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Tips for a healthy lifestyle

(NC) For me, living a healthy lifestyle is about balance and practicing healthy habits in all areas of your life. Small changes can have a big impact in overall body health. Here are five tips for leading a balanced, healthy life:

• Reduce your refined sugar intake. Whether it's in our morning coffee or sandwich bread at lunchtime, sugar is hiding in many of our favorite foods. I always advise people to enjoy the natural sweetness of fruits and cut out as much simple sugar as possible – like in pop.

• Do some neurobics. Stimulate your mind and enhance your brain's performance by changing up your regular routine. Tie your shoes with your eyes closed, take up a new hobby, or hone a new skill.

• Visit your doctor once a year (if advised) and your dentist twice a year for routine checkups; regular checkups with your doctor and dentist can help uncover issues earlier when they are easier to treat.

• Pay attention to your teeth and gums! Oral health is an important part of your overall health, so it's important to practice a daily oral care routine which includes flossing, brushing for two full minutes twice a day, and rinsing. Only 44 per cent of Canadian adults claim to follow this oral care routine regularly*, and not surprisingly more than half of Canadians suffer from gingivitis. I recommend using Crest Pro-Health Clinical Gum Protection Toothpaste, which is clinically proven to help prevent and reverse gingivitis.

• Catch some zzz's. Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Establish a routine and get in sync with your body's rhythm. Here's a good test - if you're getting up without an alarm in the morning you're most likely getting enough sleep and have good sleep hygiene.

Dr. Travis Stork is a practicing board-certified emergency medicine physician and an Emmy-nominated national television host.

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Source: *Findings from the fourth annual Crest and Oral-B Great Canadian Smile Survey, a national sample of Canadian consumers randomly selected from TNS Canada's Internet research panel from November 28 to December 2, 2013.

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