When Was The Last Time You Visited The Optometrist?

Did your parents ever tell you to eat more carrots so you could have good eyesight? Even though carrots have beneficial nutrients for your body, they do not eliminate the importance of seeing an eye doctor every year. Most of us are diligent about getting our annual physical exam with our Primary Care Provider, and we may even visit our dentist every six months for professional cleaning, but when you stop and really think about it, your eye health is vital also! An annual eye exam goes beyond just clearing up blurry vision because there is so much more to your eye health than seeing clearly. Here are some important reasons why you should visit your eye doctor annually. 

Underlying Medical Condition 

An eye doctor can certainly help you see better, but they can also be the first to discover high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, a hormone imbalance, and even a brain tumor because your eyes are a “tell-all” for early signs of health problems. It is amazing how our bodies work because anything that affects the circulatory system can be revealed in the tiny blood vessels in and around the retina. Blurry vision, eye pain, or improper pupil dilation could indicate clues to a neurological problem, like an aneurysm or a tumor since the optic nerve is in direct contact with the brain. 

Protecting Long-Term Vision

Today, more children are developing myopia or nearsightedness. This is a concern because little ones who struggle with nearsightedness can experience a worsening of the condition throughout adolescence, which significantly raises the risk of additional eye conditions. These conditions include cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. Therefore, annual eye exams are extremely beneficial for a child’s overall health because they can assess the risk of myopia and reduce the progression of any future eye problems.

Assessing Glaucoma

Glaucoma, however, is a disease that is not only serious but sneaky. It has no discernible symptoms in its early stages, so it would be difficult to know if something is wrong without a professional’s assessment. This disease is ruthless because, by the time any damage has occurred, it becomes very difficult to slow down or control. Therefore, without routine eye exams, permanent loss of vision is possible for those who have this condition. To ensure optimal eye health, one must make it a priority to visit the eye doctor.

Detecting UV Damage

Have you spent many days out in direct sunlight? Whether out on the lake in the summer or skiing the mountain slopes in the winter, the eyes can become easily sunburned and damaged. While everyone should wear mineral-based sunblock to protect their skin, one must also be diligent about protecting their eyes from the sun’s powerful rays with the proper UVA and UVB eyewear. Sun damage does not only cause skin cancer, but it is also the primary cause of cataracts. An optometrist is your best source to treat mild burns and can effectively remove a cataract. 

Vision Screening vs. Comprehensive Exam

A vision screening does not compare to the benefit of having a comprehensive eye exam. Vision screenings are simple tests that help identify if someone has or is at risk for vision problems. A school nurse or a pediatrician often complete screenings, but these are the same basic screenings completed when you obtain your driver’s license.  While uncomplicated in nature, screenings can potentially indicate the need for a comprehensive eye exam. 

When you go to the optometrist, you receive a comprehensive eye exam. This involves careful testing of every aspect of your vision. Depending on the results, your doctor will determine what treatment plans are best for your individual needs. Treatment plans for correcting vision problems can consist of eyeglasses, contact lenses, or doing eye exercises. Treatment for health-related problems could include surgery for any muscle issues, or medical intervention for eye disease. Therefore, it is most beneficial to schedule a comprehensive eye exam each year.

It is estimated that the number of visually-impaired people in the United States will double in the next ten years. To help reduce this number, people need to prioritize scheduling a visit to the optometrist, especially if has been more than two years since the eyes were checked. A healthy life is a high-quality life, and your vision should not be taken for granted!

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Natural Looking Fillings

Have you ever set up a long-overdue dentist appointment while hoping and praying you don’t have any cavities…only to learn that you do? If you don’t have the time to get them filled that day, then a follow-up treatment will be necessary to fill the cavity. Back in the day, some people had a mouth full of gold or silver fillings, but today, a filling is not what it used to be. Metal fillings have played an important role in treating dental cavities, but the color has made the number of cavities in a person’s mouth much too obvious and unattractive. As a result, many people now opt for more natural-looking or tooth-colored fillings. 

Filling Types

Cast Gold Fillings: Gold has been used to repair teeth problems for thousands of years, however, this precious metal is an expensive option.  This high-quality mineral does not corrode, and it can last up to 15 or more years. Also, it is a long process to use gold for fillings because it requires two appointments: First to remove the decay and take an impression, and second to permanently cement the gold filling into the tooth. As valuable as gold is, it may or may not be worth having it as a filling. 

Amalgam Fillings: You know the dark, silver spots you may have seen in some elderly folks’ mouths? This is known as an amalgam filling, which is a mixture of different metals, including silver, tin, mercury, copper, and zinc. These types of fillings are the least expensive. However, to get the job done, more of a tooth’s structure has to be removed before installing the filling, and once they are in, they tend to corrode over time and cause discoloration to the tooth enamel. One of the greatest disadvantages of these types of fillings is that they are unattractive whenever someone opens their mouth.

Natural-Looking Fillings: Tooth-colored fillings are composite resins that are made up of a blend of plastic and glass particles. This material is not only great at repairing cavities but can even go the extra mile by changing the color or shape of a tooth. These fillings only need one appointment because the procedure is simple and fairly quick. Your dentist will choose the shade of composite closest to your natural tooth color, and then decay will be removed.  Next, a special curing light will be used to harden the layers of the filling material. Lastly, the filling will be shaped and polished so that it remains smooth and natural-looking. 

Benefits of Natural-Looking Fillings

Healthier: These fillings require minimal tooth removal, which preserves the inherent structure. When a tooth has more of its natural structure, it can stay healthier and lessens its chances of tooth decay or oral health issues later on. 

Tooth-Colored: Natural-looking fillings replicate the structure and shade of the tooth so they maintain the mouth’s aesthetics. Those who are in need of teeth restorations can do so without it affecting the appearance of their teeth whenever they talk or smile.

Durable and Safe: These fillings have proven to repair teeth exceptionally well with the tough, long-lasting composite. Traditionally, amalgam fillings would expand and contract with temperature changes.  As a result, this put pressure on the tooth, causing it to crack or even break. Natural-looking fillings do not have this issue, which is why they are a safer option.

Reduced Sensitivity: Unlike metal fillings, natural-looking fillings will not be sensitive to extreme temperature changes. Teeth will still feel strong and able to withstand either a hot coffee or ice-cold water without any discomfort.

Mercury-Free: Mercury is a toxic material in amalgam fillings. Although the amount of mercury is low enough that it is not considered dangerous to your health, this is still a point to consider.

A lucky few have never had a cavity, and may never have the cavity-filling experience, but for the rest of us, getting a cavity filled is a normal part of life.  Thankfully, we now have natural-looking fillings that have made it possible to keep our teeth healthy, strong, and attractive! 

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Flossing Truths!

If you have ever thought to yourself, “When is the last time I flossed?” then you need to read this!  It is easy to be in the habit of brushing your teeth and using mouthwash occasionally, however, what people do not realize is that brushing is really only part of the process to getting a clean and healthy mouth. Flossing must be practiced in order for it to become a habit, and it’s really only through consistency that a person can reap its true benefits. 

Now flossing may not be the most fun daily activity but it’s one that will definitely pay off in the long run. So lets discuss some motivating truths about floss that will hopefully inspire you to make this activity apart of your daily routine. 

The Truth about Flossing!

Flossing protects against periodontal disease:Even if you brush daily food debris can become trapped in the in between spaces of your teeth and gums. These food particles that get left become the perfect prey for your oral bacteria to attack, which can ultimately lead to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by the bacteria in plaque that activates your body’s responses to the bacterial infection, which leads to an array of problems like swollen, bleeding gums, gingivitis, teeth loosening, and eventually to more severe stages of the disease. Flossing on a daily basis removes any food debris and plaque build up, thus preventing this disease from progressing. 

Flossing keeps our body’s healthy:When you brush your teeth and floss you tend to think your just keeping your mouth clean but really maintaining good oral hygiene protects more than just a healthy smile. If good oral hygiene is not maintained on a daily basis and bacteria is given the opportunity to flourish then it can result in a number of more serious health issues such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and diabetes. So by simply including flossing to your dental routine you are protecting your body as a whole. 

Flossing whitens your smile:Maybe you have tried all different types of whitening techniques like an over the counter product or baking soda. Even though they may have helped, one of the best ways to get and keep a whiter smile is by flossing. Flossing will help keep any staining to a minimum, which will leave your smile brighter.

Flossing and brushing are equally important:As a child you are taught to brush your teeth and make that apart of your morning and night routine. You may have heard your mom yell out a number of times, “Did you brush your teeth?” Brushing your teeth gets engrained into us; however, depending on how well your parents flossed you may have only left that portion to the dentist. Flossing is not secondary to brushing; it in fact is an equal partner in the fight against oral diseases. Floss is made to scrub out the tight in between places of your teeth as well as the gap between the teeth and gums. Brushing may make your mouth feel cleaner and fresher but really the job is only done half way. Brushing can’t reach those hard to reach spaces that only floss can get. So instead of living in the illusion of a clean mouth actually have one, by allowing floss to remove the plaque in the areas that are hidden. 

Flossing gives better breath:Have you ever breathed into your hand and tried to quickly smell it to see if your breath smells all right? After getting a whiff you may have either determined you need to brush your teeth or a mint will suffice. Flossing, however, helps to maintain a better smelling breath. It is the remaining food particles and bacteria that lead to a nasty smelling mouth but by thoroughly removing any plaque, which is caused by residual food particles, your breath will improve.

Fun Flossing Facts

-If you choose not to floss, 35% of your teeth will remain unclean. But if you do floss, dental floss will remove a plaque that is made up of more than 300 different species of bacteria. Yikes!

-Not brushing and flossing can allow tiny bacteria to destroy one of the hardest substances in the body, tooth enamel. 

-Floss that is pieced into 18-20 inch strands is the ideal length when flossing, however most people don’t use that much.

-Once a day is the recommended amount a person should floss but twice a day, is of course, much better.

-Flossing your teeth daily will lessen your chances of getting cavities and will ultimately keep your teeth and gums stronger and healthier.

Flossing may not have originally been a habit of yours but hopefully you are now inspired and motivated to make it a part of your daily dental routine. 

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Full Mouth Reconstruction

The mouth is made up of the jaw bone, gums, tongue, salivary glands and most importantly, teeth. The purpose of your teeth is to break down food for your stomach to digest, and because they come in direct contact with everything you eat, they require the very best care. Going to the dentist is a critical part of taking good care of your overall health.

There is a wide range of dental problems that could potentially affect people over the long term. These problems often occur as a standalone issue, which can be resolved fairly quickly and easily if a dentist is seen.  However, for those who do not see a dentist annually, small problems can easily become big problems, and that is when full mouth reconstruction may become necessary.  Sudden mouth trauma can also require a full-mouth reconstruction as well.

What is Full Mouth Reconstruction? 

Full mouth reconstruction includes replacing missing teeth, repairing teeth that have been damaged, correction to jaw joints and faulty bites as well as gum and jawbone damage, replacing previous dental work that has worn out, and even treatment for mouth diseases. Each one of these procedures can be performed independently, however, when a person has multiple dental health problems it may be beneficial for a full mouth reconstruction. 

Reconstruction is any combination of different types of dentistry to get your mouth back in good health. This could include restorative dental treatments like crowns, bridges, fillings, inlays, and onlays. Implant dentistry uses dental implants to fill in the missing spaces by replicating the originals from root to crown. Cosmetic dentistry works to bring the aesthetics of the mouth back to good health by using porcelain veneers, teeth, whitening, dental bonding, and gum re-contouring. 

Neuromuscular dentistry, or TMD treatment, is done to correct any issue that involves the temporomandibular joints as well as the bite. Bruxism treatments include therapy that helps resolve teeth that are grinding. Oral surgery involves root canal therapy, soft and hard tissue grafting and tooth extraction. It can also include other procedures that deal with orthotics and periodontal treatments. Since full mouth reconstruction can be a different combination of these procedures, reconstruction dentistry will look different from patient to patient. 

Who Needs Full Mouth Reconstruction?

Anyone who has multiple oral health problems that are affecting the majority of the teeth, as well as the supporting tissue, will oftentimes be the right candidate for the full mouth reconstruction. These oral health issues may include four or more teeth missing or compromised, eroded enamel, decay in multiple teeth, difficulty chewing and biting, bone loss in the jaw, severe difficulty speaking, irritated gums and bones from dentures, or major wear and chipping on the teeth from many years of grinding. There are other conditions that a person can be born with like Ectodermal dysplasia that usually requires a full reconstruction procedure.

Possible Concerns

Patients who are younger tend to respond better to reconstructive treatments and have a quicker recovery time. Those who are older, generally have a greater risk with any type of medical or dental procedure. So, depending on the age and health statics, a less invasive procedure may be a better option.  

A full mouth reconstruction is a major process, therefore, those with heart problems or with certain autoimmune diseases require special considerations. Since this is a corrective treatment for better oral health, those who cannot or will not maintain it, due to smoking, heavy alcohol, or drug usage should consider breaking bad habits prior to undergoing reconstructive surgery.

When the mouth is healthy and high functioning, all systems and components are working together in perfect harmony. However, when components become compromised, it can throw off oral health balance and even lead to greater health concerns.  Fortunately, a full mouth reconstruction procedure can offer hope to those who are in need of professional dental services.

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Plaque Care for Healthy Teeth

What is your favorite part of going to the dentist? Is it walking away with teeth that look and feel extra clean and sparkly? Sometimes your teeth will feel so smooth it can be hard to keep your tongue off them. When you do not brush your teeth three times a day, or especially after something sweet, a colorless film of bacteria begins to accumulate on your teeth. These bacteria are known as plaque. 

Plaque develops when you consume sweet carbohydrates such as milk, soda, candy, cake, etc. and you do not brush or chew sugarless gum immediately after consumption. If plaque is given the chance to flourish, then it will produce acids that can ultimately destroy tooth enamel leads to tooth decay. Plaque not only develops on the tooth itself but also on its roots under the gums, and when it settles there, it will cause the tooth to breakdown. 

Plaque is something you do not want to let hang around for too long!  Fortunately, there are ways to prevent plaque buildup, and protect your teeth from the devastating effects of the bacteria. Here are some ways to keep your teeth healthy and plaque-free. 

Brush Twice Daily

Ideally, it would be best to take your toothbrush with you wherever you go to be sure you can brush after every meal. This would ensure that plaque does not stick around too long. Since this is not realistic for most people, a thorough brushing twice a day will suffice. Brushing before bedtime is especially important so that the plaque does not develop on your teeth as you sleep.

To ensure that your twice-daily brushing is enough, it is vital to brush properly by keeping your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards your gums. Brush in circular motions all around every tooth including the outsides, insides and inner parts of the tooth. Once every tooth has been cleaned, scrape your tongue to remove bacteria and to freshen your breath. This entire process should take at least two minutes, and there are brushing timers that can help you ensure you clean your teeth long enough.

Remember to use a soft-bristled toothbrush because a brush that is too rough can damage your gums. As much as you may get attached to your favorite toothbrush, it is best to replace it every three months. A toothbrush that is overused and worn down will not provide a proper brushing. However, if you want the best possible result, use an electronic toothbrush. They are more expensive, but they are also much more effective.

Floss Once Daily

Brushing teeth twice a day is good, but it is not enough. Everyone must floss once a day to avoid plaque buildup. Because the bacteria are so small, they can get into the hard-to-reach places like between your teeth. Therefore, flossing is the key to preventing plaque from getting the best of your teeth and gums. Flossing should occur once a day to ensure you are removing plaque from areas your toothbrush cannot reach. There is no right or wrong way to clean those hidden spaces; it just needs to be done and it does not matter when you do so. 

You can use floss by wrapping it around your fingers to create tension as you push it between your teeth or choose a different option such as dental picks, wooden plaque removers or a small, straight brush that can go between the teeth. When you floss, move the string between your teeth but also up and around the top edges of the tooth that touch the gums near the root for a more thorough cleaning.

Reduce Sugar and Starch Intake

Cookies, cake, candy, and soda are delightful treats, but when it comes to health, sugar addiction causes all sorts of problems. Sugar attracts the troublemakers in our bodies like plaque because these bacteria thrive on sugar.  The more sugar we consume, the more bacteria will grow, making it that much harder to keep plaque at bay. Therefore, the best way to prevent this problem is by limiting sugar and starch intake (potato chips, breads, sweetened beverages, etc.).  Whenever you do consume these foods, be sure to drink plenty of water afterward to help rinse away any remaining sugar on your teeth.

Oil Pulling

Brushing and flossing are primary ways to keep your mouth and teeth clean. However, there are other additional methods that aid a healthier mouth. One method includes oil pulling, which consists of swishing oil, usually coconut oil, around in your mouth for about 20 minutes. This practice removes plaque and strengthens your teeth while preventing tooth decay and soothing gums. Coconut oil is particularly beneficial as it contains fatty acids with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects. Only one tablespoon of oil will leave your mouth much cleaner and healthier. 

Removing plaque from your teeth every day is vital for a healthy mouth, so if you believe you could improve your brushing and flossing habits, now is the time to do so!  See if you can impress your dentist with the health of your teeth at your next exam. 

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Joy Trumps Happiness


Happiness is a wonderful feeling; however, it is also circumstantial, and emotionally-based. Therefore, happiness is only a temporary sensation.  So, if happiness is only temporary, then what is a better alternative? The answer is joy.  Joy is not only experiencing unconditional love in your relationships, but also findingpeace and hope in times of chaos, grief, andpain. When compared to joy, happiness is shallow because joy is an attitude of our heart that goes deep into our soul.

We experience joy when we live selflessly and become spiritually connected with both God and people. Joy is not boastful, it is not isolated, and it is not hopeless. Instead,joy is ahumblestrength, andthe lighthearted peace it brings is felt by others.  Being joyful means having confidence in the unconditional love that comes from God, being hope-filledand giving thanks in all circumstances.  Here’s how to find joy and cultivate more joy in our everyday lives.


Recognize Your Worth

Negative thoughts are poison to our mindset and feelings.  If we are constantly telling ourselves that we are not good enough or we believe the negative talk from others, we will never find happiness, let alone joy.  Regardless of your past mistakes or shortcomings, you are deserving of joy and the that comes with it.  True joy is unaffected by negativity becausethose who possess joy know their worth and that joy is unlimited. Joy brings self-acceptance and allows you to walk a bit more confidently through life.

To help you recognize your worth, remind yourself daily that there is no one like you and that God created you to enjoy life. When you feel your mind going down a negative path, bring it back by taking a deep breath and saying something like “I am unique; I am valuable; I am enough.” Write these reminders in places you will be sure to see them, like on the bathroom mirror, in the car or on your phone. It may take time to believe your own words, but over time, your heart will know they are true because God will confirm them in your spirit.  This mindset transformation will allow more joy into your life.


Stop Comparing

Another thing that can rob your life of joy is playing the comparison game.  It is especially difficult to stop playing this game if you regularly engage in socialmedia, read popular magazines, watch television or have a variety of relationships in your life.  Whether or not we realize it, we see other’s beautiful, easy, stable and seemingly perfect lives and compare those to our drab, less-than-perfectlives.

We can find joy whenwe celebrate the good things in others’ lives rather than being envious.  Learn to recognizeothers’ accomplishments, celebrate their wins, and affirm their efforts.  Complimenting others and considering their feelings is a great way to overcome the comparison game “hampster wheel.”Invest in the people you value and want to be more like, and distance yourself from those who do not have your best interests at heart.  We can also experience joy when we focus on our own blessings and successes, acknowledging the good things God has done in our lives.  You never know, someone might be comparing your great life to their own!


Practice Gratitude

What are you thankful for?  Take one minute right now and see if you can list at least 10 things you have (or do not have, like a terminal illness!) that you can be thankful for.  Think about your relationships, your employment or employable skills, where you live, your mode of transportation, your health, your country, etc.  Are you able to work, clothe, feed and shelter yourself?  So many people in the world today do not have the luxury of going to the grocery store for food, have affordable access to medical/dental care or have access to clean drinking water, and yet many of us take these things for granted.

Itcan be easy to fall into the routine of negative or selfish thoughts without realizing how they are really affecting you over the long term. Our thoughts are powerful, and they need to be monitored. When we consciously direct our thoughts down a more positive path, our natural negative thought rhythms begin to break down and new thought pathways are created. It is all about shifting our perspective, and the best way to do that is by practicing gratitude. This discipline can alter our once negative attitude into a more positive and joyous one. Gratitude is an invitation for joy to grow in our heart and mind and remain for a lifetime.


Serve Others

Many would argue that humans are naturally selfish; we tend to only think of ourselves and what we need to do to be happy.  Some who are considered wise and mature would tell you that one of the ways to find true joy is to serve others and put their needs above your own.  This requires setting your own wants aside long enough to see a person’s needs, to lending a helping hand to a neighbor or to let a stranger go first.  Serving others is another way to make more room for joy in our hearts because it gives us a chance to fellowship and feelmore connected to others. Each of us has a unique skill set and a variety of strengths, and when we allow the “gifts” we possess to be shared with others, our lives become more purposeful and we find true joy.


Reevaluate Your Relationships

The people we surround ourselves with are the ones we tend to act like. If you are regularly around “Negative Nancys” or haters, it will be easy for you to adopt their habits without even realizing it. However,if you fill your social circle with people who are joyful, positive, humble and loving, it will be easier for you to act likewise.  If you ever feel drainedor like the life has been sucked right out of you after leaving someone’s presence, you need to think about how to establish better boundaries with that person or how to cut them out of your life.  Invest more time an energy into the people who care about you, who encourage you, who tell you the truth, and who make you laugh because they are the ones who will help you find more joy in your life.


Finding and cultivating joy takes intentionality. It is a choice and an attitude of the heart. When you find joy, you will also find a life that feels fuller, more carefree and has stronger relationships with those you care about most.

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Influenza and Flu Shots


If you have ever had the official flu or influenza virus, you know you have it because it hits you like a freight train!  Influenzainvolves a full-force high fever, uncomfortable body-muscle aches, an intense headache,a sorethroat, and a nagging cough, which usually leaves one bedridden and practically useless for several days. Because this virus is so severe and potentially deadly, it is vital to get the flu shot every season. If you have never had the flu or youhave not had it in a long time, you may wonder whether or not you really need a flu shot. Here are some reasons why you and your family should seriously consider regular flu vaccinations.






Why is the Flu Shot is Important?

The possibility of getting the flu is often viewed as a temporary inconvenience rather than a life-threatening virus. This was the case a century ago when there was a devastating flu outbreak back in 1918. This pandemic took the lives of about 50 million people all over the globe. Even though scientific research and study haveprovided great improvements in the prevention of influenza, the flu is still responsible for nearly 50,000 deaths in the United States each year. The vaccine has reduced the number of flu-related illnesses, flu-related hospitalizations, and flu-related deaths, but many Americans still need to take the vaccination more seriously.  While the vaccine can only target a specific strand of flu, it has been proven effective, and even reduces the severity of the other flu strands.A flu shot is often free, has minimal-if-any side-effects, and is a worthwhile precaution when death is a possibility.


How Does the Flu Vaccine Operate?

Vaccines get a healthy immune system’s attention by putting traces of a destroyed or modified pathogen/virus in the bloodstreamto create antibodies to fight against the disease. Vaccines do not cause someone to get the disease or become infected, but rather, they prepare the body to know how to fight and win if the flu virus gets inside. However, one difference between influenza and other diseases is that the flu is constantly changing! As a “Master of Disguise,” it is constantly altering itself as it replicates and infects other people.  For example, if you get the flu and you give it to your family members, each one will get a slightly different version of your original virus.  Since this virus changes and adapts every year, it makes it difficult to avoid getting the flu over the course of one’s lifetime. For this reason, a new flu vaccine is produced every year based on the educated prediction of health experts.


Who Needs to Have the Flu Vaccination?

The flu shot is a great way to protect the healthand well-being of everyone during the colder seasons.Anyone ages six-months or older should receive the flu shot every season. Although the flu shot is not 100 percent effective due tothe actively-changing nature of the virus, it is still a good idea to do what you can to protect yourself and your family from a week of severe illness.

There are certain individuals who are at a higher riskof getting the flu. These individuals include women who are pregnant, small children between ages six months and five years, people who are over 50, individuals with chronic medical conditions, those with a body mass index of 40 and above, and individuals who receive aspirin therapy and are under the age of 18. Anyone in close contact with these individuals such as parents, teachers, healthcare workers, etc. are also at a greater risk of getting influenza.

There are a few exceptions for getting the flu shot. People who have endured a negative reaction to a previous flu shot, those with an egg or mercury allergy, individuals with Guillain-barre syndrome or anyone who has a fever the day of a planned vaccination should not get the flu shot.


What are some Potential Side Effects to Receiving the Flu Shot?

There is a common misconception that the flu shot can give you the active flu virus. The flu shot, which is safe for an overwhelming majority of the population, contains a small amount of the inactive virus, which can lead to flu-like symptoms within a 24-hour period of receiving the vaccine. While this is not common, some of the possible side effects that may cause a low-grade fever, tenderness at the injection site, swollen or red injection site, chills or a headache. A mild reaction or side effect to the flu vaccine should only last a day or two while your body adjusts and builds up immunity to the virus strand within the vaccine.

Although no one plans on having the flu, becoming severely ill usually makes one wish they had gotten vaccinated!  Missed events, missed work, incomplete responsibilities, etc. can be a huge setback, so in order to keep up with life and stay healthy, it is best to get vaccinated.Even though there are some people who have opted out of getting vaccinated and have managed to avoid getting the flu, the odds are that a timewill come when they will fall victim to influenza.  It does not discriminate; all who reject the flu vaccination are vulnerable to the virus.  Sincethe flu vaccine is the single best way to stand against influenza, be proactive and protect not only yourself, but those around you by getting the flu shot.

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Eating A Healthy Lunch

Centuries ago, dinner was slated as the main meal of the day and was often consumed in the late afternoon to early evening. As time progressed, people realized that their bodies needed some sort of nourishment earlier in the day to sufficiently sustain them. Hence “dinner” eventually became an evening meal and “lunch” entered the scene.  Today, moms stand in front of the kitchen pantry contemplating what they can pack their child for school because they recognize the importance of a good, healthy lunch.  Men quickly grab some leftovers from the previous nights dinner to take to work so their bodies have energy to make it through an eight-hour shift. Lunch may seem to come in second to breakfast which has always been touted as the “most important meal of the day” but it remains a vital meal and is often overlooked. Breakfast certainly has its place, but lunch offers a midday energy boost.  A healthy lunch really is an important part of healthy living and can ultimately help you accomplish much more during the second half of your day.

Benefits of eating lunch

Like clockwork, around the middle of the day, our bodies begin to tell us we are in need of fuel, a boost of energy, and a little spike in blood sugar.  Eating lunch can transition you from feeling hungry and low on energy to refreshed and refocused in no time. But more than just gaining energy, eating a healthy lunch can play an essential role in our mental health.  Choosing to skip lunch can have a significant impact on our bodies and our brains. In fact, if our body isn’t getting adequate nutrients then our brain doesn’t get what it needs to function properly. Eating midday stabilizes blood sugar and prevents mood swings, like being “hangry” and we all know what being “hangry” is like whether it’s our own affliction or someone’s close to us.


If you choose to opt out

We live in a weight conscious culture which leads some of us into taking drastic measures to lose the extra pounds.  Many believe that if they skip meals, the unwanted weight will fly off.  But what effect does this have on the body? Opting out of lunch can lead to some intense feelings of hunger because our stomachs are directly connected to our brain and when our stomachs aren’t happy neither is our brain.  The brain and body are wired for survival and when you deprive your body of the calories it needs, it goes into storage mode and tries to conserve all energy it can.  The main fuel source of the brain is glucose, which first becomes compromised and then depleted about four to six hours after a meal.  Therefore eating a meal every four to six hours is vital for your body to be adequately fueled and reenergized.  If weight loss is your goal and you allow your body to hit survival mode, you are more likely to overeat the next time you enjoy a meal.  Skipping lunch will eventually catch up to you and regulating your eating and weight will get more and more difficult.  So rather than opting out, instead steer towards healthier choices.


A healthy and nutritious lunch

Lunch seems to be notorious for “same ole same ole” because it’s so easy to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for your child’s lunch everyday. It could even be a healthy option like a salad, but anything done over and over again can get boring and uninteresting. The key to a nutritious lunch is variety and a balance of the right kinds of food. There are a few staple food groups that are important to have in every meal. Your meal should include a grain, protein, fruit, vegetable, and dairy. Within each category there are plenty of options, for example instead of choosing whole grain bread every time, go for a pita or some rice. Include some meat (or a healthy protein alternative) and instead of cooking chicken for the entire week add tuna or hard-boiled eggs.  Half of your plate should consist of fruit and veggies so keep it fresh by changing up your fruits and alternating raw veggies with cooked. As you enjoy your healthy lunch, be sure to wash it down with a glass of water. Water is beneficial throughout the day but especially at meal times as it actually aids digestion helping your body work more efficiently.


Enjoy your lunch

It is vital to choose nutritional options when eating lunch, but it is equally valuable to slow down and actually enjoy your meal.  So often people either eat lunch on the go or attempt to eat it fast to get back to work, which ultimately leads to indigestion, bloating and acid reflux. Have you ever eaten your food so fast that people around you ask if it even “touched the sides”? When we eat slowly and thoroughly it allows us to enjoy our food and the sensory pleasure of taste becomes a part of our meal experience.  Learn to embrace your lunchtime and give your mind and body an opportunity to revitalize!


Healthy lunches are valuable and in order to fully reap its benefits, take a little time to plan it out and savor the experience. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of life keep you from enjoying the simple pleasures.

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Smoking & Tobacco Cessation

Key Points

  • Use of tobacco is one of the leading causes of preventable illness in the U.S.; smoking accounts for approximately 20% of deaths.

  • When tobacco is smoked, nicotine rapidly reaches peak levels in the bloodstream and enters the brain; if the smoke is not directly inhaled into the lungs, nicotine is absorbed through mucous membranes and reaches peak blood levels and the brain more slowly.

  • Although cigarettes are the most commonly used form of tobacco, other recreational tobacco formulations include conventional smokeless tobacco; compressed dissolvable tobacco; cigars; tobacco pipes and water pipes (i.e., hookahs); and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).

  • The 2008 U.S. Public Health Service clinical practice guideline for treating tobacco use and dependence found that counseling and medication are effective when used by themselves for treating tobacco dependence; however, the combination of counseling plus medication was more effective than either method alone.

  • Because of the oral health implications of tobacco use, dental practices may provide a uniquely effective setting for tobacco use recognition, prevention, and cessation; dental professionals can help smokers quit by consistently identifying patients who smoke, advising them to quit, and offering them information about cessation treatment.

For more information about: Nicotine Use & Dependence, Nicotine Delivery Systems, Including E-Cigarettes, Tobacco Cessation Methods, & Dental Considerations, please visit the ADA.

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