency to blink less frequently. But thorough research and data prove that computer, tablet, and phone screens are not responsible for any permanent damage to vision.

#3: All sunglasses are the same.

Fact: Ultraviolet rays can increase your risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Since UV damage is cumulative, you should always protect from the sun. Make sure sunglasses block 100% of UVA and UVB rays and wear them whenever you’re outdoors. To provide additional protection from UV damage, you can also wear a hat and stay in the shade as well.

#4: Vision loss is an inevitable result of aging.

Fact: If you catch eye disease early and take steps to protect your vision, vision loss and many diseases can be prevented. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes staying active, getting proper nutrition, and practicing other smart habits will help protect your vision as you age.

#5: If you got your eyes screened when you got new glasses or contacts, you don’t need an eye exam.

Keeping your eyes as healthy as possible requires regular checkups with an ophthalmologist – a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases. Eye exams for new glasses only check your prescription. Only a dilated eye exam will reveal the entire eye and detect signs of eye disease. Even if you recently got a new prescription for glasses or contacts, you might still need a dilated eye exam.

Taking proper care of our eyes is essential to preserve good vision and healthy eyes as we age.
That’s why the Vision Plan from NCRGEA and AMBA is so important. The plan provides comprehensive coverage with low copays for important services, including coverage for a WellVision exam every 12 months, as well as big savings on eyewear, contacts, and lenses. Sign up now at www.AMBAdentalvision.com/NCRGEA or call 866-979-0497.

Source: https://preventblindness.org/common-eye-myths/

Boost Your Thinking Power: Tips to Keep an Older Brain​ Wiser

As we get older, both physical and mental health are equally important to maintain quality of life. Boosting your brain power can help you stay sharp and engaged and keep your cognitive skills and memory sharp. Three of the most effective ways to keep your mental health strong are by practicing mental exercises, maintaining relationships and friendships, and eating right. These factors can provide significant benefits to staying mentally fit for your entire life. Best of all, all three can be rewarding, social, and fun!

Boost Your Brain Power with Memory Exercises

Brain games such as crossword puzzles and Sudoku provide excellent mental stimulation while helping boost concentration levels and strengthen memory and problem-solving skills. Mnemonic devices are a great way to exercise your memory. Mnemonics use word association, visuals, and other techniques to help remember information. For instance, the mnemonic device “Every Good Boy Does Fine” can be used to remember the lines of a musical staff (EGBDF).

Reading is a great way to captivate your imagination, stay up to date on current events, and learn new things. Whether you’re reading a genre of fiction, news articles, or poetry, reading is proven to improve your mental capacity and strengthen your memory skills. Additionally, reading aloud has been shown to increase cognitive ability by providing additional stimulation for both auditory and visual processing pathways in the brain.

Learning new skills or re-engaging a past passion are excellent ways to engage your cognitive skills. Whether it’s studying a language, playing chess, or playing a musical instrument, engaging in activities that require mental effort can be highly beneficial.

Staying Social Raises Cognitive Skills

Regular physical activity has also been proven to help improve brain function and reduce the risk of mental disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. So why not do it with friends? Getting together with friends can play an invaluable role in keeping your brain power strong. By going to the gym or for outdoor activities like walking or bike riding together you get to be social and proactive for your brain health.

Even routine conversations and discussions keep your attention strong and raise your critical thinking abilities. Even as simple a thing as meeting up for a coffee, going to sporting events, or catching a movie together not only strengthens your relationships with others, but you also strengthen your brain power at the same time!

Eating Right – A Smart Way to Stay Smart

The expression “you are what you eat” is especially true as we get older. Researchers have found that eating nutritious foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids have significant benefits for mental acuity. On the other hand, fried food, food high in trans-fats, or foods that are high in sugar and sodium can have a debilitating effect on brain function. These foods can even reduce the size of your brain and lead to a stroke!

Eating right can be a way to discover new foods, explore new cuisines, and – you guessed it – a great reason to get together with friends. Trying new restaurants and recipes together is a simple and fun way to get together!

These are all excellent ways to keep your brain strong. But sometimes a time comes when extra support – whether due to mental or physical needs – becomes necessary. That’s why the Long-Term Care plan from NCRGEA and AMBA is a smart investment. Members choose the daily benefit amount, elimination period, and benefit period that best suits their needs. This customizable policy could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars and protect your life savings for you and your loved ones. Sign up for a plan today by calling AMBA at 866-979-0497 or click to request a free Benefits Review.

Source: https://chicagointernalcleansing.com/8-foods-that-destroy-our-intelligence/

Celebrate Father’s Day with This Month’s Recipe: Bacon and Ranch Cajun Baby Cheeseburgers

Father’s Day is a great time to gather the whole family and enjoy a great backyard get-together. And a recipe with a fresh spin on the traditional cheeseburger is something the whole family will enjoy!

These delicious – and adorable – mini-cheeseburgers pull out all the stops for Dad with crisp-cooked bacon, homemade Cajun seasoning and a creamy, ranch dressing drizzle. Pair these burgers with your favorite sides and drinks and celebrate a great time!


Cajun Seasoning
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dried oregano

1 pound lean ground beef (for a heart-healthy recipe, swap ground turkey)
1 tsp. Cajun Seasoning
1 tsp. Tabasco
2 slices pepper Jack cheese
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
8 mini hamburger buns or dinner rolls, split
1/4 c. prepared ranch dressing
16 arugula leaves or lettuce of choice
8 Roma tomato slices
4 crisp-cooked bacon slices (or turkey bacon!)


1) Place all Cajun seasonings in a bowl and mix.

2) Place beef, seasoning, hot sauce and garlic in a large bowl and mix. Form the mixture into 8 equal-size patties.

3)  Pour oil into a large skillet over medium heat. In batches, place patties in hot skillet and cook until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

4) Quarter the two slices of cheese to make 8 slices and place a slice on top of each burger to melt.

5) Place rolls, split side down, in same skillet and cook until toasted, about 1 minute.

6) Spread the dressing onto the insides of the warm toasted rolls. Layer bottom roll with the lettuce of your choice (arugula is our favorite!), a burger, a tomato slice and a bacon slice cut in half. Close with top roll. 7) These burgers are tall – so be sure to place a pick in each to hold them together.

Makes 8 servings.

Summer Fun…For Less…Thanks to AMBA Discounts 

Need a new outfit for a beach getaway? Want to save money on scrumptious treats for get-togethers with family and friends? Looking for the perfect west coast trip? AMBA Discounts has got you covered. We’re here to help make your cherished summer days with loved ones even better.

Tuhkana Swimwear

Tuhkana makes easy to wear, eye-catching suits with an elegant twist. Their sustainable and eco-friendly fabrics fuse timeless designs, modern fits, and comfortable materials. Every collection is thoughtfully selected for unique style that can still be easily matched with other pieces. You don’t need 10 new bikinis every summer – but you can have 10 different new styles by picking a few new pieces.

AMBA Discounts offer: 25% off entire purchase online.

Sift Dessert Bar

Sift Dessert bar won Food Network’s Cupcake Wars and is your dessert destination for gifting, treating, and celebrating. Sift is known for creating delicious innovations, like macaron flavors like Birthday Cake with vanilla and raspberry filling, Salted Caramel, and Churro; and gourmet cupcakes like almond cake with blueberry-tequila filling or raspberry cake topped with Champagne buttercream. These confections are made daily. They have three locations in California and ship delightful dessert gift boxes nationwide. 

AMBA Discounts offer: 15% off shipping orders and in-store pick-up.

Riviera Beach House

This hotel is the perfect boutique escape in Santa Barbara’s renowned Funk zone. It’s located in the heart of an incredible eclectic neighborhood and is just steps away from the beach. This lively city with small-town charm is just waiting for you to discover its artistic community and relax in breathtaking sunsets. The hotel’s guest rooms are designed with contemporary artistic sensibility.

AMBA Discounts offer: Save up to 20% off best available rates!

Explore a world of additional savings on clothing, entertainment, shopping, and car rentals by visiting www.passportcorporate.com.

More Men Are Being Diagnosed with Advanced Prostate Cancer

After more than 20 years of decline, cases of prostate cancer in men and the number of deaths from the disease are rising.

A recent report says that a 3% rise in the number of cases took place between 2014-2019. In terms of mortality, less than 27,000 men died from prostate cancer in 2014. In 2022, that number increased to approximately 34,500.

The increase is deeply concerning. As one of the authors of the report said, “On a yearly basis, 8,000 more men died. Essentially, that’s like 16 Boeing 747s crashing.”

Are Declines In Prostate Cancer Screenings To Blame?

Since 1994, screening tests for prostate cancer had been a standard part of annual exams for men over 55. But in 2008, officials recommended against screening for men 75 years old and up. The concern was that doctors were over-diagnosing as well as treating too many men whose prostate cancer might progress so slowly that the men would die of something else before the cancer advanced became a problem. Treatments could lead to potential side effects such as incontinence and sexual dysfunction. The guidance against prostate exams increased for all men in 2012.

The changed guidelines and reduced number of screenings may be responsible for the initial decrease in incidence. The findings of this new study suggest the worries among some doctors and researchers that many older men were not getting screened and are now being diagnosed with advanced cancer.

Researchers now believe that, while not going back to how pervasive screening had previously been (or going back to men with slow-growing cancers receiving treatments that adversely affected their quality of life), there might need to be a rebalancing to increase the current guidelines to reverse the new trend of more death and possibly more metastatic diseases at the time of diagnosis.

The good news is that there have been spectacular advances in treatments, even for many with advanced cancers. A Cancer policy from NCRGEA and AMBA helps protect you and your family in the case of a cancer diagnosis. Although the rates of successful treatment are better than ever, travel, care, and other out-of-pocket expenses are costly. This plan pays cash in one lump sum upon the first diagnosis of internal cancer or malignant melanoma. You can even add an optional Heart and Stroke rider to your policy. Learn more by requesting a Benefits Review at amba-review.com/NCRGEA or speak with a skilled AMBA representative by calling 866-615-4063.


Source: https://www.urologytimes.com/view/rates-of-advanced-prostate-cancer-are-on-the-rise-new-data-show

Four Great Travel Tips for Older Americans

Travel can fill the soul and widen your horizons, but it also has many challenges. Particularly for older people and those with mobility or health issues, navigating multi-city and round-the-world (RTW) travel can be tricky. But it doesn’t have to be. 

Here are four tips for staying comfortable – and healthy! – during multi-stop and long-haul flights, no matter what your age:

  • Take the Complications Out of Connecting Flights

If you have connecting flights, the airports you choose to make connections in can make a big difference. The world’s biggest airports – like John F. Kennedy International in New York or Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport are massive. That can mean dragging your carry-on across multiple terminals to make your next flight. Also, you need to be prepared to wait in long lines at security check-ins and passport control because the TSA tend to be stricter, and it may take longer. Plus, locations like Chicago O’Hare and Boston, where inclement weather are more prone to cause cancellations and delays, can affect when your plane arrives and if you’ll have enough time to make or even miss your connection. As much as you may be eager to minimize your wait time between flights, building in time to make your connection with a minimum of potential stress (particularly if you have mobility issues) is a smart decision. Four hours or so between flights should suffice. 

  • Stop Stressing & Add A Stopover

Travel may be exciting, but the same can’t be said for jet lag. The human body simply wasn’t designed to fly across multiple time zones in a short period. For children and travelers over 60, adjusting to a new time zone can be even more difficult. But there’s a simple – and fun! – solution to this problem. Add a stopover – especially if there is a big time zone difference to your ultimate destination. A day or two stopover can help your body deal with jetlag more effectively. Even better, you get to enjoy an additional location during your travels! If you have two long connecting flights back-to-back (for example, you’re visiting the Near East with a layover in Paris), book a stopover in the connecting city for at least a night. You’ll be so much more comfortable, and your travel photos will be that much more exciting!

  • Move Around

No matter how comfortable any chair at the airport lounge or on the plane is, traveling is hard on the body. Be sure to get up, walk around, and stretch. To keep yourself from getting stiff or sore, before, during, and after your flights is important. Moving around and stretching throughout your flight and at airports between flights will also help you prevent any problems with deep vein thrombosis.  

  • Make an Investment in Safety and Security 

Here’s a smart idea for travelers of all ages. Medical Air Services Association (MASA) has been providing life-saving emergency assistance for over thirty years. MASA can protect you from catastrophic financial loss when medical emergencies arise at home or while traveling. MASA will cover your ambulance or airlift, no matter your age or medical condition. Services are paid in full, with no deductibles, co-pays or dollar limits. MASA provides coverage 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Your association and AMBA make getting a MASA plan easy. You can even sign up online. Learn more at www.ambamedtransport.com/NCRGEA or call 877-290-3170.

Planning Your Next Great Adventure? Try These Tips from A Personal Travel Coach.

There are sports coaches. Life coaches. And career coaches.

But a travel coach?

Formerly a travel writer, Dylan Essertier now works with people seeking travel experiences that go beyond the ordinary vacation.

“I searched for a travel advisor who would speak to ‘a woman like me’—someone who didn’t just want to escape through travels but use that time away to help me move toward my long-term goals,” she says.

She couldn’t find that kind of coach, so she became one herself.

“It wasn’t until the past five years that travel coaching has really taken off,” says Michael Bennet, co-founder of the Transformational Travel Council. He attributes the demand to the growth of the personal development industry and the increasing popularity of experiential adventures. Travelers are becoming more interested in the why and how of travel than the what and where.

 “Many of my clients are less interested in sitting on a beach and forgetting their life back home,” adds Essertier. “They want to reflect, learn, reset and figure out what really matters to them.”

The transformational power of travel has been documented since Homer wrote the Odyssey. Modern travelers interested in the inner journey can relate to books like Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck and more recently, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Here are a few tips from Essertier for planning a meaningful trip:

• Instead of “Where do I want to go?” start by asking yourself, “What do I want to feel?”

• Be specific about how you want to feel. If you want to feel unburdened, for example, this may encourage you to pack light, turn off your phone, and not schedule something every minute.

• Journal daily. Before going to sleep, write down the day’s high points, low points or any experiences that feel new or interesting to you.

It’s also wise to eliminate any unnecessary medical worries. Medical Air Services Association (MASA) covers best-in-class emergency air and ground transport 24/7 from home or anywhere in the world, plus transportation of vehicles, children, grandchildren, and even pets at no additional cost. With MASA, there are no premiums, deductibles or other hassles. Pay once and you’re covered. Ask an AMBA agent about an emergency transport policy endorsed by your association. Learn more online or call 866-979-0497.

When you’re away from home, peace of mind is primary. As Essertier says, “Putting yourself in the right mindset is the key to planning travel that transforms you.”

SOURCE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurabegleybloom/2020/02/04/personal-travel-coach-hot-trend-2020/#6d321bda665f

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When Springtime Is Allergy Time: 8 Steps to Avoid Suffering in 2023

Flowers and trees are starting to bloom, the birds are singing, and the sun is shining – once again, spring is here! While many of us are delighted that the cold gloom of winter is behind us and the longer, warmer days of spring are finally here, it also marks the start of allergy season.

It is estimated that allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S., with more than 50 million people affected by them. Allergies are abnormal responses of the immune system where the body’s defenses react to a usually harmless substance in the environment, such as pollen, animal dander, or food.

Allergies can have a greater impact on older people due to age-related changes in their immune systems. Many things can trigger an allergic reaction, but springtime allergies are frequently triggered by pollen. As pollen levels rise, you may hear people say they have hay fever, which is another term for seasonal allergies.

Basic symptoms associated with seasonal allergies include:

  • Itchy eyes, nose, and throat
  • Sneezing and/or coughing
  • Stuffy or runny nose; watery and/or dark circles under the eyes
  • Fever
  • Fatigue and weakness

How to Protect Yourself from Seasonal Allergies:

Taking early action against symptoms can prevent them from slowing you down. Some symptoms can lead to more serious illnesses, including sinus, ear, and upper respiratory infections.

  1. When pollen counts start to rise, limit time outdoors.
  2. Keep windows and doors closed when pollen is high.
  3. Wash your hands when returning from the outdoors.
  4. Use an air purifier indoors to clean the air of pollen.
  5. Change your air conditioner filter regularly.
  6. Dry your laundry in the machine, not outdoors on a clothesline, to keep pollen off your clothes and bedding.
  7. Ask your doctor to recommend a treatment for your specific allergies, such as over-the-counter products, prescription drugs, or allergy shots.
  8. Make a checklist of the things that trigger your allergies.

    Another checklist you need to make is to make sure you have all the coverage you need. A FREE Benefits Review with a caring AMBA representative can help. Each of our agents is trained to explain how specific coverage may help fill in the gaps of what Medicare, state pensions, and other sources may not cover. Schedule your Benefits Review today at www.amba-review.com or call 866-615-4063 Mon.-Fri 8am-6pm CT.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5362176/

What Famous Person in American History Invented Bifocals?

When you think of the greatest inventions humankind created, answers like “the wheel”, “the printing press”, or “the internet” come readily to mind. But the importance of corrective lenses – eyeglasses, including bifocals – is frequently (apologies for the pun) overlooked. But eyeglasses for visual aid are one of the most common – and essential – tools even now in the 21st Century. However, the history of glasses is complex with many contradictory beliefs about where and when they were created.

Imagine a world without glasses. Where being able to recognize people from a distance or read a book in your lap was a major challenge, if not impossible This is how it was for centuries. People struggled with visual impairment and accepted it as a fact of life. And when corrective lenses first became available, they were a rare possession only the rich could access and afford.

The First Eyeglasses

Many believe that eyeglasses were created in Italy during the 13th Century by Salvino D’Armati. D’Armati’s invention placed two convex lenses in a wooden setting, with a shaft held together with a rivet. These early glasses were not fitted to the face. To use them, the wearer had to hold them in place.

It wasn’t until the 18th century that the eyeglasses we recognize today began taking shape. A nose bridge and temples were added to keep the eyeglasses in place. Advancements continued, including improved materials, better-designed temples, and more comfortable nose pads.

History of Bifocal Lenses

None other than Benjamin Franklin is credited with inventing bifocals in 1784. Like most of us, Franklin’s eyesight worsened as he got older, developing both near- and far-sightedness. Tired of switching between two pairs of eyeglasses, he invented “double spectacles” by cutting and then attaching the two lenses’ segments into one glass with a distinct switch between the upper and lower lenses. In 1824, Peter Williams came up with the name “bifocals” for this type of corrective eyewear. Williams would later be credited with the invention of trifocal lenses.

Although the design of today’s bifocals hasn’t changed much since Benjamin Franklin’s time, better materials, manufacturing methods, and better lens technology have evolved to make the bifocal lens more advanced and more usable.

Today’s Eyeglasses: Practical, Comfortable, and Fashionable

We frequently take our glasses (whether they be a single lens, bifocals, or trifocals) for granted – until we misplace them. Then we’re quickly reminded of the importance of our eyewear.

Eyeglasses have come a long way through history to become what they are now, including options such as contact lenses, trifocals, and corrective surgeries. But the usefulness and longevity of eyeglasses are assured. Plus, eyeglasses accentuate our own personal style and fashion sense. Your association and AMBA have a Vision Plan that can help you get the eyeglasses and the prescription that’s just right for you. Our plan includes an annual WellVision checkup and coverage on a large selection of designer eyewear. Sign up now at www.AMBAdentalvision.com or call 866-979-0497.

Source: https://www.ushistory.org/franklin/science/bifocals.htm