THE OLD LINE “it takes fewer muscles to smile than frown” isn’t actually true. It takes at least ten muscles to smile but as few as six to frown, so maybe the saying should be something like “you burn more calories when you smile than when you frown!” instead. However, getting a better workout isn’t the only benefit we get from smiling!

The Feedback Loop Between Smiling and Happiness

Obviously, we smile when we’re happy, but evidence shows that the very act of smiling might make us feel happier. Smiling is so closely linked to the feeling of happiness in our brains that even a fake smile can release endorphins — the feel-good hormone — and make us feel better. The next time you’re having a rough day, try flashing a smile and see if that helps a little!

We Reduce Pain and Stress by Smiling

Those endorphins we get from smiling can do a lot of helpful things besides just contributing to a better mood. Short-term, endorphins help to reduce pain and relieve stress because they function in a similar way to painkillers (except without the side effects).

A 2012 experiment tested how long it took subjects’ heart rates to return to normal after completing a stressful task, and the smiling subjects recovered faster. The way the experiment worked was that the non-smiling group had to hold a pencil between their lips while they did the task (forcing a more pout-like expression), while the smiling group had to hold the pencil between their teeth (forcing more of a smile).

The Long-Term Benefits of Smiling: A Better Immune System!

Those short-term endorphin effects are great, but it doesn’t even stop there! Over time, when we make a habit of smiling more, the effects compound into long-term health benefits like making us more resilient against illnesses and reducing our risk of getting cancer. The reason for this is that the better we manage our stress, the fewer stress-induced mutations our cells go through over the years.

Smile More, Live Longer

People typically perceive a smiling face as being more attractive and younger than a non-smiling face, and that’s not just about appearances. Over the course of a lifetime of smiling, we might accrue enough health benefits to actually live longer. One way to make it easier to smile more is to be proud of the way our smiles look because we have healthy teeth and gums. For that, we need great dental health habits and regular professional dental care.

Bring Your Beautiful Smile to the Dentist!

Don’t fight the battle for your smile’s health on your own; the dentist can help. Schedule regular cleaning appointments to get that professional deep clean and catch any problems while they are still small, and bring any questions you have about dental health with you!

Nothing makes us smile quite like our patients! Reach out to schedule your dental appointment with Lane & Associates Family Dentistry today or call us at 877-LANE-DDS!

It’s National Get Organized Month, and one way we love to organize is by planning out our health goals for the year. Are you creating vision boards and looking for healthy habits to start in 2021? We’ve got a list of 7 Healthy Habits to Start in 2021, read more below!

1. Brushing 2x per day for 2 minutes.

Of course, as dental professionals you know we had to start with the obvious. Our first healthy habit to start in 2021 is Brushing twice daily for 2 minutes and flossing at least once per day (if not more!). This sounds repetitive but we’re serious, brushing for two minutes is longer than you think! Our suggestion, find your favorite 2-minute long song and play it while you brush. This will help you to keep on track and to realize just how long 2 minutes of brushing really is! 

2. Getting Active for at least 30 minutes Daily.

We don’t mean doing sprints and hurdles for 30 minutes (unless you’re into that sort of thing) but simply taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood or even during your lunch break. It’s amazing what a small habit change like this can do to your overall health.

girl drinking water

3. Choosing Water First.

And we mean it too! Before you go for that cup of morning joe, grab some water first. This will help start your engines and create a less acidic environment for your gut. Water has so many benefits for your body: teeth, skin, hair, nails… this list could go on and on. So during 2021, think to yourself, “Choose water first” before diving into the same soda or sweet tea throughout the week. It will definitely be a habit to continue!

4. Getting the Sunshine Vitamin.

Sunlight, fresh air, and Vitamin D are a combination as old as time. They are so beneficial for your mental and physical health. According to Healthline, Vitamin D has three key benefits: improving resistance to certain diseases, fighting depression, and improving overall bone and teeth health. Whether you get your Vitamin D from walks outdoors or through supplements, this is a healthy habit to continue into 2021.

5. Putting down the Devices 30 Minutes Before Bed.

This is a healthy habit that many of us should be adopting ASAP. Studies show that your brain has a hard time winding down before bed if you have an electronic device in front of you (due to less production of melatonin). So turning off your devices 30 minutes before your ideal sleep time is a must. Our suggestion? Read a book that’s not too captivating or turn on some sleep sounds. Zzzzz

tracking steps outdoors

6. Giving Yourself Step Goals.

One of the best investments in your health in 2021 is tracking your steps via a fitness watch. Don’t have a fitness watch? You can also track your steps using your phone’s Health app. It may not track every step but it will at least track the steps you take with your phone. Giving yourself a step goal is one easy way to increase your movement throughout 2021. Start with a lower step goal and change out your daily goal once every month. If you use fitness watches, you can also join challenges within the app itself which are really fun if you have any sort of competitive spirit. 

7. Planning Out Your Meals Each Week.

This one is relatively self-explanatory but really goes a long way to stay consistent with any dietary or budgeting goals you’ve set for yourself or your family. Investing in a planner (whether that be digital or physical) and listing out meal options for the week + a grocery shopping list will create a balanced week. Plus, you won’t have to do the “What do you want to eat? No, what do YOU want to eat?” battle. Win-win! 

 

We hope these 7 Healthy Habits to Start in 2021 give you plenty of ideas for your own health journey & can lead you towards a healthier future. If you’re searching for more ways to improve your dental health, read our blog about Calcium & all of its amazing benefits or schedule an appointment with us today! At Lane & Associates Family Dentistry, we love to make you smile!

We’ve all been there before, sitting in the middle of a job interview or a first date and realizing that our breath is far from minty fresh. Even when everything else is going perfectly, bad breath can be enough to ruin your confidence and turn a good experience sour. Why do we get bad breath, and what can we do to stop it?

Oral Bacteria And The Food We Eat

In order to effectively fight bad breath, it’s important to figure out what’s causing it. The simplest and most common cause is leftover food particles stuck between our teeth after a meal. The bacteria in our mouths break down these particles, and the end result doesn’t smell good. We can combat this with a good daily hygiene routine, including daily flossing, twice-daily brushing, scraping our tongues clean, and chewing sugar-free gum.

Causes Of Chronic Bad Breath

Chronic cases of bad breath (also called halitosis) might not be solved by good oral hygiene practices alone. Halitosis may be caused by:

  1. Chronic conditions. Sometimes, bad breath is linked to conditions that you wouldn’t think are connected to oral hygiene, such as diabetes, liver or kidney disease, and acid reflux.
  2. Medications. A common side-effect of medications is dry mouth. Without saliva to wash away food particles and neutralize acid, the mouth is vulnerable to problems like bad breath.
  3. Mouth-breathing. Whether it happens by habit or because breathing through the nose is difficult, mouth-breathing tends to dry out the mouth, leading to the same problems as described above.
  4. Mouth, nose, and throat infections. Bad breath can be the result of increased mucous when we have a cold or sinus infection.
  5. Pregnancy. Symptoms such as morning sickness and nausea can cause bad breath, because of the extra acid in the mouth. This is also a problem for people struggling with bulimia.
  6. Tobacco products. Tobacco in any form leaves smelly chemicals in the mouth and can also dry it out. In addition, it increases the risk of oral cancer and gum disease, which negatively impact breath as well.
  7. Tooth decay and gum disease. Poor dental health often goes hand-in-hand with chronic bad breath because cavities and periodontitis are caused by the same bacteria that produce those nasty-smelling chemicals.

person brushing their tongue
Brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper is a good option.

Keeping Your Breath Fresh

Even if strict oral hygiene isn’t enough to keep the bad breath completely at bay, it will help to manage it, and treating the underlying cause may be able to eliminate it. If you are a habitual mouth-breather, try breathing through your nose more. Quitting smoking will eliminate a major cause of bad breath. If dry mouth is the problem, chew sugar-free gum and mints to stimulate saliva production, sip water, and use a humidifier to help keep up the moisture.

Your Dentist Can Help

Discovering the underlying cause of bad breath is a crucial step in fighting back, and the dentist is your best ally here. Schedule an appointment at Lane & Associates so that you can get the answers you need to fight bad breath the best way. We want all of our patients to feel confident about their breath!

So, you want to whiten your teeth. You’re not alone! In fact, when the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry asked what people would most like to improve about their smile, the most common response was whiter teeth.

There Are Several Teeth Whitening Options

With so many teeth whitening products on the market, you may be left scratching your head as to which one you should choose. As with any type of treatment, it’s important to know all the facts so you can make the best choice for you and your unique smile! Some of the most common teeth whitening options are:

  1. Whitening toothpaste
  2. Whitening strips and gels
  3. Tray-based teeth whiteners
  4. In-office professional teeth whitening

Professional Teeth Whitening Trays that look like Retainers

Whitening Is Safest And Most Effective When Supervised By A Dentist

You should always consult with your dentist before deciding to whiten, as this cosmetic procedure isn’t for everyone. There are also many benefits to whitening treatment with your dentist!

For example, if you’re considering a tray-based tooth whitener, seeing your dentist is definitely your best option. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth so that your mouthpiece tray is customized exactly to fit your teeth. This will ensure maximum contact between your teeth and the whitening solution as well as protect your gums.

If you choose in-office whitening, such as Zoom Whitening treatment, your dentist will provide additional protection for your gums and the soft tissue of your mouth so that no irritation from the whitening solution occurs. To do this, your dentist will apply a gel to the gum tissue or use a rubber shield.

With over-the-counter products, you’re on your own. Your dentist, however, will check your mouth, the type and extent of stains on your teeth, the number of dental restorations you have, and consider your medical history to decide which whitening option is best for your specific smile. They will oversee the process and results of the treatment to ensure the treatment’s safety and efficacy.

A Note To Parents

Teeth whitening is a big trend among teenagers. Parents should always supervise their teenagers’ use of whitening products as overuse or failure to follow directions can damage tooth enamel or irritate gums. Be sure to consult with your dentist before allowing your teenager to whiten to make sure they are at an appropriate age and stage of dental development for whitening.

Still curious about how whitening works? Check out the video below to learn more!

Keep Your Smile Beautiful

What truly keeps teeth bright, white, and healthy is daily brushing and flossing. But if you feel like your smile is lacking some sparkle or has yellowed over the years, give us a call or come in to see us! We’d be happy to help you brighten up that beautiful smile of yours.

 

In fact, did you know we offer a Free Teeth Whitening Program to our patients? Find out if you are eligible for this free offer by contacting us today! At Lane & Associates Family Dentistry, we love to make you smile!

 

We’ve all heard the common phrase “milk can build strong bones!” But what does it really mean for your dental health? Seeing as this Saturday, January 11th is National Milk Day, we wanted to take a deeper dive into the world of milk. Join us as we answer questions regarding milk, calcium, and your teeth! 

 

What types of Food contain Calcium?

As we all know, a healthy diet of balanced nutritious food is key to a healthy life. This includes our oral health! According to the ADA, the three most common nutrients needed to build healthy bones and teeth are Calcium, Phosphorous, and Vitamin D. Some Calcium-containing foods are broccoli, cabbage, oranges, salmon, beans, and of course dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and milk. 

 

high calcium food chart

How is Milk Good for My Teeth?

In recent studies, findings have observed that drinking milk can actually help to prevent tooth decay and help strengthen tooth enamel. More specifically, research has shown that milk and dairy products contain a protein called Casein. When combined with calcium and phosphorus, casein creates a protective protein film over the enamel surface of the tooth. This has the ability to reduce the risk of tooth decay and increase enamel strength!

mom and daughter laughing while drinking milk

How Much Milk Should I Be Drinking?

Overall, it’s more important to be intaking a certain amount of calcium in your diet – and not all necessarily from milk. But when it comes down to it, the easiest way to make sure you are getting enough calcium is by having 3 servings of dairy products per day according to the American Heart Association. 

The benefits of drinking milk are not limited to just healthy teeth but also a healthy body. When combined with a nutritious diet full of vitamins and minerals, drinking milk can ultimately lead to lower caries, less chance of tooth loss, and stronger tooth enamel. As always, if you have any questions regarding your oral health and wish to speak to a medical professional, please contact our doctors by filling out our online form or email us at [email protected]

 

Written by: Kaitlin Painter, Digital Marketing & Content Manager