by Dr. Luke Beno
Why do teeth shift as we age? Are yawns really contagious? Get the lowdown on what these wacky body signs really mean
Why are yawns contagious?
Human beings mirror the behaviors of people they care about, and yawning falls into this category, speculate researchers.
In a recent University of Pisa study, researchers observed more than 100 men and women yawning in front of strangers, acquaintances, friends and family.
The infectious influence of yawning was twice as likely among friends, and three times as likely for family members as it was for strangers and acquaintances.
Why do teeth shift as we age?
Teeth are held in an arch form between the tongue, and lips and cheeks.
"Your tongue pushes outward on your teeth, causing spacing, while your lips and cheeks push inward, causing crowding," says Dr. Andrew Trosien, a private-practice orthodontist in Tracy, Calif. Over time, these pressures can change, shifting the equilibrium, and your teeth can start to feel excessive pressure from either the tongue or lips.
Generally speaking, a little bit of crowding or spacing is not a concern. Sometimes though, tooth movement can be a sign of gum disease or other problems. In addition, if the teeth shift into a bad alignment, they can wear down, chip or cause other functional issues. Make sure to ask your dentist if you're concerned, and most orthodontists will offer a free consultation.
Can achy joints really give the weather forecast?
"Yes. This is something I hear from my patients on a regular basis," says Dr. David Borenstein, who's treated arthritis patients for more than 35 years in Washington, D.C.
When bad weather is coming, the barometric pressure drops in the atmosphere, and it causes a fluid shift in all human bodies.
It's slight, and most of us don't notice a change, says Borenstein, but in patients with joint injuries, damage or arthritis, the fluid can't move through these joints as effortlessly, resulting in feelings of stiffness and pain.
Why do women have colder feet and hands than men?
"Women conserve more heat around their core organs than men do, which means less heat makes it to a woman's extremities," says Borenstein.
Since women are biologically geared to carry babies, it's vital that their bodies keep their vital organs warm. So blood flow in women is designed to support the central part of the body, compared to the arms and legs.