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HEALTH

Why beet juice could save you a dentist trip

A drink made from beetroot could help prevent tooth decay - that’s according to a research project by students from the University of Applied Sciences in Upper Austria.

Why beet juice could save you a dentist trip
Photo: FH Wels

The drink, which is already being marketed as Bio Drachen Trank (organic dragon potion), has a high nitrate content which the students found stops the process of tooth decay and prevents cavities.

Around 95 percent of people suffer from tooth decay in the industrialized world, mainly because of a diet high in sugar and poor dental hygiene.

Tooth decay occurs when a sticky acidic film called plaque builds up on teeth and begins to break down their surface. The bacteria in plaque produces acid – but the growth of this bacteria can be slowed down by nitric oxide.

The students came up with the beetroot drink as beets are known to be healthy and they have a relatively high inorganic nitrate content – which the body converts to nitric oxide.

They tested the drink on fellow students: 25 people regularly drank a nitrate-free juice and 25 had a nitrate-rich juice.

“We concluded that regularly consuming the beetroot juice provides enough nitrite to control the growth of lactic acid bacteria,” project leader Otmar Höglinger said.

A pH test on the saliva of the volunteers who drank the nitrate-rich juice showed that it contained less acids than the saliva of those who had normal juice.

The Bio Drachen Trank, which also contains calcium and aronia berry, is now available in some shops and is being marketed by Upper Austrian beverage company Voglsam GmbH.

Studies have shown that drinking two cups of beet juice a day can also temporarily lower blood pressure.

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HEALTH

How do I get a European Health Insurance Card in Austria?

An European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provides EU residents with access to public healthcare across the bloc. Here’s what you need to know about getting an EHIC in Austria.

How do I get a European Health Insurance Card in Austria?

A big advantage of living in Europe is the ability to travel to so many different countries.

But sometimes accidents or illness can happen while on holiday or a work trip, which can mean an unplanned visit to a doctor.

READ ALSO: Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Thankfully, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provides some protection against expensive medical bills in the form of reciprocal healthcare. 

Here’s what you need to know about the EHIC and how to get the card in Austria.

What is an EHIC?

An EHIC is a form of medical insurance cover and replaces the international health insurance voucher (form E111). It is issued free of charge and allows holders to access state-provided medical care while temporarily in another EU country. 

It works on a reciprocal basis through a country’s social security system and care is provided at the same cost as those insured in the country (which means it can be free, in some cases).

This means that if you have an e-card and are insured with one of the public health insurances in Austria, such as ÖGK, for example, you are entitled to the EHIC and to access public health services (to a certain extent) in other countries.

FOR MEMBERS: What is Austria’s e-card and what do you need to know about it?

The EHIC is valid in all 27 EU countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the UK.

However, the EHIC is not an alternative to comprehensive travel insurance as it doesn’t cover any private healthcare costs, a flight home or lost/stolen property.

Why do I need an EHIC in Austria?

The main advantage of having an EHIC is if you need medical treatment while briefly travelling in another country.

While the coverage is limited to state-provided healthcare, it does mean you will be treated by a doctor and not liable to pay non-resident medical fees.

READ NEXT: How Austria is making it easier for non-EU workers to get residence permits

Austria’s e-card – the national insurance card – is needed for almost all medical procedures. On the back, it contains the EHIC Ecard image: Wikicommons

How do I get an EHIC?

EHICs are issued by the national health country provider of the country where you live. This could be, for example, the ÖGK or SVA, depending on which provider you use in Austria.

In Austria, every e-card (the health insurance card that is used to visit a doctor) already contains an EHIC on the reverse of the card, so there is no need to apply for it separately. 

However, if the data fields on the EHIC on the back of your e-card contains stars (***) instead of personal information such as name and date of birth, further documentation is required to access healthcare in another EU country.

In this case, you need to contact your social security provider in Austria to receive a replacement card before you travel.

The EHIC is only valid on the condition that you are insured or co-insured in Austria.

Useful words 

Social insurance – Sozialversicherung

Travel insurance – Reiseversicherung

Healthcare – Gesundheitspflege

Useful links

European Commission

Austrian social insurance

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