Just a Regular Dental Cleaning

By Jane Roots, RDH

As dental professionals, we hear the request for “just a regular dental cleaning” so often that it’s time to fill everyone in on the truth. There are many different types of cleanings. As with most things in healthcare, wellness, and prevention, how your providers work with you will depend on many different things because it’s all about you.

We figure out the best dental cleaning after examining the condition of your gums and teeth. There are a lot of things that go into a dental cleaning, but a few easy steps can help you take control of your dental health before your next appointment.

What’s in my mouth?

  • Plaque – Plaque is the soft, fuzzy film on our teeth that easily goes away with regular brushing and flossing.
  • Tartar – When plaque is left behind – which happens to all of us – it becomes tartar, a hard material that has to be removed at your dental cleaning.
  • Gums – Gums tell a lot about your dental health. Things like the color of your gums and their firmness can indicate gingivitis.

Types of dental cleanings

  • Prophylaxis – This is frequently described as a basic cleaning when you have minimal tartar and your gums are healthy.
  • Full-mouth debridement – This is the type of cleaning you’ll have if your teeth have tartar and your gums are somewhat inflamed.
  • Scaling and root planning – This cleaning is for heavy tartar buildup and bone loss around your teeth. Typically, this cleaning will use some local anesthetic.

Dentists and hygienists will do a full mouth exam to look at teeth and gums, and check for cavities before a cleaning. But they will also want to have x-rays of your mouth to review and decide which type of dental cleaning is right for you.

Keeping your mouth healthy

Gums are key to dental health and they tell your dentist and hygienist a lot. Gingivitis can let us know that we need to take action to help reverse and improve your oral health. Things that increase the risk of gingivitis include smoking or chewing tobacco, crowded or overlapping teeth, and hormonal changes associated with pregnancy and diabetes. Thankfully, gingivitis is reversible. It starts with removing tartar and plaque with the help of your hygienist or dentist, as well as learning proper techniques of daily brushing and flossing to maintain your oral health. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more serious dental problems, pain, and other health conditions.

Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and use fluoride toothpaste if available. Flossing daily is one of the easiest and best things you can do for your overall health. It doesn’t take long and can have big benefits. Lastly, schedule regular dental checkups every six months with one of our NOAH dental providers.

Healthy Halloween Tips

By Stephanie Olzinski, RDN and Rhyan Geiger, RDN

Does the thought of Halloween candy give you the spooks? Worried about trick-or-treating and wanting to stay home this year? Here are some ways to stay safe and on track for a healthy Halloween while still enjoying treats with your family and friends.

  1. Buy fewer bags of candy. 

    Especially if going door to door will be limited this year, try to buy less than usual for the candy that will be given out or kept in your house.

  2. Choose the mini sizes. 

    Larger candy bars come with double or triple the calories. To enjoy your favorite treats without going overboard, opt for the smaller sized candy.

  3. Eat before you treat.

    If you and your family decide to go out trick-or-treating or even to a socially-distanced event, make sure you are eating a balanced meal beforehand to avoid overeating any sweets. A good meal should include some protein and fiber to keep you full and satisfied!

  4. Stay active.

    Whether you’re walking around, doing activities at home, or having a spooky dance party, staying active each day is important to keep your body strong and healthy.

  5. Make your own treats.

    Using this year to begin new traditions could be a great way to have more family time and make healthy choices too. Below are some ideas for snacks that are festive, easy, and good for you!

BONUS CONTENT: recipe ideas for a Healthy Halloween!

  • Boo Bananas – cut bananas in half and place mini chocolate chips as eyes and a mouth.
  • Clementine Pumpkins – peel a clementine and add a small piece of celery to represent the stem of a pumpkin.
  • Witches Broomsticks – cut mozzarella cheese sticks in have and shred one end to make it look like a broom. On the other end, insert a pretzel stick to represent the handle of the broom.

Who? When? Why? Navigating Breast Cancer Screening

By Zachary Whitaker, D.O. HonorHealth Family Medicine Residency, PGY-1

Summary – Your health and well-being are the primary goal! So, if you’re wondering when to start, what timeline to follow, or what your risk may be for breast cancer, speak to your physician and share your concerns, priorities, and values. Together, you can determine the best plan for you!

You, like many women, may be wondering when you should start getting screened for breast cancer. You may have heard different things from different friends, family members, or even doctors—you are not alone! One of the main reasons for those differences is that there are multiple organizations that give recommendations on what age screening should start and how frequently it should be done. Each woman’s individual risk for cancer and her preferences are also taken into account. Breast cancer screening looks for signs of possible cancer before symptoms are present. Having a positive screening test does not mean you have cancer. Further, diagnostic testing is required to actually diagnose cancer. The currently accepted best test for screening is mammography (a special low-dose X-ray).

Who should get screened? All women who do not have symptoms and who have never had breast cancer.

When should I get screened? This is where much of the confusion arises. The governing bodies of different medical organizations develop their own recommendations. Overall, the recommended age range for women at average risk to begin screening is between 40 and 50 years old. Some organizations recommend yearly screening, while others every 2 years. And some recommend stopping at age 74, while others recommend continuing until individual life expectancy decreases to less than 5 or 10 years. Bottom line: most women should start by at least age 50 and get it at least every 2 years until at least age 74.

Why should I get screened? Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death in adult women in the United States. Breast cancer accounts for the second greatest number of deaths from all cancers in that same demographic. It is also one of the few cancers we have effective screening for, and the earlier cancer is found, the greater the chance of effective treatment and survival.

Raise Your Domestic Violence Awareness

By Cody Randel

Domestic violence impacts millions of men and women every year. The more we know about identifying possible victims and offering support, the more individuals and families will get the help they deserve. Approximately one in four women and one in 10 men will experience domestic violence in their lives.

The Truth About Identifying Victims

The true nature of domestic violence makes it difficult to identify. Victims are often scared and shamed by their perpetrator, and they are hesitant to come forward. Knowing how to identify the signs of domestic violence could someday help save someone’s life. 

  • Physical signs such as bruises, cuts, or other marks on the victim’s body are a big indicator, these are often hidden with clothing or makeup, or by creating an untrue story of the origin of the injury.
  • Emotional signs like fear, low self-esteem, timidity, depressed mood, substance abuse, isolation and others are important to notice.

There can be other signs, but in general, noticing some of the above are strong indicators, especially if behavior changes.

How You Can Help

Many people still view domestic violence as a private family matter, but it isn’t. It is a public health and social issue that impacts the safety of the community.

If you believe someone is experiencing domestic violence in a relationship, there are ways to help. How you approach helping is very important because it can mean the safety of everyone involved.

You can help by:

  • providing emotional support for the victim by listening to and reassuring them that they do not deserve to be abused
  • letting the victim know that you worry for their health and safety
  • offering resources that can help them get out of the relationship
  • NEVER confronting the perpetrator
  • suggesting that the victim remove weapons from the home such as firearms, knives, etc.
  • helping the victim create a Safety Plan (see more details below)

A Safety Plan should include:

  • hidden bag packed with essentials like ID, money, car keys, etc. in case they have to leave quickly
  • list of numbers for hospitals, shelters, hotlines, and other community resources
  • a safe space for the victim (and possibly children) to go with other family, friends, or a shelter

If you see that a victim is in immediate danger, call 911. And if you are the victim of domestic abuse, there are resources and many professionals, like our team at NOAH, who can listen and provide resources to help.  

Domestic violence resources:

5 Creative Ways to Celebrate Boss’s Day in 2020

On October 16th show a little appreciation to your boss for Boss’s Day. This will go a long way for a boss who works long hours and supports your team. Plus, as an added bonus, showing kindness and gratitude towards others can benefit your health as well!

During 2020, though, when not everyone is physically at the office every day, making sure your boss feels the love from the entire team may take a little creativity.

Try some of these to show your boss you appreciate them:

  • Chip In – Go in with coworkers to celebrate. Buy a card for everyone to sign or get a group gift. Try buying a gift that your boss needs for their office or something personal like flowers or a gift card.
  • Gifts that Give Back – If your boss is hard to buy for or would rather give away all their gifts to others, they may love having a donation made in their name. Knowing what organizations or causes they support will make this easy, and everyone can chip in. If the charity can send a note or acknowledgement for the donation, share that with your boss. Or make your own card stating that a donation was made in their name.
  • What You Mean to Me – Write – in an email or a card – what your boss means to you. If you’ve been working together for a long time, look back on your growth together. If you are newer to the team, thank them for seeing the potential in you and being the kind of boss you want to work for.
  • Make it About Them – Does your boss love a kind of food the rest of the team doesn’t? Today your boss gets to pick! Maybe it is the kind of music playing in the office or shop, or you attend an online presentation they are excited about. Whatever your boss really enjoys, let them pick today. You can also offer to help with something. By letting them know you see just how much work they do, you can make their job or a project a little easier.
  • Make a Presentation – Use whatever creative skills you have and make a video or presentation about how great your boss is. It can be pictures, quotes from everyone, funny stories, and more. Put it to music and make it part of a bigger celebration, or just share it with the team to watch on their own.

Whatever you do to celebrate Boss’s Day, make it personal. If gifts make your boss uncomfortable, or some team members can’t chip in, that okay. Celebrate it in a way that works for everyone and is something fun and positive.

Honor World Mental Health Day

By Cody Randel

World Mental Health Day is October 10th, to both raise awareness and to mobilize support for this important issue. This year, however, the World Health Organization (WHO) will host its advocacy event online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Big Event for Mental Health brings together world leaders, celebrities, and advocates from all over the world. The focus will be on the serious need for widespread resources, a problem worsened by the pandemic. The event is free and will be broadcast on WHO’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and TikTok channels from 7 – 9:30 a.m.  

Big Event Highlights 

  • How can we better invest in mental health? A look at individual, national, and global levels and the actions needed to scale up resources. 
  • The event will include several short films that focus on the work of WHO and their partners’ initiatives around the globe. 
  • WHO’s event will ultimately highlight a variety of ways to improve mental health, spread more awareness, and share the benefits of investment that go beyond public health. 

Mental Illness Facts

  • Approximately 1 billion people worldwide live with a mental disorder 
  • 3 million people die every year from harmful alcohol use worldwide 
  • 1 person dies every 40 seconds from suicide across the world 
  • COVID-19 has impacted billions of people’s lives worldwide, and subsequently affected people’s mental health

One of greatest obstacles we all face is the social and internalized stigma associated with seeking help for these health issues. Programs like World Mental Health Day are important to not only bringing awareness to these issues, but also continuing to make it a mainstream topic which helps people around the world. Get involved in changing negative views about mental health issues by organizing events to raise awareness, or by simply listening to an individual who is suffering. We all have the power to change a life with even the smallest gestures. 

If you want to speak with someone about any challenges or concerns you are living with, request an appointment today.

Mental Illness Awareness Week – Mental Illness in Youth

Mental health problems or disorders are surprisingly common in youth and children. The National Institute of Mental Health (NAMI) reports that 50% of all lifetime mental illnesses develop by age 14. However, differentiating the difference between expected behaviors and a mental illness can be tricky. In younger children, symptoms are typically behavioral as they are still learning how to deal with big emotions. Children can also have a hard time explaining how they feel or why they are behaving a certain way. Whether you are a parent, coach, teacher, religious leader, or just a trusted adult, you may be able to spot warning signs that a youth may need support or services.

Some common signs of mental illness in youth include:

  • Sudden changes in behavior (for example: has an active child becoming withdrawn and quiet or a good student starting to get poor grades)
  • Sudden change in feelings (for example: mood swings, lack of feelings)
  • Avoiding places or situations that have not been routinely avoided
  • New complaints of physical problems like headaches, stomach aches, problems eating or sleeping, or lack of energy
  • Suddenly keeping to themselves or increased shyness
  • Low self esteem
  • Frequent outbursts, tantrums, or meltdowns
  • Substance abuse
  • New physical harm to self, others, or property
  • Inattention or poor focus
  • Refusing to go to school
  • Difficulty with transitions within or between school, home, or social activities
  • Thoughts of death or dying

This list is not a complete list of symptoms. It is important to seek a complete medical exam to rule out any medical issues. Diagnosing mental illness in children may take some time and involve questionnaires or assessments. Psychotherapy can be helpful to assist the youth and the guardian or family members in treating symptoms and learning new skills. Mediation may also be helpful in specific situations.

NOAH has a team of trained clinicians such as doctors, counselors, and psychiatrists to help on this journey. No family or child has to navigate this alone.