Americans Want to See Their Dentist More, Survey Finds

by MikeMeehan 1/9/2017 1:14 PM

Americans want to see their dentist more. At least that’s according to this recent survey, the Adult Oral Health Survey, which sampled 1,025 Americans 18 years and older. The results found 41 percent of Americans don’t visit the dentist as often as they’d like. Among health practitioners listed, dentists ranked at the top. In fact, the second-place practitioner was 13 percentage points lower: dermatologists, at 28 percent. This might be good news, after a Gallup poll from 2014 indicated one-third of Americans hadn’t visited the dentist in the past year. Likewise, the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute reported most adults planned to visit the dentist in 2017 (77 percent), yet only a limited number had made the trip in 2015 (37 percent). Studies have shown a link between good oral health and overall well-being, as well as boosts in confidence. Both were indicated in The Adult Oral Health Survey. According to the survey, 79 percent of adults believe there is a connection between oral health and overall health. Adults who were extremely satisfied with their oral health rated their overall well-being as very good (48 percent), compared to those who were not satisfied (28 percent). And 63 percent reported good oral health helped them feel confident on a daily basis. This outranked contenders like having clear skin (56 percent) and being in shape (50 percent). Those who gave their oral health an “A” grade were 24 percent less likely to put the dentist at the top of the list of practitioners they wished to see more. Only 28 percent of adults who brush twice a day reported they didn’t see their dentist as much as they’d like, compared to 52 percent who brush less than twice a day. The Adult Oral Health Survey was conducted between December 16, 2015, and January 14, 2016, among a nationally representative sample, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.

How to Enjoy Hockey without Hurting Your Smile

by MikeMeehan 1/6/2017 9:36 AM

Any hockey fans out there? Earlier this week, the St. Louis Blues had a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks at Busch Stadium during the Winter Classic 2017. It was a big game for several reasons: The 2016-’17 season marks the National Hockey League’s 100th anniversary. The St. Louis Blues are celebrating their 50th anniversary. Busch Stadium has been around for 10 years. Not only can hockey be fun to watch, it can be fun to play. And while the sport comes with many rewards, it can be dangerous to your eyes and teeth. Are the Risks of Hockey Worth the Rewards? Some of the rewards of hockey include: It improves fitness. Hockey improves cardiovascular fitness, as well as bone and muscle strength. It can decrease stress. When you play hockey, dopamine is released in your brain. This can make you happier and more relaxed. It can help you sleep better. This is also due to dopamine in the brain. You can learn teamwork and communication skills. You play hockey on a team. To get the puck down the rink, you have to communicate nonverbally with your teammates. You can concentrate better. Hockey has shifts. A shift is the amount of time a player, line or defense pair is on the ice. Typically, a shift lasts a minute, which, when you’re trying to give it all you got, can require a lot of focus. By learning to focus even after you start to tire, you can stay up on your game. This focus can spill into other areas of your life. You can make quick decisions. Because hockey is such a fast-paced sport, you have to sharpen your reflexes. It can build confidence. After seeing the gains from the game, hockey can encourage you to pursue and achieve other goals. However, hockey is one of the most dangerous sports when it comes to teeth and eye safety. It’s a full-contact sport. Sticks are slapped at the ice. Pucks can travel to speeds as high as 60 mph. Opponents check one another into walls. Any of these can cause damage to teeth and eyes. In fact, this article from the National Hockey League newsroom says losing teeth is just a part of the game. Four Reasons Hockey Injuries Can Be Devastating Losing teeth may be a part of the game of hockey, but it shouldn’t be a part of the bigger game of life. Nor should eye injuries be a part of that game. Here’s why: Missing teeth can make it harder to chew foods. Teeth break down food for proper digestion. Better chewing can better nourish your body, as chewing produces more saliva. Saliva can prevent plaque from building up around teeth and can also aid in the digestion process. Missing teeth can make it harder to speak. Teeth aid in speech. If you’re missing teeth, your tongue might readjust, which can affect your speaking skills. Injuries to the eye can affect your vision. This may seem like an obvious thing to write, but consider it for a moment. Your eyes are a window to the world. With impaired sight, it could feel like your window has some annoying smudges. Damage to teeth and eyes can affect your appearance. When you smile, the first feature many people notice is your teeth. Teeth support the lips and face. Some people have reported their noses and upper lips sagging after losing their two front teeth. Likewise, some people claim eyes are the first feature we fall in love with. Damage to either could rob you of your hard-earned confidence. Three Pieces You Need to Protect Your Eyes and Teeth When you play the sport, yes, you want to play for the love of the game. But protecting your eyes and teeth should be No. 1. It’s ok, though. You have a few options: Always wear a face mask. This doesn’t just apply to goalies. A face mask can protect both your eyes and teeth, and is durable enough to stop a puck flying at 60 mph. Wear sports goggles. Sports goggles can offer added protection to the eyes where the cracks in the wire mesh of a face mask does not. Wear a mouth guard. A mouth guard can protect your mouth and jaw. Unfortunately, if a puck flies at your face at 60 mph, a tiny piece of plastic probably isn’t going to do much to save your tooth. Hence the importance of also wearing a face mask. However, the mouth guard isn’t completely useless. Without a mouth guard, the puck might cause far more extensive damage to your jaw. Hockey, like any other sport, does come with its enjoyable moments. But it can be dangerous. Get out, and enjoy the game. Just make sure to protect your eyes and teeth when you do!

How to Make 2017 a Happy and Healthy Year

by MikeMeehan 12/29/2016 11:15 AM

Ask yourself this question: How can you make 2017 the best year it can be? Yes, the following statistics from this Forbes article might be enough to push us away: Close to half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Only about eight percent stick with them. Even so, a New Year’s resolution can be worthwhile. It can be an opportunity for you to evaluate yourself. What did you do in the previous year you wish you had done differently? New Year’s resolutions require you to upend some ingrained habits. They can be difficult. But you can come up with a resolution that sticks. Here’s how: How to Make a Resolution that Sticks 1) Watch out for the New Year’s resolution spectrum. Picture a New Year’s resolution as resting on a pair of scales. You want equal weight — for the scales to balance with each other and not tilt one direction. With New Year’s resolutions, the scales can get tipped if the resolution is either: a. Too big. These resolutions deal with absolutes and don’t allow any leeway for the unexpected. This year, you might come down with the flu and have to take a week off from your workout routine. Does your resolution allow grace for those missed days? While it’s good to be ambitious, make sure your ambition is tied to your effort or performance and not to an unrealistic end result. b. Too vague. This is the opposite end of the too-big spectrum. Your resolution might have plenty of flexibility, but it’s just as doomed if you don’t incorporate concrete results. “I’m going to eat healthy and work out” sounds good, but it’s not enough to visualize a routine. 2) Choose something that aligns with your values. If you aren’t resolving to do something you’re passionate about, you’re probably setting yourself up for disappointment. At some point during the year, your motivation will be tested. For example, when the weather registers as six degrees with a negative-15-degree wind chill, are you still going to want to trek to the gym? I’m willing to guess that answer for you: No. The more you can tie your resolution to your core values, the more it will influence your habits. An easy way to come up with a resolution that aligns with your core values is this: Imagine your life as a story. Right now, you’re living out a chapter of that story. Now, imagine where you want the story to go. How do you want the story to end? What’s preventing you from getting there? By thinking in these terms, you can begin to identify areas to work on. If those suggestions aren’t enough to come up with a New Year’s resolution, you might want to consider one of these six goals. Six New Year’s Resolutions You Might Want to Consider 1) De-stress. Stress has a lot of negative effects on the body, including to the teeth. To alleviate stress, you can develop a habit of these six simple steps. 2) Eat healthier. Whether it be a main dish, a favorite winter drink or a healthy dessert, eating well can give you more energy, reduce your risk for disease and just make you feel better in general. 3) Learn an instrument. Music is good for the soul. And you can also take certain steps to make sure it’s good on the teeth, too! 4) Read more. For this one, you might want to choose a concrete number, like 24 books throughout the year. Or better yet, six books every three months: It’s the same goal, but you can feel like you’re making progress. As you begin flipping pages, make sure to follow the 20-20-20 rule. 5) Brush and floss. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily can prevent all sorts of issues in your mouth. 6) Show yourself some love. Too many people place too much worth on who they aren’t, while undervaluing who they are. For 2017, you can commit to wellness, brighten your smile and feed your soul. We wish you a happy and healthy 2017! These are a few of our New Year’s resolutions. Now it’s your turn: What are yours?  

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