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By contactus@waterfordmidentist.net
November 29, 2016
Category: Kindness

The Benefits of Kindness

Kindness is one of those happiness paradoxes, whereby we become happier by making other people happier.

“We often are pursuing our own interests most effectively by laying them aside and serving others,” says Stefan Klein in Survival of the Nicest.

This week focuses on the benefits of being kind, but these aren’t the only benefits of a kind act. Two other groups of people can benefit, too: the recipient, of course, and the observers. That warm, fuzzy feeling or chills we get when we see a kind act is called elevation, and it’s one of the reasons kindness is so contagious.

But for now, read on to see what benefits you can expect as you cultivate kindness:

More happiness and positive emotions

As we learned in week 1, our brains love kindness – our neurological reward systems show similar activity when we win money and when the same money goes to a charity of our choice. When our romantic partners are receiving electric shocks and we comfort them by holding their arm, the brain’s reward circuitry also activates. In short, when we give, our brains looks like they are gaining something – and the pleasure we feel makes us more likely to give in the future.

Research by Elizabeth Dunn at the University of British Columbia found that people given $50 who spend it on others are happier at the end of the day than people who spend it on themselves. The same goes for a work bonus of a few thousand dollars – even though, beforehand, people say they’d much prefer to spend the money on themselves. We are even happier when we remember buying things for others than when we remember buying things for ourselves. And the more generous we are in general – the more money we spend on gifts and donations – the happier we tend to be.

So giving is pleasurable, but what about helping? It might seem easier to spend money on others than to spend time on them, but it turns out both forms of kindness make us happier. A study of more than 3,000 people found that 95% of people feel good when they help someone, 53% of people feel happier and more optimistic, and those feelings last hours or even days for 81% of people. The “helpers’ high” is a real phenomenon.

A 2001 study found that regular volunteering increases happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem, and sense of control over life. And it works for young and old alike: black inner-city teens who tutor younger children have more positive attitudes toward the self, others, their education, and the future; and elderly people who volunteer are more satisfied with life.

In this TEDx talk, Botlhale Tshetlo explains how gratitude led her to perform 38 random acts of kindness for her 38th birthday, and the impact it had on her:

Better relationships

When we’re kind, we show someone that they mean something to us. Even if they are a stranger, we’re saying: your life matters. That kind of attention is special: it will usually induce gratitude, and we know all the benefits that gratitude has on relationships. In a hectic world, even a kind word or a small gesture can snap us out of a bad mood, brighten our day, and bring us closer to the giver. The kindness of strangers can be even more moving, since it’s so unexpected.

A study of over 10,000 people ages 20-25 from 33 countries found that kindness was more attractive than good looks. It seems people are listening to the typical dating advice: you can tell how a man will treat you by the way he treats the waiter.

One reason kindness is good for relationships is that kind people are more empathic. Duke University professor Scott Huettel found that more selfless people have more activity in the posterior superior temporal cortex, the part of the brain associated with taking someone else’s perspective and understanding their actions. Those skills are key in relationships, where feeling seen and understood is part of the glue holding people together.

Watch journalist Christiaan Triebert tell his story of hitchhiking from the Netherlands to South Africa – and what he learned about the connective power of kindness:

Better health

Kindness can also be a route to better health and longer life.

Kindness strengthens our immune system, reduces aches and pains, improves our cardiovascular profile, and boosts energy and strength in elderly people. In a 2006 study, the most loving and kind couples were shown to have the lowest levels of atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries).

Various studies in the past 15 years have shown that regular volunteers have better health and (among the elderly and those with HIV/AIDS) a lower mortality rate.

So how often should we be out volunteering? A study by Allan Luks, famous for researching the “helpers’ high,” found that weekly volunteering makes you 10x more likely to experience health benefits than annual volunteering. Among older people ages 64-68, an Australian National University study found that we get the greatest health benefits from volunteering about 2-4 hours a week and little benefit from any time beyond that.

Even witnessing kindness might be good for us: a 1988 Harvard study found that participants who watched a 50-minute video about Mother Teresa had elevated levels of salivary immunoglobulin-A, which protects us from pathogens in food.

Author David Hamilton explains the biology of kindness and its health benefits in this talk:

Fewer negative emotions and better coping

Over the past 15 years, various studies have shown a connection between kindness, altruism, and volunteering and less depression. For volunteers, this is the case as long as they don’t go overboard and overburden themselves by giving too much or too often. Being unkind to ourselves – via low self-compassion – is also connected to depression and low psychological well-being.

Oddly enough, those of us who are struggling might be some of the best candidates for kindness. Over the years, studies of people fighting disease, chronic pain, and emotional trauma have shown that kindness can help them cope better and combat negative emotions.

A 2004 Brown University study, for example, found that alcoholics who help other alcoholics have a 40% sober rate the next year, compared to 22% among alcoholics who didn’t help others. For patients with chronic back pain, helping other chronic pain sufferers actually decreased the intensity of their pain. And HIV patients who practice altruism can lower their stress levels.

In this talk, teacher Ferial Pearson explains how organizing a group of “secret kindness agents” helped her overcome her fears after the Sandy Hook school shooting and helped her students deal with difficult life circumstances:

Self-kindness is equally important for coping. When we’re ill or troubled, it’s easy to blame ourselves and think of all the things we could have done better, everything that’s wrong with us, all the opportunities we missed. Self-kindness is a way to find some peace and acceptance, and to care for ourselves the way we would care for a loved one in our situation. Chronic acne sufferers who practiced self-compassion for two weeks – including challenging their inner critic and writing a self-compassionate letter – experienced less shame and depression as well as less physical burning and stinging due to acne.

When self-critical people fail, their brains go into problem-solving mode; they feel more negative and try to avoid the reality of failure. When self-compassionate people fail, brain areas related to positive emotions and compassion activate, and they tend to be more positive and accepting. If you force self-compassionate people to list the worst things that have ever happened to them, they tend to comfort themselves and feel that everyone has been through a similar experience, while self-critical people feel negative and worse off than others.

In short, trauma presents an opportunity: do we beat ourselves down even further, or give ourselves the care and comforting that we so desperately need? So many of us choose the former, but the benefits of self-kindness can be revolutionary.

Better performance

Finally, there’s some evidence that kind people – far from being pushovers – actually perform better. A 1973 study found that black inner-city teens who tutor 4th and 5th graders improve in their math, reading, and sentence completion skills. Another study, this time in the 90s by the US National Volunteer Service Program, found that high school students who are assigned to volunteer work had fewer teen pregnancies, fewer suspensions, and better grades at school.

In the wake of the 2004 tsunami, companies that donated to relief efforts saw an unexpected increase in their stock price, with bigger increases for higher donations. The only charitable corporations whose stocks didn’t go up donated exactly $1 million, which the public might have seen as a PR stunt.

KIND Healthy Snacks is a company based on a foundation of kindness – to self (with healthy food) and to others. Each month, they donate $10,000 to a cause and help people engage in random acts of kindness, like this one:

Why kindness is good

Each act of kindness might seem small, but it’s actually changing the way we see ourselves, the way we see others, and the way others see us.

As our kind actions affect the lives of others, we feel more compassionate, confident, useful, and in control. At the same time, we may also feel less guilty or distressed at the problems in our neighborhood and our world because we’re doing our part to make a difference. In our normal lives, we may find ourselves feeling more grateful for what we have, and optimistic about the future.

As we interact with the people we’re helping, we may start seeing others more positively rather than justifying our lack of help by putting them down – if they’re homeless, they must not be trying to get a job. We may start to give people the benefit of the doubt, and even see a larger web where we’re all connected and interdependent.

In turn, we become a different person – and others notice that. We become more likable, more trusted, and more worthy of help ourselves, completing the circle of kindness.

          Sources and further reading:

 

 

 

Article courtesy of: Positive Psychlopedia

https://positivepsychlopedia.com/year-of-happy/the-benefits-of-kindness/

By contactus@waterfordmidentist.net
November 12, 2016
Category: Dental Implants

What are Dental Implants?

Despite improvements in dental care, millions of Americans suffer tooth loss -- mostly due to tooth decay, gingivitis (gum disease), or injury. For many years, the only treatment options available for people with missing teeth were bridges and dentures. But, today, dental implants are available.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are replacement tooth roots. Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth.

What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?

There are many advantages to dental implants, including:

• Improved appearance. Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. And because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent.

• Improved speech. With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that teeth might slip.

• Improved comfort. Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.

• Easier eating. Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.

• Improved self-esteem. Dental implants can give you back your smile and help you feel better about yourself.

• Improved oral health. Dental implants don't require reducing other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.

• Durability. Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.

• Convenience. Removable dentures are just that; removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep them in place.

How Successful Are Dental Implants?

Success rates of dental implants vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper care (see below), implants can last a lifetime.                      

Find out more by going to the link below

Courtesy of: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-implants#1-2

By contactus@waterfordmidentist.net
November 03, 2016
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

We will be out of the office tomorrow, November 4th, 2016. We will be at a seminar for the day and be back in the office on Saturday at 8am.

By contactus@waterfordmidentist.net
November 01, 2016
Category: Sealants
Tags: Sealants   Cavities   Oral health   children   kids  

CDC Wants More Kids to Get Dental Sealants

Fox News Health Report

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged U.S. schools Tuesday to bring in dental specialists to apply sealants on kids’ molars to help reduce cavities.

Research suggests dental sealants, which are quick and easy to apply, could prevent up to 80 percent of cavities among children, yet a CDC Vital Signs report suggested about 60 percent of kids ages 6 to 11 do not get them, according to a news release. The CDC encouraged schools to implement more school-based sealant programs (SBSPs) to target low-income school-age kids especially, as these children may not have access to regular preventive care.

“Many children with untreated cavities will have difficulty eating, speaking and learning,” CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said in the release. “Dental sealants can be an effective and inexpensive way to prevent cavities, yet only one in three low-income children currently receive them. School-based sealant programs are an effective way to get sealants to children.”

The Vital Signs report found that while 43 percent of school-age kids ages 6 to 11 had a dental sealant, low-income children were 20 percent less likely to have sealants than higher-income children.

Other studies have suggested dental sealants prevent 80 percent of cavities two years after application and prevent 50 percent of cavities for up to four years after placement, according to the release. Dental sealants can remain in the mouth for up to nine years before they need to be reapplied.

Kids without sealants have nearly three times as many cavities as children with them, the Vital Signs report suggested.

By targeting schools with a high percentage of children eligible for free or reduced-cost meal programs with SBSPs, officials can help improve low-income students’ dental care, according to the CDC. In the release, the CDC urged officials to target schools in need in their state, track the number of schools and children participating in SBSPs, implement policies that deliver the programs with cost effectiveness, and help connect schools with health departments and specialists in the community. The CDC currently provides funding to 21 state public health departments to implement SBSPs for low-income students who live in rural parts of the United States.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/10/19/cdc-wants-more-kids-to-get-dental-sealants.html

 

 

By contactus@waterfordmidentist.net
October 19, 2016
Tags: Oral health   hormopnes   women   females   dental  

Hormones and Dental Health: What Every Woman Needs to Know

Your weight. Your mood. Your sex drive. Your dental health. There’s one thing that can make all these aspects of your health go haywire — hormones.

You may be surprised to learn that hormone surges may make you more vulnerable to gum disease. Here’s why: More female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) cause more blood to flow to your gums, which causes them to become more sensitive and “overreact” to anything that may irritate them. “Women are more sensitive to the presence of plaque and bacteria around the gums when the hormone levels are high,” says ADA dentist Dr. Sally Cram. “This can cause your gums to become inflamed, swell and bleed. If left untreated, ongoing inflammation in the gums can also lead to bone loss around the teeth and eventual tooth loss.”
 
Your hormones are a fact of life, but gum disease not so much. It’s actually preventable and reversible in its early stages. So what’s a woman to do? Start by paying extra attention and taking good care of your mouth during these five times in your life.

Puberty

Raging hormones can leave a teenage girl’s gums red, swollen and bleeding. (In some cases, the gums’ overreaction to plaque may cause gums to actually grow bigger.) Some teenage girls may also find themselves developing canker sores, which usually heal on their own.

The best treatment? Prevention. “Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss once a day and see your dentist regularly,” Dr. Cram says. “Removing plaque and bacteria thoroughly every day can reduce the inflammation, discomfort and bleeding.”  

Your Period

You may not notice any change in your mouth in the days before your period. (If fact, most women don’t). But if you have swollen gums, bleeding gums, canker sores or swollen salivary glands, hormones may be to blame. These symptoms should subside after your period stops — but if they don’t, then the increased bleeding by your gums is signaling something else. Talk to your dentist if you have questions about how your monthly cycle and apparent health of your gums are related.

Stay on top of your daily dental health routine, and if you find you have more sensitivity than usual before or during your period, schedule cleanings for about a week after it ends. 

Using Birth Control Pills

Inflammation may have been a side effect for women taking birth control in the past, but today there’s good news for your gums. The levels of estrogen and progesterone in today’s birth control prescriptions are too low to cause any issues with your gums, according to a February 2013 review in the journal Periodontology 2000.  

Still, it’s important make sure your health history forms at the dentist are up to date if you are taking birth control. Here’s why:

  • Your dentist may need to write you a prescription, and some medications can make your birth control less effective.
  • If you’re having a tooth removed, you may be more at risk for a painful complication called dry socket. According to the June 2016 Journal of the American Dental Association, women who use oral contraceptives are nearly twice as likely to experience dry socket compared to those who do not. Of 100 women who took birth control, 13.9 experienced dry socket. Only 7.54 of 100 women who did not take birth control had this complication.

Pregnancy

During pregnancy, your body is in hormonal hyper drive. Some women find they have developed pregnancy gingivitis — a mild form of gum disease that causes gums to be red, tender and sore. It is most common between the second and eighth months of pregnancy, and you can help keep it under control through good daily habits. “Stay on top of your brushing, stay on top of your flossing and be meticulous about the care of your entire body,” says ADA dentist Dr. Alice Boghosian.

Visiting your dentist during pregnancy is incredibly important — and absolutely safe. In fact, your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings during your second trimester and early third trimester to help control gingivitis. If you notice any other changes in your mouth during pregnancy, see your dentist.

Menopause

Menopause is a huge change in a woman’s life and a woman’s mouth, including altered taste, burning sensations in your mouth and increased sensitivity. “They’re all related to hormones,” Dr. Boghosian says.

Still, there are two critical changes to be aware of: dry mouth and bone loss. “Saliva cleanses the teeth and rinses cavity-causing bacteria off your teeth,” Dr. Boghosian says. “When you have dry mouth, your saliva flow decreases and you’re more at risk for cavities.”

Talk to your dentist if your mouth is feeling dry. “If dry mouth is a problem, suck on ice chips or sugar-free candy, drink water or other caffeine-free drinks and use an over-the-counter dry mouth spray or rinse to help reduce the dryness,” Dr. Cram says. “Your dentist may also recommend prescription strength fluoride toothpaste that helps reduce the risk of tooth decay.”

What you eat can also make a difference when it comes to dry mouth. Avoid salty, spicy, sticky and sugary foods, as well as and dry foods that are hard to chew. Alcohol, tobacco and caffeine can also make dry mouth worse. At night, sleeping with a humidifier on in your room can also make a difference.

Losing bone in your jaw can lead to tooth loss. “The decreased estrogen that occurs with menopause also puts you at risk for a loss of bone density,” Dr. Boghosian says. “Signs of bone loss in your jaw can be something as simple as receding gums. When your gums recede, more of your tooth is exposed and that puts more of your tooth at risk for decay. And if your mouth is dry, that’s a double whammy.”

To help reduce your risk of bone loss, work with your dentist or physician to make sure you’re getting the right amount of calcium and vitamin D, don’t smoke and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.

Courtesy of MouthHealthy.org - ADA Association

 





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