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Monday, June 1, 2009

What are signs of gum disease?

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together
  • Gum abscesses/boils
  • Persistent food impactions between your teeth

Oral Health Reminders

  • One of the most important things you can do for your oral health is schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
  • An oral exam can detect other health issues such as poor nutrition and hygiene, growth and development problems, and improper jaw alignment.
  • Prevention includes maintaining good oral hygiene, drinking fluoridated water and making healthy dietary choices.
  • Fluoride promotes remineralization, or the rebuilding of minerals in the tooth enamel. The presence of fluoride on tooth surfaces attracts other minerals (such as calcium) and helps to speed up remineralization.
  • As long as your toothpaste contains fluoride and has the ADA seal of approval, the brand or extra features you choose don’t really matter.
  • A diet that promotes good oral health is not just about the foods you eat or avoid — when and how you eat them is equally important.
  • Chewing sugarless gum that contains xylitol can help reduce plaque and fight cavities because chewing stimulates saliva, which helps keep teeth clean, while xylitol inhibits the growth of the oral bacteria that cause cavities. (Chewing gum is NOT recommended for patients in braces.)
  • You should clean and massage your baby’s gums daily to help establish healthy gums and to aid in teething.
  • From age 2, children should begin to brush their own teeth with a parent’s help.
  • Use of smokeless tobacco causes bad breath, discolors teeth and promotes tooth decay that leads to tooth loss. Smokeless tobacco users have a decreased sense of smell and taste, a greater risk than non-users of developing cavities and a 50 percent greater risk of developing cancers of the cheek, gums and lining of the lips.
  • As we get older, our dental needs become increasingly specialized, making regular dentist visits even more vital.
  • You may experience changes in your oral health during pregnancy due to a surge in hormones, which can cause your gum tissues to exaggerate their reaction to plaque.
  • If you drink soda, be sure to drink it through a straw and rinse your mouth with water afterwards to reduce the risk of cavities. (Soda is NOT recommended for patients in braces.)

How does our office stay green?

  • Digital X-rays and photos— Significantly minimizes the use of paper
  • New equipment optimized for minimal water waste— Aids in water conservation
  • Highly efficient heating and cooling systems— Conserve energy and electricity
  • Energy-star rated appliances and sensors— Conserve energy and electricity
  • Recycling programs— Reduce waste and conserve reusable resources

Quick Tips for an Eco-conscious Lifestyle

It’s become easier to “live green” by recycling, reducing waste, conserving energy and using sustainable materials.

Studies have shown that the air inside the average home is two to five more polluted than the air outside, due to products and materials we use (carpets, paints, lacquers, adhesives, chemical cleaners, among others) that release harmful gases known as VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds). Chronic exposure to VOCs has been linked to liver, kidney and central nervous system damage.
  • Replace old light bulbs with LED or compact fluorescent bulbs (look for the Energy Star label).
  • Unplug cords and chargers for electronics that are not in use constantly. Even if you turn the appliance or computer off, the cord still uses power.
  • Sunshine is free. Take advantage of that resource and buy solar lights for your yard and patio.
  • Use water mixed with lemon juice as a cleaning product that’s chemical free.
  • Use glass and ceramic reusable kitchenware rather than plastic.
  • Take fabric shopping totes to the stores instead of paper or plastic.
  • Use lunch pails or other reusable containers for taking your lunch to work or school.
Online Resources

Facts about Gum Disease

Treatment for gum disease includes antibiotic pills or gels applied directly into the diseased pocket between the tooth and gum.

Another treatment, “scaling and root planning,” involves an intensive teeth cleaning above and below the gum line that often requires a local anesthetic.

It’s long been known that oral health is an important indicator for the body’s overall health. Now new research suggests gum disease may predict whether you develop diabetes.

Last year, Harvard researchers found a surprising link between poor gum health and pancreatic cancer. Other studies have linked periodontal health to heart disease, stroke and pregnancy problems.

Gum disease is linked with tobacco use but medication side effects, such as dry mouth, can also contribute to oral health problems. Genetics also play a role.

A study in collaboration with cardiologists also links gum disease with heart disease and diabetes.

Gum disease may cause inflammation that puts an expectant mother at risk for pregnancy complications suich as low birth weight and premature birth.

7 Habits for a Longer Life

In the United States, life expectancy was about 48 years for women and 46 years for men born in 1900. Just 50 years later, it climbed to 71 for women and 66 for men. And recent numbers put life expectancy at roughly 80 for women and 75 for men.

There’s still considerable debate about the achievable upper limit of human lifespan, but France’s Jeanne Calment lived to be 122. American Gertrude Baines, believed to be the world’s oldest living person at 114.

Most experts agree that increases in lifespan are due to better nutrition, health care, and disease prevention and treatment. But research is also identifying various traits and habits that aid healthy aging.
  1. Rest up. Getting the right amount of sleep is important to health and lifespan. The problem is figuring out what that right amount really is. In a 2002 study based on the self-reported sleep habits of more than a million people, about seven hours a night produced optimal longevity. Those reporting more than eight hours or less than five hours had, on average, shorter life spans.
  2. Eat right. In a study of 20,000 British participants, eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, drinking alcohol moderately, exercising, and not smoking were habits associated with a potential 14 extra years of life.
  3. Make friends. When in comes to longevity, having a network of close pals may be even more important than family. A 10-year study in Australia found that people with large social networks were 22% less likely to die over the following decade than those who reported having fewer friends.
  4. Use it, don’t lose it. Your mind and body will wither unless you use them, so it’s important to exercise both. There’s no sense in living to 100 if you can’t remember names or take care of yourself. Keep your brain engaged, and get your body moving. In one Harvard study, vigorous exercise extended lifespan and reduced risk of death.
  5. Mind your middle. Maintaining a healthy weight and trim waistline may be key to longevity. A recent study by the National institutes of Health found that waist circumference was a strong predictor of mortality. Measurements of more than 44 inches in men or 41 inches in women were associated with 25% higher mortality rates.
  6. Get fresh air. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a reduction in air pollution in cities between 1978 and 2001 was estimated to have increased the lifespan of city-dwellers by five to 10 months, depending on the amount of pollution reduced.
  7. Make it a family thing. In a study of centenarians in the U.S., people who had a 100-year-old brother or sister lived longer than others born in the same year. Men with a centenarian sibling were 17 times as likely to be centenarians themselves. Women were eight times as likely.

Top 5 Time Management Do’s and Don’ts

Are you looking for ways to make the most of your summer? How about ways to set aside study time after returning to school in the Fall? Here is an article we found useful for managing the fleeting luxury of time!

How many times have you sat down to review your e-mail and then looked up at the clock to see that you’d lost a valuable hour? It’s easy to say that you need to both prioritize your time and narrow your focus, but it’s not an easy task.

There is any number of time-management systems out there, but sometimes you need to step back and look at the basics. Dr. Don Wetmore, who heads the Productivity Institute, offers the following perspective on the right—and wrong—ways to approach time management.

Top Five Best Time-Management Practices

  1. Plan an hour per day for “me time”—Give 23 hours to the world but keep one hour for yourself. During this hour, add a new dimension to your life that isn’t there now because you didn’t feel you had the time for it. Read a book, take up a hobby, learn a foreign language, develop computer skills, start another business, spend time on health development, etc.
  2. Establish a regular reading program—It can be just 15 minutes a day. Even with that small investment, the average person will read 15 books in a year. Also, consider taking a speed reading course. You can double your reading rate and comprehension and read twice as much in the same time period.
  3. Overload your days—Build a daily action plan that includes not only the things you “have to do,” but the things you “want to do.” If we give ourselves one thing to do during the day, it will take us all day. If we give ourselves two things to do during the day, we get them both done. If we give ourselves 12 things to do, we may not get 12 done, but we may get eight done. Having a lot to do in a day creates a healthy sense of pressure on us to get focused and get it done.
  4. Prioritize your list of “things to do”—Some of our tasks are “crucial” and some of our tasks are “not crucial.” We have a tendency to gravitate to the “not crucial” items because they are typically quicker, more fun and easier to do.Tackle your items in the order of importance, doing the most important items first.
  5. Radiate a genuine, positive attitude—Often, like attracts like and it repels the opposite. When you are in a negative mood, you tend to repel the positive people who don’t want to be drained and brought down by your negativity. And, when you’re in a negative mood, you have a natural system set up to attract the other negative people to you who want to share their stories of their misery, so the two of you can compare experiences to decide who has the worse life. Positive people help to bring us up. Negative people bring us down.

Top Five Time-Management Mistakes

  1. Start your day without a plan of action—You will begin your day by responding to the loudest voice (the squeaky wheel gets the grease) and spend it in a defensive mode, responding to other people’s and events’ demands. If there is a void of leadership in your time-management life, someone will fill that void—not that others are bad people, but others will take all of your time if you let them.
  2. Get out of balance in your life—Our lives are made up of Seven Vital Areas: Health, Family, Financial, Intellectual, Social, Professional and Spiritual. We will not necessarily spend time every day in each area or equal amounts of time in each. But if in the long run, we spend a sufficient quantity and quality of time in each area, our lives will be in balance.
  3. Work with a messy desk or work area—Studies have shown that the person who works with a messy desk spends, on average, one-and-a-half hours per day looking for things or being distracted by things. That’s seven-and-a-half hours per week. And it’s not a solid block of an hour and a half, but a minute here and a minute there.
  4. Don’t get enough sleep—Studies show that nearly 75% of us complain on a regular basis that we are flat-out tired. For most people, they get the quantity of sleep, but they lack the quality of sleep. Their days are filled with so much stress, they are out of control, working harder but maybe not smarter, that it’s difficult to get a full night’s sleep. (Some simply do not allow for a sufficient quantity of sleep.) If you plan your day, then work your plan, you will get more done, feel a higher sense of accomplishment, and experience less stress and enjoy a more restful night’s sleep.
  5. Don’t take a lunch break—Many do not take a lunch break, working through that time in the hope that it will give them more time to produce results. Studies have shown it may work just the opposite. After doing what we do for several hours, we start to “dull out.” Sure, we can work through lunch and be productive, but that’s not the issue. The issue is “how much more” productive we can be. A lunch break, even a short 15-minute one, gives us a chance to get our batteries charged to more effectively handle the afternoon’s challenges.

Simple Answers to 13 Questions about Going Green

Should I turn off the lights every time I leave the room?

Turn off incandescent light bulbs if you’re leaving the room for more than five seconds; turn off compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) if you’ll be gone at least 15 minutes. Why? You save energy with the lights off, even for a few seconds, but flickering that switch shortens every light bulb’s life. Incandescent light bulbs are cheap, so turn them off when you can. CFLs aren’t cheap – about $4 each – but using one will save you about $30 in electricity charges throughout its life span compared to an incandescent.

Do I really have to unplug my TV, phone chargers, CD player, etc.?

Always unplug. To make it easier, plug everything into power strips and make use of their on/off switches. Why? Even when they're not on, electricity courses through the plugs of your electronic gadgets so that they’ll jump into action more quickly. This “vampire electricity” sucks up $4 billion a year in energy for things that aren’t even on. Your laptop alone, turned off but plugged into the wall, will cost you $9 a year. Cell phone chargers that aren’t connected to a cell phone cost 14 cents a year. With some 260 million chargers out there, it adds up.

I know cold-water washes are greener, but will they get my clothes clean?

Washing your clothes in warm or even cold water will get rid of almost anything, except for the worst dirt or oily stains. Switch from hot to warm water to cut energy use in half; use cold water to cut it even more. Why? For a hot-water load, about 90 percent of the energy used to wash clothes goes to heat the water, not to agitate your clothes.

Dirty dishes: by hand or by machine?

Stick to full loads in the machine and use the pot-scrubber option only if necessary. For extra green points hit the no-heat or air-dry options. Why? By the time you wash a sink load of dirty dishes by hand, you’ll go through four to five gallons of water. Modern dishwashers use as little as two gallons and usually clean well enough so that there’s no need to prerinse. Sure, dishwashers require electricity, but new ones use 95 percent less electricity than machines built 30 years ago.

Peanut butter jar: a simple rinse or a full-on scour before recycling?

Rinse out what you can, then recycle. Why? A small amount of food won’t gum up the recycling works, so don’t waste a lot of water making that peanut butter jar pristine. You should do it mostly to keep pests away. And that lime in your empty beer bottle? Leave it.

Soda bottle tops: on or off before recycling?

Off with their heads! Why? It depends on where you live. Some localities insist on no tops; others are more laidback. Leave them off because: 1) the caps are not always made from the same plastic as the container, and 2) they can jam the processing equipment.

Paper or plastic?

Paper and plastic are both lousy choices. Take your own reusable canvas bags. Why? A key ingredient in plastic bags is fossil fuel, and making them—from drilling and refining oil to actually manufacturing the bags—is a messy business. Turning timber into paper bags isn’t exactly clean either. Paper mills contribute to acid rain, global warming, and respiratory ills. Plus, they demand loads of energy and water. Even bags made from recycled paper are six times as heavy as their plastic cousins, so trucking them across the country means more gas consumed and more noxious fumes. But, you cry, paper bags decompose in landfills and plastic doesn’t. Wrong! Virtually nothing decomposes in a landfill, where garbage is kept from air and water to prevent bad stuff from leaching into groundwater. And what does biodegrade can take tens, even hundreds, of years and, in the process, releases methane gas, which is linked to global warming.

In public restrooms, paper towel or electric hand dryer?

If there’s a choice, go for the hot air. Why? Far less energy is needed to heat and blow air at your hands than to make paper towels and haul them around. One study found that nine trees are cut down to supply an average fast-food restaurant with paper towels over a year; the tossed towels then create 1,000 pounds of landfill waste.