Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Keeping Your Teeth Healthy While Roughing It

Good oral hygiene is no joke when it comes to maintaining your overall health, and this can be especially hard when camping or on a long outdoor trip. Tooth and gum infection can come on quickly and even cause other health problems. It does not matter if you will be out-of-pocket for a few days or years. You will never regret taking the time to discover the best ways to maintain a healthy smile when hygiene facilities are miles from your location.

Travel Size Toothbrush and Toothpaste

If you will be anywhere near civilization, these may be the best items to bring. Simply use a small amount of toothpaste and rinse. You do not even need water. Be careful not to spit the toothpaste anywhere near a campsite. Bears and other wild critters will be attracted to the smell. You could have some unexpected and unwelcome guests at that point.

Sticky Gum and Floss

Chewing xylitol gum is a great way to keep your teeth clean no matter where you end up. The gum makes your teeth slippery and harder for bacteria to stay on them. It is cheap, practical and works. Along with gum, a small roll of dental floss can be best friend. It will help pull out trapped food between the teeth. A long strand of hair works well as floss in a pinch.

Sap Gum

When convenience stores are miles away, grab a gob of sap and chew it like gum. It works just as well when there is nothing else available for miles. Chewing stimulates your salivary glands, which can help fight bacteria on your teeth and gums. American sweetgum trees has a resin you can chew on, as do pine trees. You can also chew on beeswax or bark in a pinch.

Teeth Cleaning Twig

Break off a small branch and remove the bark. Cut off a bite size piece and carefully chew it. Make sure you rotate it throughout the mouth and spit out all the wood. The abrasive actions will clean the teeth pretty well, and once the end is frayed, it acts as a brush for your teeth. You can also make your own flat end toothpick and scraper of sorts using a tiny branch. It takes very little woodworking skill with a small pocket knife to shape.

Fir Branch

Seek out a thick fir tree. The small pine needles can be trimmed down in a one-inch section and removed along a 5 or 6-inch portion of the small branch. You want a bare part of the branch long enough to firmly grasp with your hand. It will resemble a small toothbrush. It is not perfect, but if you are diligent, it works well if you have no alternative.

Baking Soda

If you are worried about a buildup of stains on your teeth bring a small bag of baking soda. Wet the tip of your finger and sprinkle on a little baking soda. Use the finger to scrub the surface of your teeth. Twice a day and your pearly whites will stay white.

Avoid High Sugar, Acids and Coffee

If you are going to be deep in the woods or on extended trips with limited hygiene facilities it is best to avoid certain foods and drinks to preserve the health of your teeth and gums. This means you need to pass on the taffy, caramel, candy bars, fruit juice, strawberries, citrus and soda. Eliminate highly processed foods from the diet. Foods and drinks with high sugar and acid content will promote thinning of the tooth enamel, which sets you up for the start of tooth decay. Drinks like coffee and tea can really stain your teeth. Avoid smoking, as it also stains teeth.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband. Dixie got information from this piece from Crest Hill Family Dental.

Friday, July 22, 2016

On the Safe Side: Tips for Teaching Your Teens Better Driving Skills

Parents and guardians often believe that teaching their teens better driving skills is as simple as riding along in the passenger seat as they practice. In today's fast-paced world, teens need a broader education that focuses more on detailed explanations, positive reinforcement, and guidance about bad personal habits that increase accident risks on the road. Modern teens also need visual and experiential learning tools that take into account the general ways they learn best. Consider these tips to teach your teens better driving skills as you get started.

Show Patience and Understanding

It is okay to point out incorrect driving maneuvers and actions, but you need to balance your critiques with positive examples, explained in a patient and understanding tone so your teen does not shut you out, or feel less motivated to listen. Whenever possible, lower stress by telling funny anecdotes about your own early driving experiences. Negativity can demotivate your teen and even result in errors caused by nervousness and low self-esteem so keep things in their court with what positive statements you say.

Record Them While They Drive

A recording always has a greater impact than words, because it shows your teen visually the driving problems you see. Ask someone to record your teen from outside of the vehicle at a distance during practice lessons so they can review it later. Set up an interior camera in the back of the vehicle that records all of your teen's physical actions while in the driver seat. They can watch and review mistakes and you can even show them through example what the right move might be in certain situations.

Show Them the Consequences

Since better driving skills include not being distracted, provide lessons about distracted driving. Show your teen statistics and videos related to distracted driving accidents. Afterward, show your teen the consequences in real life so that the experience has a greater impact on their understanding of common safety issues. Introduce your teen to injured accident victims or a Clearfield & Kofsky personal injury lawyer who can generically outline some worst case scenarios. Having a tangible result in front of them is a lot more impactful than just listing statistics.

Some of these tips may seem embarrassing or severe, but using them to teach your teen better driving skills can only make them safer. The most important thing to remember is that better driving helps prevent injuries and costly insurance premiums.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and recent graduate of the University of New Mexico. She writes for many online publications and blogs about home improvements, family, and health. She is an avid hiker, biker and runner. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

7 Survival Mistakes to Side-Step If You're a Newbie

If you just found out about prepping, you most likely reacted in one of two ways. You either thought the idea is silly or you started reading more and more. The more you read, the more unprepared and vulnerable you felt.

Since you’re reading this article, I’m assuming you’ve swallowed the red pill. But before you rush over to Amazon and spend all your money on gear let me tell you about some the mistakes that either I or other preppers have done. Why not learn from us so you can side-step them?

Mistake #1: Buying Low Quality Gear

If you’re like me when I started doing this, you’ll probably get the cheapest multi-tool you can find. Since you won’t be using it much, you may ask yourself: why spend money on something expensive? Well, because cheap gear can fail you when you need it most. The only way you can win with it is if nothing ever happens and you’ll never have to use it. Other than that, it’s a gamble.

You don’t need friends in the army to tell you what to get. You’ve got plenty of blogs, forums and the comments section on Amazon to make the right decision.

Mistake #2: Not Acting on the Info They Read

If all you’ve been doing is sit inside your home on the Internet, reading and buying things, you’re not as prepared as you think. Your purchases are giving you a false sense of security and that’s downright dangerous. Prepping involves activities such as:
  • getting in shape
  • going camping and/or hiking to see how you and your family like it
  • testing your weapons, tools and gear
  • inspecting and rotating your stockpile
  • taking first aid classes
  • going to flea markets to learn how to negotiate
  • meeting preppers and likeminded people
  • taking free or paid survival classes
  • making a plan of action to cover the most important scenarios they might have to face

Mistake #3: Putting All Their Eggs in One Basket

Newbies focus on having a bug out bag because it’s what most people recommend to get started. But instead on focusing on making that bag perfect, how about you start doing other things, such as stocking up on supplies in your car’s trunk or on getting a few items for your everyday carry?

The reason is, you’re more likely to need that bottle of water in your car or use a bandage than to actually bug out through the woods, as the classic survival scenario goes. Think in terms of maximizing your chances of coming out unharmed from any critical scenario and you’ll also be more likely to spend less.

Mistake #4: Talking About It

Needless to say, the less you talk, the less you reveal about yourself and your preps, so the safer you’ll be. I know you probably feel like telling everyone about this new community you’ve discovered of people who want to prepare, but just because it makes sense to you, this doesn’t mean it’ll make sense to them.

Some people get it, others don’t, so the best thing to do is to keep quiet, keep prepping and worry less about the fact that most people are severely unprepared for disasters and personal emergencies.

Mistake #5: Ignoring Mental Preparation

Have you seen YouTube videos of people in distress? Do you think you would’ve done the same if you were in their place? If you’ve never been in close combat or, at least, in the army, chances are you’re overestimating your ability to keep your cool when facing your own death.

What can you do? A few things:
  • visualize successfully escaping danger
  • watch as many videos as you can (flash floods, earthquakes, firearm assaults) and see yourself in the middle of the action
  • take a first aid course
  • start a martial art class and make it a goal to become good at it (at an amateur level, of course)

Mistake #6: Focusing On Food More Than on Water

You obviously need both but water is more important. Remember the rule of threes? You can live up to 3 weeks without food but up to 3 days without water. Besides, stockpiling food is more complicated because you need a cool, dry, dark place to maximize the shelf life of your food. You also need the right containers and preservatives (Mylar bags, plastic food-grade buckets etc.)

On the other hand, stockpiling water is easy. You still need to keep it in a cool dark place if you have large quantities but, as a newbie, you can store your bottles pretty much anywhere (except your attic). Don’t forget to keep a bottle in your car.

Mistake #7: Spending Too Much Money

Ok, this somewhat goes against what I said in the beginning, that you usually get what you pay for... but there are exceptions:
  • you can assemble your first aid kit and bug out bag instead of buying pre-made ones
  • you can start your own food stockpile instead of buying ready-made buckets
  • you can choose generic equivalent medicine instead of branded ones that do the exact same thing (full list here)
  • you can take a look inside your attic, tool shed and all your drawers to find items you haven’t used in years that might be useful

Final Word

I hope you don’t think this list of mistakes is, by any means, comprehensive. These are just a few of the most important ones that should save you some cash. You know what it would really help other readers? If you posted your own mistakes below. Let’s try to make this list bigger, share your experiences below.

The writer of this article would like to follow his own advice and remain anonymous.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Staying Cool in the Collapse: 5 Must-Haves for Every Hardcore Survivalist

Humanitarian Aid Drop DVIDS280836

There have been many warnings issued over the years about the possibility of a total collapse of the national electrical grid. Blackouts occur in some parts of the country during the summer months. They may be planned rolling ones to keep the entire system from being overwhelmed or they may be catastrophic unplanned ones. Thunderstorms or even hurricanes are additional reasons to be prepared for the unexpected havoc from weather related outages. There are several items that are a benefit to have on hand should this scenario occur for any length of time. Survivalists of all levels—especially hardcore enthusiasts—may already have them in their possession. Here is a list of five must-have products that will keep things cool during a collapse.

Golf Cart Batteries

These types of batteries power items for a long period of time in comparison to car batteries. They are similar in size, but can provide hours of use for refrigerators, fans, and medical machines. An inverter is needed to charge appliances and cell phones using a 120 volt outlet. Well pumps will also stay in operation so clean water will be available for drinking, cooking, and bathing. It is a good idea to purchase at least two or more, if budgets allow. Recharge one while the other is in use. A caveat is to keep batteries of the same age in use at all times.

Ration Protection

Having plenty of food to eat is critical, although humans can live for up to three days before symptoms of malnutrition kick in. An unbeatable option that can facilitate making ready to eat meals is sealed bags. They store a wide variety of food stuff from dried fruits, nuts, crackers, cereals, and more. This can be accomplished by using chamber vacuum sealers to seal bags for storing foodstuffs. Look for BPA-free products in several sizes such as three, four, or five milliliters that can accommodate sharp foods. Boil-able bags can withstand extended boils without losing food quality and taste, so look for this feature too. Consider zipper bags that can be resealed and those with tear notches for meat and dairy products such as jerky and cheese.

Mini-fan With Misting System

A compact and portable mini-fan is ideal for those times when a burst of cool is needed instead of using the resources of batteries or generators. There are plenty of alternatives to choose from, but look for ones with a built-in mister. The larger reservoirs will usually come with a flat-bottom so they stand upright when not in use. Lithium battery powered units last longer and perform better than those with alkaline batteries. Use the misting function sparingly to conserve its water content.

Two-Season Tent

During power outages, homes heat up almost as quickly as cars do. If there is no breeze, opening the windows will only invite the hot temperature inside. A two season tent is a great option for placing under a nearby tree. The spring and summer version is perfect especially when it has a ventilation screen to keep bugs out and let breezes in. Some may also come with poles and a hammock to enjoy in a shaded area.

Backpacks with Bladders

This is an excellent choice that can be storage for batteries, flashlights, and wick and lightweight clothes. They also come with different size water bladders and built-in cooler versatility. Fill them up with fresh water as soon as the outage occurs or ice would be a better alternative. Manufacturers include a straw for drinking or spout for pouring so there is no need to open it. This keeps the water cold and ice frozen as long as possible.

Hardcore survivalists are generally prepared for what may come in diverse scenarios, but this will serve as a reminder of what keeps them cool in extreme heat. The everyday individual will benefit from the information outlined here as well. Stocking a personal inventory of these items in advance is a sure way to mitigate the inconveniences associated with a collapse.

Emma is a freelance writer living in Boston. When she manages to tear herself away from the computer, she enjoys baking, rock climbing, and film noir.

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