The benefits of laughing are no joke

by MikeMeehan 12/12/2018 9:07 AM

Holidays are a great time to spend with family, and laughing with relatives is one of the best parts of the season. Whether you’re barely giggling or totally cracking up, laughter can have positive effects on your oral and overall health. Read on to learn what a good laugh can do for you. Reduce your stress levels.  You might be stressed from the holiday bustle, and that can be bad news for your gums and teeth. Stress is a common cause of teeth grinding, which can damage your tooth enamel, make your jaw ache and more. Furthermore, it results in higher cortisol levels, increasing your risk for gum disease.  By lowering cortisol levels, laughter can help improve immune system functioning. It also activates and then releases your stress response, leaving you with a relaxed feeling and reduced tension. Act as a mild workout.  Surprisingly, laughing can mimic exercise by burning calories and increasing your heart rate. In a study conducted by Vanderbilt University, participants burned 50 calories after just 10 to 15 minutes of laughter. Plus, laughter releases endorphins and stimulates multiple parts of the body, including the heart, lungs and muscles. Sharing a snicker at the family table just might help you burn off some of those extra calories from dessert.  Boost pain tolerance.  By releasing endorphins, laughter can increase pain tolerance. Some research even suggests that patients who laugh a significant amount need less pain medication following surgery. If you’re experiencing a toothache, try watching a comedy to pass the time and ease your pain before your dental appointment. Get your giggle on this holiday season and you just might see some healthy rewards.  

A full Thanksgiving menu of mouth-friendly nutrients

by MikeMeehan 11/14/2018 1:54 PM

Nutritious foods show up in abundance during November’s festivities. If you’re searching for nutrients that’ll help your smile, learn where they might be hiding in your Thanksgiving meal.  Main dishesTurkey is rich in protein, which means it contains high amounts of phosphorus. Phosphorus is important for strengthening bones and teeth as well as mineralizing them to protect against cavities. Just make sure to keep floss handy in case turkey gets stuck between your teeth. If you opt for ham, your mouth will still be happy. Eating just three ounces of ham provides 15 percent of your recommended daily zinc, helping replenish tissue along the gum line. Watch out for the sticky, sugary residue glazed ham can leave behind. If you do eat ham with a sugar glaze, brush your teeth or drink water afterward. Side dishesThe green beans in green bean casserole are a great source of vitamins A, C and K. Vitamins A and C are good for gum health, while vitamin K helps protect against substances that break down bones. Avoid cavities by ditching the starchy fried onions on top and choosing a recipe with toasted almonds instead. Yams contain vitamins A and C, too. Unfortunately, if they’re prepared in a sweet, sticky sauce, they leave cavity-causing sugars in your mouth. After enjoying candied yams, drink water to wash it away.  DessertsThere’s nothing like a freshly-made pumpkin pie, and you might be surprised to learn that this pie variety isn’t all bad for oral health. While pie typically has high amounts of sugar, the pumpkin in this one provides a healthy dose of vitamin A to help strengthen enamel and encourage gum health. Plus, pumpkin pie doesn’t require added sugars and can be made with spices because pumpkin already contains a naturally sweet flavor.  Be careful about the crust, though, as it often contains starches that contribute to tooth decay. To keep your pumpkin pie mouth-friendly, make a nut crumble crust and replace white flour with nut flour. Or, for a sugar-free pumpkin pie alternative, try our pumpkin pudding recipe.   Drink plenty of water throughout the meal to help wash away any residue that gets stuck on your teeth. And after a day of enjoying Thanksgiving food, be sure to clean your mouth thoroughly by flossing and brushing with fluoride toothpaste. 

How a large dental network helps your business

by MikeMeehan 11/9/2018 9:31 AM

With a larger network size, your employees have a greater selection of dentists to choose from. The result for your business and employees is lower costs and better convenience.  Lower costA large network results in better utilization of in-network dentists by your employees, which helps keep costs down. Visiting a network dentist helps ensure lower claims costs, offering immediate financial benefits for self-insured groups and leading to more stable overall costs in the long run for fully insured groups. Employees also enjoy lower out-of-pocket expenses and maximize their benefits when they seek care from in-network dentists. Doing so protects them from balance billing, which is when a dentist’s fee for a specific service exceeds the plan’s allowed amount and the dentist bills the difference.  Better convenienceIn addition to cost savings, a larger network provides a more convenient experience. If employees already have a dentist they prefer, a bigger network makes it more likely that their dentist participates. Employees no longer need to spend time comparison shopping because they can easily find in-network dentists who have agreed to set fees for common dental procedures. That can increase employee satisfaction in the plan and the benefits offering.  Plus, employees can save time by visiting network dentists. Participating dentists submit claims directly to Delta Dental, so your employees don’t have to handle time-consuming forms, whereas out-of-network dentists may not provide this service. When employees use a network dentist, Delta Dental pays the dentist so the employee isn’t required to pay and then wait for reimbursement.  Contact your benefits consultant or local Delta Dental representative to learn more about our dental network.

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