10 Health & Wellbeing Myths Debunked

4 August 2017

Many of us will have grown up hearing sayings such as "an apple a day keeps the doctor away", and while most of us will know that there's no truth in this, some health and wellbeing myths can be harder to dispel.  With so many ideas in circulation regarding everything from brushing our teeth to what to eat when we're feeling under the weather, it can be difficult to know which is correct.  With sickness absence costing UK businesses a staggering £29 billion a year, being clued up on health and wellbeing related issues could go some way to reducing the cost to your business.

Here are some of the most common health and wellbeing myths.

Teeth

Myth: Rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth. 

Fact:  After brushing, you should spit out any excess toothpaste but don't rinse as rinsing will wash away the concentrated fluoride in the remaining toothpaste thus diluting it and reducing its preventive effects.

Myth:  You should brush your teeth after every meal.

Fact:  The enamel on your teeth is at its softest after eating owing to the acidic environment of the mouth as the body breaks down food.  As such, you should wait an hour after food before brushing or you could brush away the enamel too.

Sight

Myth:  Reading in the dark can damage your eyes.

Fact:  Reading in poor light can cause headaches and eye strain, but it is unlikely to cause lasting damage. When reading in dark conditions ensure that there is light shining directly onto the page, however, it shouldn't come from over your shoulder as this can cause glare.

Myth:  Eating carrots will help you see in the dark.

Fact:  While Vitamin A, found in carrots, is good for eye health, it won't help you see in the dark.  Its thought that this myth started out as British propaganda to conceal a new radar used by the RAF from the enemy during World War II.  Rather than revealing that pilots were able to see during blackouts thanks to this new radar, they put it down to them eating carrots.

Myth:  Sitting too close to a TV or computer screen will damage your vision.

Fact:  Having to sit close to the screen in order to be able to see could be a sign you need glasses.  Your computer screen should be an arm's length away and the top of the screen should be level with your eye and tilted slightly upwards.

Illness

Myth:  Feed a cold, starve a fever.

Fact:  Fighting a cold or fever requires consuming a certain amount of fluids and nutrients, and restricting these could make it more difficult to get better.

Myth: Your chances of getting a cold increase with cold weather.

Fact:  A study by the Common Cold Research Unit suggests that colds spread more easily during winter months owing to people being driven indoors and as such into contact with others, rather than the cold weather causing its spread.

Myth:  Taking Vitamin C prevents colds.

Fact:  For the average person, dosing up on Vitamin C is unlikely to impact the severity or length of a cold.  It is only when taken daily by those exposed to periods of high stress, such as marathon runners, that it can reduce the risk of catching a cold.

Stress

Myth:  Stress will give you an ulcer.

Fact:  Although stress can cause an increase in stomach acid, it isn't the main cause of stomach ulcers.  In fact, most ulcers are caused by the common stomach bacteria H. Pylori.

Myth:  Stress will turn your hair grey.

Fact:  Grey hair is heavily influenced by genetics, but if a person is predisposed to grey hair, stress can make it appear sooner.  It's more likely that stress will cause hair loss and increased shedding.


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